Who am I and why the hell should you care about reading my blog?

Avid motorcyclist & freelance writer, specializing in motorcycles & motorcycle related topics, with a healthy dose of good humor, good vibes & general advice on simply being a good person.

Friday, December 31, 2021

Hyenas need love too


A while back, I made a comment at work that garnered quite the response. In a,
perhaps not so common, conversation about people and their importance in this world, I made the observation that everyone is special, to someone. While that may not have been an interesting enough comment to be the basis for a blog post, what followed next, certainly was. One of my sharp witted and borderline cynical co-workers challenged my, very generic and ubiquitously bland, comment so I simply replied with the observation that, "even a little orphaned kid in Kenya is important to the hyenas."

Yep. I said that. 

Now, before you allow complete and utter repulsion to set in, allow me to elabortate...

You see, despite what we tell ourselves about how advanced of a species we are and regardless of how we groom, dress, live and even die, we are all still just creatures in nature. We are all still links in the natural food chain of the world. We are simply meat, blood and bones and if you don't believe that, then I'm sorry to be the one to inform you that grizzly bears, great white sharks, tigers and Jeffrey Dahmer would strongly disagree. You don't have to like it, but truth and reality do not require our permission.

So yeah, everybody is special...to somebody... even if that "somebody" happens to be a hungry animal trying to survive another day in the wild. 

With that observation made... and for anyone still reading... I offer this- what makes us think that we are better than the ferocious carnivores that we share this earth with? Is it because we are super smart and we build things? Maybe it's because we live in houses or drive cars? Perhaps it's because we groom ourselves, shave our body hair or buy our food from a store? But, not all those things apply to every human, do they? Is it because we are sentient creatures? Creatures of thought, memory, emotion and intellect? There are a lot of creatures in God's world that are capable of, and possess, those same traits. 

It's all about perception and perspective. Hyenas hunt and kill the weakest prey they can find... be it a slow running wildabeast, or an orphan kid from a local village. They don't distinguish one from the other. They aren't psychopathic monsters.  They are just ornery dogs with really bad posture that are hungry and trying to survive. What they kill and eat is not relevant to them... it's just meat, blood and bones that contain life sustaining nutrients. Our perception is what is different. A fellow human that is killed and eaten by wild animals is more offensive to us than an animal being killed and eaten. Hell, we even have weird perceptions about what we kill and eat. Think about it- some people are offended about other people eating cows and pigs. 

Like I said- perception and perspective. Animals don't know the differences because they don't have any pre-conceived, or self-taught perceptions on what is, and what is not, okay to have for dinner. We do. For example- Dahmer knew better. He knew he wasn't supposed to kill and eat people... civilized society told him not to, but he did it anyway because he was crazy. But the hyenas and other wild animals don't live in a civilized society and they aren't taught which animals to kill and eat, and which ones not to.

Civilized society is what makes us special- not our cars, houses, clothes, grooming habits, jobs, tech or anything else. Civilization is the key. What makes us civilized is how we treat each other. Treating other people with respect, compassion, empathy and kindness is what makes us civilized. Turn on the local news for ten minutes and you can quickly see that our society is on the verge of losing it's cvilization. People are victimizing each other over some of the dumbest shit. We kill each other over nothing... and we act as if we are better than the wild animals. I don't know about you, but I never heard of a great white shark attacking and killing another shark over "territory" and I've never heard of a mama grizzly bear attacking or killing her own cubs, but I've seen that kind of stuff more than I care to admit within our so-called civilized society. With that said, though... it's not all grim. Bears, sharks, tigers and hyena's don't give their own blood to help others; they don't gather and share food for those among them that can't; they don't have creatures among them whose sole purpose it to protect the weakest among them, or die trying, from those that wish to do them harm. So in that sense, we as a society, are special.

When you look out at your neighbors, friends, co-workers and even the strangers walking along the street- be civilized. Treat each other well. Stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves and remember that everyone is dealing with their own struggles. You might be the person who changes someone else's attitude. I know it sounds cliche, but how hard is it to practice a little kindness? It doesn't cost you anything to tell someone to have a good day, or to wish them safe travels. It doesn't even take that much time out of your life. When you're in the checkout line at the grocery store, what's the harm in telling the cashier thanks for what they do? Maybe tell the kid sweeping the floor or cleaning up a mess that you appreciate what he's doing... does it hurt, or does it make him feel appreciated for an otherwise thankless job? 

Simple kindness is all that I'm talking about. Small, effortless acts that cost you nothing but pay you back in dividends. What makes you special is how you treat people. If you're known for being a selfish jerk, then you might just be left all alone when you're at your weakest, left to defend yourself against the hyenas of the world that are only looking at you for the sustainance that they can get from you, before they leave you for dead... figuratively or literally.

Be kind. Be good. Be civilized.

Ride safe, make good choices and most of all... be a good person.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Dyna Update!

Fork seals

Ugh. Hydraulic forks are the best... until they're not. Most people will ride their motorcycles for years without ever even servicing them. The maintenance is pretty straightforward, most of the routine services simply require draining the old fluid and replacing it with fresh stuff, which, in a lot of cases, can be done without even taking the forks off the bike. Most fork seals last for years, and for thousands of miles, as long as the fork tubes are kept clean and free of debris.

But if you're a project hunter, like me, who can't turn down a great deal on a bike that needs a little love, chances are, you're gonna be doing a helluva lot more than simply swapping fluid. I've got two such bikes sitting in my garage, right now. One, is an '06 Sportster that I picked up for less than $2k a few years ago, and the other is an '11 Dyna Street Bob that I added to the stable a couple years later. Both of them were complete, but in deplorable condition- rust and corrosion was rampant on both, neither was running and both of them had been neglected for several years. But... I got them cheap and trusted myself with being able to get them back on the road, which I did. 

Both bikes have been awesome, but both have had the common issue of fork seal leakage, in part because I half-assed the job the first time on both bikes. Let me explain.


When I first got the Sportster, the fork tubes were obviously roached. They were pitted with rust from top to bottom. The sliders were fine, but the tubes were simply beyond repair. Where I half-assed it, was I stupidly went on eBay in an attempt to save a few bucks and bought a set of used tubes that were significantly better than mine. With a new set of Genuine James Gasket seals and my new used tubes, I put her back together with some fresh 10w oil and she was good to go, for a few years anyway. After a few years of riding, one of the seals sprung a, very minor, leak. It was just minor enough to make me doubt if it was actually leaking, but after a few months, I realized that I was going to be doing a fork seal job again. 


When I first picked up the Dyna- a 2011 FXDB Street Bob- I already had some knowledge of the bike's history. I bought it from a friend who, several years earlier, had bought it from a local Harley-Davidson dealership. He was the second owner of the bike and I was actually with him when he bought it. As it turned out, he didn't ride the bike as much as he thought he would and it ended up sitting in his driveway under a bike cover... for years. I hadn't seen the bike since he bought it and had no idea how bad of condition it was in before I agreed to buy it. It really didn't matter to me though, because for the price he was asking, it was worth it. When I first saw the bike, I was in awe of how bad it was. For a bike that was only 7 years old with less than 10k miles, it looked as if it had been abandoned in a field for a decade. I guess that's a drawback of living in the south, near the Gulf of Mexico- the salty, humid air makes short work of corroding metal. The ethanol based gasoline did it's own damage to the inside of the fuel tank, but that's a story for another day. 

The fork tubes didn't look too bad at first glance- the uppers were a little spotty, but the lower sides looked fine, even though they were both leaking. I assumed that the seals were leaking due to being dry rotted, and I wasn't completely wrong, so in my eagerness to ride the bike, I bought a set of Genuine James fork seals for it, then tore it down and put it all back together in an afternoon. I was stoked to ride it... for a few hours anyway. I assumed that the problem was with the seals, since I had previously installed a set of the same brand on the Sporty and they were now leaking after only a couple of years of riding. In my frustration, I cussed the Genuine James Gasket Company for all they were worth, then went online to do some research.

The Sporty fork saga, continued

Having had my fill of frustrations with the James Gasket seals, all my research pointed me to ordering a set of All Balls Racing seals for my trusty little XL. Once I got it tore down, however, I quickly realized that the seals weren't the problem. Apparently, something (probably sand, since I live near, and often ride beside, a beach) had gotten under the dust seal and made a nice little scratch on one of the tubes. The eBay tubes, if I'm guessing by their appearance, were most likely show chrome which is pretty, but not the most durable for a machine that is ridden a lot, so I bit the bullet and ordered a set of new hard chrome tubes, made by Hard Drive. I put it all back together with some 15w, for a little better dampening. She rides better than a new bike now...with no leaks!

The daggum Dyna

I like this damn bike, a lot, but boy it sure makes me cuss sometimes. After getting the new seals, I tore the forks down and, after a quick inspection of the tubes, put it all back together with the new All Balls Racing seals. Success! No more leaking! I was ecstatic... such a simple fix... 

...or so I thought.

Within about a month of riding, that familiar old bead of oil showed up on the high side tube again. I put the bike back on the lift, pulled it apart for what felt like the hundredth time, and inspected it like a jeweler inspecting a diamond. All of a sudden, I saw it- a small, barely noticeable, chip in the chrome, just above where the seal sets when the bike is at rest. The chip was small, only about a millimeter in diameter and was barely discolored, making it hard to spot with a quick visual inspection. The location was such that, when the bike was rolling on relatively smooth roads, the seal didn't cross over the chip, but when the fork compressed under a harder bump, the seal crossed the chip and a tiny bit of oil would leak past. 

As I dragged my fingernail across the chip, I felt it catch the edge and at that moment, I knew that I had, now twice, cussed the Genuine James Gasket Company in error. Oops... sorry guys.

I did my best to try to smooth and polish out the chip, to no avail- it continued leaking, so I called my local indie shop, French & Son's, and ordered a new set of Hard Drive hard chrome tubes and a new set of All Balls fork seals. Once I had them back in the shop, I put the Street Bob back on the lift, tore it down for what felt like the millionth time, and went to work. Having pulled the forks apart so many times, it didn't take me long to install the new tubes and seals. I topped it all off with some fresh 15w fork oil, put it all back together and rolled it off the lift... again. This time it's (finally) fixed and now it rides better than a new bike, too. 

The lesson learned

My dad used to tell me that if you're going to do something, do it right the first time. Well, for the Sportster, the biggest mistake I made was trying to save a few bucks by buying a set of cheap, used fork tubes. In my defense, they lasted a few years before they got scratched. That could have happened to anyone, I suppose, but by buying the tubes used from an individual, I had no specs on them and ended up buying a set of nice looking, but not very durable, show chrome fork tubes that were susceptible to getting scratched. With the Dyna, however, I'll admit that I half-assed it from the jump. I should have taken the time to inspect the fork tubes before I ever put it back together the very first time, but I was trying to save time and money so that could get back to riding the bike as quickly as possible. In doing so, I ended up having to do the job, way more times than I should have. Besides the aggravation, I also wasted valuable time and money on seals and oil. 

Now that both of the bikes are back together, I can focus on actually riding them. Maybe, while I'm out riding, I'll stumble across another project bike that I can tinker with. One thing's for sure though, if I do get my hands on another crusty project, I won't be cutting any corners when dealing with hydraulic fork tubes... I might just go with a springer front end, instead!

Regardless of what you might find yourself working on next, remember this:

If you do it right the first time, you'll only have to do it one time

Saturday, December 11, 2021

I'm Still Here (sort of)

Low Power Mode

Have you ever just felt... "disconnected" from certain things? That's where I'm at right now. Maybe it's because I've been super busy at my real job, or maybe it's because I haven't been able to ride as much lately, but whatever it is, it's got me feeling like a cell phone with a low battery. I'm in low-power mode and I'm sending less energy to certain things that seem to drain my battery the most. Things like social media. In diverting energy away from things that seem to suck away time and positivity, my daily life has felt more enriched. I know it might sound like I'm about to start preaching about the evils of Facegram, Instabook, SnapApp and Whatschat (names mixed on purpose), and maybe I am a little... but the truth is, how much better were we as a society before these things first launched? 

***RANT ALERT***RANT ALERT*** RANT IN 3...2...1... 

My facebook feed is full of ads, pissy comments from keyboard warriors, fake virtue signaling from self-righteous people and guilt-driven modern day chain letters. GEEEEEZUS. How did a platform with such great potential to keep friends and family connected, turn into a giant pot full of shit and shit-stirrers? And what about Instagram? That feed is full of short videos of people trying to sell themselves as the next up and coming "influencers" by dancing, shaking their asses and... get this... lip-syncing to everything from gangster rap to movie lines. Lip-syncing for crying out loud! Back in the late '80's, Milli-Vanilli got BASHED for lip-syncing, but now people are literally becoming famous for it. 

Good grief. 

 Snapchat seems to be the main source of infidelity and fake face filters that are circulating everywhere (for the love of all that is good and right, why does everyone have cartoon puppy faces these days?) and don't get me started on the ole stand-by video source of YouTube... you can't watch a 3 minute video without having to sit through a minute worth of ads! Not to mention, it seems like somebody took the "sex sells" mantra and applied it to every video that is uploaded. They add click bait teasers to the intros and the content usually sucks. I don't mean to generalize... there are some great content creators out there, but it's getting increasingly difficult to find their stuff among the piles and piles of digitally uploaded garbage. And for shit sake... can someone please create a video, post a TikTok, upload a picture to Instagram or make a Facebook post WITHOUT trying to get my money?!? For f*@k sake... every time I turn around, somebody is after my last damn dollar! Subscriptions, promotions, ads, click bait, buy now, special offer, rebates, blah...blah...blah. Give me a break!

***RANT OVER***(maybe)

The Bag is FULL

My dad used to tell me, "you can't fit ten pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag" and, I'll be honest, I used to wonder why anyone was putting shit in a bag, but as I got older, I realized that he meant "stuff" but it's just more fun to use profanity. I'm pretty sure I've reached a point where my bag is full, but ironically, the bag has been getting filled with shit instead of the good stuff. I'm tired of all the garbage out there and I'm sick of trying to sort through it all. I've realized that my mental health has improved, my energy levels have increased, my attitude is better and my general outlook feels more positive, just by taking a break from it all. 


Look, I'm not telling you how to spend your time and I'm not trying to convince you that you shouldn't "do" the whole social media thing. You might just be the next person to launch some incredible career or become the next multi-millionaire by posting some cool video, taking some amazing photo or posting some amazingly insightful knowledge that could change the world... but for me, I'm thinking that, for where I am in my life right now, maybe less is more. Maybe less bullshit distractions might mean I'll have more time to enjoy the good distractions. Maybe by having a lot less negativity coming at me all of the time, might give me more room to grow and put more positive vibes out into the world around me. Maybe by not being tempted to buy a bunch of shit that I don't need, or never even knew that I wanted, might give me more money to save up for the things that really matter- family vacations, retirement, home improvements or maybe even another motorcycle ;-). 


Either way... you will probably be seeing a lot less of me on the socials... and I might even end up shutting them down altogether. 


The Blog

As for the MotoWriter blog, well, it'll still be here. This is a place that I do enjoy. It's a non-intrusive little platform where I can put out some insight and positivity, and it's something that I really do enjoy, so this little corner of the interwebs is safe for the foreseeable future. Honestly, I never thought this blog would have the reach that it's had... it's had somewhere over 23 thousand visits (as of this posting date) since it first went live just over a year and a half ago. Visitors from, literally, all over the world have stopped in and read my simple words and I appreciate that more than you know. The fact that you all have taken a few minutes of your precious time to sit down and read my words is truly humbling and I can't tell you how good it makes me feel to think that maybe, juuuusssst maybe, I might have said something to inspire someone to do something cool, or to make their lives, or the outlook on their situation, a little better.


I don't want your money, I don't want to distract you and I don't want to fill your bags with shit. So, if you see my socials fade away, you'll know why... but you'll still be able to find me right here at www.theMotoWriter.com. 


Fill your bags with positivity, happy memories, life experiences and lessons learned. 


Ride safe and make good choices, y'all.

JD, aka The MotoWriter



Monday, November 1, 2021

Let's talk...

Hello MotoReaders!

Hey folks, I want to apologize for my absense lately- when I realized that it had been almost two months since my last post, I knew I had to write something and write it quick. Not to make any excuses, but as many of you know, writing this blog and writing the occasional piece for H-D Forums, does not pay my bills. Actually, if anything, the few bucks a year that I do happen to make from writing slideshows for the forums just barely offsets my cost to maintain this blog site. But, my point is that I have a 40+ hour a week "regular" job that demands the majority of my time and lately, it has been very demanding. 

Let's be clear on something- I don't want your money.

It seems like everything we encounter these days is just a ploy to get into our wallets. It aggravates me to no end that I can't even answer my phone without having some jackass on the other end trying to sell me something or steal my info so that they can drain what little I have in my bank account. Just getting on the internet for five minutes exposes us to a constant barrage of advertising and click bait. Seriously, how many times have you seen this picture with the caption "20 unbelievable vintage photos - number 19 will blow you away!" You click the link to see who the chick is and it's a slideshow with so many ads on each page that it takes a half hour to get through the whole damn article, only to find that they never even showed the picture of the girl, much less identified her! Honestly, it's enough to drive you insane. Truth be known, that's why I don't write more than I do for H-D Forums- the only assignments I get from them are slideshows. By the way- the picture of the girl is, from the very brief research I've done, taken from a postcard from the Phillipines from the 19th Century.... there ya go, no need to click on that one ever again. 

You may be wondering, then, if I don't want your money, why do I have a Patreon site? Simple- why not? Look, truth be known, I've seen a lot of folks making YouTube videos, writing blogs and making a living off of their content. When Google first sent me the email telling me that my blog was "eligible for Adsense"... I got a little caught up in the moment and signed up for it. I figured, what the hell, I can let a few advertisers put some ads on my page... my readers can decide if they want to click or not. Before my site had generated enough for me to actually get a check though- Google closed my account. That little setback frustrated me, but in my aggravation, I had an epiphany- my readers don't come to my blog so that they can get bombarded with ads about gross hygeine products, computer virus software or rain gutters- they come here to read about motorcycles, life and finding happiness in the simple things. 

I signed up for Patreon so that if someone likes my site enough that they want to help me keep it up and running, they can have a safe way to do it that is legal, easy and most of all- OPTIONAL. Look, I can't stand watching a YouTube video and having to sit through 5 minutes of commercials... if I wanted to see frickin' commercials- I'd watch television! So, as long as I can do it, my content will always remain ad-free and it won't cost you anything to enjoy. But, if you want to help me keep it going, I'll try to do my part to give you a little something as a thank you for your support. I started this blog site so that I could write about the things I wanted to write about, without being dictated by someone holding a paycheck over my head.

So, where've I been lately? 

I've been busy at my regular job and, when I get home, I've been riding as much as I possibly can. With the Autumn weather slowly moving in, as soon as I get home from work, I get on the bike to get a few miles of mototherapy before dinner. With my current schedule, I don't get to ride as much as I used to, so I try to get in the wind every chance I get. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have seen that I've posted a couple of short Reels to let you know I'm still here. On top of work stuff keeping me occupied, I've also had a lot of family stuff going on lately that has really been weighing heavy on my heart and that, of course, has zapped my creativity. I started writing my first installment of "Tales from the Asphalt" a while back and then just lost all interest in finishing it. I'm still not sure if I'm going to, after all, my "Bike of the Month" feature fell flat on it's face after just a few months, so my "feature" ideas are just sort of simmering on the back burner for now.

And what about the swag?

This is one idea that I had
(please don't steal it)

This is another one
 (again, please don't steal it)
You may be wondering, what ever happened to the swag that I was having made? Well, I'm still working on that. I was talking to some friends about having some shirts and some decals made up from a couple of designs that I came up with, but it just didn't work out (for a few different reasons). I decided to pump the brakes on that stuff for now and re-focus on establishing some semblance of a real logo, not just some crap that I sketched out on a notebook on my lunchbreak one day. After all, if I'm going to do this, I want to do it right. My niece is a talented graphic designer and I'm enlisting her help in coming up with something fun and cool for me. I suppose that we'll just have to see what happens after that. Currently, everything that I've done as "the MotoWriter" has cost me money, so it's tough to justify making another investment into t-shirts, decals, pins or patches. T-shirts are especially tricky, because I'll have to order a bunch, in a variety of sizes, for anyone that might actually want one. If I do get any "patrons" to my Patreon site, maybe I can offset some of the cost with that. If not, the swag idea may end up falling to the wayside like my other ideas have. I really hope not, though... because I like to look at the "stats" of my website to see where everyone is visiting from and it's pretty damn cool to see that there are readers from, literally, all over the world that are visiting my little corner of the world wide web and I'd love to be able to send y'all a little something to wear while you're out riding or to stick on your helmets, windows or back fenders of your bikes. 

Thanks for your continued support, even though I don’t show you any boobs.

To be completely honest, I have never really considered myself a "writer," not by any means. I'm an overthinker and, for lack of better terminology- "an observer of the world". As I see different things, have different interactions with people or have new experiences, I get ideas- ideas for stories, advice or insights and, I just seem to have a knack for articulating those ideas into the written word. Ironically, my half-ass ability to manipulate the English language into something, even slightly, interesting to read has been revealed to me at a time when videos and pictures reign supreme and words are nearly dead. I suppose if I started each one of my YouTube videos (which are few) with a short video intro of a girl with big boobs about to lose her modesty on camera, I’d have a much more popular channel. I saw a video in the last month or so, about some kind of motorcycle upgrade and it was so gratuitously sexualized that I had to turn it off. Look, I’m not a prude by any stretch of the imagination, but come on, is your motorcycle content really so crappy that you have to turn it into soft-core porn in order to get people to watch? Well, actually, disregard that question because the video of the well-endowed woman that didn’t seem to know the difference between a box-end and a crescent wrench that was fumbling around a motorcycle, had tens of thousands of views compared to my best performing video, so I suppose the joke’s on me. Sex sells, but modesty and morality will get you into heaven, and I’ll take the latter because it lasts longer. 

Look, I know that I may have missed my “ideal time” to explore this idea of being a writer, but it’s pretty encouraging to see all of you clicking over to my site to see what I have to say, and doing it without the promise of seeing some skin. That tells me that you guys are more than just the conditioned sheep that are led by photographic pheromones, but you are true intellectual motorcycle enthusiasts. In other words- you are my people and I’m proud to be your writer. I've always believed that the motorcycle community is vast, supportive and universal and you, my readers, prove that to me every time that I log in to my computer and I see that you’re still there, even when I haven’t been.

I really appreciate all of the support and site visits, more than you can know. It's honestly a little overwhelming for me to look and see that the MotoWriter site has had over 22 thousand site visits in just over a year of being active on the interweb, and that it has reached countries big and small, literally, all across the globe. I’m a very humble person, by nature… I always have been, so when I see so much interest in my words and commentaries, it’s a little bit shocking. So, thank you. Thank you for taking the time, your time, to read my blog and thank you for checking in. I’ll try to do a better job of keeping new stuff coming, and coming more frequently. 

Till next time, ride safe and make good choices!

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Weight Loss

Are you overweight?

As a society, we’re fixated on our physical appearance. We spend millions of dollars each year on gym memberships, special diets, supplements and even prescription medications just to shed a few pounds. We eat crap that we don’t really enjoy, drink junk that our 8 year old selves would have gagged at the very sight of, and we spend hours of our weeks in the gym, running to nowhere and lifting things up, all while listening to other people grunt and groan as they do the same thing. We stand in front of mirrors and criticize every curve and angle that we see. Then we take pictures of ourselves, all sweaty and red in the face, and post them to social media as if we’re hoping to get some kind of approval or validation from the world.

We’re so concerned about being overweight, that we put ourselves through this daily regimen, but does it actually make us happy? Are we truly happy and satisfied? Sure, don’t get me wrong, if you’re in your late 30’s or 40’s and you get mistaken for someone half your age, I have no doubt that’s an ego booster for you, but that’s not happiness- that’s just a temporary boost to your self-esteem that is completely contingent on your level of suffering. Sort of like, if I work a bunch of overtime, I’ll get a nice paycheck… but that extra cash only lasts, respectively, for about as long as I worked over my regular hours. Let me explain, if I suffered through an additional 20 hours of work, then I will get enough extra dough on my paycheck to pay extra on a bill or maybe take a weekend trip… but I’m not gonna be able to retire early on it. It’s all relative. You can find short-term happiness every single day, regardless of what you do. You might be happy because you hit your goal at the gym. You might be happy that you got a promotion at work. You might be happy because the waitress got your order right… but it’s all relative and it’s all just short term, superficial happiness. 

Weight loss is the key to true, life changing, happiness

I know what you’re thinking- this guy, who hasn't seen the inside of a gym in years, is about to preach to me about losing weight… well, yes… but not in the way that your probably thinking. You see, the weight I’m talking about isn’t the weight that you are bombarded with every time you turn on the TV or open a magazine (do people still read those?). I’m talking about the other weight, the obesity that no one wants to talk about. The weight that you can’t get rid of by simply drinking protein shakes or running on a treadmill. I’m talking about the truly ugly weight- the stuff that causes heart attacks and high blood pressure. I’m talking about the stuff that steals your energy, zaps your libido and strips you of your core happiness. I’m talking about the weight of your burdens. The things that cause you the most stress, anxiety, fear and sadness. The weight of these things are significantly more dangerous to your health than those few extra pounds you picked up from Thanksgiving last year. 

Now, I know that some of my friends who are really into the aforementioned workout routines are probably rolling their eyes and saying something like “being unhealthy and fat is way worse.” Okay… but… let me pose a couple of questions to you- what’s more dangerous to your health, what is actually worse for your heart? Eating an extra cookie, or being so stressed that your blood pressure is so high that you need medicine to bring it back down? What brings you the most anxiety? Having a bowl of pasta, or working late and missing out on important life events like your anniversary or your kid’s birthday? Look, I’m not telling you to not get (or stay) physically healthy, after all, while I may be carrying a few extra pounds of cookie weight myself- I’m not obese. I don’t have limited mobility or any serious medical problems, because I control my diet and I do get physical exercise. Sure, I enjoy a good cheeseburger from time to time, but I don’t eat like crap at every meal and I make sure that I stay physically active on a daily basis. For the most part, my cholesterol and blood pressure are in pretty good shape and I still wear the same size jeans and t-shirts that I wore when I was in my twenties (they just looked a little better on me back then). Physical health is important, but I’d argue that mental and emotional health is just as, or possibly even more, important. 

What’s our emotional weight?

If we go to the doctor, he can tell us with a quick reference of our height and weight if we are, or are not, overweight. But the ole sawbones can’t use the same technique to tell us that we are overweight emotionally. Let’s face it, as adults, we suppress a lot of our stress, emotions and psychological burdens, primarily because we don’t want to be a burden ourselves. We don’t want our family or friends to see that we are stressed out over our bills, a project at work or our health. We don’t want them to worry, or we maybe we just don’t want them to think that we can’t handle our own shit. Either way, we bury it down deep, put a smile on our faces and we trudge along, acquiring a little more psychological weight each day.

We can monitor our physical weight pretty easily. We can simply get on the bathroom scale, and it will promptly cite our exact weight within a few seconds of stepping on that abominable thing. It can clearly show us that eating a whole half gallon of ice cream last week has put a few extra pounds on us, but it can’t tell us why we stress-ate the whole damn container of frozen goodness in just four days in the first place. The bathroom scale can’t tell us that our stress level is redlining and that we are, or are becoming, mentally obese. So how do we know when our stress or burden is too much to carry? How do we know when we’re emotionally or mentally overweight? And more importantly, how do we shed those pounds?

I’m not that guy

I’ll admit that I’m not that guy in the gym every week. I don’t do the fad diets, run for no good reason, pick things up that don’t need to be picked up or do any of that other stuff. I’m not criticizing anyone that does, mind you. I just don’t have the time in my life to do it. I know that’s an excuse that a lot of people give, but I’ll actually elaborate on it. I don’t get enjoyment from doing it, so I’m not going to carve special time out of my life to do it. I’m simply not going to dedicate a special part of my day, so that I can do something that I don’t enjoy doing. And before you fitness folks judge me for it, let me ask you, would you do it? Would you make a point to watch an hour long PowerPoint presentation on the economic strategies of a paper mill (no offense to the paper mill accountants that are probably not reading this)? If you say you would, you’re full of crap. Even if you are an accountant for a paper mill, you’re not gonna dedicate an hour of your life that you’re never gonna get back to voluntarily do something that you don’t enjoy. I like to ride motorcycles. I can spend a full day in the saddle. I’ll make the time to ride, because it’s something that I enjoy doing. I get plenty of physical exercise without going to the gym. I’m not saying that I can dead lift 250 pounds, but in my life… I don’t need to. If you enjoy spending hours in the gym perfecting your physical being, then go for it. Do what you enjoy doing, whatever that might be. Just don’t judge other people for doing what they enjoy, because you never know what else they are dealing with in their lives.

I ride

For me, as I’ve said many times before, riding motorcycles is more than just “fun.” Riding is my stress relief. It’s church. It’s therapy. It’s my emotional workout program that helps me to be a better, more healthy person. Riding motorcycles has helped me to deal with the loss of loved ones, accept personal failures and get rid of emotional baggage that I no longer needed to carry. Riding has also brought me closer to God. I have seen proof of His existence and I’ve felt His presence with me, telling me that things are going to be okay. From the seat of my motorcycle, at 60 miles per hour on some lonely, two-lane highway that cuts through the middle of nowhere, I’ve prayed. I’ve listened to the sermon that is sung by the birds and buzzed by the cicadas. I’ve seen the majesty of His creation, shimmering through the leaves of an autumn mountain forest and witnessed the power of His might, lighting up the sky in blinding bolts of electricity on a humid summer night.

Riding is my primary weight loss program, but what is yours? How do you de-bug? What do you do to isolate those necessary stresses and justified fears, from those that you should dismiss because they are doing nothing more than weighing down your soul? 

Writing this blog is another weight loss program for me. It gives me an outlet to express my feelings and share my thoughts with the world, absent of the pressure of making a paycheck or following some irrelevant rules that were arbitrarily conceived by someone else. Now, don’t get me wrong, if you click on one of the ads on my site every now and again, I’ll earn a couple of cents and by the end of a year, I might be able to earn enough to pay for one of those cheeseburgers I like so much. But the point is, I’m not trying to pay my bills with this blog, so there’s no pressure there. 

Working for a… living?

If you take nothing else away from this post today, at least try to remember this-  at work, you’re completely replaceable and the company machine won’t stop running once you’re gone. At home, however, with your family…everything gets thrown off when you’re not there and if it doesn’t, then that’s a problem that you need to fix right now. Take your family on a relaxing vacation- a simple retreat of face to face interaction with no distractions. Take time off from work now, while it matters. You’re not promised tomorrow. Your health is not guaranteed, no matter how much kale you force yourself to eat or how many times you lift a barbell. Don't believe me? Take a walk through a graveyard and look at the headstones. Those hallowed grounds are filled with people of all ages, races and economic backgrounds and no matter how many times they hit the gym, no matter how much money they made or how many vacations they took (or didn’t take), they all have the same thing in common. We say that we “work for a living” but somewhere along the way, we often forget to actually do some living

Go to work. Earn a paycheck. Pay your bills and feed your family. Just don’t forget to live. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we only have around 75 good years to make, not just a life but, a good life for ourselves. Sometimes you have to work overtime, and that's okay, just don't overdo it.

Deal with it

Take proactive steps to deal with the stress in your life. Talk to a friend, go to church or have a family gathering and for pity’s sake, let yourself eat a damn cookie every now and again. Take a road trip, go hiking, boating, fishing or, better yet, spend time with your favorite people. Just don't ignore your stress or your emotional burdens. Don’t starve yourself of the things that bring you joy, for the sake of dropping a few pounds- doing that will do more harm to you than eating a cookie, a doughnut, a cheeseburger or a bowl of ice cream, ever will.  

When you shed pounds, your body may feel lighter… but when you shed burdens, your SPIRIT will feel lighter. 

Ride safe and make good... healthy... choices, y'all. 

Do you want to see your bike featured as the MotoWriter's Bike of the Month? Email me in your high-res photos and your personal motorcycle story to me and, if I pick your bike, not only will you get some pretty rad bragging rights, but you'll also receive a small bit of swag to show off your support of the MotoWriter! Thanks for all your support!

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Lake of Life

Life and... a lake?

Life is weird, man. Seriously. It's like living on the edge of a lake and each event that happens is like a stone being dropped in the water.  Calm can be found, but it never seems to last very long. Most things are like small pebbles, leaving little ripples that fade quickly. Others though, feel like boulders, smashing into the surface with such force that the waves crash into the bank, causing permanent and lasting damage.

Some stones are the ones that we throw in, others seem to fall right from the sky. We control a lot of them, but some are completely out of our control. Those always seem to be the biggest of them- those life altering, long lasting, painful events. Things like, losing someone close to you. Or watching someone you love throw their life away making stupid decisions, or maybe just choosing to be miserable in order to make someone else happy. Sometimes we make poor financial decisions, or we lose ourselves in our own stubborn selfishness, and we end up missing out on great opportunities for happiness.

A Grand Design and the Rule of Threes

I'd like to think that the whole lake analogy is actually part of some grand design that I happened to stumble on and that by recognizing it, I can somehow figure out how to keep those lake waters of my own life as calm as possible. But let's be honest, recognizing the similarities just makes it harder to control. I mean, let's think about this for a second- for the past twenty years I've worked in, let's call it, a customer service field. I've seen, first-hand, the affects of the full moon on the public at-large. In my observations during these past two decades, I've seen people become more and more obnoxious during the ole waxing gibbous (as it's known by smarter people than me). It seems that during the week before a full moon, people just embrace being rude, driving more aggressively, losing control of their emotions and acting on impulse. This all may sound crazy to some, but I consider myself to be a casual observer of our society and I take notice of things like this. I'm not special, not by any means, I just happened to start noticing the patterns a long time ago, then spent the next several years taking mental notes of it. But even though I make a point to recognize the signs of the impending lunar cycle, I often find myself falling victim to its affects... until I catch myself that is. Of course, by that time, I've usually already done something stupid.
And what about the rule of three? You know, if something happens, it usually happens in threes- accidents, illnesses or even deaths. I've seen proof of that too, but I won't get into those details just yet. These are weird observations, I know, but bear with me for just a little longer. My point is, that even though we may recognize the patterns, we often don't (or can't) avoid what happens next.

We can't control everything

No matter how hard we try, we can't control everything. So, if our lives are like the waters of a lake, and the events that happen to us are like rocks of varying sizes being tossed in, how can we mitigate the damage from the biggest stones? How do we deal with the lasting affects of those big waves coming in, hitting us over and over? 

I don't know. We just do. When someone we love dies, that's a big stone. We will usually get those first few waves, the biggest of them, right at first. But then, after some time has passed and we think our hearts are finally healing, when we are sure that the waves of that event have all finally passed, we are hit with another wave of emotion when we are least expecting it and we have to face that pain all over again. But with each wave, the severity seems to lessen, and the hurt seems to not last as long. And this cycle continues, over and over, until we are finally okay. 

The big one is coming

So, how do we deal with it? With time, patience and preparation. Time heals all wounds, as most of us have been told. As we hurt, we heal. We begin the process of rebuilding what has been damaged and we build it stronger so that it can hold up, hopefully a little better, for the next big wave that is coming. 

It's also important to remember that we can control some things though- things like, how many of those stones we throw into our own calm waters; how we prepare for the big stones when they hit; and, understanding that, no matter what we do, those big ones are going to hit eventually


Trying to prepare for life's unexpected events seems like it could be one of the most perfectly paradoxical conundrums we face. After all, how does one go about expecting the unexpected... it is by definition... not expected! But, I assure you, by taking small steps in preparation for big events, you can actually mitigate the confusion and frustration when the proverbial shit hits the fan. 

For example, several years ago, my wife and I started thinking about the "what ifs" of our own lives. So, in an effort to be more responsible parents, we made some grown-up decisions and started having those difficult conversations. During those talks, we figured out that we needed more insurance, we needed wills and we needed to establish our final wishes. I know it seems terribly dark and morbid, but having those hard talks when we did, allowed us to have the peace of mind of knowing that we won't have to deal with that stuff when the time comes. After all, it's a helluva lot easier to make those decisions together when your minds are clear and your hearts aren't hurting, than it is when you're heartbroken and can't think clearly. A little bit of preparation can go a long way... I've seen that first-hand, too. 


We can also control how many stones we throw in our own calm waters. We need to recognize that if things are calm, we don't have to kick the top off of the anthill. We can let it be calm and actually enjoy those moments of peace and happiness. We can take the time to enjoy the calm, the peace, the laughter and the good times. Breaking out of the analogy for a minute and speaking literally- stop stirring up shit in your life. Don't talk about people behind their backs, be happy for other people when they succeed and help them when they need a hand. Don't start drama. Don't get involved in someone else's drama. Find joy in the moment and don't take the things that are most precious to you for granted. Be bold and be confident. Be bold enough to start your own business or be content working for someone else, but either way, be happy with your decision to do either. Be confident enough in yourself to make a big decision and be flexible enough that if you don't like what you chose, to choose something else.

We can't control what happens, but we can control how we deal with it, when it does. 

Find happiness now

It's also important to find happiness now. Don't wait until tomorrow, next week or next year. Find something that brings you joy and peace, and find it now. Remember also, that while it's important to be able to share that thing, whatever it may be, with those you love, it's just as (or even more) important that you are able to enjoy it when you're all alone, too. 

For me, as many of my friends and family know, I've found happiness in motorcycling. Not just riding them, but working on them, researching and learning about them and writing about them. I know that may sound superficial to some people, but it's a fun hobby for me. Sure, I enjoy other things, too... but for now, right now at this time in my life, I'm exploiting my love of motorcycles for all it's worth while I still can. I share my passion with my friends and family (even those that don't ride), but I also enjoy slipping out to the garage and turning wrenches in solitude and going on solo motorcycle camping trips in the mountains, too. 

I encourage each of you to find something that brings you happiness. Whether it's motorcycling, bicycling, fishing, hunting, hiking, or just watching the world go by. Find something that makes you happy and that you can do alone and with your loved ones and start doing it now. As my wife wisely noted recently- don't wait to eat off the fine china or drink out of the heirloom crystal, do it now while you can still enjoy it. Buy the motorcycle, that new putter or that dress you've been eyeing. Open that special bottle of bourbon or wine that you've been saving for some "special occasion" and let yourself enjoy it now, because TODAY IS THAT SPECIAL OCCASION... you woke up and you were blessed with another day of life and there are a lot of people who didn't get that same gift.  

Don't wait until the next big stone drops into your lake before you start enjoying your life. 

Do you want to see your bike featured as the MotoWriter's Bike of the Month? Email me in your high-res photos and your personal motorcycle story to me and, if I pick your bike, not only will you get some pretty rad bragging rights, but you'll also receive a small bit of swag to show off your support of the MotoWriter! Thanks for all your support!

Saturday, August 14, 2021



"the strength or force that something has when it is moving; the strength or force that allows something to continue or to grow stronger or faster as time passes."

How many times have you been cruising down the highway, at a completely safe distance from the person in front of you, when all of a sudden, someone up ahead hits their brakes and causes the whole damn line of traffic to break their speeds, hit the brakes and slow down? Just as you are about to start cussing, you see the car in front of them, turn off. So, what made you cuss? Was it the idea that someone had the audacity to drive their own drive and the gall to slow down to turn? Of course not. If they took their turn at highway speeds, they would surely end up in a pile of twisted metal. Is it because they weren't driving in such a way as to accomodate everyone following behind them? Again- of course not. That's ridiculous... it's up to those following to give themselves the space to react to the dangers ahead of them. I don't know about you, but what aggravates me is that I lose momentum. I have to deactivate the cruise control... in my mind. I have to snap back into focus. I don't know why it's so frustrating, but it just is. Losing momentum is aggravating. 

We are programmed to move

In life, it feels like we are programmed to move- to gain and maintain our momentum. When we were kids, we were always on the move, always running, jumping and advancing forward. We just sort of learned to always be anticipating the next thing- birthdays, grades, dates, moments, etc, etc, etc. We base our lives on the concept of always moving forward- we anxiously await advances in technology, advancements in medicine and advances in our careers. We take advanced classes, achieve advanced degrees, we strive for advances in status, position, rank, credit and so on, and so on, and so on... for what seems like forever. We have cruise control on our cars (and some motorcycles) so that when we are driving (or riding), we can maintain that momentum on the trips we take. At work, we might have some "big project" that we have to "gain momentum" on or, we're encouraged to "keep that mometum going" so that we can set a good pace to finish on time. Contractors know the importance of staying on track, maintaining their momentum on a project and finishing on time, or even better, finishing ahead of schedule. When you're having a contractor build your house or your garage, you definetly don't want him to lose his momentum on your project. 

Writing requires it

I can't stand it when I lose my creative momentum. Look, I'm not one of those road-rage guys that loses his mind when he has to tap the brakes and cancel the cruise control, but I absolutely do get frustrated by it. If I'm working on a project at work, I want to get it done... especially if it's a crappy project that seems like it's sucking the life out of me. I just want to get the damn thing started, set a decent pace on it and get it done. The same goes for when I'm writing. When I get an idea for a new blog post, or more recently, another slideshow article for my other, other job and my inspiration is flowing, I just want to sit down in front of the computer and get all of those thoughts out. As ironic as it may seem, I actually had the idea for this piece a couple of weeks ago.... and I ended up losing my momentum on it! Argh!! 

Life gets in the way

Often, life simply gets in the way of our plans, much like that person ahead of us in traffic needs to slow us down so that they can turn off of the highway. A couple of weeks ago, while driving home from work, I was in the right hand lane of the highway, cruising with the flow of traffic and listening to some tunes on the radio. All of a sudden, for no apparent reason, some selfish jerk two cars up just had to make their turn. How dare them! It was ridiculous that I was suddenly so aggravated by someone making their turn, and then I realized it. Boom! The writer's block that had been stifling my creativity had suddenly been knocked aside and I had this epiphany to write a, hopefully insightful, piece on momentum. A half an hour later, I arrived at my peaceful country home and did all the things that you do when you get home from work. The next day was Friday, so I went to work and did it all over again... but this time, I was buzzing with anticipation to sit down and write this piece over the weekend. After all, the weekend before I had squeaked out my first motovlog in months, "highlighting" the rainy conditions of our coastal home. But before I could get started writing, there was actually a break in the rain, finally affording me the first opportunity in several weeks to mow my terribly overgrown lawn. The problem with that is, cutting the grass at the ole MotoWriter estate is basically an all-day chore. Also, I live in South Mississippi so, when it's hot and sunny... it's awfully hot, Sonny. So, after spending a sweltering day in the sun, my Saturday was pretty much shot and all I wanted to do was drink a cold beer and relax in the air conditioning. The next day was busy with other projects and, of course, in those brief rainless moments, I tried my best to get a few miles of actual riding in. Before I knew it, the weekend was over and I was no closer to starting this piece. Another day, another week, another weekend of chores, repairs and miscellaneous tasks that must be done and here we are, nearly three full weeks later and I'm just now sitting down to write this. 


Isn't that how it always goes though? That's life and life happens. Things come up. As adults, we have to triage and priortize everything in our lives. What's most important, what's next? What bill gets paid first, what project gets done first? As kids, we acted on impulse. We saw something and just friggin' went for it... our credo was SEND IT!! We didn't think about prioritizing or triaging our tasks or chores. If we saw something fun, we'd look at it and just effin go for it! If we got hurt... oh well, we knew we'd heal eventually and have a cool scar to show for it. So when the hell did we get to the point in our lives when everything had to be scheduled, prioritized, moderated and controlled? I couldn't tell you when it happened, but these days, I suddenly find myself doing a helluva lot more "adulting" now than I used to. Don't get me wrong, being an adult is pretty great- we get to ride motorcycles, we can stay up late, drink booze, eat pizza for breakfast and have chocolate cake for dinner (although I don't recommend doing that... especially in that order). But, we also have to pay bills. We have to go to work. We have to go to the doctor for "check ups" and we have to watch our cholesterol. We also have to prioritize what we do, because there just doesn't seem to be nearly as much time in our days as there was when we were kids.

Maybe slowing down is a good thing

Maybe losing a little momentum isn't as bad as we think, though. When we were kids, we couldn't wait to grow up; as adults, we wish we could go back to the time in our  lives when the world was simpler. As sentient creatures, living in this modern society that we've created for ourselves, we are never happy with what we have or what we've been blessed with. But maybe it's because we need to slow the hell down. Maybe, just maybe, we need to change our priorites and make room in our busy lives for our families, friends, and even ourselves. Slowing down gives us the chance to catch our breath. It gives us the opportunity to see something that maybe we haven't seen before. It gives us an opportunity to be thankful for being alive and for being free. It allows us to take a step back and appreciate what we have, who we have and make the most of the moment. After all, yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn't promised to any of us.

When my kids were growing up, my wife and I quickly realized that this high-tech society we were living in would try to rob them of their time, so we made a point to go to a cabin in a state park, every fall. It was rustic, but not uncomfortable. It had power- lights, air condtioning and heat, and of course, running water, but it was completely devoid of electronics. No television, no radio, no internet. It was amazing. We would hike through miles of trails, listen to the wildlife and the wind rustling through the leaves; we'd carve walking sticks out of tree branches and eat our lunches on the banks of the river. Best of all though, we would interact with each other. We would talk around the campfire at night, make smores and burn hot dogs, all while laughing, telling stories and sharing our lives and life experiences with each other. It was a very special time for us. Every year, we would look forward to that trip, up until a few years ago, when our boys were finishing high school, preparing for college and joining the work force. Life got in the way again, it would seem, and our lives started picking up speed once again.

Make a conscious effort 

2020 was a difficult time for everyone. It seemed as if the entire world was being collectively kicked in the teeth. I refuse to give that cursed year any more of my life, so I'll make my point quickly, then move on. While the year seemed to never end, at the exact same time, everything seemed to be spinning out of control, moving at a break-neck speed... like when you were a kid and the merry-go-round was spinning so fast that you couldn't even get your feet under you, much less slow the goddamned thing down enough to get off of it. By the time that 2021 had finally started settling in, I found myself looking down at two separate headstones. I could barely catch my breath. But somehow, I was able to slow down, just enough to let my equilibrium settle and I was able to draw in a long, deep breath. When I did, I  began to recognize that we are living our lives like we are in some kind of race to the finish line, without ever realizing that the finish line is our own deaths. We don't even realize it until it's too late.

So maybe, just maybe, we can start making a conscious effort to slow the hell down, be more patient and be more understanding of that person up ahead of us that is slowing down to turn off. We have to break the momentum. We have to recognize when we are speeding up and running down the wrong hill. We have to have the strength to hit the brakes, slow down and get back on the right course before it's too late for us. 

We are all in a race to the grave, but I'll be damned if I'm going to keep going full throttle, barreling toward my own demise. Life's not short, it only seems that way when you spend your 75 good years going as fast as you possibly can. Well not me. Not anymore. I'm going to take vacations. I'm going to ride my motorcycle. I'm going to see the mountains, drink from rivers, smell the forests and warm my skin in the sun on every road trip I can take. I'm going to laugh with friends, hug my family, eat well and do my best to live and love every day of the rest of my life as if tomorrow isn't promised to me, because it isn't. 

I challenge each of you to do the same. 

Ride safe and make good choices, y'all.

Do you want to see your bike featured as the MotoWriter's Bike of the Month? Email me in your high-res photos and your personal motorcycle story to me and, if I pick your bike, not only will you get some pretty rad bragging rights, but you'll also receive a small bit of swag to show off your support of the MotoWriter! Thanks for all your support!