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.

Sunday, February 28, 2021

Adversity and Revelation


Last year, I wrote a piece that I titled Socafriends after having an epiphany related to certain people in my life. It occurred to me, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, that several of the people that I truly considered to be good friends of mine, were really only friends with me whenever it benefitted them. When they no longer had use of me or what I could do for them- they disappeared like points, carburetors and leaded gas. The realization hit me like a junebug to the forehead at 60 mph, and I sat down that same day and penned that article. I published that post on May 9th and unfortunately, several of my friends would soon be, unwittingly, put to the test of friend, or socafriend. You see, just 21 days after publishing that piece, my life started turning upside-down. 

Adversity Compounded

On May 30th 2020, I proudly witnessed my youngest son graduate, with high honors, from high school. But, unbeknownst to me at the same time, on the other end of our beautiful coastline, my dad was being rushed to the emergency room in the back of an ambulance. The next day, the doctors diagnosed dad with cancer and informed us that it had metastasized in his brain. Just two days later, as my family and I were still grappling with the shock and fear of dad's diagnosis, my father-in-law suffered a heart attack at home and was also rushed to the hospital by ambulance. 

A few days later, while my father-in-law was waiting to undergo what could best be described as a "routine" heart procedure... he passed suddenly, but peacefully, in the cardiac ward, just one floor up from where my dad was. My father-in-law and I had a lot in common and we were close, so his sudden death hit me very hard. To make matters worse, on the same day that he passed, I was finally able to see my dad since he was taken to the hospital, due to the hospital's strict visitation policy because of this damned COVID pandemic. 

I didn't notice it at the time, but it would occur to me later that, many of those people that I called my "friends" were nowhere to be found. When I needed someone to lean on during the next several months that followed, those people in my life that I had helped, supported and encouraged were just... absent. No phone calls, text messages or even a polite hello in the parking lot to let me know they were praying for my family, or even thinking about me. Now, maybe this was partially my fault for not putting my personal, family business all over social media so that I could give them a platform (and an audience) to express their "support and prayers" for me, but I guess I'm old fashioned that way. After all, I somehow managed to keep up with them enough to know when things were going bad for them, when they needed help, or when they were suffering, without the use of Instabook, Facegram and SnapTwit. So why couldn't they reciprocate? It wasn't like I needed money or any other kind of donations... I just needed a friend to listen to me and encourage me. Someone to tell me that dad was going to be okay and that my father-in-law was in a better place. 

Don't get me wrong- I wasn't all alone, far from it. I had my family and several of my closest friends by my side who did listen to me, encourage me and pray for peace for my family. They played a big part in helping me get through it all. They are also the reason why I didn't notice right away, that the others had suddenly turned into ghosts. 

Adversity, meet Suffering

Being the sentient creatures that we are, we have a natural instinct to survive that is supported by experiencing the stimuli around us. We feel something that is extremely hot and we have a natural instinct to pull away from it. We hear a loud, ominous sound and we prepare ourselves to defend against an impending attack. We see a vicious animal and we run away from it. Our brain tells our body what it needs to do to survive. Our consciousness tells our brain what it needs to know to survive. It's because of this, that when we are going through difficult times, we often have a tendency to think that the worst is upon us and that tomorrow can only be better. Most of the time, that is true, but every once in a while- the world around you suddenly takes a hard turn for the worst. 

Dad had been receiving treatment since his diagnosis and, for a while, he looked like he was going to beat the cancer. In December though, things started taking a turn for the worst and dad ended up in the hospital again, this time on Christmas Eve. We were at the hospital with dad every day, praying for his recovery. Our idea of "healing" is sometimes different than God's though, and two weeks later the Good Lord did heal dad, completely, and brought him home. 

Adversity had left and it was replaced with utter sorrow. All of our hope for one more Christmas, to hear dad's laugh one more time, or to look into his eyes again, was suddenly ripped away and replaced with emptiness. Sadness was not the word for it. We were suffering. Our entire family was suffering. We did our very best to rely on each other for support but it's hard to be a ray of light and hope for someone else, when you feel as if you're in the dark yourself. 

True friendship illuminates the darkness

When you're in the darkness, your eyes dilate, seeking to find any light available that can guide you back to safety. When your eyes find that light, it seems so bright and obvious that you wonder how you ever missed it in the first place. The same thing happens when you realize that, when you were in your darkest days, it was the light of true friendship that was illuminating your way back to a place of calm and peace. The funny thing is that those friendships were always there- you just couldn't see their natural light for all of the artificial light around them. It's like being in the city at night when the power suddenly goes out. In an instant, you can see all of the stars. They didn't just show up, they were always there... just hidden by all the ambient light of the city streets.

In my darkest days since May 30th, 2020, I had several "friends" turn their backs on me. They were rude, mean, selfish and insensitive to my and my family's struggles. They simply did not care and didn't try to hide it. But, at the same time, something else happened- another revelation- one of hope and peace, one of true friendship and loyalty. 


I've always believed that part of being a good person, a good friend, was lifting others up and being there for them when they needed you, no matter what it is they needed. If it was helping them get their motorcycle (or car) fixed, helping them move into a new apartment, giving them helpful advice or simply telling them that you're happy when they succeed and encourage them when they fail. One of the most important things that a true friend can do though, is to just be there for each other.

Adversity is one of the great revelators and it often exposes the true character of people. 

Through all of the struggles that my family and I have been faced with since that fateful day in May 2020, the true characters of several people in my life were revealed to me. Many of them revealed their true selves as self-centered, egotists that thrive on using people. They survive by taking other peoples' happiness and they can't stand to see anyone else around them succeed. They are careless, selfish and insatiable consumers that use other people to build themselves up, then discard them when they no longer have use for them. I referred to them as so-called friends, or "socafriends," in the post from last May, because they make you believe that they will be there for you because you are their very best friend. And just as long as you help them out today... they'll be there for you tomorrow. But tomorrow never comes. You are there for them- you help them get that promotion at work, you encourage their success, you help them move, fix their motorcycle or let them use your tools and they tell you what a great friend you are. They tell you how much they appreciate everything you've done for them, but they never offer to help you when you need something. They never encourage you when you try to promote, they make fun of you when you turn your back and they laugh at you, and try to humiliate you. When you call them out on it, they tell you to not be so sensitive and tell you that it's just good natured "banter." They are the same people that, after you've helped them fix their motorcycle, will ride past your house with a group of their friends and not even stop long enough to invite you to join them for a beer later. They are also the same people that you will help, over and over, year after year, being nothing but generous to, and one day you randomly stumble across their profile on social media and realize that they "unfriended" you. That's one good thing about social media, I suppose- it sometimes helps you see these people for who, and what, they actually are. "Socafriend" is actually too nice of a name for them, because it implies that there is at least some kind of friendship there, when there's actually none at all

Realizing that someone has only been friends with you so that they can use you, does help you mitigate how much they can use you again though. Sometimes it hurts to know the truth, but just like the G.I. Joes used to say in the 1980's cartoon PSAs- "now you know, and knowing is half the battle!"

Enough about them though, this post isn't about those jerks, no... this post is actually about another revelation that is born of adversity, one that is hopeful and good. Through that very same adversity in my life, I came to realize that for every one sorry, no-count socafriend that I had, several more true friends were revealed to me. Some of whom, I never really recognized as friends before, just acquaintances. Those people revealed their true characters by their acts of kindness and by their words of encouragement. They helped me get through those rough times and did everything within their abilities to make my struggles a little easier. I was able to see them for who they were, and I was able to see how much they helped me while I was learning how to cope with everything that I had been through. They were the ones that did things to help, without an audience. They never solicited any kind of attention for their acts of kindness and much of what they did was only seen by me and my family. It is people like them that make this world a better place. It is through their hearts, their kindness and their support, that we can face every day and learn to live with our losses, as well as enjoy our successes. 


I will be forever grateful to each of you that have helped me get through what has been one of the most difficult times of my life- I can't thank you enough for being there for me and my family. I'm also grateful for what I have learned through all of this. If you are reading this, you already know who you are. You should know if you are one of those "socafriends" or if you are a true friend, because I do. 

Regardless of what side of the line you fall on, I will always remember what kind of friend you were to me and I promise to always be that same kind of friend to you. 

Thanks for taking the time to read this and remember to always make good choices and, most of all, be kind to one another. 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Is the Bike of the Month feature... DEAD (already)???

To this date, I haven't received any submissions for the February Bike of the Month feature. With only 7 days left, it doesn't look good, so if you have a cool bike that you want to share, or if you want to just have your reason to ride featured- send it to me by clicking here... otherwise... the BoTM feature will fade off into obscurity... just like Victory Motorcycles and grape pop tarts.

Saturday, February 6, 2021


January 2021

For the very first (and hopefully not last) Bike of the Month feature here on The MotoWriter.com, I present to you, the MotoWriter's January 2021, Bike of the Month... 

Lee's 2014 Indian Chief Vintage!
My good friend, Lee picked up his beautiful, Springfield Blue Indian Chief Vintage as soon as Polaris released the revived brand into dealerships in 2014, which just happened to be the same year that Lee retired from the United Stated Navy with over 20 years of service to our country. Lee and his family moved back to Mainland, USA from his last duty station in Rota, Spain in 2014 and dropped their gear in the great state of Texas. When Lee got back to the Lone Star State, he was bike-less, because he had to leave his beloved 2006 Harley-Davidson Dyna Street Bob, aptly nicknamed "El Fuego", behind in Spain when the Navy shipped him back home. While Lee loved his Dyna, he had been anticipating the release of the new Indians since he first heard that Polaris had bought the rights to the Indian name and was planning on resurrecting America's First Motorcycle CompanyIt's only fitting that Lee would buy an Indian Chief Vintage, after all, the name "Chief" was very special to him, you see- Lee honorably retired from the U.S. Navy, at the rank of Chief. 

When Lee picked up his new Indian, he immediately started racking up the miles. He was riding his Chief Vintage all over Texas and even made a trip to South Mississippi to visit his ole buddy- yours truly. As a matter of fact, the day that he rode over, we took our bikes up the highway to Hattiesburg, so that he could get his first service done. As it turned out, we would only ride together one more time before he got offered a job back in Spain. Shortly after getting back to Rota, Lee quickly unpacked the Chief and set out to racking up the miles, or rather- the kilometers. In the past 6 years, Lee's Indian Chief Vintage has taken him through 11 countries, 5 of which he knocked out in a single trip, earning him the Iron Butt Association's "Saddlesore 1000" certificate, for riding at least 1,000 miles in 24 hours.

During another summer abroad, Lee took advantage of his ability to ride through multiple countries, by riding into France, then taking the Chunnel into the United Kingdom, riding through England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland. Most recently, before the country locked down again due to the resurgence of COVID-19, Lee was able to take his Chief on an 8 day trip, circumnavigating Spain. In all, Lee has racked up a whopping 100,000 kilometers (that's a little over 62k miles for the rest of us). That's an awful lot of riding, considering the fact that he works a full time job and lives in a country that is smaller than the state of Texas. 

Upgrades and Goodies

Lee's Chief Vintage remains mostly stock, with the most significant upgrades being a set of 16" ape hangers, a Stage 1 kit complete with hi-flow intake, those classic fishtail pipes and a Dynojet fuel controller, rear air shock, color-matched tank console, aftermarket windshield, a heated seat to keep him toasty on those cool Spanish nights, and a Kuryakyn Road Thunder soundbar to provide some toe-tapping tunes to help the miles pass by a little easier. Up next on Lee's list of upgrades is going to be a set of Cuztomkraft amber afterburner tail light lenses. Being in Spain, the availability and accessibility of aftermarket parts can be a little tricky as compared to living in the States, so a lot of the goodies he's added to the Chief have been ordered from all over the world, with the latest order coming in from Australia.

It's not what you ride

Lee and I share the common belief that, it's not what you ride, but rather, that you ride. You see, Lee and I both grew up in working class homes and we learned at a very young age that it doesn't matter what you have- as long as you're happy. Lee and I both started out riding old, ratty street bikes- I had an old Kawasaki EX500 and he had an old Honda Interceptor 500 and, at the time, we felt like the coolest kids on our respective blocks. Of course, as the years went by and we started enjoying some success in our individual careers, our bikes got much better. Lee has owned a variety of bikes to include a Suzuki, an Aprilia, a Harley-Davidson and now an Indian. He routinely organizes and leads group rides around the Navy base in Rota which often consist of every make and model of motorcycle available in the area. Following one of the most basic rules of motorcycle group riding, he and the rest of the group simply ride to the skill level and ability of the weakest rider on the smallest bike. Being an MSF instructor for the base in Rota, Lee understands the importance of teaching new riders the skills they need, so that one day they will be able to carve the corners of some random, mountain road and stay safe when doing it, just like Lee does, on his 2014 Indian Chief Vintage. 

Check out more pics of Lee's 2014 Indian Chief Vintage, here:

Chief 1