As Riders, we learned how to live…

I’ve reused this several times over the years to honor lost friends. I don’t think they mind.

I’ll see ya on the other side RJ.

As Riders, We Learned How To Live

There’s a special few, a chosen breed
That fathom just what it is to ride
Astride their machines these men flex their wings
And twist the throttle and fly.

Death holds no terror, and no undue sway
For these pilots of the wind
It rides with us always, mere inches away
An enemy one day, an acquaintance for sure, and occasionally, one of our friends.

All men will know, when their time comes
Just what it means to die
Age and disease and a thousand other things
Conspire to shorten this life…

Some go too soon, some hope for the end
All worry for those left behind
Death comes when it does, we’ve little control
But how we greet it tells much about our life.

The chosen breed, the daring few
Will embrace what death has to give
They’ll fight to the last but go with a grin
Because as riders, they first learned how to live

Solo 1 (left) and RJ (right) Pic by Dave Ritsema

Solo 1 (left) and RJ (right) Pic by Dave Ritsema

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Downtown_valkTearing through the city, the big cruiser effortlessly responding to my will.

It’s a dance…an intensely complex and demanding one…and there’s high-speed death on wheels all around just waiting for me to miss a step.

It’s a heady feeling…to hold my fate so *directly* in my hands, particularly when I truly understand just how vulnerable my “dance” is to utter destruction if any one of the thousands around me misses a step of their own and I fail to anticipate it.

And some of them can’t dance worth a shit.

It’s a particularly troublesome thought tonight, and I’m unsure why. I wonder if I’ve missed something…if my subconscious is trying to tell me something…if maybe…just maybe…I’m not up to the challenge for some reason…but there’s little time for pondering.

The dance demands total attention…at least…if I want to finish it, that is.

I’ll see you on the road.

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Let the music play…

let_the_music_playAt the Suburban Blah House last night…tornado sirens in the wee hours…I blinked, rolled over and engulfed the wife in a bear hug, and went back to sleep. What else are we gonna do? This room’s as safe as any other in the house (not very) and at least we’ve got some blankets and a giant mattress.

Besides…the world is ALWAYS a better place when I’ve got a couple handfuls of wife. Plus…she’s got a nice butt! :)

Heavy rains and sixty mile-per-hour+ winds…this morning fences and trash cans blown all over creation…walked up the alley to the end and back clearing debris so folks (including me) could get our cars out of the alley.

For a change…we took no obvious damage to our house/vehicles, though my trash can was 4 houses down.

Took ‘Big Iron’ to work…commuting on the Valk is always a challenge…what with the homicidal and/or suicidal Dallas drivers and all…but the heavy rains and reports of big-rigs blown over and signs and lights down on some of the thoroughfares adds a level of pain I’m just not up to tackling this morning.

I want the 7000 pounds of traction and horsepower on my side…and figure the GPS may come in handy for routing as well.

Half way there…traffic finally clears and the speeds come up despite the rain…and IT happens.

The VERY good sound system is blasting out a particularly inspiring driving tune and…

*twitch* I shake my head…and cock it to the right.

“That didn’t sound good…”

The riff kicks in…lots of bass…and yep….

*twitch* My eyes water. The “definition” of my music is off…and drifting…

I’ve lost a speaker…or the amp in the old Pioneer Supertuner is losing it…

Sigh. Not a good thing. Yeah, yeah…first world problems and all that…but two things:

1) Pretty sure my vehicles run on music. If it’s not available they just don’t move…
2) If you think me lacking good music isn’t a civilization ending problem…you simply have NOT encountered me after I’ve been deprived of good music.

I’ll see you on the road…or perhaps at the stereo store…

Daniel Meyer

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Hey, come on try a little
Nothing is forever
There’s got to be something better than
In the middle
But me and Cinderella
We put it all together
We can drive it home
With one headlight…

It says something…I’m not sure I should think too much about what that “something” actually is…that I’ve run this machine hard and long enough that I’ve gone through an entire case of these bulbs…

Cheaper by the dozen...

Cheaper by the dozen…

Lyric is from:

I’ll see you on the road.
(even at night!)

Daniel Meyer

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Kerunch, crunch or CRUNCH…

warning_lightHauling ass in Big Iron…pouring rain and the dark of night but lively traffic…coming over the top of the “High 5″…the 180-foot high, steeply banked speed-sweep from eastbound I-635 to northbound US-75. Just as I hit the apex of the turn and started down the steep incline the traffic shut down .

Should be okay…I leave plenty of room in these conditions…

I got on the brakes and started decelerating as I headed down the grade…judging the distance and feathering the brakes to the task. Long habits and the vulnerabilities encountered on a motorcycle carry over to my cage piloting so I spared a glance for the rear-views.

Uh oh.

The semi behind me wasn’t so alert. He was still coming hard. A glance ahead…the traffic was moving a bit…but I didn’t think he was going to stop with enough room for me in front of him. Especially if we never got started…ur…stopping. Yanno?

Off the brakes…tapping them to flash the lights and hope it alerted him…then back on. No sense crashing into the traffic ahead without HIS assistance.

It worked…he was slowing. We might even make it. I increased the pressure.

Then he broke lose…the cab and trailer at odds on what direction they were planning on heading.

Off the brakes again…as stout as Big Iron is…getting crushed under a jack-knifed semi isn’t going to work out well for me. Neither would getting smashed over the simple concrete Jersey barrier…there’s a near 200 foot drop on the other side. Pretty sure the bomb (airbag) in my steering wheel would be little help in that impact.

Shit. I just painted this thing too.

At what had to be the last possible second, the semi driver saved it…straightened up and took the left lane. I quickly took the right, avoiding him rear-ending me by a matter of feet.

But now I was out of space. Nothing left to do…and no place to go.

Hard on the brakes…I felt the anti-locks kick in. Doesn’t happen often…I try to navigate in ways that don’t require the deployment of last-ditch efforts.

They did what they were supposed to. Maximum braking, minimum slippage. Reasonable steering control.

I’ve long said…if you have to hit a wall…you choose the brick. Never stop driving.

Pulling to the right…dead car on the shoulder. Traffic moving slowly ahead…just a mile or two an hour…I was still probably over 40mph…but it made space. I wasn’t sure…right till the last…that it was enough…I was lining up to hit the dead car on the shoulder…it was unoccupied…rather than the cars full of folks…when the cars moved forward what I just thought would be enough. Back into the lane. I cleared the dead car by at least an inch…

And…yep. Made it. The semi did too…directly beside me now…we both may have had half a car length left…and time came back into focus. What seemed like an eternity had only been a second or two.

And we were done.

Except I’m not. Now I’ve got a system error in the anti-locks, as a rather insistent warning light tells me… Gad…always something.

But yanno…it worked when it needed to. A little skill and the right equipment. I’ll do the repairs with glee.

Kerunch, crunch or CRUNCH. I took option “D”.

I’ll see you on the road.

Daniel Meyer

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The short way was broken…

The garage door rolled up to a gorgeous Texas October morning. 70 degrees. Balmy. Breezy. One of *those* days.

As I backed the big cruiser out of the garage I already knew getting to work this morning was going to be tough. Despite high speeds and making miles, The Dragon just doesn’t seem to “get me there” on mornings like this.

The wife recognized the signs as I kissed her goodbye (translation: smooched her hard and grabbed her on the ass) and said with resigned tone and a grin, “At least try to stay in the state.”

I tweaked her on a nipple, gave her another smooch, and said with my best innocent look, “No idea what you’re talking about.”

The problem started early. Northbound on US 75 the traffic was light and moving out. Eighty miles-per-hour moving out. The traffic wasn’t the problem though. Neither was the speed. “Northbound” was the issue. Work is roughly 20 miles south of home.

Durn bike. Right instead of left. North instead of south. Eighty miles-per-hour on the open freeway to who-knows-where instead of south in traffic to sit out the day in a cube in a hall.

I let it go on for a while…but eventually that damn work ethic caught up with me and I realized I’d have to head south at some point.

Garland to Dallas via Van Alstyne. One-hundred miles to go twenty. Hmmm…works for me!

Oh, I did do something constructive for those that feel the need to justify their “non-productive-to-the-state” journeys. I stopped by my doc’s office and paid some cute chick to stab me in the arm.

For the more…ur…dramatic among you…I got my annual government mind-control, big-pharma, toxic waste shot. It apparently interacts with the chem-trails and causes me to be all compliant and stuff. It also causes your offspring to be born naked.

For the more reasonable folks…yeah…got a flu shot. I don’t like the drowning in my own fluids and the gasping and wheezing and dying and all. Weeee!

I’ll see you on the road…(unless you catch the flu).

Daniel Meyer

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I posted this picture a year ago.

On the left…60″ jeans. (!)
On the right…42″ jeans (and a shirt that’s three sizes too big).

I am...diminished.

I am…diminished.

I’m only 18 pounds down from that (right picture) today. At least I haven’t gained any…and I am at my college weight.

I need to get back on it…I’ve a long way to go…so long in fact…that I’ll never reach the goal others have declared is where I have to be.

It can be discouraging.

This is…hands down…the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

A couple years ago I could not put this belt around me. Now I’ve had to punch about 15″ (1″ spacing) of holes in it to wear it.

I couldn't wear this a couple years ago.

I couldn’t wear this a couple years ago.

The “tail” now reaches all the way around to the center of my back. I am…somewhat stubbornly…refusing to cut off the extra…just as a marker to see where I’ve been.

Folks ask me what I’m doing…what plan? What diet? What drugs? What surgery?…and it’s none of that.

The easy, short answer is:
1) Never eat anything I like.
2) Be hungry ALL the time.
3) Work my ass off.

“That doesn’t sound healthy.” some will say. And they are correct.

There is NO healthy way to lose weight, particularly if you need to lose more than 10% of your highest body weight (I’ve lost 30%). Your hope is that the benefits outweigh (heh) the penalties.

Your body does not want to lose weight. It will fight you at every turn.

But as I said…that’s the simple answer…and the least of the problems.

The more complex answer is that for those prone to easy weight gain (yep, there are genetic and other factors), it’s not so much about the diet…as it is about the unrelenting, complete, and utter concentration…to the exclusion of all else…on the process and the goal. All day. Every day. No matter what else demands your attention.

Those of us that tend to really “get into” our tasks, whether those are work, family, hobbies, education, etc…have to change our focus away from those things. A moment’s distraction and you’ve undone yourself.

…and those other things in your life are jealous taskmasters. Work, family, friends, your health, life’s goals…well…they are not so forgiving of your shift of attention.

THAT…is what makes it so difficult.

I’ll see you on the road.


Daniel Meyer

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Dude all but got me on the way to work this morning. Downtown, approaching a parking lot drive…it’s a one-way street and the lot ramp enters the street from the left. A pickup is exiting the lot…stops at the street…I’m the only vehicle coming so it appeared he stopped for me…

Still…I watch…and make plans. Doesn’t really matter who’s fault something is…the Valk (and I) is going to lose in an altercation with a cage.

Mostly the plans are enough. Sometimes just barely.

DIRECTLY in front of me he pulls out. Eight feet of machine…with a hundred watts of lights on the front…a thousand pounds of muscle and steel…and to him…I’m invisible…and insignificant.

Not much room to work with…he’s pulled across both lanes…I hit the brakes hard and laid on the horns…tires screamed as I took the inside (left) track hoping/betting space would open up there because of the angles.

I managed to stop, upright, within inches of his bumper as he continued pulling out, swinging back into my lane and heading away.

Without “the plan”…and the watching…and not to put too fine a point on it…the skills…it would have been a 35mph t-bone right in the passenger door post.

Is it a bad thing that it doesn’t even raise my heart-rate anymore?

It’s a dance…led by a mad god…and one of these days I’m gonna miss a step.

I’ll see you on the road.

Daniel Meyer

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The Race…

(Stock looked a LOT like this one though)

(Stock Photo…it looked a LOT like this one though)

I pulled the big cruiser up to the light…just to the right of a Dodge Viper. Gorgeous hunk of iron…or plastic…or whatever it is. Doesn’t really matter. Nice form. Art in motion. Art sitting still for that matter.

It had a definite muscle-car growl to the exhaust and a distinct, telling lope to the engine.

The passenger window went down and I looked inside to see the driver point at The Dragon and give me a thumbs up. I returned the salute.

I’ve always wondered if I could beat one of these things. The Valk is a powerful beast…but does have it’s limits. That V-10 in the Vipers…Ooooooo…

I’ve the cast-iron, non-turbo version of that thing in Big Iron…the big Dodge pickup…and the torque it puts out all through it’s rpm band is nothing short of awe-inspiring.

The sheer GO available in the Viper’s power-plant could possibly defy description. A significant portion of those beasties are also all-wheel drive…ensuring they can effectively connect that “umph” to the ground when needed.

Almost absently I blipped the throttle on the Valkyrie. The Viper pilot did the same. I looked his way and grinned. He returned my expression and then looked pointedly at the stop-light and the road ahead.

We could see the light for the opposing traffic go yellow…indicating an imminent green for us.

We both revved our engines a bit…anticipation quickening the blood.

The light went green…

It was ON…we both…

…looked both ways and then pulled gently away from the intersection in a safe and speed-limit behaving manner.

The little Toyota cockroach car in the right lane however…that had been paying more attention to our antics than to the road ahead, took off like a bat out of hell…or rather…like only a hybrid can…yanno…a sloth out of mud…or perhaps a slug out of slime…he even managed to “chirp” the tires. Not very environmental of him…

Dude was enthusiastic though. He must have lit both squirrels. He managed to hit at least 50 by the top of the hill…as the Richardson Police officer both I and the Viper driver had clearly seen parked in a business there there trolling for speeders in this obviously marked 40 mph zone flipped on his lights and took out after the hapless racer. Maybe he didn’t like the “Bush Sucks” sticker.

As for the Viper and the Valk? Maybe we’ll never know…or maybe we already do…yanno…if I were into that sort of thing when the cops were obviously otherwise occupied.

I’ll see you on the road.

Daniel Meyer

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Of Monsters and Men

A long night run home. Always pleasant…the magic of the Texas sky, the powerful machine responding to the whims of my soul and fractional, precision inputs to the controls, the cool air, and a warm and willing woman waiting at the end of my ride. There’s not a whole lot more I need.

130 miles out…and the GPS popped a low fuel warning, a common condition on this thirsty beast, vastly exacerbated by my aggressive throttle hand. I don’t ride this machine to be particularly constrained.

One fifth of my range is beyond the reserve on the big cruiser, and I hadn’t hit that yet, so stations came and went as I enjoyed the night and made some time toward home.

I stretch the fuel for many reasons. Mileage can vary significantly depending on weather, fuel quality, and speeds, and lacking a gauge, hitting reserve is often the first clue on how much range I actually have. In most parts of the country, that still leaves enough fuel to reach a station. In this case pushing a little further would make the “distance to home” readily achievable in one stop, and more importantly, for some reason the time just didn’t seem right. Over the years I’ve learned enough not to question those feelings.

Thirty miles later the big machine went lean. I reached down and flipped it to reserve and she immediately resumed her normal beat. I passed one more station and a few miles later, pulled into a lonely pool of light on the Texas prairie.

There were a few cars about, but I noticed no obvious movement as I pulled up to a pump. As is customary for me it was on my left. I stuck my card in the slot and fueled the big cruiser. Ahhh…last stop.

Despite my love for the ride, there is some satisfaction in knowing I can make it home without further stops. The warm, curvy lover waiting for me there has more than a little impact on that.

The ride and the woman. Passions run strong through my soul. I’ve no interest in moderating that.

As I hung up the hose I noticed a flash of motion to my right and before I completely grocked what was happening, a most dangerous thing appeared out of the night and latched on to my right leg.

Yep, accosted. Grabbed around the thigh in a bear hug by a pint-sized little black-haired gal. She buried her face in my jeans and hung on with a strength that surprised me. She couldn’t have been more than three feet tall.

I dropped the bike on it’s stand, leaned into it, and raised my right leg, complete with attachment, and then scooped her off and into the crook of my right arm.

I must admit in my surprise and before I understood what had a grip on me that I had a bit of that, “GAH! GET IT OFF!” reaction happening, but sweeping her up was mostly to protect her. First, a lonely gas-station parking lot is no place for a kid this size to be running around, but more importantly, to keep her away from the scalding pipes and massive hot engine on the big cruiser. High speed runs get them hot enough to burn through jeans, and I could hear them ticking as they were just starting to cool. I shudder to think the size and severity of the burns those could inflict on a small child that stumbled into them.

She had tears on her face, but readily looked up into mine.

“What’s wrong sweetie?”
Deadpan serious, she sniffles and says, “Werewolves.”
“Ah.” I winked at her. “I’ve got ya covered.”

This was the point Frantic Mom ™ shows up. The girl’s face lights up and she leans away and reaches for Frantic Mom. I handed her off.

Frantic Mom was already scolding, “Girl! What are you doing running off like that?”
Still deadpan serious, “Mom. There were werewolves!”

Frantic Mom has a mixed range of strong emotions crossing her face. Fear. Relief. Worry. Chagrin. Wariness. Weariness. I let ’em run, offering a small smile and no explanation for the situation. None should be needed. It was werewolves after all.

Frantic Mom shortly manages a brief apology and mumbles something about the girl seeing a movie she wasn’t supposed to.

I just chuckled, “Well, werewolves ARE serious business.”

That got me a small smile, from both of them.

As they headed for their car I could hear Frantic Mom saying something about, “Stranger danger.”

Just as serious as her previous statements, the little gal says, “But Moooom! Didn’t you see? He was a biker! Monsters are scared of him!”

And they were gone…into the night. I wasn’t quite ready to follow.

I moved the bike off the pumps and grabbed a drink. Suddenly melancholy, I relaxed on a picnic table just on the edge of the pool of light. Leaning back, I stretched my legs, breathed deeply, and pondered.

A lot could have gone wrong tonight. Instead a lot went right…as it should. As I expect.

“He was a biker.”

I stared out at the night and hoped her trust would never be betrayed.

“Monsters are scared of him.”

Mostly. Sometimes.

There are monsters in the dark…I’ve met them, up close and personal.

Werewolves are the least of them.

Monsters and men. It can be hard sometimes…to tell the difference.

I’ll see you on the road.

Daniel Meyer

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