The Light-Side of the Dark

Fuel management…it’s a thing…especially when your range before reserve maxes out at 140 miles or so…

My normally aggressive throttle habits and the “not conservative” speed limits found here can radically shorten that range. In a state where I can run near a 1000 miles in a straight line without hitting the border means pusholine, and my current supply and/or access to more, is a frequent concern.

Suffice it to say…I stop for gas a lot. I’m pretty sure my record inside of one day is 13 stops…but I’m not sure the last one counted as I didn’t continue on. The wolf, ya see…was a bit rude. More than a bit in fact. I’m pretty sure we made up and I bought him a pizza…but that’s another story. To be fair…I DID get out of the state on that run.

Anyway…stops for fuel…lots of them…are often the most adventurous part of my trips. A battered and grizzled lone rider, on a distinct machine, sipping a drink or checking maps in a busy crossroads station, inevitably attracts the attention of the bored, curious, adventurous, or otherwise interesting folks.

Sometimes this isn’t a good thing. Sometimes it is. Sometimes I don’t know which it was until much later. Regardless, I often learn something new…or at least learn that occasionally, my assumptions about this wide world and the people moving around in it aren’t based on anything concrete.

A gas-stop can shift your world view…if you are, in fact, actually viewing the world…rather than surrounding yourself in your interpretation of how you think it works.


Pushing hard through the pitch-black…making time…high-speed running down the I-states, pondering the sheer loneliness to be found deep in the night, when, right on cue, what had been just on the edge of my awareness began to grow into a sea of light on the horizon.

Shortly I chuckled as it resolved itself into something identifiable. The massive sign blaring T&A in bright lights…a truck stop…yep, it’s the male in me that can’t help seeing their sign and thinking, “They’re not selling what they’re advertising”, except that’s not always true. Sometimes they are.

Don’t get the reference? Do a google image search for T&A.

Don’t do this at work.

The Dragon was demanding go-juice and the price looked good so I downshifted, grabbed the binders, and took the exit at over 80mph. I needed to drain some caffeine off and probably add some more too and the popular truck stops are usually reasonably clean and well lit. It also helps me to relax for a moment on something that’s NOT moving at high-speeds simply to get my perspective back. That damn Doppler shift tends to throw the universe completely out of focus.

Ya find interesting things…when the universe is out of focus.

All the parts of the big cruiser did as I asked them to so I arrived in the lot of the massive truck stop at a reasonable pace and more or less safe and sound. I grin as I briefly reflect that Valkyrie brakes…and the good maintenance of them…is rather high on my list of “Dragon parts that MUST work ALL the time”. I expect entering the bustling T&A parking lot at 80mph and sans binders would make for a fascinating and somewhat messy spectacle.

A splash of fuel and then, as is my custom, I pulled off the pumps to a space near the side of the store. After draining off a few cc’s of spent caffeine I grabbed a drink, exited the store, and leaned on the bike, pondering what remained of tonight’s journey.

This is usually when interesting things happen. I would not be the least surprised that if the universe came to an end, it would find me leaning on my bike at a gas stop, sipping a soft-drink, grinning, and pondering just what the hell that bright light in the sky was all about.

Interesting things. It didn’t take long.

“You looking for a date?”

Surprised, I looked up at the young, attractive woman that had suddenly appeared out of the night. I am usually quite aware of my surroundings and was not conscious of letting that slip. My immediate impression was that she must move like a cat to have gotten that close undetected. My second impression was that she was no danger to me. My third contained all kinds of assumptions.

Short, tight dress. Heels. A large purse/grab bag slung over her shoulder. “The look.”

As she took a few steps closer “one hip at a time” so to speak…those curves swinging in a universal language that will grab…and hold…the attention of most healthy males, my assumptions solidified. Other things did too.

Yep. A cat. Mmmmm.

I knew, before her next words, what she was about and where she “fit”…in my world. Or I thought I did anyway.

The truckers have a term for these women. It’s not a kind one, although it sometimes applies. “Lot Lizard” is the term. Prostitute. Hooker. Other, less kind descriptions filter down in the language. I’ve never been comfortable with most of the terms. I’ve seen enough and been enough places to know the drug-addled, teen-runaway, pimped out stereotype that “Lot Lizard” would apply to is not always the norm. It certainly didn’t seem to apply to this woman.

The assumptions are still there though. The world, pushed down into nice orderly compartments for my ease and convenience.

“No, thank you.” I reply. The young, rebellious male buried deep inside me screams, “Oh come ON!” into the depths of my brain. Yeah. That darkside. It’s always there.

“No problem.” she says, but makes no move to leave, eyeing the big machine I was leaning against. “Nice bike!”

“Thanks.” A moment or two passed. She smelled good. “Can I ask you a question?”


“What do you…uh…you know…charge?” I’m sure I was blushing. The worldly biker…been everywhere, seen everything…spent near ten-thousand nights with my woman…fought my way to hell and back…biker…blushing like a school-boy.

“Depends. For you? Thirty for a hand job. Fifty for a blow. Hundred for half-and-half.”


“A blow, then a f@ck.”

“Ah.” I had been genuinely curious.

“If you’ll run me to Shreveport, I’ll do you for half.”

It was a gorgeous night. She was pretty. The darkside in me was earnestly explaining that that was a pretty good deal.

“No thanks.” For some reason I felt the need to add an excuse. “Not my direction.”


I finished my drink, mounted the cruiser, and put on my helmet. “You be safe.”

“Thank you. I will.”

On a whim I grabbed a twenty out of my jacket pocket (my emergency gas money stash) and held it out to her. My assumptions said she needed help and that would go a ways toward…I dunno…saving? Is that a good term? Perhaps. I often play the hero. A damsel in distress. I was pretty sure it wasn’t going for the next drug fix…she wasn’t the type. So yeah. Saving.

On a reflex she reached out and took the bill. “What’s that for?”

“So you can get something to eat or…I don’t know…something.”

She laughed. A lighthearted, musical thing, and handed the bill back to me.

“Honey, I’m out here working, not begging.”

I blinked. Pondered. Smiled….and stabbed the darkside of the man with some shattered assumptions (he was still explaining how Shreveport was less than a couple hundred miles and this was a good deal).

Just like that. World view adjusted.

How’s yours?

I’ll see you on the road.

Daniel Meyer

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Big Damn Heroes

“Well look at this! Seems we got here just in the nick of time! What does that make us?”
“Big damn heroes sir.”
“Ain’t we just!”

That’s a clip from a favorite series…this clip in fact:

Big damn heroes. It’s ingrained in our culture. We like to see someone rush in to save the day at the last second…there’s even a trope about it.

I’ve been the hero. Even the big damn one. Multiple times. Little stuff. Big stuff. Insignificant stuff. Life and death stuff. Fought. Bled. Bought teddy bears and ice-cream.

I’m proud of my actions in most cases…and learn from the moments when I’m not…but I’ve never felt like a hero…big or damn or otherwise.

See…everything I’ve done on that front…EVERY time I’ve had to step up…EVERY LAST TIME…has been because somebody else that should have been there…or should have been paying attention…or should have been jailed (or killed) by society long ago, or should have done their job…or duty…or simply acted human…has failed. That or some program, law, or other intervention that’s specifically for that situation…has failed.


Utterly. Completely. With a shrug of indifference and a vague hope that we might get it right the next time. The next life.

The toll is unthinkable. Without heroes it would be worse.

I’ve never been a hero. I’ve simply been at the right place. The right time. And I’ve stepped up. Other folks have too. Sometimes I’ve succeeded.

The failures give me nightmares.

So I wonder…deep in the dangerous night…about those that nobody was there for…the wrong place. The wrong day. The wrong second. I’ve seen…smelled…tasted…the aftermath…knowing that somebody…anybody…stepping up at the right time would have changed things.

Big Damn Heroes. Thousands more wouldn’t fill the void…

But it’s not more heroes we need. What we need is less opportunity to create them.

I’ll see you on the road.

Daniel Meyer

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Casual things…or the end of the world.

eye22Dateline yesterday…I’m melting in the afternoon heat at the Old Vic…tinkering on various not-too-strenuous stuff…the wife has incomprehensible *wifely* things to attend to at the Suburban Blah House so we’ve divided our forces…miles…and hours…and a world apart.

And in her world…some dude rings the doorbell…

It takes the wife a bit to get to it but when she does, dude is walking away…turns and says something to her she didn’t understand, and left around the side of the house (there is a utility easement between us and the neighbors and it’s not unusual for folks to cut through there). She shrugs, and closes/locks the door.

Within a minute or so, wife hears the front storm door (which was locked the entire time) get jerked open and the dude tries to kick the front entry door in.

Score one for steel entry doors and reinforced hinges/deadbolt holes. Casual things…I never expected to need.

The assault on the door stops. Wife had headed for what would be a last-ditch, fall-back position. Then she hears crashing noises from the back/driveway side of the house. She pushes the panic button on her car-keys and sets the car-alarm off. In horror movie fashion, her phone is in another room.

More smashing from the rear pf the house and she took off out the front door, across the street, to the neighbor’s house (one we know well).

Alarms and cops and dogs and forensic teams and searches ensued. Guy was gone. At least there was no screaming and no blood.


Noise from the back of the house was him smashing in the back gate. He also attempted entry through the sliding glass door…he got it off the track but the security bar kept the door from coming out/open. Those casual things again. The wife had made it out by then.


A “smash and grab” would have stopped when he discovered somebody was home…so we’re left with either, an opportunistic home invasion that includes a bonus attack on the wife…or some pissed off, drunk dude trying to get in the wrong house…we hope beyond hope it was the second. It is much less complicated…and not nearly as malevolent. It’s also much less likely to result in the destruction of the world…but that would be another tale.

Wife is a cool cookie…cops got a great description…she did the right thing scooting out when she had the chance…ventilating the dude full of whatever of several calibers could come to hand was not her first choice unless cornered…ladies often are more sensitive about these things…this can operate to their detriment at times but they are what they are…and the world is often better for it.

Note that I hold no such reservations. I am what I am as well.

It worked out okay…I’m unclear on exactly what I would do if somebody did something to Her…*ending* fucking civilization is not out of the question here…and probably just step #1…

Geronimo the big orange cat was not happy…especially about the police dog pronouncing the house an “all clear except this cat under the bed”. It took half the night to get him to come out.

Y’all be safe…and hug ’em if ya got ’em…

…and clean and oil those other things…

I’ll see you on the road.

Daniel Meyer

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Da Altima…

Y’all might recall we had some serious storm damage back in March (here) that damaged well…pretty much everything we own.

The wife’s ride…Da Altima…was one of the things…every panel on the car was damaged by hail. The only reason it wasn’t totaled is that it’s only a year old.

So, after nearly 8 weeks in the shop and 10 grand in repairs, we got Da Altima back Friday. What follows are some pictures of the very extensive process.


Da Altima Hood

Da Altima Hood

Da Altima's Roof

Da Altima’s Roof

The process:

Take it a little bit apart...

Take it a little bit apart…

...and a little more apart.

…and a little more apart.

Going topless!

Going topless!

In primer

In primer

Lots of conventional...

Lots of conventional…

They did a combination of PDR and conventional body work.

They did a combination of PDR and conventional body work.

...and a little more apart...

…and a little more apart…

Got doors?

Got doors?

...and finally...some paint and assembly

…and finally…some paint and assembly

Getting closer...

Getting closer…

...and done!

…and done!

It looks fantastic!

It looks fantastic!

The paint looks fantastic…everything appears to be fixed. Comes with a lifetime warranty so we should be good to go!

Woot! That’s the first thing fixed!

For those keeping score:
Da Altima: $10,000 in damages. 8 weeks in the shop. Fixed.
Big Iron: Totaled, but not insured for that so I’ll just keep driving it.
Little Rivet: Totaled, but not insured for that so I’ll just keep driving it.
Suburban Blah House: Totaled roof, gutters, south siding, garage door, and two windows. Repairs not started.
Old Vic: Totaled roof and three windows. Repairs not started yet.
Cupola Art: Destroyed roof and most of the windows. Repairs not started yet.

We have hopes roofage will begin soon, particularly to Cupola Art (the others aren’t leaking). More as it develops!

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The way is shut…

This is my very favorite picture of my nephew, Tyler.

Best selfie ever...

Best selfie ever…

His was a sensitive soul that endured a lot of setbacks and tragedy in this world.

Unfortunately his quest for peace and wearying battle with his demons led him to take his own life yesterday, leaving many of us behind wondering just what else we could have done to help.

It’s a haunting question…and one I know from experience…has no answer.

We can only hope and pray he found the peace he was seeking.

Rest well Tyler.

Daniel Meyer

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Exercising the Id

Savage, primal joy flows. Adrenaline pumps. Subtle inputs to the precision motorcycle generate decidedly unsubtle results. A thousand pounds of man and machine…bone, muscle, blood, and steel, negotiate the utter treachery that is the high-speed commute through this city.

My very life in my hands. My existence riding solely on my strength, skills, and perceptions.

It’s a heady feeling…that.

Eastbound to southbound over the 150-foot high steeply graded sweeping transitions, the speed climbs and the heart races.

Down, down, down…into the valley we fly…the cages around us simply fast moving and somewhat malevolent obstacles.

I’m not going to claim I didn’t howl.


It’s a need denied in polite society…exercising the id…tapping the instinct and the skill. We’re supposed to be neutered automatons.

No passion in work. No passion in our relationships. No fight. No joy. No way to die.

And no way to live.

A human being doesn’t work that way. Denying us the passion…removing all vestiges of the fight…doesn’t make us more civilized…it makes us less human.

And that’s a very dangerous thing.

I’ll see you on the road.

Daniel Meyer

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I am.


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On experience…and cutting lines…

I happened to find myself at the 24-hour drug store recently to pick up a particular product for the wife.

Doesn’t happen often in our household…those surprise midnight runs…as we both do the shopping and I know her brands. I’ve been keeping some version of pads in stock in my household ever since I had a household…yes…even before I was married. See, ya never know when a visitor may need one AND…honestly…they make fantastic bandages for those somewhat frequent “larger than they should be” injuries I’ve sustained over the years. I can usually find at least one in my motorcycle bag.

I realize that the societal norms dictate that I’m supposed to be all embarrassed and stuff about this…but that’s a myth perpetuated by women that just plain dislike men…or have never known anything more than boys. It normally bears no more thought than buying toilet paper or hand soap.

Anyway…midnight run…a box in the cabinet that appeared full fooled us both. Off to the drug store. Not normally a remarkable event.

What I found funny and remarkable this time was just how many of us men were making that particular run on that particular night…there were at least 6 of us on the aisle and a several more at the checkout with various versions of the products.

I got a chuckle out of that…every customer in the store was male…and buying some version or other of a “feminine protection” product.

One dude was in nothing but his boxers.

As a note…my childish ways DO manifest as I can’t ponder the words “feminine protection” without at least thinking…but usually saying out loud…”Chartreuse flamethrower!”…well…because this:

Ahh my corrupted youth.


One lone woman was running the register so there was quite a line forming up as I approached.

I didn’t have to wait though. See all the men in the line were obviously less experienced than me…AND…that experience had caused me to pause in an additional aisle on my way up to the register.

“Dudes…” I said and as they turned I held up a fist full of premium large Dark Chocolate candy bars and waggled it.

“Shit, that’s genius!” says the guy directly in front of me as he departs the line and heads for the candy aisle.

“Good idea!” says the next…

And all of ’em…every single one…nodding or mumbling something or other…left the line and headed for the candy aisle.

Essential product

Essential product

Beaming, I handed my selections to the gal at the register and told her, “You’re missing a hell of an up-sell opportunity! You should have a box of this stuff,” I indicated the chocolate, “right here.”

She smiled and reached down and pulled out an empty…”Second one tonight.”

Bag of pads: ~$7.00
Fist-full of chocolate: ~$12.00
Skipping the line: Priceless.

I’ll see you on the road.

Daniel Meyer

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We’re just riders…

On the news this morning…
1) Couple killed on a bike when SUV ran red light. No charges filed.
2) More indictments of bikers in Waco massacre (for those of you not familiar, couple of bikers get in fight, police open up on crowd with assault rifles, killed a bunch, delayed medical care, won’t release the “who killed who”, and local law enforcement in a stacked grand-jury is in the process of indicting anybody there with a club sticker or patch or vest on “organized crime”)
3) Dump truck driver that left-turned in front of and ran over biker no-billed.
4) Fort Worth cop sprays pepper spray into group of bikers passing his pulled over car. (being blinded on a motorcycle is a death sentence, he may as well have opened up with a shotgun…also for us asthmatic types…had I been riding by and I didn’t happen to have a particular drug on me at that moment…well…I’d get to die.)

These stories all in the same newscast (some are followups).

This is…btw…a pronounced trend.

The heart-breaker? As I’m getting on the bike to ride to work…the wife wanders out to the garage and hugs me tight.

Forehead to my chest and with a waver in her voice she asks me, “Why isn’t it illegal to kill riders?”

The raw truth of it is the world at large seems to think we’re asking for it…that we deserve it. Law enforcement seems to agree with them.

“We’re just riders babe.”

“Not to me you’re not.”

I have no answer for that.

Y’all be safe out there.

I’ll see you on the road.


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Never gonna stop…

Sleep wouldn’t come. The Dragon called. I tweaked the wife on the butt, rolled out of bed, and quietly dressed.

It was time to ride.

Something’s at the edge of your mind
You don’t know what it is…

Weaving through the fringes of DFW in the chilly night air, I grin wickedly as the opening in the traffic finally comes. I slam The Dragon down a couple gears and twist the throttle to the stop. The machine roars. I push a lane change hard, with just the bare hint of a rear drift. Right to the edge.

Bone. Blood. Steel. I don’t just ride this machine. I become The Dragon.

Something you were hoping to find
But you’re not sure what it is…

Gawd I love this beast!

Then you hear the music
And it all comes crystal clear…

Suddenly I was free of the city and racing into the full moon. It seemed I could breathe again.

The music does the talking
Says the things you want to hear…

I’m not gonna swear that I didn’t howl.

You’re thinking it over
But you just can’t sort it out…

The disasters of the last few days weigh heavily on my mind. I am a doer. A man of action. A builder…and I’m doing all that even while the hits keep coming and I’m looking at the pile of work and wondering where do I even start?

Years of work undone in a couple storms. I find I’m also wondering why I even bother…and that disturbs me.

Do you want someone to tell you
What they think it’s all about…

In short…with the exception of the aged and battle scarred machine I’m astride, every property asset we own has been seriously damaged in the last seven days.

Here, here, and here, if you haven’t seen the pics and details.

Tens of thousands in damage…and we’re not insured for nearly enough of it.

This time I did howl. Frustration and rage. It’s all I had…It’s all I WAS…and it had to go.

Are you the one and only
Who’s sad and lonely…

I am…in short…completely overwhelmed and utterly discouraged. I dream big and reach far. Perhaps too far. Perhaps beyond my grasp. It’s the only way to achieve great things.

But this has been a hard hit. Dreams on hold at the least. Possibly I need to kill them.

You’re reaching for the top…

Killing them would probably be the wise thing. The safe thing.

But that’s not me.

Well, the music keeps you going…

It never has been.

And it’s never gonna stop…

And I doubt it every will be.

It’s never gonna stop…

Time to think. Time to process. Time to understand. Time to live. THAT’S what riding does for me.

Triumph was long gone off my music player and I’d stopped measuring distance in miles…rather I’d switched to “tanks of fuel”.

The sun had been up for a couple hours and I was nearing the end of tank #3 when with perfect timing the music changed.

Working hard to get my fill…
Everybody wants a thrill…

My route had led me back to the city.

Payin’ anything to roll the dice
Just one more time…

I approached the exit to my job, chopped the throttle, and headed downtown.

Some will win, some will lose
Some were born to sing the blues…

What do you do when it seems there’s nothing to be done?

Simple. You figure out what you have, pick up whatever that is, and get to work.

Oh, the movie never ends…

…and you keep right on working.

The wife and I are still breathing, we’re together, and for the moment at least…the rubber-side is on the road.

Loose plans jelled. Ideas flowed. My hands twitched with the urge to get to work.

It goes on and on, and on, and on…

Yeah. We’ve got this.

Don’t stop believin’
Hold on to the feelin’…

I’m here. Bring it on.

Besides…and it really is this simple…I just don’t know how to quit.

Oh yeah. We’ve got this.

I’ll see you on the road.


Daniel Meyer

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