Beyond a Tank of Gas


Officially I’m not old. Let’s get this out there right now. Although what little hair I have is quite gray, I’m really not that old. So why do I ride an “old man’s” bike? Well it has so much more to do with being wiser, not older. You see when you ride a lot of miles, you quickly find out it’s not about looking cool but rather feeling comfortable.

There surely was a time when cool was important to me. In fact cool was only something a weird guy like me could hope to be at some point in my life. I know I wowed friends with my sense of humor, but at no time did I hear anyone say to me “you’re cool.” Funny yes, but never cool. But I digress.

Why is the bike I ride considered an old man’s bike anyway? Big seat, cruise control, stereo, CB radio, plenty of wind protection (to keep my flowing locks free from tangles) and storage – lots of storage. Oh, and a trailer hitch. Now I know what you’re thinking; a young man wouldn’t need these things. He would set off on a ride with little or no suspension, a flannel shirt, Chuck Taylors on his feet, and his Ray Bans acting as his windshield. Trust me, he isn’t riding far. Oh, I know he’s cool and the envy of some, but that’s only cool for a tank of gas or so. I’ve seen everything within a tank of gas from where I live. In fact you have to pass the same old scenery just to get anywhere. It’s beyond the 5 gallons of gas or so that I long for. Hell, I would rather be 5 tanks of gas away from anywhere on my motorcycle.

It’s beyond the 5 gallons of gas or so that I long for.

It takes at least a couple of fill-ups to see the unfamiliar landscape we desire and for those of us “old bastards” who like to travel on our motorcycles, we’re just getting warmed up. I’m not trying to take away anything from being young and adventurous. Living on a shoestring, willing to sacrifice your comfort for the sake of it all and to set off completely unprepared for whatever mother nature throws at you is a choice, and who am I to argue? Just because I can’t leave the house without lip balm might tell you something about me. I was young once and that’s all I’m going to say about that. With youth comes learning and with age comes learned. I’ve learned the hard way to not set off on a ride without a pair of gloves if there is any chance the temperature could drop along the way. And I’ve learned my ass needs a soft seat for any ride longer than 20 minutes.

So I don’t want to hear my motorcycle referred to as an “old man’s” bike anymore. It is more of a “dues paid” motorcycle.

A Letter to Miss Kylie


My, how you’ve grown. It seems like just yesterday you were talking to us in sign language before you could put sentences together. Now look at you, smart, beautiful and all girl! And so this year you begin school and with that your life will slowly change and evolve into whatever and wherever you are destined to be.

You sure have a way about you. All “matter-of-fact” and funny, but you are also a very beautiful, independent young lady with an opinion and feelings that surface without warning. I look at you and I hear your mother saying the same things or acting in the same way – sensitive, compassionate and carefree throughout your day.  I also look at you and see your father. Stubborn and strong without a doubt, but that’s a good thing. You have the best of both your mom and dad, but you will also bring a little of yourself to the surface that defines who you are and who you will be. A head full of hair and big beautiful eyes with a hand that fits perfectly in mine.


The one thing you don’t know about me is I can see the future. Very much like you are today, you will get through your worst days while every tomorrow gives you the chance to forget about what “has” happened and focus on what “will” happen. Nothing is so bad that you can’t get through it. Be yourself no matter what and do everything you can to make a difference in your life or someone else’s life. Some things you will have to find out for yourself and that is a part of growing up and you will never be alone even though some days it will feel that way. As you get older you’ll find that faith, family and friends are what really matter, and that a bad day at school, or the fight with a friend is temporary. And you will make friends. Lots of friends. You will find friendship in the most unlikely people, but more importantly, you will make a difference in someone’s life without even knowing it. You are that special. Like I always told your mother when she was your age, whenever there is a new student in school, always walk up and introduce yourself. If there is one thing they need at that moment, is someone to walk up and make them feel welcome. You might even make a life-long friend in the process. That also holds true no matter where you are in this life.

As you grow older, the answers to questions you have always had will be answered. Sometimes it’s not the answers you thought they would be, but realize that this is a part of life and we have all discovered it in our own way and our own  time. Don’t rush through it;  take your time to see the beauty of this world and witness all that God created. You will grow up fast enough and you will miss a few things along the way. But you will find as you get older, you will come to appreciate the wonders of this world and all the people who cross your path. It is a wonderful world and you are  just beginning your walk through it. When life gets hard to deal with, talk to your mother. She has an understanding of what things can be like when the world doesn’t turn your way. She’s had her moments, and still does, but she is funny and beautiful and only stronger because of it. Above all, keep a sense of humor.

I love spending time with you. You are very perceptive and it amazes me how quick you are with a smile and a laugh, and how much energy you have. When you are here visiting, it’s great to go for a walk to the park so I can bore you with stories of me growing up in this small town. I hope someday we can spend more time together, and we will, I know it. As you get older our conversations will change from “why” and “how come” to deeper talks about how you are doing at school and work, instead of me telling you about growing up in a small town. But I have a feeling in a few years you will again ask me how it was when I was growing up. Funny how that is.

There will come a time in your life when your daughter or son will become a living example of your childhood, and you will look back as a mother and realize how much your mom and dad love and care about you, even though sometimes it won’t seem like it. You can always come to me and tell me how you feel but I will always side with your mom and dad. I will do my best to listen, explain, hug and love you, because that is my job. I am here to give you perspective on things and life in general-all the while loving you with all my heart. You will understand when that day comes and you become a parent and grandparent.


Just like your mom and dad, there is nothing better as a parent than watching your children grow. That’s where you and Casen come in – watching both of you grow is nothing short of a gift for an old guy like me. You have a way of making everything else seem a little less important and you give me the gift of allowing me to put my life into perspective. And when there is a smile on your face it puts a smile on mine. That is the difference you have made in my life, without even knowing it. See? I told you I could predict the future!

Miss Kylie, you are an amazing young lady with your life just beginning. You will do extraordinary things along the way, but first things first. Know that I love you and I always will and I am always here for you no matter how far away it seems. You are a joy in my life that nothing can replace.