Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Viking Dave - Road Grits Cafe

I interview people that I believe others would love to learn more about. I’m a big fan of the blog Road Grits Café and one day about a month or so ago I thought to myself, you need to interview this guy! Dave’s blog is more then just a look at motorcycling, it’s about life and how he lives it. He’s made me look at the world in a very different way. Here is a look into the always intriguing world of Viking “Road Grits Café” Dave from sunny California.

So Dave give us a bio about yourself.
Legal crack dealer. (CoffeeShop Owner) As for the rest of my bio?, I don't talk too much about it because most people don't believe where, who and what I have done in the past. They can't even wrap their heads around it so I leave it alone.

When did you first discover motorcycles?
Funny enough, the obsession started with a book as a kid. “The Mouse and the Motorcycle.” I loved the idea of a mouse riding a toy motorcycle around my house. I started collecting toy motorcycles. I would even leave the toy motorcycles on the floor at night in hopes that a mouse would start riding it around. I kept a flashlight by the bed just in case so I could catch a mouse riding one of my toy bikes. That is pretty much what lit the fuse...then Evel Knievel cemented the obsession.

What was your first motorcycle?
My first real motorcycle was a Yamaha Seca 550 . My parents wouldn't let me have a motorcycle so worked my ass off trying to save up enough to buy a bike behind their backs. My Dad saw how much effort I was putting into the dream and one Saturday woke me up and said “Let's take a drive.” He drove me to the bike shop, helped me look for the bike and then co-signed, against my mother's wishes. Then he drove off and said, “See you at home.” The was the most terrifying and exhilarating ride of my life. I'll never forget it. I have been riding since that day in search of that first time thrill. I do find it every once in awhile.

What do you currently ride?
I currently ride a 08 Harley-Davidson FLHX.(her name is Tramp) I am in love with this bike, more so than any other bike I have ever owned.

How many motorcycles have you owned and what were they?
I have owned Kawasaki's, Honda's, Suzuki's, Yamaha's, Harley's...a few, but I'm not a bike pimp like Doug is from “40 on 2

How do you feel when you are riding?
What a loaded question! Frightfully aware and free. I'm not passing through the scenery, I'm a part of it. No one can catch me. No one can talk to me. No one can call me. No one can bitch at me. Time has no meaning because it's about 'right now' and that's it. At the time, I'm that dude that is doing what most men wish they could be doing. I'm actually living what I dream about when I can't ride. How many folks get to live a dream...I'm a lucky bastard because I get to do it all the time. I'm the shit! If you don't like it?...pffftttt, not my problem.

Is there a motto that you live by?
A whole bunch of them, but there are two I think about everyday; 1) “If a problem is in your control...then simply fix it. If a problem is out of your control, or can't be fixed, then leave the damned thing either case, there is no excuse for worry or stress because there is a solution. Sometimes the solution is simply to move ahead.” (think about makes sense.) 2) “Treat people as you expect to be treated.” I live by that one. I also like, “A truly wise man knows when to be a complete dumb shit.”

Do you feel you are treated differently because you choose to ride a motorcycle?
Definitely! Sometimes I'm a rock star and at other times I'm a's all in the perspective of the person who is looking at me. I get a lot of free shit, free rooms, free food, free drinks, free “stuff” just because of the naive “biker stereo-type” people have, as a result of Hollywood. It ain't my problem if people are crazy enough to believe that shit. (Yeah... all that shit happens, but it's extremely rare and it's not the norm.) On the other side of the coin, I get denied a lot, get kicked out of places, get laughed at, get insulted and undermined. None of this do I really give a whoring rat's ass about. “It is what it have a nice day.” The only person I really need to impress is me...if I can do that, then others will be impressed by default. It's that easy.

Why Harley Davidson?
Sturgis 07. Up until then I never rode long distance. A couple of hundred miles a day was what I would do all the years prior to that. I took 12 days and rode to Sturgis on a Honda VTX. I ran into problems out on the road but could never find a Honda shop that was open. Another brother, on a Harley, had mechanical problems. We found a Harley dealership on the way and he was in and out. I was impressed and decided that if I was going to do 1k days, I would need that kind of support behind me. That is the real reason. The rest of Harley's legendary reputation?...well, I'm helping write the next chapter of that's a cool gig. I want to be a part of that history somehow. I need to be a part of it.

Do you have any mentors or heroes? If so, what have they taught you?
My hero? Hands down, is my Father. You will never meet a more honest, hard working, common sense, down to earth man. I suspect I will never fill those shoes because we are different people, but that doesn't mean I have to stop trying. I'll keep trying until the eternal dirt nap. After him? Well, anyone who has a passion and pursues that dream, against all odds, is a mentor and a hero as far as I'm concerned. You, yourself, are a hero to me for simply chasing after your dream. I know countless people who deserve my admiration.

Is there someone in the motorcycle community that you would like to hang with for a
day and have never had the opportunity to before and why?

Hmmm...already met the folks that most people would like to meet, and met a lot of people most folks only dream of meeting. I have run into musicians, politicians, movie stars, outlaws...most of them while out road tramping. Right now, the people I want to meet most are people like yourself. All the blogging brothers and sisters are really the only ones I care to meet and hang out with.

Do you have a favorite rally?
No, not really. Possibly Sturgis, but the rally isn't why I like it. Why is it your favorite? The whole ride there and back is where that Rally really stands out in my mind. The adventure and hanging out on the way there and back is golden. The rally itself?...just another party.

Do you have a favorite place to ride and why?
I really dig riding around Utah, Nevada and Arizona. There is such a variety of scenery and most of the time you can see for 20 miles in any direction. It makes you feel small and the world then becomes much bigger. Wanna' find out how significant, yet insignificant, you really are? Hit the high desert, you'll find out. It really put your head someplace else...and it's a good thing.

What are your thoughts on women riding their own motorcycles?
I think it’s AWESOME! Women who ride have advanced the whole motorcycle thing to the next level. I can't stand bimbos or airheads, (contrary to what my wife thinks.) They annoy the crap out of me. I'm not exaggerating when I say this; “I have never met a woman rider (one that rides her own) that is a bimbo or an airhead...seriously. This is what is so cool about women riders. They are smart, confident and strong willed people, who love a good time and who are looking for exactly the same thing I am...whatever that is. Airheads and bimbos can't ride...they just don't have the mentality for it. If you ride you have to take care of things yourself.” I love riding even more, just for this reason. Over the past 5 years I have noticed more and more women riding their own. It has breathed new life into my passion for riding.

Is there really a motorcycle “wave” or is it just something we do to freak
non-riders out?

I'm assuming that you mean the whole “throwing the sign” thing. All that is, is an acknowledgement, that you and the other bike are taking the same risk, and share the same passion. It's just a silent respect. That's it. I have no patience for people getting their panties in a bunch because someone, on another bike, doesn't wave at them. Grow a pair...geeez.

What do you think of helmet laws?
The helmet has saved my life three times, that I know of for sure. I have hit the asphalt cheese grater many, many times. However...I still believe it should be a riders choice. I'm all about choice. Darth Vader would force everyone to wear a helmet for the greater good. If you are not about choice...then you are on the wrong side as far as I'm concerned.

Do loud pipes really save lives?
Hell yeah it does! Studies have proven it. I have experienced the saving grace of the loud pipe on countless close calls. Now you can go too loud with the pipes...that's just being an asshole. The bike community needs to understand respect for all. You give a little, and take a little. This goes for those loud pipes also.

You have a blog called Road Grits Cafe? How did it get it's name? Why did you
decide to start blogging?

Well, I just wanted to hook up with other moto-heads. I wanted to find folks that felt the same way I did about riding. It is a huge part of my life. It has saved me, literally, from myself. I wanted to find people who wanted to ride, not just bar hop or ride sixty miles to get a burger. I knew if I started blogging, that those people would find me, and they have. The most amazing, interesting and funny people I have ever met has been from the blog. I feel I have made friends for life with some of them. A few of them I would do anything for. As for the name? I just sounded good I guess. Grit, Roads, just seemed to fit what I was doing at the time.

Do you have a road name and if so how did you get it?
The funny thing is, I have never met a true biker who gave himself his road name. Mine is “Viking Dave”, or more well known as VD. I would have picked something different myself, but like I said, you don't get to pick it. I was on my way back from Sturgis when it happened. We were sitting in a parking lot of a motel, getting ripped, when the subject of ancestry came up. I told the brothers my ancestors were from Denmark. Instantly, a brother yelled out, “Viking Dave! I knew look like a damned Dane”. Then another one laughed and said, “V.D. For short.” Then the jokes started flying about how my personality was infectious, and how poor Becki has to sleep with VD...and it went on and on. Since then it has just stuck with me...and there is no antibiotic for the “VD” I contracted. I just laugh now and have learned to accept it. At least it's not “crash”, or “diesel”. (“Crash” got his name from crashing. “Diesel” got his from putting diesel in his tank. Glad I got one that wasn't a result of being stupid.)

What is the wildest thing that has happened to you on the road?
Wow...I can't think of just one. You name it, I have probably seen it or have experienced it. Seriously...nothing comes to mind. I have seen people killed, truck fires, car fires, accidents, stopped people from bleeding to death, beat downs, kicked while I was sleeping, been shot at, run out of gas in the middle of no-where, broke down in the middle of no-where, pelted with ping-pong ball sized hail, nearly swept away in a flash flood, caught in a dirt-devil (mini tornado) that almost killed me, crashed in the middle of no-where, seen a bus load of women pressing their shirtless tits against the bus windows as I rode along side. I have never been robbed and never been arrested. I'm a good boy.

Are there any lessons that you’ve learned on the road that stand out the most?
Definitely yes! “People are not what they appear to be. Don't assume, it makes you a sucker.” A couple of others are: “There are no guarantees in this life, and when it comes right down to it, you are always at peace with that and everything works out.” and “Shit is going to happen...what makes it a horrible memory, or a treasured one, is simply a case of how you deal with it at the time.”

Do you like riding with a group or are you more of a lone rider?
I love both. On shorter runs I dig the group thing. Long distance I like to do solo. I love being alone out there. It's awesome. Besides, it's hard to find someone who can ride the trail all day, doing 700 to 1000 miles a day. I can't handle whiners...they bum the trip. More riders means higher odds for mechanical failure, medical problems and the such. WillyD is the only soulrider I know of who can do long distance. That is a tough dude and I never have heard him complain out on the road. He keeps his machine in top mechanical condition so I don't worry about a breakdown. Most of all, I trust his riding skills.

What has your greatest accomplishment been?
Being a Dad. Nothing is better. I don't feel like I have been a great Dad, but both my kids know they can come talk to me about anything, anywhere at anytime. They know they will get an honest, truthful, uncensored answer from me.

Do you feel like there are divisions in the motorcycle community because of the type or brand of motorcycle you ride?
Yes, there certainly doubt. I don't have time for that bullshit and I don't have time for people who are shallow enough to subscribe to that mentality. I can ride with rat bikes, crotch rockets, M/C's, blah, blah,'s all the same. I can ride with any group and fit in...simply because I know who I am. Yeah, I tease people and they tease me back, but it's all in good humor. When it comes right down to it, if you ride on two and you treat people with respect, then you are my friend. Simple.

If you knew this was your last day on earth, what would you do?
I would call my kids and tell them to drop everything and meet me. While they are driving to me, Hmmm...I would grab my wife and have crazy, porn sex for most of the day while I was waiting. I would say goodbye to people who matter most after that. After visiting with my kids, I would head out to Big Sur and rip off the reaper by riding my bike off the Bixbie Bridge. No one is allowed to cry...but you can laugh with me, because you know I'll be laughing. I'm going someplace good no doubt. Think I'm kidding?

When you are not riding what do you enjoy doing?
Seriously, no joke, I'm thinking about riding. Thinking about what I'm going to do to make riding more fun. Where I'm going to go next. And I love to sit in the garage and dink and maintain the glide. That is the reason for the blog. I get to write down what I think about. Lately, I have been learning guitar, I dig sketching, writing stories, programming (yeah, nerdy Dave can program.)...mostly I just listen to people and drink coffee. Heh.

Do you have a favorite swear word?
I don't have a favorite cuss word. They all have a place, and a time, for appropriate usage. I don't trust people who are afraid to cuss because they feel it is improper...screw that, but I also don't trust people who constantly feel the need to use cuss words in every sentence. Both of those situations materialize a person who is trying to hide a weakness of one type or another. It also shows me a person who is really more interested in their own comfort, than the comfort of the people around them...I don't have time for that “Shit” either. If I want to make a point, I'll break one out. I treat cuss words like I do handguns. Keep them concealed until you need to fire a round off in celebration or to kill. Did that answer your question?

What are you currently reading?
Your questions here girl! Uh....”The Original Wild Ones – Tales of the Boozefighters M/C”, “Guitar Basics” and “PHP-MYSQL Programming”

What’s in your CD player?
“Black Label Society – Order of the Black” I like all sorts of music, but enjoy rock from the 60's and 70's the most. It's gotta' have soul and depth in all cases.

So WOW...I know you want to know even more, huh? I do!! Make sure you visit "Road Grits Cafe" regularly to read the clever posts by Viking Dave! Thanks so much for the interview Dave! You totally inspire me to get out and live!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Specialist Donald Nichols

I received the below e-mail tonight from Silver Eagle Harley Davidson in Waterloo, Ia. This young soldier was from the same area that I grew up in. While I did not know him I appreciate the sacrifice that he and his family have given to our country. God Bless Spc. Donnie Nichols and his family!

Per Bob Buckridge a Silver Eagle H.O.G. Member's Request we are Forwarding his Message...

Today an airplane taxied into the Waterloo airport. Its cargo was that of a hero, Spc "Donnie" Nichols.
He was one of our own.
Born in Waterloo, graduated from and worked in Waverly, lived in Shell Rock.
This soldier paid the ultimate price for us, the ultimate sacrifice... his life for our FREEDOMS.

His body was escorted by a fellow soldier, who also is his brother.
His mother and father waited his arrival. No longer will they enjoy their sons company. Also waiting was his fiancé, who will never experience the wedding she has been dreaming of.
They have all sacrificed a tremendous amount.
This family has a small request, they have asked the AMVET Riders, and other persons who ride, to HONOR this fallen soldier by riding our motorcycles in the procession, and lead the hearse that will carry his body.
Today some accomplished the first part of this mission. Saturday we are asking you, and others you invite, to ride with us and accomplish the families small request.

It will be cold, as today was, a small trivial sacrifice.
Should you accept this mission here is the plan.

Meet at AMVETS Post 49 Cedar Falls on bikes ready to leave no later than 7:30 a.m.
We will ride as a group to Waverly and meet up with other riding groups.
Here we will be briefed as to our service.
I believe we will escort the hearse containing the soldiers body to WSR High School for the funeral and then escort again to the cemetery.
If you are an AMVET Rider, please wear your vest or uniform, if you have one.
Please feel free to forward.
If you do not ride your presence at the high school or along the route with flags or just reverence will display appreciation for his service and sacrifice.

Monday, April 18, 2011

And the Winner Is...

Recycle Billy! Congratulations to Billy for winning my best beard contest! Thanks to Billy, Caveman, McGyver, and Ronman for being such great sports and entering my contest!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Journey Continues...

Last March when I picked up Sadie it was a dream finally realized. When I finally got on her to ride it was scary for me to say the least. It had been quite a few years since I had taken the Rider’s Edge course and a Sportster is much heavier then a Buell Blast. I had also ridden for so many years with Dan that I was feeling a little separation anxiety. Plus to top it all off I had this weird mind set that you beat Leukemia and now you want to ride your own motorcycle. What the heck lady?? I didn’t get very many miles in last year. I went on some short trips but Dan pretty much had to prod me to do it. By the end of the season I was seriously thinking I had made a huge mistake. I considered selling her and forever continue to be a backrest for Dan.

As the winter loomed on this year I would look at Sadie and would feel a tug at my heart. I felt anxious for spring. I was ready to give it another try. My head was back in the right place and I felt better then ever. Come on spring!!

The first chance I got I rolled Sadie out of the garage and started her up. Damn she sounded beautiful. Her pipes rumbling loud and her lights shining bright, before I knew what hit me I was strapping on my helmet and gloves and riding her around the neighborhood. It felt so wonderful. There wasn’t the same apprehension as last year. A few days later I did another trip around the neighborhood and thought to myself as I was stopped at a stop sign, this isn’t enough, I need to take a little spin further away. I rode my ritual route without Dan this year. It felt amazing, my soul had life again. I loved the feeling that I was getting. I was finally back. The new and improved super fantastic Stephanie has her renewed sense of self once again.

Today I rode out to Jester Park. It was so much fun. I can’t wait for my next ride. I hope to share more journeys with you this year. Last year I was pretty darn quiet and didn’t really say much about riding my own. Thanks to all the females out there, that I admire so much, that gave me words of encouragement.(and thanks to you gentlemen too that told me to hang in there) It helped me out a lot. I’m glad I have ME back, because I was desperately missing myself very much!

It’s finally riding season!!! Get out there and enjoy yourself. Be safe and here is hoping I meet you along my continued journey on two wheels !

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Iron Cowgirl Missy

Iron Cowgirl Missy is an amazing Windsister! This cancer survivor and survivor of a broken soul is determined to deal with whatever life throws her way. She started chasing her dreams while growing up on a farm outside of Monroe, MI. Today home is Jackson, MI where she lives with her children. My interview with Missy has only scratched the surface of this amazing woman. I hope that after you have read about her here, you take the time to visit her websites and listen to her music. What a soul this woman has. She’s an inspiration to me because even with what life threw her way she never gave up and she continues Chasing Her Dreams!

Was there something specific that drew you into the motorcycle lifestyle?
Yes, my mother making me ride on back.(laugh). Love of the freedom of the open road, and the people who also lead a biker lifestyle. So real, so down to earth.

How long have you been riding?
30 years. For my eighth birthday, my mother bought me a Honda-50.

Does your current motorcycle have a name?
"Mr. Bones" (2008 H-D Deluxe)

What is it about Bikers that you like because you seem to gravitate to playing a lot of biker events?
I am one (laugh) I am part of a true family, and proud to be accepted for who I am. I love to ride, and other bikers can relate to the songs, the stories, my music of real life situations, over coming life challenges, and the therapy of the open road.
If you have read my story, Iron Cowgirl Missy, Who is She, you'll see that after riding around the country for 15,000 miles, I ended up in Sturgis, SD., for the Annual Black Hills Rally. I found peace, surrounded by so many people who were enjoying life, having fun with strangers and not one bit judgmental of anyone.

Where is the best place in the country to ride?
Oh I don't know, our Country is so beautiful it's hard to say. My home state of Michigan is beautiful riding, especially the Upper Peninsula. The Smoky Mountains are beautiful in Tennessee, and the Black Hills of Sturgis, SD. offer a lot to see as well. So many places to ride, I can't pick a 'best' place. As long as I'm riding it's all good (smile)

What is your favorite Rally?
I enjoy Sturgis Bike Week, Black Hills Bike Rally in Sturgis, SD., for the fact that it is the largest rally in the world, and so many people and friends from all over the world attend.

What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you on the road?
Tried to out run a tornado in Chicago.

Do you feel that women are finally breaking the glass ceiling in the motorcycle world?
I have never witnessed a glass ceiling, I grew up with women riding so I just assumed that those who didn't ride, chose not to.

Do you feel like Men take you seriously when it comes to your love and passion for the motorcycle lifestyle?
Men that ride, Yes of course, because we relate to the motorcycle lifestyle because I live it.

Do you feel you are a role model for the women of the motorcycle community?
I'm just country girl who loves to ride motorcycles and play music. If you find something that you love to do, then pursue it with all your heart. I'm a good mother, I take care of my family and home, I work very hard, I believe in Karma, and I pay it forward when I can.

Do you have any advice for girls and women if they are thinking about moving to the front of the motorcycle?
Yep, go take a class, and if you have a friend that rides, maybe get some good pointers. And… "Ride On Sista" .

If you made it to the Sturgis rally last year and hung out at the Legendary Buffalo Chip you may have had the chance to hear Missy and her band Iron Cowgirl.

What role does music play in your life?
Aside from being a mother to my children, music is my life.

You are a celebrity in the motorcycle world. Were you discovered like an actress would be or did you just put yourself out there and immediately begin sharing your passion with the world?
(Laugh) Maybe not a celebrity, just a chick who loves to ride and play music. I'm chasing my dreams and there are many out there who can relate to my story and the freedom of the open road. I just put myself out there by sharing my music, which comes so deep from my soul.

When did you know you wanted to be a singer/songwriter?
When I was a teenager, I would record myself singing Kansas, Dust in the wind, and to the poems I would write. A boom box, a tape and rewind.(laugh)

Where was the first venue that you played?
The first venue I played was Waterloo Horseman's Campground as a child with a wash tub bass.---The First PAYING gig was Duffy's Tavern in Jackson, Michigan.

Did you sing your own songs at first or did you do covers or both?

Where will you be appearing in 2011?
So far we have announced three shows. May 10th in Hot Springs, Va. at WCHG 107.1 radio station for interview and performance. August 5-14th at The Legendary Buffalo Chip in Sturgis, SD., for their 30th Anniversary and the 71st Annual Black Hills Bike Rally . September 16 & 17 in Nacogdoches, Texas for The OTT Bike RALLY ("Oldest Town in Texas")

What would you describe your musical style as?
I would consider it to be Southern Rock/Rock/Lazy Blues.

What instruments do you play?
Grew up playing a wash tub bass, then moved to the guitar, and a little piano

If someone wants to listen to your music again and again do you have a CD they can purchase and where would they go to do that?
Currently, we are working on our album, which will be released very soon. For now, if someone would like to listen to our music, then they can go to our website where a music player has some of our demo songs.

Who are your musical influences and why?
Gosh, this is a tough one, because my music was influenced by a broken heart. I'd have to say, for male & female, Susan Tedeschi & Bob Seger, and so many more, gosh, I love all music.

Is there anyone in particular that you would love to jam with or maybe you have already...if so who was it?
I would love to jam with Susan Tedeschi or Bob Seger. I had the privilege of jamming with the Doobie Brothers last year in Sturgis, SD., at the Legendary Buffalo Chip and their energy is amazing.

When you are not riding, traveling to rallies and events, or promoting your music what do you like to do?
Cook, clean and do homework with the kids.(Laugh)(smile) I ride a Tennessee Walker (horse), and enjoy camping with him, seeing all my horse friends, playing around a campfire and being out in the woods on a trail somewhere. I've ridden my horse across the State of Michigan four times, and belong to the MTRA Michigan Trail Rider Association. I like to have family time, go to the movies, take care of my home, shooting trap, 4-wheeling, hunting, and the list could go on and on.(laugh)

Is there a motto that you live by?
"It is what it is" & "Life Is Good".

In 2012 Missy will be participating in Freedom Ride. Missy and Iron Cowgirl will be touring the United States, her on her bike and her band following in their bus. They are planning on playing in 38 States. Check out Freedom Ride 2012 for more details.

I have to say that Missy has inspired me to continue chasing my dreams and I hope she has added some inspiration to your life too!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Vote for Your Favorite BEARD!!!

I dig a good beard on a guy. I've been known to just walk up to a biker and let him know that I truly admire the beard he has sprouting from his face. I'd like to thank the 4 men that bravely sent in their photos to my 1st Annual, and maybe only, Best Beard Contest. The winner will receive the American Throttle Board game. May the best BEARD win! To vote, please go to the comment section of this post and let me know who you think has the best beard. Voting ends on April 16th.
Biker # 1 Big Daddy Caveman

Biker # 2 Recycle Billy

Biker #3 McGyver

Biker #4 Ronman