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 alone...in 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 it...it 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 dirtbag...it'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 is...now 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 history...it'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
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 dunno...it just sounded good I guess. Grit, Roads, Cafes...it 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 it...you 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 alone...be 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 is...no 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, blah...it'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!