Darin Moore. RIP.
I'm a writer. I express myself much more coherently writing vs. talking. I thought I'd take a minute and tell y'all about SLO-KLR and what he meant to me.
I rode for a long time before I started riding with other people. Sometimes with my friend Max, but I liked to ride alone. I had a succession of bikes, ending with my 73 CB450. Then I started commuting over the GG bridge. Man, talk about wind. I decided I needed a dependable modern bike. I asked my friend what bike he would get if he wanted a dependable bike that would not break down and be easy to work on. He suggested an XR or a KLR. I was ONLY a street rider, so I got an 08 KLR and put street tires on it (Gripsters).
I had never belonged to a forum before - a safety forum I guess, but that was weird and I got kicked off. I didn't know what one was, really...a family. Then I found this place. One of the first people to reach out to me was Darin. I wanted to do the 22 cent mod and open my airbox and a few other things. At this point, I was NOT comfortable with a wrench. Darin invited me down to SLO on a Saturday. My wife was convinced someone was luring me to murder me, but I left San Francisco early and headed down. I was a little late and got CRAZY lost. I probably rolled in around 10:30 or 11. I shook Darin's hand and introduced myself to his wife. I was a reading specialist at the time and got talking to the kids and before I knew it and had pounded a few glasses of water, Darin had the bike in PIECES.
Now, Mark B4 has helped me learn to be a decent mechanic more than anyone else. He knows it does not come naturally to me. He taught me to use an egg carton to track what came off. Easy. Put it back on in the reverse order. Darin's strategy was a bit different. Shit was everywhere. We had a new baby and I HAD to make it home that night. I could barely breathe.
So, Darin is doing all kinds of stuff to my bike and I'm trying to keep up and be somewhat useful and learn. It was hot. By the time we got everything done, it was pretty late. No time for a ride. I geared up and made it home close to midnight, exhausted. The next day I thought, 'Wow, that dude just gave up his WHOLE saturday to bust his knuckles on someone ELSE'S bike and was cool the whole time." I had recently come across a few vintage Kawasaki Prism Patches. I sent one to Darin as a thank you.
Then I went to some tech days and got to know Mark and Tim pretty well. They both helped me a lot. I sent them patches. Now, we have Tom and Dave and Dan and Michael and Kevin. Everyone got a patch and I kind of considered it a joke when I suggested we all sport them and start the PPMC - Prism Patch MC. Mark, god bless him, was wise enough to see that it was NOT a joke. And now it is something we're pretty damn serious about.
We really only have three rules. If you don't have your club knife, you buy the beer. If something happens to one of us, the rest are Uncles for life if they have kids. And if there is a motorcycle stopped ANYWHERE, you stop and help. This was the big thing. The PPMC started because of one very unselfish man named Darin Moore. Then Mark, another unselfish man. Tim declined, but we were building and we became a group that all realized something: the great thing about KLR riders is they are mostly super generous guys.
We ride well together and have epic trips. I'm always five minutes late and Mark is always ready to go five minutes early. Dave snores like a goddamn bear. We bicker. We hug. We laugh. We're a family. I love all these guys. I started the club and am the President which is something I have taken increasingly seriously as years passed. I think everyone has come to realize that we have something pretty amazing going. If you get into the PPMC, it is because you are, first and foremost, a decent, kind and loving person. And you have to be able to ride.
I ride pretty much anywhere. And that is thanks to Darin, too. The first real off road riding I did was at his place. Mark, Tom and I went down there and Darin took us on the most gnarly singletrack you can imagine. Boulder, sand, water, gravel, repeat. Bam, bam, bam. I used to ride a mountain bike and somehow kept it together. So, we eventually make it through and everyone is a little wide eyed except Darin who is laughing his ass off. I'm shaking. He didn't say it, but the rest of the day (which I would have spent terrified) seemed pretty easy after that. Until he took us through soft sand on the way home for fun. Mark had biffed, but rode all day with a tweaked shoulder. He made it through. Tom made it most of the way. I made it up to my swingarm in the sand and we worked to get me out. That was Darin's perfect day. Riding wise. He attacked a hill no one else even contemplated just because. Came down with a smile on his face.
Back at home, the cold beers came out. The family came out. We talked and laughed. I was so amazed I hadn't crashed. I was still on my Gripsters and we were riding gravel, dirt, water, mud. When I get in a tight spot now, I still think back to that and Darin's subtle lesson. Don't overthink it, you and the bike know what to do.
Darin worked with kids in a much different way than I, but we bonded on that immediately. And he loved his family. It was obvious from that first day. He loved his family and he loved bikes and guns (he was also an incredibly skilled shot, judging by the trophies he never drew attention to, and the amazing pieces he let us see).
The PPMC means a lot to me and it never would have happened without Darin. In a way, our ethos, the purpose for the whole enterprise, is Darin's. Help out your fellow rider and ride man. And enjoy it. And that's what we did. That's what we do.
I missed the last trip with Darin. I was crazy sick and getting CT scans and blood work. Bedridden with vertigo. If I had known, I would have gone on the ride regardless. But I will forever treasure the pics of the guys holding a picture of my head on a stick. They wanted me along as much as I wanted to be there. That is the PPMC.
When we ride with other riders, they think we're crazy. If we see a bike stopped across the freeway, we pull over. If we're late, we pull over. We explain, and they look at us weird. I could tell them this whole story and they would understand, but we usually just say, that's what we do. A rider, any rider on any kind of bike, gets a stop and check. Sometimes we say hi and ride away. Sometimes we ride and encounter the same people for hours. Sometimes we share some water or a cliff bar or a little advice. But if necessary, the jackets WILL come off, the tools will come out, and we will do everything we can. That's how we roll. And it all started with Darin.
I'm not a religious guy. I'm agnostic about most things. I don't think there is a plan. Wish I did. I don't know why Darin had to leave us. I DO know that he will live on in all of our hearts and on every ride we take. I ordered memorial patches for everyone last night. And we WILL ride for Darin from now on. All our bikes are stickered. PPMC. It means something. The sticker is right between my legs on the tank and I look down and remember that I am not riding just for me. What I do reflects on my brothers. I ride for the PPMC. And now I will ride for everyone, including Darin who can't do it anymore.
I loved Darin. He was a quiet, talented, knowledgable, humble and giving man. He even tried to give Mark a zip log bag for his muffin before our singletrack adventure. Mark's gun still smells like blueberries.
I will talk with my brothers. But for everyone else. I know it must be weird. You knew Darin as a smart guy who knew a shitload about KLRs and could ride. And that was a big part of him. But he was a quality human being. And he started something that will continue on without him in his honor.
I won't be at the funeral. I was on the fence, but it turns out I couldn't go anyway. We'll be on our way to Karen's cousin's wedding and she's pregnant and I need to be with her and our daughter. And I know Darin would support that.
A good member of this forum and a good friend sent me an email that prompted this post. It was about grief. Everyone grieves and remembers in their own capacity according to their own beliefs. That's fine. For a lot of you, 'SLO-KLR' was just a guy who wrote short helpful answers on this site and occasionally thought the rest of us were off our rockers.
He was more than that. He was a good man. One of the best. The club won't be the same without him. My life won't be the same without him. I look forward to getting to know his family better in a few months, and it is my hope that I'll be there for graduations and special club trips. Darin knew that we would be there for his family. And we will.
That's about all I have to say. I have lost a lot of friends over the years. Some by their own hand. Some to drugs. This was the first one I lost to a MC.
He died doing something he loved. I never liked that cliche. But when I was a freshman in college, the quarterback of my HS team died in a game. His senior year. He was a big Samoan kid. Nice. I played line. Before every game his huge dad would get all the lineman together and say 'you guys look after Adrian - protect him...'. We did. He always wanted to play running back, but he could throw a ball 60 yards. Last game Senior year he asked to play running back. First play he took a sweep and a weird hit and died on the field.
My friend Dan (his senior year too...he played tackle, me - pulling guard) called me in tears. I couldn't believe it. He was such a nice guy. And I kept hearing his Dad. Protect my son. It was illogical, there was nothing I could have done, but I still felt like I let him down. I was across the country, but I came back the next year and saw a game. His Dad was there. I worked up all my courage and went over to talk to his Dad. Knowing I had let him down. The big man hugged me and clapped me on the back. I told him how sorry I was about his son. He laughed and then smiled and looked off into the distance a little. He said, "Adrian died doing what he loved more than anything. That is the way to die. That is what we believe. I miss him, but I am glad he died playing football." And he was serious.
Darin. I wish I thought you were up there watching me type this. Maybe you are. Like I said, I have no idea. Whether you are or not, we will always miss you, brother. And we will be heading down to Paso Robles. And we will ride and think of you. Somehow, we need to get a cardboard cutout of your face. I think it is time to add a new rule to the club charter. You will ride, every ride, with us.
Soon, we ride.
"In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV." R. Pirsig
Soon, we ride.
AKA JD Mader or you can call me "Dan" just not early for dinner.
Click my handle for a link to my homepage/blog...which has nothing to do with MCs. Free literature and music! Viva La Revolucion!
2008 KLR 650
RIP DM - Soon, we ride.