I first became aware of Gary a number of years ago when, to my surprise, he lifted some photos of my Beloved Blue Oil Burner from my Facebook page and reposted them to the BMW MOA Group. It turns out he also had had a blue K' bike. I was a bit taken a back at first but I figured it didn't hurt anything. Over the years, he would do this a number of times.
It didn't take long for me to realize he had a big footprint in the BMW world and knew well many of the motorcycle people I had met in passing. I found myself thinking, "He's someone I should meet one of these days."
At some point, I became aware that he was following my writing here. From time to time, he would tag me in posts or bring me into conversations or reference some article or photo of mine.
Gary struck me as a colorful strong character who was very different from myself. It would be challenging to find two more divergent people, or at least that's the impression he left me with. He would post a stream of seemingly inappropriate content intermixed with some truly profound insights and beatiful photography.
For example, on November 10th he posted:
"No siren did ever so charm the ear of the listener as the listening ear has charmed the soul of the siren."
Oftentimes, he would prefix his posts with "Lord Moto:" as in "Lord Moto says." I got the impression he was liked by many.
On rare occasions, we would have brief chats on Facebook. "We need to get together and ride sometime."
As Duncan can attest, I had every intention to.
Over the years, there were many opportunities.
Every time that Duncan and I would ride deep into Pennsylvania not far from Williamsport where Gary lived I would comment, "We really need to go riding with him one of these days."
There was the time, coming back from one of my excusions North of the Wall to spend time with my favorite Canadians, that I was stuck in traffic in Williamsport when I saw Gary, who I instantly recognized, on his Helix. I tried to get his attention but he sped off before I could. When I got home I messaged him saying,
"Yea, I'll come up again soon and we can go ride."
There was the time he mailed me a number of paper maps of areas we could go explore. I still have them here next to my desk.
It seemed like our paths would often cross online, no matter where I went.
Last year or so, there was the big kerfuffle in the BMW MOA group that motivated him to create his own private group on Facebook. To say that "political correctness" was not Lord Moto approved would be an understatement. Before I knew it, he slammed me into his group. Among the 193 other members, there were many names I recognized.
Not too long ago, the conversation started there about moving "off-Facebook". He was getting tired of Facebook. After some soul searching and conversations with Duncan, I offered to host his group privately here on Miles By Motorcycle. He explored some other options then decided to give it a try. I created a private group for him and made him an admin. As a test, he invited about 29 people over to kick the tires. Among the people he invited were some truly notable names that I had heard about for years. Much to my chagrin, because the programmer I use needs to be taken out back and shot repeatedly, there were many more problems than I had anticipated. I (ahem, I mean that worthless programmer) worked like a fiend to fix them. Gary took it all in stride and explored every feature I had built always being constructive at every step. He asked about the map and route archive. He started posting like mad, like he did everywhere, and got some others involved.
"I'm going to move the entire group over beginning in 2018." he told me.
Whew. That meant I had some time to fix things and add the some new features that would make things easier for them. I could easily get everything solid by then.
As one of this test posts in his group on MBYMC, he posted about the 2018 BMW RA Rally happening in Wellsboro, PA.
"Ok, this time I'll ride up. I'll see you at the rally if not before." I told him over messenger.
I confinued working like mad fixing bugs and adding some features. To help him with his archive of GPX files, I started writing the long overdue article that months ago I had promised Mike Austin about how to use the mapping system here.
He would report new bugs and in the same breath mention people in the motorcycling world he thought I should get to know.
"You interested in riding Japan? I know people in Japan and Mexico almost a free trip" he asked in early November.
As is the case so often with software projects, things happen on other people's schedules. I was working like mad thinking I had time when Gary on a Friday not too long ago said,
"I'm moving everyone over on Monday."
"What happened to 2018?!?" I thought but I knew I had to roll with it.
He had posted a few things in the group. I still had work to do so I worked late into the night trying to make sure as much was ready for the next day.
On Monday, there was no sound. There were no messages. Gary was no where to be found.
"Had I done something wrong?" I thought. It wouldn't have been the first time that someone's had a change of heart at the last moment or found a better arrangement. The hours ticked by and still I heard nothing.
This was supposed to be a ride report. This was supposed to be an article about how we launched his group. It was supposed to be about how I did a cold weather ride up to Williamsport on my oil burner to meet him person. It was supposed to be about chance encounters with interesting souls that one would never have had the chance to meet if it hadn't been for the motorcycle. It was supposed to be about how the motorcycle brings together radically different people from ridiculously divergent backgrounds, perspectives, personalities, and beliefs. It was supposed to about how, once the helmets are on, it all doesn't matter because we're all just motorcyclists.
But, sadly, this is not that article.
This is an article about how someday never comes.
Late in evening on that quiet Monday there was a post in Gary's facebook group by Gary's friend Jim Davis:
"Folks, it's with a heavy heart that I inform you that our fearless leader has had a stroke. I'm afraid it's bad, very bad. Gary Weaver was my soulmate and best friend for the last 20 years. Gary lived a great life til the end and slid into home with his body nearly completely worn out. RIP my buddy."
A few days later:
"Gary was brain dead from complications arising from a blod clot. He was an organ donor so they kept him on life support for a while. "
Lord Moto was dead.
I never got to meet him. It's strange how the passing of a man who I have never met would hit me as hard as it did. The wind was taken out of my sails and I've been walking around in a daze finding it very difficult to get any work done since. I suspect this is bringing back demons from a time when I was confronted with a sudden surprise loss that I have never recovered from.
I hadn't realized how much I had grown to enjoy Gary's posts and commentary. There was a gruff and unrefined kindness to the man; a generosity, a helpful, supportive, encouraging spirit.
Some days ago, now too many since it's taken me quite some time to muster up the presence to write, a mutual online friend who I have also never met in person, Mike Austin, put me in touch with Gary's daughter Elizabeth. Further reminding me of the horrors that took place for me in 2008, adding insult to deep injury the aftershocks of Gary's passing are taking their toll on his surviving family. Gary had an 80/20 insurance plan and his wife has been left with more debt than she can handle.
Elizabeth reached out to me on Messenger:
"Hello I am Gary Weaver’s oldest daughter. Mike Austin had recently reached out to me about getting my dads info for donations to help defray medical/ funeral expenses. I have access to his PayPal account so contributions can be made to that either by his email
I don’t know how well you knew my dad but he has made such a impact on so many peoples lives. It is truly amazing how a love of motorcycles created this very kind and supportive community.
Thank you for your help in this matter."
Help defray medical and funeral costs for the Weaver family.
I contributed $100.00usd and confirmed with her that she got it.
While I never met him in person, Gary was kind to me and I deeply value kindness in whatever form I find it. I feel for his family and know all too well what it is like to be them. I remember it like a moment frozen in time.
There is so much need in this world. There is so much pain and loss.
If you knew Gary and haven't done so, maybe you'd consider doing a small thing to help his family.