I don’t intend to spend time in Sturgis until the last few days of the trip but I couldn’t be this close and not check it out early. I have been to Sturgis only once when it wasn’t bike week and it didn’t look the same, in fact I was sure it wasn’t the same place. It looked like a sleepy ranching and farm town and driving a car down main street seemed wrong! During the rally, main street is motorcycle only and there is barely enough room to walk. The rally officially starts this coming Saturday and this is only Thursday so I decided to check it out.
There were a lot of vendors set up already and more setting up, actually quite a few people already but nothing like next week and it will be interesting to compare this same picture shot next week. I believe they officially block off main street Friday night to start the rally. While I was there I took the following Picture of this Old Indian Chief Motorcycle (this one is for you Chief!) The owner was trying to kick start it but the old scooter wasn’t cooperating. I commented that on my old Panhead kick only bike, the number of kicks to start was usually the same as the number of people watching so I would go in the store and not watch. He said, “I have owned this bike long enough to know when its time to just walk away for awhile” and he went in the store with me. When I came back out he was riding out of the parking lot.
It is the 69th annual rally this year at Sturgis and that makes for some interesting artwork on the shirts this year, use your imagination. I rode around Sturgis for a bit only because I could and stopped to get gas. There I met a guy with a two dogs riding on his bike and I am a sucker for dogs, especially the floppy eared kind so I started talking dog talk to them and petting them. The old codger who owned them was struggling trying to get his credit card to work because he was having a hard time seeing the screen, after preventing him from putting diesel in his bike I decided he was having a hard time seeing anything. I asked where he was going? ” Hey, me and my buddies are sleeping in some guys lawn on main street, its just a couple of blocks, wanna go, hey you can stay there, the dogs are pissed at me, hey I didn’t know it was so far down the canyon, hey come over to our yard” It was damn early in the day, but appears the Sturgis party has already started for a few. I told the dogs “It’s okay, he isn’t lost, his map is just broke that’s all” I think the dogs understood and wanted to go with me, but I secretly followed him to where he was going to make sure he made it okay.
I left Sturgis headed east and couldn’t resist stopping at the rest stop between Sturgis and Rapid City. I was walking the stairs up to the welcome center when I turned around and saw this couple and their high dollar chopper.
Shortly after that, Â this couple pulled up and I couldn’t resist taking a picture of both. You have your new style bikers with trailers fancy clothes, neat but not practical high dollar chopper and the old style bikers who look like them and their bike just rode through hell.
I then got a lesson from the lady at the travel center. “Where you going do you need a packet on the black hills?” I said I would take a packet, but asked if she had anything on Pierre? She said, “Honey, Pierre is in room 20 and would love to see you but if you mean Pierre, (only she pronouced it peer) Â here you go.” I said so is that how you say it, I just got a lesson in South Dakota history didn’t I? She laughed and said, I know its French and should be pronounced like you said it but up here we call it Peer and lets don’t even get into how we pronounce Bell Fourche. She was great travel host and such a great sense of humor. I found this next picture humorous as I was leaving the travel center.
On to the BADLANDS! Not much to say about the badlands except for they are appropriately named. Here is what it looks like entering.
There were actually people camping there and I had to ask myself why? I suppose if you like snakes and fossils it is a great place or maybe if you are a landscape artist but all I could think about is “No wonder Russell Means is so pissed off!”
On to one of my favorite places when I go to Sturgis. If you go to Sturgis and need a day trip and some open road, go to Wall South Dakota and Wall Drug! If you can think of it they probably have it at Wall Drug. I had watched poker on TV last night and thought my skills were good enough so I made a date for a poker game behind Wall Drug.
Luckily I got out of there with most of my money and my life, but I did get the girl!
Bought a few souvenirs and made my way back to the highway with a smile on my face, I think Wall Drug will make you feel like a kid again and I had a smile on my face as I left.
On the way out I couldn’t resist a picture of this. As side note, there are a lot of motorcycles pulling trailers this year. I am guessing they don’t know how to pack using rubber bands and old clothes?
I will end today with the following bit of humor
Gotta roll, it is a long way to the river!
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