Sturgis the good the bad and the ugly
This 2009 trip to Sturgis is my tenth year in a row so I think I qualify to write about it. I have spent 1 day there and I have spent 6 days there during Rally week. The first year was the 1 day trip. I really didn’t know what I was getting into and wasn’t prepared for the madness. I headed directly for Sturgis and before I knew it, there I was on Main Street with 1000 other bikers going 1 mph down main street, too much to look at, screaming people, loud, wild and my clutch hand was about to fall off and I thought my Harley was going to melt down. It took me an hour to go two blocks and I was rather intimidated. Somehow I managed to find a side street which was only a little bit better, then I eventually came across the interstate on- ramp and ended up in Wendover Nevada at the Salt Flats for Bonneville Speed Week.
The second year I had decided I wasn’t going back, too crazy for me and I already could say I had been there before. I live close to an interstate highway that just happens to be a main route to Sturgis. I hear the noise from my house and on Sunday morning I drive down with my coffee and watch groups of bikes go by on their way to Sturgis. Monday; I have so much work to do this week, can’t get away, that evening I go back to my spot and watch the bikes go by late into the night. Tuesday; you know I am starting to get caught up at work, you know maybe I could just go for a day on Friday; Wednesday; I am loaded and gone. That year I experienced the full gamut of Sturgis and now I can’t stay away!
The joke is you can tell when you are getting older by the pictures you bring back from Sturgis. The first few years the pictures are all of babes, good looking babes, trashy babes, half naked babes, full naked babes, painted babes, clothed babes, leather clad babes. Then as the years go by, there is more pictures of motorcycles and scenery than babes. I must be getting old, (all my friends are for sure) because this year I have more pictures of motorcycles and scenery than babes. It probably had a little to do with the weather, its just hard to raise the camera of a babe in a rainsuit or hoodie looking cold. Still had a few pics to prove I am just old, not gay.
Sorry Guys, but my mom is reading this, she knows me well but gotta keep it somewhat clean. Sorry Girls, regardless of what MI Gal thinks there wereÂ a lotÂ of younger guys at Sturgis this year and it was good to see. In years past the younger guys were riding sport bikes, but this year I see more and more younger guys on Harleys. I also notice a lot of young military guys and that is also good to see. Yeah, I like Sturgis for the babes.
The Black Hills
The Sioux and other tribes have been living in the Powder River Area and the Black Hills following the buffalo for generations. In an effort to keep the Indians from harassing the immigrants traveling the Oregon Trail a Treaty in 1868 guaranteed the black hills area to the Indians. In 1874 Custer lead an expedition to the area with enough men, horses and equipment, it left a trail still visible today. Custer was sent by the government to investigate rumors of gold in paying amounts. In 1875 after negotiations by the government to buy the black hills broke down, all hell broke loose leading to Custer biting it at Little Big Horn and the Indians biting it at Wounded Knee. The remaining survivor Indians of the area ended up on the Pine Ridge Reservation on the southern part of the Badlands and miners and homesteaders claimed the Black Hills with government protection. In a previous post I mentioned what I thought of the Badlands and the Sioux got screwed. There are so many museums in the area, it will take me another 10 years to visit them all. I like the Black Hills and Sturgis for the history.
Want a place to ride your motorcycle with plenty of good roads, winding highways, great scenery, monuments to visit, caves, rivers, canyons, open prairie, lakes, mountains, neat old towns to explore then the Black Hills is your ride. Add in 200,000 other motorcycles during Sturgis Rally week and you will never be lonely or bored. There are still many roads I have not been on yet and I do my favorites every year. If you only have time to ride one, make it Spearfish Canyon and then hang out for awhile at Cheyenne Crossing. Every gas stop, convenience store, parking lot is an event. Need a break, hang out on Deadwoods Main street and watch the action, donate a few dollars to the Casino’s, visit the historic buildings and take in a wet T shirt contest all in the same block. Visit the stoned presidents (Mt. Rushmore) and remember the sculpter did not even start on it until he was 62 years old, motivation for us guys over 50. Visit the Crazy Horse Monument and wonder if it will ever be finished in our lifetime. A must do for me every year is to visit Trout Haven and have pan fried fresh trout! I like the Black Hills and Sturgis for the riding.
STURGIS……….And then there is Sturgis itself! Anything goes, well almost anything, the cops have really cracked down on nudity in the City Limits. People go to Sturgis to be seen so if you like to people watch, this is the place. The crazier the better chance of being seen. Want your picture taken, then wear a Viking helmet with 2 foot long horns, even betterÂ a horn right in the middle. Make your motorcycle look like a tractor! Wear chaps and a G-String! Hang all kinds of gaudy crap on your motorcycle, paint it psychedelic colors. Stretch your bike until its longer than a car. Pull around a coffin with your motorcycle. If you don’t want to be seen then wear a black shirt with blue jeans and ride a black motorcycle.
Need something to do? Bring money, shop until you drop, anything you want can be found on any block. T shirts, patches, cups, hats, riding gear, jewelery, food, booze, want a Harley Davidson fishing pole; they have them. Need a tattoo, pick from 100 artists while everyone watches. Want a painted body, air brush artist waiting while everyone watches. Need a new outfit, change right there and try it out, again while everyone watches. Need your bike washed, bikini bike washes are everywhere. Want to sing Karaoke topless, go for it nobody cares whether you can sing or not, be a star! Bring money, even the cops have to stand in line at the ATM machines. Speaking of cops, they import them but I think they must qualify because they are pretty cool about everything, want a picture of yourself being handcuffed they will oblige. Want to keep your camera, don’t take pictures of Hells Angels and Sons of Silence. Bars are everywhere, live bands, people dancing on tables, bars and mud pits, there really isn’t a dance floor anyplace because everyplace is a dance floor. The whole idea is to have fun, be a little crazy and survive in one piece. Oh yeah I like Sturgis!
BIKES………. Ten years ago the ratio of Harleys to all others was probably 100 to 1. Now the ratio is probably 20 to 1, all bikes are welcome nobody cares anymore. I prefer Harleys but the parking lot at my motel was a mix of Yamahas, crotch rockets, home made choppers, three wheelers, gold wings and Harleys. I think at least 60-70 percent are trailered. I really don’t get why you would trailer a full dresser (geezer glide) and nothing looks better to me than a fully packed up bike held together with bungee cords!
Harley brings out the new 2010 bikes, Indian is making a comeback and there in full force, every chopper builder you see on TV is there. The neatest new bikes to me were the brand new 2010 “58 panhead” look alikes. Pay attention and you will see a 1930’s harley go down the street, followed by a 46 Indian Chief. Real old school bobbers, Orange County style choppers, Beemers, sidehacks, v8 powered bikes and trikes and tricked out scooters. Every style, every type, every like and dislike motorcycle in one place. Noise making, heart thumpin, eye catching motorhead overload! Yeah I like Sturgis for the bikes!
A good friend of mine strongly recommended that I keep politics and religion out of this blog which reminds me of an old bar joke.
Bar Patron to Bartender, ” What church you go to?”
Bartender, ” Oh no, no religion discussions allowed in my bar!”
Bar patron, “Okay then, who did you vote for?”
Bartender, Oh no, no political discussions allowed in my bar!”
Bar Patron, ” Damn, how about sex, is sex discussions allowed in this damn bar?”
Bartender, ” Oh yeah, sex discussions is always allowed in my bar!”
Bar Patron, “Good, screw you!”
So against my buddies better advice, here goes! The main reason I like Sturgis is that I am pretty sure I am going to get along with everyone there before I even meet them. It is one of the most patriotic places on earth. There are American Flags flying everywhere, flags flying off bikes, flag stickers, flag paint jobs, Â flag patches and flag pins. Every biker there has at least one including myself. Vets, they are everywhere, vet pins, vet patches, vet logo’s, vet license plates, honor guards, and veteran biker clubs of all types. It was good to see a lot of young veterans with Iraq, Desert Storm, Afghanistan patches, kind of reminds you how this whole biker thing got momentum after World WarÂ II, whenÂ vets returned home and needed a release. Not too political yet, huh. How about this, if only the people in Sturgis voted, Sarah Palin would be President by a landslide!
Well, Sturgis was fun, wish I could stay but I have to go eventually and now is the time. I had a blast!
Guess I will be leaving on the bike that started it all for me. Peter Fonda’s Easy Rider movie bike known as “Capt America”