Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Sturgis 2010

After many years of reading about the Sturgis Rally and uncertainty of ever going, I finally went. As I said in a previous post, this trip was unexpected and it was more about the miles with good friends rather than going to Sturgis to party. I'm not really a huge fan of big rallies, too many people, too high prices, too much time wasted walking and looking, I have a bike to ride, to be in the wind, but Sturgis is a little more than that. Considering it's history, it's a must go to event for anyone that rides, at least once.

We had 3 days to get it done, the 3 of us that went are all your average blue collar guys, we have jobs that we have to go to, we have families to support, not a lot of expendable income, but in spite of that and not having vacation time, we have the desire for the wind and sharing road time with those that are important to us. This was definitely a shoe-string budget run, no hotels, no fancy restraunts, pack a change of clothes, a tarp, and a sleeping bag and hit the road. We hit the road at 7am last Friday, Dan on his '02 HD Sportster 1200 Custom, Anthony on his '06 Sportster 1200 Custom, and me on my '06 Sportster 1200 Custom.

Most of our miles were spent cutting across Nebraska, a helmet mandatory state. One of the 1st things we discovered is that it is almost impossible to get 91 octane gas in Nebraska, so at our fuel stop in Grand Island we also stopped at the Harley dealer and picked up some octane booster. The other thing is Nebraska evidently doesn't use their road funds for their roads, the highways through the state, specifically 2 and 20 are awful, poorly built, poorly maintained, just crappy roads through miles of nothing. The sand hills of Nebraska were scenic for about 30 minutes, then just boring for the next 250 miles. I can't complain, I got to share miles with people that matter to me.

Fuel stop in Grand Island, Ne

This is mostly what Hwy 2 is, flat. Cool bridge though.

Dan and Anthony

Stopping at the South Dakota state line. Good bye Ne and helmets!

Getting rid of the lids, lol!

my ugly mug, lol!
Onto South Dakota! We took Hwy 385 into South Dakota and pretty much stayed on it all the way to Sturgis. Our goal was Chadron Ne, but we were making good time so we kept on rolling and set our sites on Hot Springs, SD.  The closer we got to Hot Springs SD, we could see lightning and dark skies, there was a storm brewing. As we pulled into Hot Springs it started to rain. There was a campground on the side of the road so we pulled in as the downpour began. Since there was no time to set up our tarps, we did the next best thing, rented a ti pi for the night, lol! It wasn't much, dirt floor and enough room for us, plus it was dry. The only problem was that they were at the back of the campground on a dirt/gravel road, oh well, time to get the sporty's dirty!
There's a storm brewin'!
yup, it's gonna rain
Definitely gonna rain
Dan calling his wife, we all took turns calling in to our families.
Our lodging for the night.
Sunrise at our camp.
Coffee and pop tarts, breakfast of champions!
muddy sporty
gasin' up in Hot Springs SD

After Hot Springs we stayed on 385 all the way through to Sturgis, it's one of the most scenic roads I've been on and goes by all the attractions we wanted to see, mainly Crazy Horse. A bonus was riding through Wind Caves Natnl Park.

Wind Caves Park

Road side stop at wind caves

More Wind Caves Park

FTW represents!

Hwy 385
 Next stop was Crazy Monument. Words can't really express what I felt while wandering around the museum and looking at the mountain. Humbling would be one of the best words to describe the experience. One families dedication to this project is beyond description. If you can only choose one thing to see in the Black Hills, choose Crazy Horse.

Crazy Horse Mountain
VooDoo Choppers donation for the raffle to benefit Crazy Horse
'03 Indian with custom paint, a private donation to the raffle

A couple won this bike a couple years ago and left it on loan at the museum. 

 I'm not going to bother with much for commentary for the moment. I'll let the photos do the talking. These were taken on our ride north on Hwy 385.

Dan enjoying the wind

 By noon of day 2 we were in Sturgis!! Our 1st stop was the Broken Spoke for a beer and just kick back for a bit.

Sporty on display at the Spoke

Another display Sporty

and another

The strip, not too crowded yet

Full Throttle

Buffalo Chip
 By now we had gotten our patch, had our beer, did a little looking around and it was time to head out. Not really wanting to fight the increasing traffic in town we looked at the map and decided to hit the highway running east out of town past the Chip and catch a side road south to Rapid City and head into the Badlands from there. All went well until we came to our turn, a gravel road. After checking the map again it looked like about 11 miles of gravel to Hereford, SD then hardball to Rapid City. What the hell, we're no stranger to gravel. After about 20 miles of absolutely nothing we started to figure that Hereford SD was named after a dead hereford cow found lying in the grass in the 1800's. Why? Because there's no Hereford SD that we could find so it had to be named after a dead cow that's long since rotted away. After 40 some odd miles of absolutely nothing but gravel and an active 1 room school we finally made it back to Sturgis. Back on track, we head for the Badlands. Our trip home took us through Badlands Natnl Park and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Riding through the Badlands in the evening was pretty cool, the stark desolation had a beauty all it's own. The only downside was alot of the road is under construction, complete with a crappy milled surface and potholes big enough to eat a bike, literally. Right before we entered the Pine Ridge Reservation we stopped in Scenic, SD, not much there, a gas station and a couple tourist shops, that's it. The ride through the reservation left me kind of sad and depressed. The Sioux Nation was given the most worthless piece of ground in South Dakota and were just supposed to deal with it. However, no one is without guilt. They have homes and vehicles and for reasons unknown to me they don't take care of what they do have. The houses were run down from lack of maintenance and almost every one had 6-12 vehicles in various states of disrepair. There are always exceptions, there were some places that were very well maintained, someone obviously took pride in what they had. I don't pretend to have any answers, but I am suprised the tribal elders permit it.

Scenic SD

Gasin up in Scenic

Not much in Scenic

Scenic tourist trap

Prairie Dog plague?

Back in the land of crappy roads and mandatory helmets
Highway 20 across Nebraska is just as bad as Hwy 2, maybe a little more scenic, but not much. We made it to Valentine Ne the 2nd day. After being on the road for 2 days we considered a hotel until we found them to be full of folks headed for Sturgis, no vacancy anywhere in town. We headed to the city park and it was such a beautiful night we just rolled out the sleeping bags and slept under the stars with our bikes. The next day started out pretty good, we made good time across Nebraska and by noon it was starting to heat up. Once we got to Norfolk and started heading south we were riding right into a hot south wind, it was like riding into a blast furnace.

Gotta love patriotic small towns
Dan and Anthony chillin' at a gas stop

Not much for scenery in Nebraska
Grasshoppers, bugs and crap stuck to my rim, lol!

Stopping for an end of run beer at Tryon's Pour House
 I can't even begin to describe how great this ride was, great friends and a great weekend. This was done on a serious budget, a grand total of $260 proving that you don't have to be rich to enjoy the company of great friends on the open road. 3 days of nothing but wind, miles, and memories for a lifetime. Thanks goes to Dan for coming up with the idea and inviting us along. All of this for the patch-


 I wear my patch proudly, it was earned with my brothers. 3 idiots, 3 Sportsters, 1432 miles. I can't wait for next year!!



roepke said...

it wasnt about the destination it was about the people who were there!!

MeanStreak said...


Sturgiscampground said...

Sturgis, South Dakota is home to the largest Motorcycle event in the entire world. Sturgis campground