Sturgis 2013 and Beyond - Jul/Aug 2013
(GoldWing - Road Trip)

Road Trip Background - Feeling good with my cancer hopefully on the run it was time to get away on a road trip. Our first stop … Rapid City, South Dakota area and a two week visit with our daughter and family. Sturgis 2013 happens to be going on during this time frame and I have plans to take it some of that as well. At the end of the two weeks I will take off on my solo journey out west and Yong will fly home. She’s not up for the long distance motorcycle trips any more with me but is giving me room to roam alone for a few weeks to feed my need to ride.

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Monday, July 29’ 2013

It was about time to get back out on the road and what better place to head first than to set our sights on our daughters place in South Dakota. We rolled out of Dover, TN at 6:00 a.m. Our 04 Goldwing has about 272K on it now. Amazes me she rolls at all with those kind of miles but she rolls quite well thank you very much. The wing has been a workhorse for me over the last 9+ years and it shows little signs of slowing down. We had to take a more northerly route to avoid rain to our west and it worked arriving at the half way point (615 miles) in Cedar Falls, Idaho around 6:00 p.m tired but dry.

Tuesday, July 30’ 2013

Cloudy at the start of the day and some misty rain through lower Minnesota coupled with the long boring Interstate 90 made for a relatively uneventful romp into Rapid City by late afternoon. On the way there it sure appeared to be more motorcycles in the backs of trucks and on trailers than were actually on the road heading towards Sturgis. Filling up at the end of the day I noticed this guy …
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Seems some people will tow anything to Sturgis just to be able to join in the fun :-)

We pulled in safely to our daughter’s house just outside of Ellsworth AFB in Box Elder, SD around 5:00 p.m. Once again we avoided the rain although we did catch some pretty significant wind the last few hours of the ride.

Friday, Aug 2’ 2013

Finally got a chance today to cruise into the Black Hills and check out some of the usual haunts.
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Mount Rushmore - Taken from Iron Mountain Road
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Taken from Needles Highway

Yes, the roads are cluttered with traffic and there are more motorcycles out and about here than I have ever seen in one place at the same time in my entire life. Unbelievable! Riding Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road felt like you were joining in an endless stream of motorcycles in the worlds longest slowest parade. I’ve ridden these same roads at other times of the year and they are practically empty … quite a contrast to see it this congested but to be expected. The good news was that everyone behaved and was courteous to each other.

One of the most fascinating things I experienced up here during Sturgis is that no one waves. You ride by waves and waves of motorcycles going the opposite direction and no one waves to each other as they pass … there are just two many bikes on the road. If you were to wave at every bike you saw you would be riding with one hand off the handlebars all day long. It’s just so weird and I find that I have to fight the tendency to wave as I’m use to waving to everyone when I ride. Up here at this time when Sturgis is going on it’s a sure sign of someone that is a rookie to the event.

Saturday, Aug 3’ 2013

Took a little ride in the cage today with my daughter and Grandson up to Deadwood
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Grandpa and Grandson Travis in Deadwood, SD ready to rumble …

Plan is to head over to Sturgis Monday evening to hook up with a few other Wingers from the GL1800riders.com forum.

Tuesday, Aug 6’ 2013

Monday evening meet up in Stugis didn’t work out for me and unfortunately I missed out on meeting some of the other Wingers here. Looked like a good group from the pictures I saw posted on the gl1800riders.com forum. Nevertheless I did get out today and headed up to Sturgis late morning to take a ride through. Unbelievable, congestion and madness but I would have expected no less. Estimates for attendance this year are probably some where north of 400K bikers here. I’ve never been one for crowds of people even if they are bikers and this was going to test my tolerance and patience. I gassed up, along with many many others …
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Imagine every gas station like the one above.

I wanted to park down on Main Street and walk around get some pictures but the opportunity to do so didn’t present itself. I figured I’d be back up here later in the week camping at the Buffalo Chip later anyway. Feeling a little claustrophobic it was too much for me and I quickly escaped north on Highway 79 to 212 back to the West through Belle Fourche and then down to Spearfish to get lunch. Everywhere you look you see motorcycles. I don’t think there is one establishment in the Black Hills whose business is not thriving from the rally. After lunch it was into the Black Hills via Spearfish Canyon Road. I enjoyed it as best I could given the constant stream of bikes. Getting on and off the road became more challenging than actually riding. Pulled over and found this spot.
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Spearfish Canyon Road

Eventually I wound my way back into the Rapid City area and home to my daughter’s house. This was my preview. Tomorrow David, my son-in-law, Eric, his friend and I will head out to the Buffalo Chip to Camp out for a couple of days.

Wednesday, Aug 7’ 2013

Time to head up to Sturgis and check in at the Buffalo Chip. The 3 of us saddled up and another friend was able to bring our camping gear and supplies along in a truck and we quickly got up to Sturgis. Here we are parked just outside the registration and ticket area.
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Buffalo Chip Campgrounds … Sturgis SD

Little fun at the beginning as they were scanning and inspecting coolers on the way in. Evidently they had the crazy idea they were going to try and prevent people from bringing in their own beer. We had to retreat and rearrange our cooler and hide the beer in other places and then retry the gate again only to find out that while we were gone doing all that they decided to do away with that rule and the scanning and inspections had ceased. Go figure … what were they thinking? No way that was going to fly.
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Surprisingly - we found a great camp site with a view centrally located where we wanted to be. We were in amongst a sea of campers, RV’s and Bikers. A city come to life as did our camp site that we all chipped in and quickly constructed.
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Rob Zombie was on deck at the Concert area tonight and after getting our camp site setup and working in a quick afternoon ride of the area we were ready to settle into a few beers and ready ourselves for the concert. As we were settling in we met and interesting guy camping right across from us. His name was Chris evidently has a lot of money. He had rented a port-a-potty for the event and after talking to us for a while allowed us to share in the use of it during our stay. Made things a lot easier for us.

The young guys road their bikes down to the concert area but the old (and I like to think wiser) man decided not to act young and I left mine right where it was parked and walked. It was a crazy scene and all the bikers can ride right up and park as close to the stage as you can. There were picnic tables everywhere that you could sit on as well.
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This area fills up quickly as the concert nears
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Rob Zombie on Stage …. rain held off this night

Thursday, Aug 8’ 2013

Very late to bed and very early to rise the next morning I was desperately in search of coffee and searching my memory for exactly what happen the night before. Unfortunately, I walked a mile in the wrong direction and never found any only to find out later if I had gone back to the concert area they had all kinds of coffee (for a price) as early as 6:00 a.m. We finally ended up on main street and found Bob’s Restaurant and had our breakfast and coffee there. Street scene pretty slow first thing in the morning.
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You think many of these were parked here ALL night :-)

We did some more riding this day and also got in a couple of test rides. Test Road the new Indian Motorcycle and even the Can-am Spyder just for grins. Doubt you would ever find me on either one of these but it was fun to see what they road like. To me the Indian felt to old school and bulky and the Can-am seemed a little unnerving to ride and even more scary to turn. I’d have to learn how to ride all over again if I ever had one of these.
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Getting back to camp and watching the sun set it was obvious we might not be so lucky with the rain holding off for another night.
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The Lynyrd Skynyrd Band drew a larger and little more robust crowd this night and the rain did hit us at times but it just added to the excitement. Everybody revved up their bikes to show their approval of the performance and their distain for the rain. The sharing of every kind of substance known to man was the norm. No telling what kind of intoxicants were in the air mixed with all that exhaust smoke. I think I’m going to plead the 5th here and … as president Clinton once famously said “I didn’t inhale”. After the concert I didn’t inhale so much I couldn’t find my way back to the tent right away. I managed to walk out in the wrong direction but eventually found my way back to our tent successfully. I like to think I took the challenging and more scenic way back to the tent :-) However, the guys weren’t buying my story as we stood around the campfire having a final beer and sharing thoughts before turning in.

Friday, Aug 9’ 2013

Up early we tore down the tents and waited for our friend to come back up to Sturgis with the truck so we could load up our camping gear and prepare for the ride back home to my daughter’s house. We ate breakfast this day down at the coffee shop in the concert area and as everyone knows your breakfast on the day after a night of partying is one of the best tasting ever. As we sat there waiting I began to reflect on the event and experience that had just took place.

As I gaze out at the never ending ebb and flow of the multitude of happy par takers at the Buffalo Chip campground at Sturgis 2013 one can’t help but wonder about the lives of these road warriors and wanna bees. Definitely lives in the fast lane of life although many in the wrong lane it could be argued. Everybody seemingly happily wallowing in self indulgence made possible by a lifetime of toil. It may appear as simply nothing more than an ocean of people riding around and showing off there egos to the world. Everybody wants to be different and stand out in some way. It’s amazing sometimes how hard we all try to be different when it’s our sameness that keeps us together and allows us to share and enjoy a variety of common activities together that may look strange to those of different interest and pursuits.

Now that I’ve survived Sturgis and our visit with our daughter coming to an end we will be departing South Dakota this coming Wednesday and heading south towards Colorado. Will pick back up the journal then for the BEYOND part of this road trip.

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