Posts Tagged With: Harley Davidson

2010 STURGIS, First Time.

Early in the year my friends all talked a good game about taking a road trip out to Sturgis in August for the Rally. This was going to be a kind of scouting expedition the wife wasn’t going she had a commitment to feed the orphans in Nicaragua.

Under the assumption that I could do this “MAN STYLE” i.e.. no comforts just the bike a tent and some beer money. I knew that I would not need a very big budget. So I started researching campground and the route. I figured I would need about $300. for the week at the Legendary Buffalo Chip. http://www.buffalochip.com . I also figured about $60. a day for food and another $50 or so for beer, this was the rough draft in my head and looked very doable.

As time went by and the departure time grew closer the number of friends that couldn’t or wouldn’t go grew larger and my brothers for the road grew smaller and smaller until it was just me. I don’t hold it against them, because I knew I was going no matter what.

I continued to research  about Sturgis and the area because that’s how I roll I educate myself, so I know what I might be getting myself into. As I researched I found a guy from my state (Indiana) that was going with a group he had gone with for years. It turn out hat one of his group had some health issues that would prevent him from going and I would fill his spot.

Never having met this guy before who called himself KenFu, tells me he has a pass for the week at the Buffalo Chip and I can have it for  around $200 and I could ride out with him and a couple from Kentucky and a couple of riders from Ohio. Indianapolis is right in the middle so why don’t we all meet here and hit the road from my house in Indianapolis. Good idea Ken says.

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Thats me on the left, Jon then Gerry in the back, Jon’s friend in the front, Ken in the orange tank top, PK , Mike and Donna.

The day comes and its Thursday evening waiting for everyone to show up not knowing what to expect I was a little anxious and excited. Ken finally shows up about 9;00pm with a woman on the back of his bike. Donna he tells me is her name and she is not his girlfriend just a friend, ok well the pull out sofa doesn’t matter if you two don’t, but you have to double up on the bed I don’t have extra beds.

No worries we had a couple of beers and talked about the trip and how the other couple would be here in the morning and two guys from Ohio would be running late and would catch us on the road somewhere in Iowa.

I asked Ken a few times how much I owed him for the tickets to the campgrounds he said he would figure it out later. The next morning a little cool for August but while we pack last-minute items Mike and PK show up from Kentucky ready to go.

740 mile later we stopped for the night in Sioux City Iowa. Nice Roadway Inn with a bar in the lobby. After washing the road grime off our faces we all meet in the bar for dinner and drinks. After a couple of pizzas and several rounds of drinks PK is missing “Oh well she must have had her fill and went to the room to sleep” Mike says, She does that. After a couple more drinks Mike remembered he had the room key and Donna would have had to go to the front desk to get a key. he says he better go check on her. A few minutes later he comes back and says she is not in the room. Oh no Patron will do that. So the search begins for PK. There she is creating a puddle in the front entry to the hotel of her pizza and Patron. She is going to be hurting in the morning, I thought.

So every one was up early and ready to go last 400 miles and Sturgis here we come!40545_152078211471987_1269274_n 46185_152078138138661_480508_n

We arrived at the Buffalo Chip got moved into our camper and set up house for the week. Met our neighbor Charlie from North Dakota and decided we should go grocery shopping for supplies. You know how much can we carry on the bikes, Ken did have a trailer that would help. I think we spent about $300. food water and beer! it would be split between the 5 of us, and we ate good and drank plenty of beer. finally half way through the week Ken would tell me what I owed him for my share of the Camper that we had rented and my ticket for the Buffalo Chip and supplies. 

One thing about the Buffalo Chip is that after a good day of riding the Blackhills you can park at your camp and walk to the concerts inside the campground every night. Kid Rock, ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, Buck Cherry, Ozzy, Toby Keith and on and on. If you have never been to a concert outdoors with motorcycles (Harleys) in the front row you are missing out. In stead of applause its Harley Davidsons Revving to the limit. The sound of hundreds of Harleys is music to my ears!

The rest of the story is best told by seeing it. check out some of the highlights!

What can I say after that trip I went in 2011, 2012 with Cancer while I was on Chemo. things changed a little after that I thought it was time to expand my adventures beyond Sturgis and have been many new and exciting places since. I will share with you here in the future as I catch up to date on our travels I am only a few or at this point 4 years and 50,000 plus miles behind. see you down the road. By the way Carla never went back to Nicaragua.

 

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Categories: Harley Davidson, Sturgis | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

Life Is To Short

How time fly’s. The older we get the faster time goes by. Except for these long record-breaking winters in Indiana that last forever. Can you remember back in the day when you couldn’t wait for Christmas time? and it took forever to get here. Now you better start thinking about next Christmas early or it sneaks up on you and gone before you know it. This post wasn’t meant to be about Christmas it’s about ” TIME ” and how we all have one thing in common, that is we all have a limited amount no matter your background or status from the unemployed to the most wealthy and powerful you can’t buy it, “time that is” you can’t buy it and none of us know exactly how much we have left. The moral of the story is don’t put off doing the things you would like to do today because there’s no guarantee that you get time to do it later. The only reason that makes it happen is you and your decision to do it, “go for it”. I talk to a lot of people who have convinced themselves that they can’t ride out to Colorado or Sturgis. “Bull!!” I say I am not buying it sell it some place else. I promise if you can ride around here all day you can straighten it out and get somewhere. I will use my friend Diana as the example. She’s the hot blonde in the pictures.Diana  409665_239973176074599_461961214_n     Diana was worried and told me she didn’t think she could ride all the way to Sturgis. I told Diana if you can ride to Brown County then over to Bloomington and back home you can ride for an hour at a time. Diana agreed she could ride for an hour no problem. Do that with us 5 or 6 times and we will be half way to Sturgis. Then do it again and your there. After several of these conversations Diana had developed some faith in my reasoning. August was here before we knew it and it was time to go west. The plan was to meet some friends from out-of-town at the Baymont on Brookville rd. I can’t remember if the plan was to be ready at 7:30 or 8:00 am. There was 3 or 4 bikes not counting Diana and my bike, plus a truck and trailer pulling 2 bikes from Ohio. After a few wake up calls from our cell phones and the front desk, the party animals got up and started looking for the shower shoe that one of them had left in the lobby the night before. Regardless of the lost flip-flop we were late and Diana was getting a little antsy as was I. So off to a late start but all was good and 740 miles and 1 rain storm later at around 9:00 pm we arrived in Sioux City Iowa. It rained so hard cars and trucks pulled off the interstate!photo 1 Day 2 on the road bright and early. If you haven’t been west of Des Moines Iowa you should know that 88 or 87 octane fuel is all you can get so take some octane boost if you need to. What ever you do when the group stops for fuel do not refuse to put 88 octane in your bike, Greg! You have no choice! Or you can refuse so everybody can stop at the next exit and ride 8 miles off the interstate looking for better fuel only to discover that that’s it just like you were told 88 octane. Anyway glad we could satisfy your doubt in our experience, Greg! Off we go let’s get to Sturgis. Diana was riding like a champ and before you know it we are at the Worlds Smallest Biker Bar in New Underwood South Dakota just east of Sturgis. 300561_2241300923350_2083092935_n        409665_239973176074599_461961214_n      378962_239975052741078_642635590_n Soon after that we split off from Diana. She was going to stay in Custer while we stayed at the Buffalo Chip. After a couple of days we met up with Diana. Diana was overwhelmed by the Blackhills scenery and atmosphere in and around Sturgis. Diana told me she had been to many rallies around Daytona and Myrtle Beech and that she would never have to go back that she would come to Sturgis from now on. Diana never worried about riding that far again and when it was time to head back home I could not have had a better riding partner all the way back to Indy. So stop making excuses and let’s ride! 

Stay tuned for my 2010 Sturgis Rally adventure and the people I met.

Categories: Harley Davidson, Sturgis, Trip Planning | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

You never know what is down the road if you don’t keep going.

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Carla and I had always wanted to go out west so in 2009 we planned a trip to Yellowstone National Park. I guess that automatically makes me the Road Captain.

I had two weeks vacation and Carla was as excited as I was about the adventure. My 2008 Road King Classic was good and broke in. I think I had ridden over 6500 miles before the trip. Some idiot had tried to steal my bike earlier so the ignition and some other cosmetic trim around the fork lock that was replaced along with some paint repair to the tank.

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Two guys that I work with wanted to go along for the ride and they where welcome to join us, they had no idea what they where in for. Paul road a Gold Wing and Marco had limited experience on his new Ultra.

The day we have waited for finally arrived Saturday morning in August and time to mount up and meet the others. The plan was to meet at  a McDonald’s at 8:00am for a quick breakfast then head west. Off to McDonald’s we go Carla and I that is. We ordered some food and started eating, no sign of the other two guys. about the time I finished my breakfast I started to think that Paul and Marco had wimped out and I had better call to see. Paul and Marco wanted to know where I was at because they were waiting on me at McDonald’s. Good way to start a 4000 mile road trip we can’t even coordinate a meeting place 5 miles from home. They went to a different McDonald’s down the road a few blocks. After that first mistake we got our stuff together and pointed the bikes west and headed out.

This would be the first of our annual heading west trips. I wasn’t sure what to expect but if I had learned anything from 14 years in the Army was be ready for anything, so when I packed a small umbrella in the bike my wife thought I was crazy, after all how could you ride and hold an umbrella?

Day two that umbrella would come into use, we had left Des Moines, Iowa that morning and the sky was getting darker and darker. Paul my “Gold Wing buddy” had complained about ridding behind me and hearing my pipes all day the day before so I said: Paul why don’t you get up front and lead just stay on interstate 80 and head west. I forgot to tell him to stop before it started raining otherwise the rain suits don’t really do any good if there in the saddle bag when you ride into the rain. The last sign I saw said next rest area 34 miles, as the lightning flashed and the thunder roared but Paul kept a steady 70 MPH heading directly into the storm. Bam just like that it started raining and with no overpasses in sight and the next rest area at least 30 miles away we found a truck weigh station to pull off and put on rain gear then the wind started and the rain increased we stood next to a semi trailer for shelter and that umbrella did help a little with the sideways rain we stood in.

One thing you have to remember when you take a bike trip like this. You will be outside for the next two weeks with some small intermissions of indoor comforts. You have to understand that to get 500 miles down the road you have to be on the road and rolling. This is when the outdoor part comes in. I know but you would be surprised how some people think, if it rains i will just stop and wait.

That is fine if you want to spend your vacation in a Truck stop.DSCN0099

I prefer to get down the road.

After all isn’t that the point of a road trip.

Nebraska is a long state to travel across from east to west. I recommend that you stop and take in some sights along the way Gothenburg is home to the original Pony Express station.smallbike

the Sam Macchette station, in Ehmen Park, just 2 miles north of I-80. The station in the park was used as a fur trading post / ranch house along the Oregon Trail southwest of Gothenburg before it was used as a Pony Express station in 1860-61. It was moved from its original site and rebuilt in Ehmen Park in 1931. After the Pony Express we ventured N/W on Highway 26 towards Casper for the night. Along the way before leaving Nebraska we had to take a small detour to take in the Historic Chimney Rock National Monument.

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http://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/scotts_bluff/chimney_rock.html The link will take you to the National Parks Service website for more information on Chimney Rock.  After quick look around and getting an education about the pioneer travelers that traveled through this are and their way of life it was off to Casper.

While in Casper Carla and I woke up before sunrise so that we could watch a Wyoming sunrise on our first visit to the state of Wyoming. Behind the hotel was a large hill small mountain with a building sitting on top. Looked like a good place to get some pictures and take a look at our surrounding. The building is the Historic Trails Interpretive Center.

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After a nice breakfast and some map recon. This is what us old military guys call looking at a map. I discovered a place noted on the local Wyoming map I had picked up at the hotel, Called Hells Half Acre.

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Hells Half Acre is a lost and forgotten abandoned restaurant and tourist stop. Wiki says the following

Hell’s Half Acre is a large scarp located about 40 miles (64 km) west of Casper, Wyoming on US 20/26. Encompassing 320 acres (1.3 km2), this geologic oddity is composed of deep ravines, caves, rock formations and hard-packed eroded earth. Hell’s Half Acre was used as the scene for the fictional planet of Klendathu in the movie Starship Troopers.

The place was known as “The Devil’s Kitchen”, “The Pits of Hades”, and “The Baby Grand Canyon” until a cowhand appeared and thought he was at Hell’s Half Acre, an area southwest of Casper full of alkali and bogs.

Native American tribes used the ravines to drive bison to their death during their hunts.

As of December 2005, the roadside restaurant and motel/campground sitting atop the ravine were closed. The motel and the abandoned restaurant have since been torn down.

Continued on our way on 20/26 through Shoshoni Wyoming turning north on 20 up the beautiful Wind River Canyon.

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Wyoming does a good job of placing road side information signs for you to enjoy and learn about the history and geology of the area.

In Thermopolis we jumped on 120 towards Cody Wyoming. Make sure you get fuel in Thermopolis. Butler Motorcycle Maps list 120 as a Lost Highway. http://www.butlermaps.com the Lost Highway designation from Butler Motorcycle Maps ” Beyond high mountain passes and plunging canyons are roads that reach out to the horizon and the unknown beyond. The faded paint of a center line, the crumbling shoulder is all that remains of these byways that seem lost in time. Void of the trappings of modern life, they provide a motorcycling experience as unique as the untouched landscapes they divide.”

I did not have a Butler Motorcycle Map during this trip in 2009 but I own several now.

We had a house we rented through Cody Lodging Company http://www.codylodgingcompany.com The house was nice and affordable for the 5 of us and would be our jump off point for the next three days exploring the Yellowstone area and the endless miles of mountain roads. Chief Joseph Highway, Crandell Road, Beartooth Highway. don’t over look Cody itself has a Rodeo and a Gun Fight every night.

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The road from Cody to the East Entrance of Yellowstone is said to be the 50 most beautiful miles in America. There is some amazing scenery and you feel that civilization is behind you and you are a very small part of this huge landscape. Signs warn you of bear activity and remind you not to be careless with food handling and storage in this part of the country.

This is when I realized that the big bag of home-made beef jerky I had in my saddle bag might not be a good idea. I thought what if we break down and a bear comes?

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When we stopped at Buffalo Bill Dam and reservoir I asked everyone if they wanted the jerky and I did not get one taker after seeing the warning signs I couldn’t give it away.

Trafic was starting to build as we approached the gate to Yellowstone, so I stayed in line on the bike and let Carla run over for the must have photo.

DSCN0273 Yellowstone can be overwhelming with so many choices of what sights to see, where to go. The vastness of Yellowstone is not just the square miles but the entirety of the landscape so much that the park has its own weather systems develop and dissipate within the park. That means you don’t just look at the local weather forecast that says its going to be 75 and sunny all day and head out in a t-shirt to explore Yellowstone. The weather will change and can change drastically and quickly, be prepared. I had given out a shirt to one of the guys and gloves to the other, lucky for them I was prepared.

We chose to see Old Faithful Geyser. How can you go to Yellowstone and not see Old Faithful?

The lodge and the Huckleberry ice cream are must see and do as well.

Old Faithful itself wasn’t as much of a thrill as I was expecting, but knowing that it goes on a some what regular basis and has been since recorded time it is the most famous of all geysers makes it a must see.

From there head over to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone. Work your way around Yellowstone Lake. This is a huge lake and is deceiving as to how long it takes to get to the other side, plus stopping to check out the super heated water coming up from beneath the lake to the surface. It is said that you can catch a fish in the lake and swing your pole around and dip the fish back into the water near one of the super heated boils and cook that fish with out ever taking it off your line.

The Grand Canyon of Yellowstone and the lower falls are must see spots.

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I can not describe the experience that you take away from Yellowstone, it is humbling to say the least and spiritual. When you hear people over using the word awesome describing their new bike or the new pair of hooker shoes that one chick just bought. You know they have never been to Yellowstone or they would know what awesome truly was about.

Chief Joseph Scenic Byway and the Beartooth where next on the to do list. Going North West out of Cody on 120 to 296 Chief Joseph is one of my favorite roads I have ever ridden. http://www.wyomingtourism.org/things-to-do/detail/Chief-Joseph-Scenic-Byway/7333 The Beartooth is not to be taking lightly. You will be traveling above the tree line and varying road conditions as well as weather issues. When we started the day it was nice and comfortable by the top of the Beartooth it was freezing rain and cold. Some time the best part of these adventures is after you have survived and can look back and remember the challenges of the adventure. Enjoy the photos. The following link is for the Beartooth. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/byways/states/WY

 

The Yellowstone and Cody area  are great motorcycle destinations and I have and will be back again.

Leaving the Cody Wyoming area we headed east on ALT 14 through Powell and Lovell. Crossing Bighorn Lake in the Bighorn Basin. http://www.wyohistory.org/encyclopedia/bighorn-basin-wyoming Up and over the Bighorn Mountains past Medicine Wheel ancient Indian spiritual site. Through Burgess Junction, and down into the vast open north central Wyoming to interstate 90 into Sheridan and on towards Sturgis South Dakota, not for the rally but the week after.

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We had our sites set on seeing Devils Tower on the way into Spearfish, South Dakota for the night.

We arrived at Devils tower late in the afternoon and took time to take some photos and grab a snack and some ice cream. A nice woman at the snack place said “be careful going into Spearfish the deer come out this time of the day” and soon as we left I shifted into 4th gear, out popped a deer in front of me. Not to worry we slowed in time for Bambi to move on and we did too.

After a good pizza buffet and a cold brew we returned to the hotel and sat outside and watched the sun set and enjoyed a couple more cold ones, we had covered a lot of mile for the day. The hotel had some nice rocking chairs to sit in and were to much for Marco to handle. Rolling on the ground and not spilling a drop of beer after being bucked off the rocker. This was not the first time Marco had rolled on the ground during the trip.IMG_0061 IMG_0110

Marco was a trooper and managed to not notice the gun fight in Cody but he noticed a saloon girl.

The Sturgis area is not just a place for a huge party known as The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, but for Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse Monument and the Black Hills. We would go onto explore Custer National Park, Iron Mountain rd. and the Bad Lands.

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After leaving Mount Rushmore and heading back towards Rapid City our luck ran out and the rain came in buckets, Paul and I pulled off at an Applebees to eat and Marco kept rolling towards Spearfish to the hotel. After eating and drying out for a little bit the rain let up and we met Marco back in Spearfish.

It was finally time to head back to Indiana and reality.

Categories: Trip Planning | Tags: , | 2 Comments

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