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Location: DFW, TX

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

STURGIS 2006


WOW ! What can one say about Sturgis. It's hard to imagine over 500,000 bikers in a town with a population of only 6,500. Every year bikers come from all around the world to be part of the largest biker rally in the world. Unless you've been there it's hard to grasp a place where motorcycles outnumber cars 1oo to 1, motorcycles can park wherever they want and cars have to park in designated car parking only. It's a place where only motorcycles are allowed to drive down Main Street and cars have to find alternate routes throughout town. A place where you can see more leather then you can imagine. A place where you can see almost every kind of motorcycle ever built. A place where the people differ as much as the motorcycles do. Sturgis is not just a big motorcycle rally to party at. It's a place where people come from all over the world to celebrate the freedom we Americans have to ride in the wind. Motorcycling has long been a symbol of freedom to ride exposed to mother nature, to feel the wind on your face and to smell the clean backcountry raod air. People often ask me, "Why do you ride knowing how dangerous motorcycling can be"? I just reply, "Being on a motorcycle on a backcountry road gives me a feeling of freedom; a feeling most Americans take for granted. It makes me stop and think about the most important things in life... God, my wife, my family, my friends, my country, and all those who have paid the price for the freedom I have to do the things I love most. I know the dangers that come with riding... but the feeling I get when riding is well worth any dangers I may face. " Sturgis is a celebration of all these things and more. So if you ride, you owe it to yourself to take the ride to Sturgis one year, it's well worth it ! This sign says it all. From the first time you ride into town until you leave, the town and it's people make you feel welcome. Here's Griff , Keith, and me ready to head out. Keith and Griff are looking really tough but you should have seen them at the end of a 500 mile day ride ( they were whooped ). Here's Griff asking, " Now how many miles did you say we had to go today? You know, I've never ridden more the 200 miles in a day". ( I think he's still having trouble sitting down ). Look Mom, I remembered the toilet paper just like you said. Now, if I can just figure out how to get it out of this ziploc bag.This is Griff's bike all loaded up. What's really surprising is that it all stayed on the bike and by the end of the trip it was even stacked higher with more stuff. Here's Keith's bike. I don't know what he packed in his bags that was so heavy but in a stiff headwind he was not able to do more than 7o to 75 mph. Must have been that toilet paper ( I told him there would be restrooms along the way).This is my bike. I had it packed down heavy, too. In the sadlebags alone I was carrying all the tool kits, first aid kits ( I was ready for surgery, if needed ), tire repair kits with a large assortment of tire plugs to fit all kinds of flats, and cameras for the all important pics to be taken. The tools came in really handy! The next few pics are of all the states we passed through. We stopped at all the signs. By the way, we used a tripod I was carrying to take the pics. So no, there was no 4th person. I just knew someone would ask, so I had to say. FYI the state sign pics are in the order of our route. From this point we only had a couple hours to go until we hit Keystone (where we were staying). This was on our way home. We took what we thought would be the fastest route home. And it would have been, BUT we had some unforseen circumstances. For one, the weather; I have never ridden through such bad lightning storms. We had to stop often to seek shelter from the lightning. And we had a problem with .... well,as you can see by this pic here's the other problem I was going to tell you about. What do you find missing from this pic that was in all the others ? ( If you guessed a motorcycle , GOOD EYE ). I'm not a brand-basher because it could have happened to anyone's bike at any time, but sorry to say it was Keith's HARLEY this time. The good news is : NO ONE was hurt on the trip and if I had to choose between someone's bike breaking down or someone getting hurt, I would choose MY bike to break down every time. I can always fix or replace a bike but I can't replace a friend. So, Keith, don't let anyone give you %$#@*! about your bike breaking down because it will happen to them sometime, too. At this point, we lost Keith and his bike. Keith's dad was nice enough to meet us in Wichita, Kansas with a truck and trailer (and Keith's dad had just flown home from Sturgis himself). From there, Keith and his dad drove back to Nebraska to pick up his bike. As you can see from that last pic, Griff and I still left an open spot for him and his bike. Here we are back in the good old state of Texas (but still quite a distance from home). A nice pic of the mountains in Colorado. This is Lake Isabel off of route 165 in Colorado, just northwest of Colorado City. It was just a peaceful quiet place (until Keith started his Harley, of course). If we had brought fishing poles we would have stayed longer. This is Bishop's Palace, a home being built just off of route 165. It was just amazing. You could walk and climb all over this home. Griff climbed up to the very top of the tallest tower. You can just make him out there on the top left corner of the pic. This is the pic Griff took from the top of the tower. You can barely see our bikes (in the top left corner of the pic). And that's me standing there just by the rock next to the street in the shade (center of the pic). We had such a ball climbing all over this place. Riding through Colorado on route 96. Route 244 in the Black Hills heading to the town of Keystone. Keith and Griff taking a turn in the Black Hills. Nice form guys, and yes, I am taking the pics as I'm riding my bike. Keith heading through the woods. The Black Hills is such a cool place to ride, but look out for Bambi. We did see a few deer. WOO HOO, what a good time! Here's Keith saying... I think I can, I think I can... This is the town of Keystone, South Dakota, where we stayed. Here's the whole gang at Mount Rushmore. This is the Badlands. It was HOT !!! You can see Griff and Keith just at the edge taking in the sights. Main Street in Sturgis and Keith enjoying it all. Here's Griff looking all cool and bad. But ladies, let me warn you, this is NOT what you're getting. You start out with this, but look at the next pic to see what you have to wake up to in the morning (Be forewarned !!!! ) DONT SAY I DIDN"T WARN YOU !!!!! Now, with me... what you see is what you get ! ( YEAH, BABY ! ) LOL One of the HOTTEST bars in Sturgis ! Part of Full Throttle Saloon, this place is massive. This is where the bar gets it's name from. This is the burnout pit. Bikers bring in their bikes and just give it FULL THROTTLE until the tires pop. You know no one ever said all bikers were smart ! But it's all in fun if you have the money to BURN !!!! This is the town of Deadwood were Wild Bill Hicock is buried. Our bikes in Keystone at night. The Red Garter Saloon in Keystone. This was our regular hang-out almost every night.

Griff and me with a few of the ladies and the town's sheriff and deputy at the Red Garter Saloon. Griff showing off his farmer's tan for the girls at the bar. As we're watching the frozen topless t-shirt contest, Keith's dad, Dale, looks over to Keith and asks, " Son, do you think those are real ? " This is how you tip the girls at the Red Garter Saloon. It just looked like fun so I had to try it... IT WAS FUN !!!!
The whole gang from left to right:(front row) Dale and Debbie ( Keith's mom and dad ), Keith and Vicki ; (second row) Griff and myself, Elio. This is me enjoying a cold one... a cold bottle of water that is. What you can't see is my bottled water sitting on the other side of the table. The beer bottle was staged for the pic. I spent a lot of time making this helmet just for the Sturgis trip. So I thought I'd show it off. Hope you like it, Tom (now I have a helmet to somewhat match yours on our next trip!) LOL When we saw this wagon on the side of the road we decided to stop and play cowboys. I don't know how Griff and I got stuck being the horses . Keith and Griff trying to get into the booze on the wagon. Now that's a cool pic that just spells FUN ! Here we are hanging out with the buffalo in Custers Park We just couldn't pass up a photo op like this. This was out by the Badlands. Another photo op we couldn't pass up. A cool bridge we passed in Custers Park. We had no idea what Keith was pointing at over there. But being good friends, we just looked and said, " Yeah, Keith that's really cool ". As you can see we had a thing with signs... so, here we are with another one. Keith and Vicki out for a ride in the Black Hills.And here they are passing through a tunnel in the Black Hills. The whole gang in the Black Hills. You guessed it; another sign.
Griff caught a pic of me sneaking up on some Gazelles to take a close-up pic of them. Whoever said there is no such thing as guardian angels looking over us has never been to Sturgis. Here's Keith with his guardian angel close behind. Here's Dale; I think this pic speaks for itself. The man is in a deep world of fun riding through town. On the road again...
Rolling, rolling, rolling, keep that motor rolling along.... This is a cool pic:check out my cool helmet. Tom, I know you want one! Here's Griff saying, " What do you think guys, should I take her home? I could use another bike". It was so hot on the trip that we cooled our butts off any chance we got. Griff is saying, "Dude, when's it going to be my turn?" .

Sturgis was a blast ! Yes, we had a few things go wrong... it seemed like if anything was going to happen it was going to happen to Keith. But shit happens and it could happen to any one of us on any type of bike. I never judge a trip by the problems a motorcycle might give us on a trip. I judge it by the roads, the fun had, and the friends I'm with. As long as everyone makes it back home safe ( with or without their bike ), I could give a shit about the bike ( mine included ) !!!!!!! Again, if you're a rider, take the time one day to visit Sturgis during bike week. It's like Marti Gras on a motorcycle !

ELIO

1 Comments:

Blogger Mud Dawg said...

Hey!!!!

It'd October!! We need a few new pics of SOMETHING!!!
Mud Dawg in the OC....

6:07 PM  

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