The Adventures of the New England VRCC
2005 Trip Reports


From Sturgis almost all the way home... by Matt D

Our everywhere but Sturges …Sturges trip. by Dan A (Dan-bury)

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From Sturgis almost all the way home...

Posted By: Matt_D
Date: 8/19/2005 at 17:57:41



Well we finally made it back from Sturgis Wednesday night. In a word, it was just an unbelievable trip.

If you want more than one word, read on.

We, Tom & Chae, Lynn and I, headed out Wednesday morning and arrived in Sturgis Saturday afternoon and for the last 200 miles on Route 90, every vehicle on the highway was headed to Sturgis. There were thousands of motorcycles, trucks with bikes on the back, campers pulling trailers, cars pulling trailers and bikes pulling trailers. Everyone going to the same place.

It is hard to imagine that every vehicle all day long for over 200 miles was headed to the same place.

Our longest day out was 560 miles and our shortest day was 400 miles. Total out was about 1850 miles. Hottest temp. was 108 degrees and the coldest was 58 degrees. We did have a couple of showers out there but nothing serious.

Tom had a nice surprise waiting for us when we arrived at the Motel. He had shipped out a case of assorted wines. He then ran down to the local cheese emporium (Walmart) and picked up some excellent cheeses. We sat and relaxed a bit at the motel sipping wine and eating cheese before heading out to town.

We stayed in Rapid City about 25 miles east of Sturgis so we were able to sleep without hearing "Harleys" rumbling by our doors all night. I'm guessing that 95% of the bikes were Harleys or Harley clones. Every day, we got a fairly early start (you know Tom) riding around the country side and visiting national landmarks and parks. We got to see Mt. Rushmore and visited the Rushmore museum. They had films on how they actually carved out the rock. Most of it was done by drilling holes and setting off dynamite charges. It took 14 years to complete the project. You have to see the film to believe it.

Next we went to see the Chief Crazy Horse memorial. They are carving a 3D image of the Chief sitting on his horse. The work has been in progress for about 50 years and only his face is carved out. This project is privately funded so I am sure we will not see it completed in our lifetime.

Tuesday we rode through the Badlands. This is where the outlaws used to hide from the sheriff. Remember the old cowboy movies. The Badlands are literally millions of acres of rock formations as far as the eye can see. They filmed the "Armageddon" scene on the asteroid in the Badlands. It kind of looks like the moon.

From there, we rode to Custer National Park. This is a wilderness park where animals like Buffalo, Antelope, Elk and Donkeys can freely roam the plains. Yes, I did say donkeys. The rangers advised us to stay away from the buffalo but the donkeys would eat right out of our hands. We couldn't even get close to the elk or the antelope but we could see them feeding out in the fields.

Wednesday we headed to Wyoming to see the Devils Tower, a natural stone monument rising about 1300 feet. (a nice ride but not a great site)We stopped in Aladdin, WY, population 15; the smallest registered town in the US. We met most of the towns people, including the mayor, while we were there. From there we headed to Hullet, WY. On Wednesday during bike week, Hullet throws a party and invites everyone. This is a town of 6000 people that swells to 100,000 on Wednesday. Talk about a traffic jam.

Thursday we spent most of the day in Sturgis wandering around the shops and Thursday night, the four of us had tickets to see the Steve Miller Band at the Buffalo Chip campground. The stage viewing area holds about 20,000 people including their bikes. You just park anywhere and sit on your bike to watch the show. The whole area is surrounded with vendors and pubs. The campground itself is thousands of acres filled with campers as far as the eye can see. Some of the campers are converted busses that have to be worth over $250,000.00. (Just a guess but these things are incredible.) Of course there are also people sleeping in their trucks and small tents. Some of the big tents look like small homes. Everything is there.

The whole experience of the Sturgis week was incredible. They do things right and there is "No Attitude" anywhere. People are friendly and you feel welcomed every where you go. It is certainly a first class operation. One of the bars that we visited had playboy bunnies serving the beers. They had Miss March, Miss April and the Playmate of the Year. There was no cover charge in any of the bars and all the entertainment was top-notch. You never got the feeling you were being ripped off or forced to buy anything. You could sit and listen to the music without buying anything if you wanted to. Of course, we did imbibe a little.....

Friday we started the long ride home. Lynn & I had 6 days to make it back and Tom & Chae had only 4 so we headed south and they headed east. We decided to follow some of the smaller roads east so we took Rt-20 all the way through. Friday night we spent in Valentine, Nebraska. A small town that is just a speck on the map. We did count four banks on Main street and some of them were pretty impressive.

Saturday night we were in Des Moines, Iowa. we found a great restaurant in down town Des Moines and had a great Cajun meal. About 8:30 we set off to find a room. What we didn't know was that the Iowa State fair was going on. They told us there were no rooms available for 50 miles. So off we went for a 50 mile ride. There were still no rooms available so we went another 25 miles and stopped at a Super 8. "NO VACANCY". It is about 11:00 now and Lynn is inside talking to the Desk Clerk. I am outside making calls and not having very much luck. Fifteen minutes later, Lynn comes out and says, "We have a room". Yea ! I said, how far do we have to go? She said we have a room here and it is free. WOW !!!!!

It turns out, the desk clerk is from Fall River and she & Lynn hit it off pretty well. The clerk said that she had a couple of no-shows with prepaid rooms so she let us stay in one of them. The room also included breakfast. That was certainly a highlight of the trip.

Sunday afternoon we had lunch at Joe's Crab shack on the Peoria River. They have refurbished the Peoria waterfront and put in a paddle wheel river boat. It is really a beautiful area to sit and have a cocktail.

Sunday night we stayed in Indianapolis, IN right near the Indianapolis Speedway. That whole area is really cool. We walked around and found a really nice local pub and spent the rest of the night there telling and listening to stories from some of the locals.

Monday we headed on down to Pittsburgh to visit my cousin John and his wife Linda. We had a few cocktails, cooked Salmon on the grill and talked the night away. They both had to work the next day so it was an early night.

Tuesday we headed up to the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania and stayed in the small town of Wellsboro. The Canyon is a natural wonder about a thousand feet deep with a small river running through it. It is the home of all kinds of birds like the Bald Eagle and many different types of Hawks. Unfortunately at that time of the day, there wasn't much activity going on.

We found more activity in Wellsboro. Things were pretty cheap there even though it is a tourist town. We were drinking our usual drinks, Captain Morgan & Tonic for Lynn and Dewars for me. The first bar that we stopped in, both drinks came to $5.25. The second bar, both drinks were $4.75. Things were looking up. The third bar was the best of all. A nice Italian restaurant with great atmosphere, great food and great drinks. We spent the remainder of the night there eating, drinking and never checked the price of anything. That's what vacations are for.

Now it's Wednesday morning and we are headed home. We have 375 miles to go and the weather forecast looks good. We get to Manchester, CT, about 60 miles from home and the bike doesn't feel right. I stop and check the tires and the rear is going flat. We get off the highway as fast as possible but the tire didn't hold enough air for me to make it to a gas station. We find a safe spot and pull off the road.

I have towing service with the HRCA so I give them a call. Within 1/2 hour, the bike is on the truck and we are headed to Manchester Honda about 15 minutes away. It is getting close to 5:00 so Lynn suggests I call them. The service manager tells me that the technicians leave at 5:00 so I beg and plead and finally bribe him to get someone to wait for me. At 5:30 we are back on the road and headed home again with a plug in the rear tire. Thanks Manchester Honda.

The next and last stop of the trip was at our local pup, TJ's. The bartender gave us the best drinks that we had in 5000 miles.

It sure is great to be home. At least until the next adventure.







Our everywhere but Sturges …Sturges trip.

6:00 am Sat morning, 7/30/05 at Dunkin Donuts in Danbury CT were 3 tired but excited couples and one friend to get a pic. and send us off.
After 733mi we stopped outside of Indianapolis Indiana for dinner and got a room.
Up and off again early we hoped to get in another 700mi day but traffic, heat, and way too much goofing off put us in LaCross Wisconcin for the night after about 575mi. (hey we were on VACATION) We decided to go around Iowa due to the rain.
Day three we were back to business and rolled in to Rapid City SD with enough energy to walk 1mi to a Red Lobster for a great meal and the start of some real funny stories. (sorry what happens on vacation stays on vacation)
We spent the next three days seeing the sights of SD. The faces at MT Rushmore were smaller than I thought they would be, but a have to see part of the trip. Crazy horse was seen from a distance and the Black hills were fun to ride through, but the Bad Lands turned out to be and adventure when a nasty storm popped up with some strong winds and heavy rain. On went the rain suits (almost had to tie Betsy down to the bike so she wouldn’t blow of the back) and off we went.
We rode into Sturges Wednesday evening as there were setting up, vendors and tractor trailers everywhere, but few people.
Our big trip to Sturges and we were leaving before it even started, which was OK with me seeing I am not big on crowds. I just want to ride!!!!
Thursday morning and we are off to Colorado. Northern Wyoming is nice but as you head south there just aint much, including fuel stops. I am lucky enough to have an I/S with 6.9 gals of fuel but the two RoadKings I was with only have 5 gals and with them both pushing 100hp they do like fuel, when they both hit reserve within a mi of each other I thought for the first time on the trip I thought I would be tapping into that big tank of mine to keep the HDs going but we did find fuel in time and they took 4.8 & 4.9 gals.
We stop at a Subway to grab a bite to eat in a little town in Wyoming and in walks a couple that is a neighbor to one of the couples we are traveling with. What a shock to see someone from home 2500mi away also on a trip.
Thurs eve we rolled into Loveland CO. and found a real nice place on the edge of the Rocky Mountains. We spent the next day in Estes park and Rocky Mountain national park where the only thing I heard coming from Betsy was awesome, just awesome, this is awesome, wow, awesome for 200mi. it was great to see her so happy and acting like a kid on her first ride. She loves Colorado and I am sure we will be back.
Saturday started out with a great ride down thru CO towards the four corners but turned bad when we ran into very heavy traffic in over 100 deg. Temps at around 7,000 ft and one of the air cooled bikes started smoking. We found this little hole in the wall biker bar and had a burger to let things cool down. The walls and ceiling in this place were completely covered in dollar bills. This place was in Idaho Springs CO but if you ask the waitress it was Udaho Springs, I guess she knew by looking at us not to say I da ho !!
Well things went from bad to worse and it turned into a sad day with the smoking HD in a U-Haul headed for home after 3,200 mi.
The next two days were spent on some of the best roads I have ever been on, such as the million dollar highway (rt 550) which we did end to end both directions with a stop in Silverton, a small mining town in a valley.
The Four Corners is another must do, but when you get there you will wonder why you rode out into the middle of nowhere to see a block of concrete with an X on it. But hey we were in Colorado-Utah-Arizona and New Mexico all at the same time.
What else can I say but ….how bout some oxygen…. about Pikes Peak. It is an 18mi ride to the top and it is only paved half the way up. I made the mistake of climbing down the rocks to get a look at a plaque on a stone and after I climbed back up had to sit for twenty minutes to catch what breath I could at 14,110 ft. What a view.
There are no guard rails and no shoulder so if you are not comfortable with heights Pikes Peak is no place for you. Betsy and I are not bothered by heights and I could tell from the way she was spinning around on the back of the bike to take pictures she liked the view, of course a down hill hairpin turn on a dirt road is no place for her to be jumping around, and she was calmly and lovingly explained that more than once.
Next time I kick her ass off….ooooopppss have to remember the inner voice and outer voice.
A word to the wise, if you take a liquid cooled bike up to the top, find car wash when you get down and hose the dirt out of the radiator.
Well Wednesday came fast and we headed east across 70 thru Kansas and Missouri, no one can ever say “ he just snuck up on me” in Kansas, if you have been there you know what I mean!
Friday night we pulled into the garage from a ride that saw temps from 45 to 106+, mountains to flat flat land, views that went from WOW f…ing awesome to damn more grass and where did all these people come from to where the hell is everybody.

After 6,000mi and 24 states (6 twice) and a hell of a great time I am ready to do it all over again. Maybe even spend some time AT Sturges next time.
Looking back on the trip the only thing I would do differently would be BRING MORE FRIENDS!!!!!!!!!!!

Dan A (Dan-bury)
Danbury CT

VRCC 20509




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