I rolled away from the Sturgis Indian Dealership with a gigantic grin on my face and a brand new Indian between my legs. Life is good!
I was having an internal struggle though. I, and most other people I’ve ever met, refer to their motorcycles as female. How can I possibly call an Indian Dark Horse Chieftain a female?! I mean, yeah I’m a chick and have bigger balls than a lot of men just like my motorcycle here has more balls than a lot of other bikes…but…I think this one has to be a boy. Now if the bike were called an Indian Dark Horse Princess or something crazy like that I could see calling it a lady. Dark Horse Chieftain, however, just screams, “I am man hear me roar!”
It was around 7:30 P.M. and I just wanted to pack up camp and hit the road with my new boy-toy!!! Common sense took over and told me that given the time of day that was probably not the wisest idea. I decided to head out of town and hit some back roads to start getting this horse broke in.
I had ridden 4 models of bikes already today and this one was every bit as impressive as they had been. Speed, torque, looks, handling, comfort, and a spectacular stereo….what more could a girl ask for?! Think about twisting the throttle and this trusty steed was already out of the gate and running, see a curve up ahead and he was already leaning into it, gliding through the air smooth as silk in the wind. I was only 10 minutes in and knew without a doubt this machine and I were meant to live happily ever after. I also knew that it had been a long time since lunch and I needed to find some food before everything closed up shop for the night.
After a stroll down Main St in Sturgis with my head held a little higher on this brand new Indian, I found myself back at The Knuckle Saloon for steak tips and fries. Never a disappointment! I contemplated having a few beers to celebrate buying my 17th motorcycle in 2017 on the 20th anniversary of my 1st trip to Sturgis, buuuut decided tomorrow was going to be a long enough day riding 7-800 miles home possibly in the rain so I didn’t need a headache or hangover on top of that. Look at me here adulting and stuff!
I wheeled into the campground and tested out the Chieftains off-road capabilities getting over to my campsite, he took to the terrain like a champ! I checked 5 or 6 times to make sure he was stable and at no risk of tipping over then stood and stared at my magnificent new companion smiling and thinking about how many adventures we were going to have together. Finally I decided it was bed time and crawled off into my tent.
Sun is up and birds are chirping lets do this!!!
First thing is First, wonder down to the shower house for my coffee. This was a heart stopping experience. It was 6:40 A.M. and there in front of the shower house was no sign of coffee and across the lot was no sign of breakfast being served! I wasn’t sure if I was mad, sad, or just plain confused but this situation needed to be remedied quickly!
One of my friendly camp neighbors informed me that the convenience store at the entrance was serving coffee and the other restaurant down there was serving breakfast…weeew, ok, catastrophe avoided! I also discovered that a 16oz cup of coffee rides perfectly at the back of my saddle bags up a hill and through the field back to my campsite. #WINNING
I had packed my Street Glide countless times and had it down to a science but now it was time to get acquainted with my Chieftain and find all of its tie-down points. I began to tear down camp and gather everything into a pile when I realized for not bringing a lot of stuff I sure seemed to have a lot of stuff! Granted I did make a few shopping trips around town this week…
It was about 9:15 sun was shining and I was rolling, extremely excited to get out and ride my new toy but disappointed as always that I was leaving the Black Hills behind once again. Heading back to reality after a Sturgis rally is never something to look forward to.
I had to be nice to my boy here for the first several miles East, roll on and off the throttle changing speeds and RPM’s often, and no cruise control. None of this bothered me a bit, I was having the time of my life getting to know this bike. Passers by may have wondered what in the hell I was up to out here on the interstate swerving side to side in my lane, slowing down only to speed right back up again, and singing to this loud and proud new stereo. The first tank of gas was gone before I knew it and it was time to find a pit stop.
When traveling I often run into a lack of fuel options. Out west and in higher elevations it’s more common to find less fuel options at the pumps than in the mid-west. DON’T PANIC PEOPLE! YES your motorcycle recommends higher octane fuels, NO 1 tank of lower octane fuel is not going to ruin your engine in any way, shape, or form. Newer machines are specially programmed to adjust spark and combustion times according to whatever octane level is put in them so they will for sure have less or no pre-ignition pinging/knocking with lower octane.
ALL fuel grades are complete with additives and detergents to help clean your engine, so NO you are not accomplishing anything by using high-octane to keep your engine cleaner.
Ethanol, YES it can be a destructive, corrosive, asshole of a substance when it comes to your fuel system. Unfortunately for us riders we sometimes do not have the option of zero ethanol fuel at every pump. Here’s the thing, Ethanol is destructive over time being left in the fuel system to erode and rot gaskets and hoses. It is not going to be the death of your machine if you are forced to run 1 tank of 10% ethanol fuel through it. If you happen to be someone who does not ride often or for any amount of miles at 1 time well then yes try your damnedest to avoid Ethanol fuel, out here on I-90 you are simply going to burn through it and move on.
All that being said, to the four groups of bikes I watched roll through the pumps in South Dakota stare at the 3 options of 87 octane fuel then decide amongst your group to try to make it to the next town and hope for better options. Calm down! First of all there was a zero Ethanol 87 octane here for you and I have had 2 Harleys with tens of thousands of miles on them that run great on nothing but 85-89 octane fuels their entire lives. Secondly, would you rather deal with the chance of a occassional pre-ignition ping that will in no way damage your engine and let you make it farther down the road today, or try to make the next town and hope they have 90+ octane and that you don’t run out of fuel before getting there to find these things out?! At this rate your trip home may take an extra day.
While I’m ranting I may as well address the lack of performance and fuel mileage issue everyone brings up when talking about lower octane fuel. We are all headed down the interstate for the next who knows how many hours and you are going to get up to 75-85 MPH and set the cruise control, why is peak performance out here even a thought in your mind, you aren’t going to use it or need it. Especially the group with the Ultra Classic, Street Glide, Victory, and Shadow, you guys aren’t anywhere near the same category of performance or fuel mileage in any situation regardless of octane levels.
ANYWAYS, sorry I blew up! Not trying to offend anyone here, hell odds are you may not even know why you are recommended to use high-octane fuel but your manual says so so you just do it. Certain subjects get me a tad riled up, senseless uproar over limited fuel choices is right up there with calling chaps “ass-less” …well no shit! If they weren’t ass-less they’d be pants.
Alright fueled up with non-ethanol 87 octane and back out on the road. I had enough miles on now that it was ok to use cruise control and ride the bike how it was meant to be ridden. I turned onto the on ramp for interstate 90 and twisted the throttle like I was preparing for lift off, this bike flew forward like a rocket! Torque. Torque. aaaaand more torque, WOW! I shifted through each gear like a hot knife through butter the transmission smooth and quiet, I think I may have been flying. I sailed down the highway at above recommended rates of speed yet there was no vibration, no pull to one side or the other,(did you know they liquid balance their tires?!) and there was that magnificent stereo loud and clear! It was official I could ride this horse straight off into the sunset and never ever need to leave the saddle.
I wasn’t too far down the road and the sky just kept getting darker and darker, I was pretty sure at some point it was going to open up and pour down buckets of rain. As all of us who do any amount of riding know, one surefire way to prevent it from raining is to put on your rain gear. I passed a few exits and pretty soon the wind started picking up so I figured I better pull over and put my gear on. I pulled off on the next exit and discovered that I was not alone, there were five or six other motorcycles pulled over here doing exactly the same thing. Great minds think a like!
Just as I had suspected, the sky continued to be darker and darker and I was in full gear so not more than a few sprinkles ever fell on me.
The next few hundred miles disappeared before I knew it and I was pulling in for another pit stop. I fueled up and wheeled over to park next to a Street Glide and 2 Can-am’s. There was a man standing there so I shut off my bike, stood up, and said, “Man I wish I knew if it was actually going to rain or not.” To which he simply stared at me and did not reply. I noticed he was wearing a set of colors but didn’t catch the name on the back. I proceeded to organize myself to head inside and use the restroom and grab something to snack on when all of the sudden he pipes up and says, “I Russian.” Now I know why he stared at me blankly, whatever I said probably made absolutely no sense and whatever organization he was affiliated with I will never be able to pronounce! Turns out he and two of his friends road from New Jersey to Sturgis and were now on their way home looking for things to do along the way. Through the language barrier we did manage to exchange compliments on each other’s motorcycles. We all had our picture taken together at their request and I informed them that at this point on highway 90 all the way across South Dakota and Minnesota there really was not a whole lot to stop at, see, or do. That was definitely one of the more interesting conversations I had this week simply due to the lack of knowing each other’s languages. They were heading out and I was headed into the store. I found myself in the bathroom rain suit, leather jacket , vest, long sleeve shirt, jeans, chaps and underwear… I honestly stood there contemplating how long I could hold it before this would become emergency situation.
The struggle is real boys and girls!
Once I was back out to the bike I decided that even though it wasn’t raining yet it still might so I was gonna go ahead and leave all the gear on and head down the road. I was very happy about this decision when about 10 miles later it did indeed rain, some may have called it a freak monsoon! This was the kind of rain where you were very happy to be wearing a helmet and full gear because at highway speed it was going to hurt. And of course traffic slowed down to around 45 miles an hour everyone including myself turn their flashers on because you just plain and simply couldn’t see far enough in front of you to be traveling safely which means everyone behind you could potentially run you over. I don’t mind riding in the rain and actually I was curious to see how this new toy would handle in such conditions. This amount of water was a tad extreme. Good news is the new bike with its brand new liquid balanced tires did fantastically just like I knew it would.
After a tank of gas in the rain the sky eased up and things started drying off so I shredded some gear at my next fuel stop. I realized as I took the rain pants off that I really should have invested in the new Indian motorcycle rain gear I had looked at when buying my new bike. My HD rain gear has been with me for 10 years now through many bikes, states, and miles. It has definitely served it’s time and has developed a leak somewhere in the oh so convenient crotch area leaving me looking very much like I have bladder control issues. Well shit.
It was while I stood there assessing my water situation that I looked down and noticed a very awesome chrome badge on the back of my front fender that says STURGIS. That is really cool I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed this before, then I realized I had one on the horn that says THE SPIRIT OF STURGIS! Aaaaaaand the tiny Indian head on the front of the front fender has a light up face! Those tiny details just made my entire day.
3 gas stops down and 1 left to go I had not found a thing I’d change about my Chieftain. I rolled the rest of the way home into Wisconsin dry and happy. After a 777 miles day I had no desire to dismount my new steed but my 5 days of playtime were over and I had a 4:30 A.M. alarm waiting to call my name in about 5 hours.
Another eventful and successful Sturgis trip in the books! My 17th motorcycle sitting in my garage and my 37th state now under my belt via 2 wheels!
Until next time friends, Thanks for riding along!
Hi boys and girls!
Before I get carried away telling the story of how I fell in love with an Indian I just wanted to say that I am a lover of all things on 2 wheels! If I could find a way to make a living with my wheels spinning I’d never leave the saddle. I have never been a brand specific rider in the dirt or on the black top. I currently have six different brands of motorcycles in my garage and I love them all for different purposes and different reasons.
That being said I am simply here to share my completely amazing experience with Indian motorcycles at this year’s Sturgis rally and how my new Chieftain Dark Horse made me want to leave my Harley Davidson Street Glide behind.
Once upon a time I saw a 1938 Indian scout Hillclimb motorcycle and have never forgotten that image it has always just been my “Unicorn” motorcycle. I got up close and personal with several of them at the Bonham and Mecum auctions in Vegas a few years ago and I think I have more photos of those motorcycles then I do my son! There is no reason up to now why I have waited to take one of these fine pieces of machinery for a test drive so I decided this year’s rally was going to be the time!
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday flew right by me! Next thing I know it’s Saturday morning. There was some type of stunt show happening at the Yamaha tent this week and I really wanted to see what this crazy looking motorcycle would do that they had parked out front. There was a sign listing the showtimes as 12, 2 and 4 and today was the last day for a show.
You can’t help but wonder exactly what this thing is and does right!?
I had bought a leather vest with a skull patch as requested by my son and I also had a new patch of my own to sew on my vest so I went downtown around 10 AM when everything starts to open up to have these things sewn together. As I stood there on Lazelle street waiting for the seamstress to finish up I noticed I was directly across the street from the Indian exhibit and the Yamaha exhibit and it was only 10:45. I had an hour and 15 minutes to kill before the stunt show.
It was like the announcer was reading my mind as I thought to myself, “What should I do for the next hour and 15 minutes?” I hear loud and proud over the speaker system, “Free demo rides all day here at Indian!”
That message couldn’t have been any clearer if it was tattooed on my forehead. So there I went across the street directly into a field of Indians! Every size, shape, color, model, and option available was displayed out there in one way or another. I knew instantly I was going to get my leg lifts in today by tossing a leg over each and every one of those beautiful machines!
I’m a huge fan of Bobber style bikes and was drawn to the Scout Bobber 1st. Then the Scout Sixty. Then the Scout. By the 3rd bike I was full of questions and as I looked up for someone to ask a friendly guy in an Indian polo shirt with a handful of flyers was already standing by to help me!
This would be the 1st of a dozen or more fantastic Indian motorcycle company employees to assist me with my day. He smiled shook my hand and asked what he could help me with. I had noticed each bike had a drastic difference in foot and hand control positions and wanted to know if those were standard positions on each model or if they were part of a certain accessory package available. This guy was prepared! He hands me a flyer not only detailing the different handle bar/ foot peg position options all mapped out by rider height (genius way to fit a person to a bike which I have never been shown at another dealer) but also has any and all statistic info about each Scout model. I had engine size and stats, color options, reach options, weight, fuel capacity, and stock features all right in front of me along with prices! Having something in hand with all the necessary details was perfect and much easier to compare from bike to bike than listening to a salesman list things off about each one.
5 minutes in and I was hooked!
Now that I have successfully sat on and compared each of the display models it was time to check in to taking one for a spin. I had about an hour yet before the stunt show would start and was assured by one of the guys who worked the exhibit here that I should return shortly before noon if I left with the next group. My friendly helper directed me through yet another field of Indians to a semi truck with a large awning attached to it. Here under the awning was a table with 2 of the nicest ladies I’d talked to all day! I was a ball of energy, as usual, bouncing off the walls wanting to ride one of these machines! I was rambling a mile a minute full of questions and they smiled and answered every one I had. Most importantly they got me signed up for a demo ride and informed me I could ride as many times as I wanted for free throughout the day! I had a bag with me containing some Sturgis garb and the girls even offered to set it behind the table there for me for safe keeping while I went on my ride.
At this point my dad was still with me, he rode up from Colorado for a day to ride and hangout with me at the Rally. This was pretty awesome since this year marked the 20th anniversary of the first time he brought me to Sturgis! Dad was sticking around until noon so he was going to take advantage of a free test ride too. I walked out and sat on a Scout Sixty because they just look like fun, Dad wandered over to a Chieftain and we were off and rolling with the crew after the guys came around to make sure we were comfortable and knew where the controls on the bikes were.
The test ride route was a 30 minute loop that involved in town riding, frontage/back road riding, and a nice stretch of interstate. A little bit of everything to get a feel for the bike, excellent route choice! I obeyed all the rules but being a bit of a rebel simply could not let this ride go by without seeing what this little beast was capable of. As we pulled up to the on ramp for the interstate segment of the ride I hung back until the bikes in front of me were near the bottom then turned that corner along with the throttle and yeeeehaw was that Scout a zippy little thing for only a 60 cu in engine! I was zero to 6th gear and at the posted speed limit by the end of the ramp! The Scout Sixty definitely had my attention, I’d say built for a good time but comfortable enough to travel some distance on too. I’d recommend one of these sporty rides for any beginner rider, those looking for the commuter bike, or those of us who just like a weekend back road cruise. At this point in my day I knew I was never making that stunt show at noon because I would be back out on another demo ride with something more my size.
We wheeled back into the lot by the semi, parked the pretty maids all in a row, and everyone scattered except dad and I. I was going back in line for round 2 and dad was considering another ride but knew he had to get rolling south to make his 400 mile ride home. He was very impressed with the Chieftain Limited and I asked if he would rather ride it or my Street Glide, he chose the Indian hands down. “Ok.” I thought to myself, “Now I need to ride that one after this Springfield I’m currently drooling over.”
Demo ride 2; I pulled out on a Springfield Dark Horse which caught my eye from the moment I walked into the Indian exhibit that morning. This thing just screams, “Twist my throttle and let me out of my cage!” Flat black paint, flowing body lines sexier than most models in the magazines, 111 cu in engine that growls even with the stock exhaust, and a solo seat made just for me! We were rolling down the side streets of Sturgis and this fine piece of machinery was purring like a kitten just waiting to roar like a lion when I could finally get a chance to run through the gears. We passed the 55 MPH sign and I rolled on that throttle bringing her up to speed in the blink of an eye smoother than silk she glided down the black top. All I could do was grin ear to ear this Dark Horse was ready to run wild and we were approaching the interstate stretch of the ride! Again I hung back in line to open her up coming down the on ramp and again I was extremely impressed with the performance I got when i grabbed a fist full of throttle and went 1st through 6th gear just sailing down that black top. I could literally feel the tires grip the pavement and the engine pulling me forward, no shake, no rattle, just a whole lot of roll.
I think I’m in love.
As we pulled back into the exhibit I knew right away I had to ride a bagger. The idea of leaving my Harley right here in the lot and never looking back was beginning to consume my mind. The fact that I hadn’t put sun block on today and left my water on the bike earlier was also creeping up on me. I walked over to the smiling ladies at the table again and they thought I was coming for my bag but quickly put it back down when I smiled and said, “Do you happen to sell water here?” They giggled and one of the ride guides pointed to a cooler and told me to help myself. Excellent! Slam a bottle of water and take a chance of a sunburn to get in a few more rides. Lets go boys!
This trip around I snagged the blue Chieftain Limited that dad had tried out. This thing had all kind of bells and whistles I would most likely never figure out how to use since I tend to be a tad technologically challenged. But….WOW! Touch screen radio and navigation, push button retracting windshield, push button locking saddle bags, extra long foot boards, a glove compartment on the dash, USB port, and so many other lights gauges and gadgets! I tuned in the local country station and realized immediately that this stereo put my Street Glides to shame. We rolled on and I continued to play with the controls and do some side to side swerving to test out the handling and weight of this machine. What I discovered is that it felt light as air under me and could turn on a dime. Perfectly balanced, again, WOW!
There I was flying down the interstate for the 3rd time and on the 3rd model of bike when I realized that I was not leaving this rally without at least asking about my trade in options.
Back at the Indian exhibit, just like each ride before, I had all the staff members right there asking what I thought, what I liked, and if there was anything I didn’t like about the bikes I had ridden.
At this point the only thing that concerned me about any of them was that the engine throws a lot of heat up on my inner thighs. My Dyna Street Bob is notorious for this and on my long trips with regular 700-1000 mile days it can get very uncomfortable depending on the weather. One memorable Sturgis trip I arrived at Hog Heaven after 840 miles on the road on a 90 degree day only to discover that the heat had gotten so bad my thigh blistered and my skin peeled away with my jeans. That being said you can understand why this is something I notice on bikes I ride. I asked one of the wonderful employees there if this was something they had heard before and the answer was yes. He informed me that was not the first time someone had mentioned the heat situation and that the bikes have been improving in this area every year. Now this is what I like to hear, a company aware of a problem and working to solve it!
I once mentioned the heat situation on my Dyna to a service man at a Harley shop and his response was, “Well engines get hot.”…. Gee thanks mister I never would have known!
Alright, not a deal breaker but definitely something I need to consider before jumping headfirst into a new machine.
Time for demo ride #4! I saved the best for last, 2018 Chieftain Dark Horse. It was a love at first sight moment. Then I threw my leg over and stood her up, OOOOOOH! THIS is THE one!!! I honestly wondered in today’s world if I’d be considered crazy to buy this machine a ring and roll her down the aisle!?
This was going to be an excellent 30 minute cruise!
If the looks of this beauty aren’t enough to reel you in the performance will! I put her through the now routine test run, swerve side to side at various speeds, let go of the bars and see if it drifts to one side or the other, hammer on it down the on ramp, slam on the bakes at least once (sorry for those who may have been following me), play with all of the switches and gadgets, and of course test out the radio!
A+, 100%, passed with flying colors! Perfectly balanced light as a feather floating down the highway, smooth as a baby’s butt when I rolled on the throttle, torque/power for days -actually felt the tires grip the pavement and catapult me down the road, raised and lowered the windshield at the touch of a button, and the stereo, WOW! I would usually lose the sound of my Street Glides stereo around the 70-75 MPH mark even at full volume, this was not the case here! The volume level went to 30 and I could hear it loud and clear at level 9 and 80 MPH!!! The solo seat was as if it was molded just for me and the floor boards were long enough that I had a variety of positions to choose from without needing highway bars or extra pegs. Not sure I have ever been so happy on a bike, and I’ve owned 16 of them!
It was official, I was in love.
Once again back at the exhibit I put the bike in neutral but had to peel myself off of it and hesitated to walk away, I just wanted to keep riding it for days!!! Due to my lack of sunscreen and need of some lunch I managed to step away from the motorcycle. The girls at the sign up table were smiling away and had my bag in hand when I walked up, we chatted a minute about the bikes I had ridden today and I walked away before I decided to ride yet another. On my way across the lot the riding guides were all wondering what my favorite bike was and if I had anything to say about them. Well I had a lot to say about all of them but I kept my report brief and said I was pretty certain I needed to own one of these, one of the guys told me to head over to the dealership and talk to someone named Matt.
Okey Dokey, time for some food! The Knuckle Saloon never disappoints so I walked in for some Steak tips while I chewed over the idea of a new motorcycle. I recognized a few bartenders from years past and had fun chit chats along with great food. Next thing I knew I was backing my Harley up in front of the Sturgis Indian Motorcycle dealership.
It is after all 2017 and I probably should purchase my 17th motorcycle, right??? RIGHT!!!
I had already spent close to 4 hours with some high quality customer service people and had been thoroughly impressed, I had no idea until I walked through the doors here that my day could get any better!
This was the end of the rally week for these people and they had been running around the clock bending over backwards to help people all week and still had positive attitudes and huge smiles on their faces! I have worked with the general public my entire life and I can tell you first hand smiling and pretending you give a shit about everything that comes out of people’s mouths can be a stressful and difficult task but these people had it covered! This group of staff was as fun-filled and energetic as it gets and I loved the atmosphere here.
I was greeted immediately with a hand shake and a smile then asked what I could be helped with. I said I had been told to speak with Matt about buying a new motorcycle. The lady found me a stool to sit on, got me a bottle of water to drink, and then asked if she could do anything else for me before she went to find Matt. How great was that!? I was simply expecting to stand there and wait or follow her through the store looking for him, this was just grand!
Not 5 minutes later I was being introduced to Matt who also shook my hand and gave me a big smile. I explained that I had gone on 4 demo rides today and was interested in leaving my Street Glide here and riding home an Indian.
Out the doors we went. He told me right away that the bikes I rode today were 2018 models and not available for purchase yet so I would be looking at 2017 models. Good to know right out of the gate. I told him I was looking for a Chieftain Dark Horse and he let me know there were only 2 here but there was a flat silver Chieftain fully loaded with accessories and options. Alright now I know what I have to choose from so I can be flipping coins over decisions while we go through the motions.
We cruised the new bikes for a bit and then walked over to look at my Harley to get an idea on a trade value. On the way over to my bike I told Matt that after 4 demo rides today I was positive I should just take one home with me and he said he was pretty positive too! Excellent lets make some magic happen! I told him the need to know basics, 30k miles, a couple scratches, no mechanical issues, not modified other than exhaust….after a good once over we were headed back inside where I was introduced to my soon to be sales girl Abby was grinning ear to ear and ready to take on the world! I knew from her attitude we were going to get along great. Abby gathered the necessary info from me and asked if I needed anything while she went to crunch numbers for me.
I decided to take a walk around the store and check out some clothing and gear. I noticed they had Frogg Toggs hanging with their rain gear, I’ve never checked these out but have heard a lot about them so I took some time to look them over and read the tags. I was just about to look for someone to ask some questions to when the lady that had originally greeted me here walked over to see if I needed anything. Man this crew is on top of things around here! I asked if she knew anything about the life expectancy of the Frogg Toggs because after looking them over I couldn’t help but think they were not a long-term investment. Turns out I was correct, she had a costumer who was on his 4th set in a few years. This was not going to be a good fit for me, I have had the same rain suit since 2007 and it has more miles on it than my friends motorcycles do. Thanks a bunch for the info I will be buying a regular Indian rain suit soon!
Next up was this adorable little lady bouncing through the displays toward me smiling. She stopped to ask if I was the girl trading the Harley for the Chieftain. I said, “Yep that is me!” Which she responded to with a giant hug, then she proceeded to tell me she wished she could be as much of a Bad-ass as I am and ride a bagger to Sturgis alone then turn around and ride another one home! Well if that wasn’t a compliment I don’t know what is! Thank you so much! I believe her name is Lauren. Later I caught her running in and out of the dealership helping a customer and I asked if she was getting her steps in?! She stopped to tell me that actually she had just discovered that her phone counted steps and she hit 12,000 one day this week! WOW, as I said, this crew had been running around the clock this week. Yet she in the midst of her running took the time to stop smile and chat for a minute, love these people!
Abby came around the corner grinning again with papers in her hand and I was very anxious to hear what she had to say!
“Good news,” she says to me as she lays out the papers on the counter in front of us. According to the numbers there I could have any bike on the lot I just needed to let her know which one I wanted.
Oh boy Oh boy decision time!!! One of my biggest pet peeve’s, picky people, so I try hard not to be one, BUT I seriously couldn’t figure out which bike I wanted. I asked if we could go out and look at them all again and she was more than happy to oblige!
First I sat on the fully loaded flat silver Chieftain, every option anyone could ever ask for….but, it was silver.
Second was the shiney black Chieftain Dark Horse, same options and blacked out, …. but, it was shiney.
Third and final bike was the flat black Chieftain Dark Horse, not many options, ….but it was the color I fell in love with at first sight!
So many things to consider here and I apologized to Abby for being undecided, she just smiled and told me to take all the time I needed it was after all kind of a major decision.
Roughly a decade later I finally chose the basic flat black model because I figured I can always add options its much harder and more expensive to change paint. Aaaaaaand back inside we went, now over to the service desk for a quote on installing a back rest. I had to have some way to haul my things home from camp, Abby told me they are more than happy to ship things for me if it came down to it. AMAZING seriously is there anything this crew doesn’t do??? Price quote in hand 2 minutes later and I said to go ahead and put the back rest on before I take it home. I also got a quick look at some tie down options while in the service area there was a man with his new bike testing out bungee chords and nets with an employee showing him various places to hook to. This was important info for me since I was going to be riding around 800 miles home with my new trusty steed in the morning.
Next we wait.
I met the security guard who kept me company for a bit and then Abby came back to sit and talk while my bike was being prepped for departure. I told her how my dad and I started coming out here 20 years ago to off-road ride and Hillclimb and I’ve been coming back ever since. I said if I could just find a way to ride a motorcycle for a living I’d be set, she told me of a couple she knows that actually does this! Now that is one fantastic career, they live in Arizona and South Dakota and test bikes, gear, and equipment for Indian motorcycles…talk about living the dream! I also got to hear how Indian tested one of their engines but continually running it, without any load, for a million miles only shutting her down for oil changes. That should be the equivalent of a 300,000 mile motor when actually putting miles on the road. I told her if Indian ever wants to test that theory let me know because this chick would be hands down 100% up for that Iron Butt Challenge!!! What an amazing adventure that would be!
Next I met Wiley from the parts department, he came out to meet me and explain some break in instructions to me for my ride home. Very helpful and answered my questions about exhaust options and other accessories. I’ll be back to see him for some things soon!
Alright it was time to meet the woman behind the curtains here where I sign my life away and then run away with my Indian. This woman had her ducks in a row she was chatting away keeping me entertained while putting forms together to have me sign and gathering info from me all at the same time! I was confused just trying to watch what she had happening let alone keep up! Another spectacular employee that was still smiling and happy after a long rally week.
Finally it was time to meet my new companion! Abby walked me outside around the building and there it was! I fell in love all over again. Abby went over all the basic controls and functions of things with me. I discovered that not only does the new toy have air shocks like my Street Glide but this one comes with its own gauge and pump! Also next to the USB port was a carrying case for my phone to slide into!
It was time to say goodbye and take my bike down the road but I wanted a picture of me on it first. Again there was Abby going above and beyond, my phone was dead so she took my photo with hers and texted it over to me! Love her!
Everything fit perfectly on my new steed!
It wasn’t until I was loaded up and on the road home that I noticed some cool features that set my Chieftain out from the crowd. I have Sturgis badges on the horn and fender, and the Indian head up front lights up! Just more things to add to the lengthy list of awesomeness here.
Thanks for letting me share my bike buying experience with you! Stay tuned for more Sturgis and Indian stories coming up soon!!!
There I was all snug in my tent, fancy sleeping bag all nice and toasty, folded up blanket as my pillow, sound asleep not a care in the world.
Then I hear my name, coming from outside, somewhere around 2 A.M.
Dad has arrived! He had a 400 mile ride after work from Georgetown Colorado to meet me here. Coincidentally this year is the 20th anniversary of him bringing me to Sturgis for the 1st time!
Dad hadn’t been at camp but about maybe 20 minutes when it became very clear that I did in fact inherit things from him. The talent for improperly parking motorcycles on hills and having them fall over was apparently one of these things.
I walked up to use the porta potty and when I returned a few minutes later dad was trying to pick up his bike off the ground. This scene looked vividly familiar. Instead of a Harley in the daylight on its side we now have a BMW in the dark on its side. This was one of those “I really shouldn’t laugh cause dads probably a tad cranky” kind of moments, but since I did the same thing yesterday I found it rather hilarious. I told him I was impressed I didn’t hear a long list of profanity while I was at the porta potty and he said he was trying not to wake people up.
Definitely a situation where you had to be there to see the humor of it all. I mean we were talking , pounding tent stakes , unstrapping bags from the bike, setting up a tent, and dropping motorcycles all in the wee hours of the morning but dad wasn’t cussing yet so life was good and the neighbors might still be sleeping.
After some hard labor holding a flash light while dad fumbled around getting his tent unpacked and set up, (I think it probably looked like a disco with all of the back and forth from the bike to the campsite because I kept shining the light wherever dad walked) he let me go back to bed.
As always first crack of daylight that is wide-awake running around ready to go! He had already been up to the shower house grabbed me a cup of coffee and brought it back, smart man!
Today was going to be epic, I am touring to my 36th and 37th State via motorcycle and dad is coming along for the ride.
I have never been to North Dakota via motorcycle or any other mode of transportation and I was about to find out why. We headed out of Sturgis with the destination of Theodore Roosevelt National Park, I figured why not add another National Park to my list while I was on this trip.
Once into Belle Fourche I saw the coolest RV it must’ve had literally 1000 bumper stickers on the outside of it and it was parked on the corner by the stop light. This is something I’ll remember and talk more about it later. It was here that we made a right-hand turn north on Highway 85. Now mind you I had tried to research different routes in and out of North Dakota and things in North Dakota one might want to see, this particular route was labeled “scenic”….. I’m here to tell you firsthand with Dad as my witness Helen Keller herself saw more sites in her lifetime then we did this day.
Didn’t matter which direction I looked the scenery did not change. It was a 240 mile ride from Sturgis to Theodore Roosevelt National Park and as we rolled down this highway I began thinking to myself, “How badly do I really want to see this National Park!?”
We had been rolling a long for sometime and I realized I hadn’t really looked at the clock or my odometer to know exactly how far we were into this 240 mile adventure but it had to be 100 miles or better by now.
All of a sudden out of nowhere there was a curve in the road! This was extremely exciting, I wasn’t sure if I could quite remember, after the long straight path we had been following, how to turn my motorcycle. Luckily it’s just like riding a bike and my skills came back to me allowing to flawlessly navigate this crazy technical section of road. Wow a curve, maybe we’re getting somewhere?
I was wrong, just more of the same. Road elevated a bit and we crested what could be referred to as a hill and I shit you not this is where I discovered there is indeed life on other planets because I was sure at this point we had left earth, there up ahead was a large grove of trees!!! I was in awe at the green leafy site! Sadly it came and went as we rolled by. Then at the top of the next hill there was something on the side of the road I could not quite make it out until I was almost passing it, turns out there on the side of the road next to a backpack was an actual human being! I could not help but wonder how in the hell did he get here ?…and where did he come from?… and is he really human? Dad had the same thought, I caught him looking around in the fields on either side for a vehicle or a house or any sign of other life forms that we may have overlooked. I certainly hope he found whatever he was looking for out there before the buzzards started circling.
I was thinking we should be dangerously close to the state line around now when I spotted a sign, I slowed way down thinking it may be the North Dakota sign and I definitely wanted a picture of this because at this point I was pretty sure I was never coming back again. As I got close enough to read it it was a big sign that read, Gas -food- and Camp supplies 1 mile ahead. Now I know I was only down a little over a quarter tank of fuel since we left so there was really no need to stop, curiosity got the best of me and I had to see what this little building out in the middle of this vast no man’s land was all about.
Very cool oasis, drinks, groceries, souvenirs, outdoor restrooms, and a few rock formations outside that so far were the most scenic part of our journey on the “scenic” route Highway 85. The welcome sign at the back door I believe was my favorite part.
We met some fellow riders here who had trailered out to the rally from New Hampshire and were making the same 4 state loop that we were today and had the same opinion of the ride thus far. Somewhere around 40 miles after our little country general store stop we did manage to find the state line to North Dakota. The other group had stopped there as well. After some photos we were all back on the road.
All right here we go state number 36 on my motorcycle. I decided by this point in our journey that Theodore Roosevelt National Park was no longer the destination. We were simply going to make it to the next highway that headed west, hang a left, and find Montana. Before we had the opportunity to do this we first ran into road construction where we became stuck behind a convoy of 4 trucks, trailers, and campers. Every time I saw a sign that said pass with care I would see another sign on the shoulder of the road that said 40 MPH construction zone, needless to say I was a little confused on exactly what the traffic laws were. Given my history of being pulled over on a fairly regular basis I figured maybe I should give up the dream of passing these folks and just hang out behind them traveling roughly 5 MPH under the posted speed limit. Hey life happens we’re all trying to get somewhere at some point right?! At this part I was seriously just laughing into the wind at my day, there was really nothing wrong, bikes running good weather was great but there was just absolutely nothing out here to look at and the road just seemed to go on forever in a straight line.
I’m not one to mind when the road goes on forever but I prefer it has maybe a hill or corner or maybe a couple more of those groves of trees that I had seen what seemed like so many days ago. I am a huge fan of being in the middle of nowhere but this was a whole different world out here, it was the kind of middle of nowhere that makes you wonder if anything could possibly survive out here and exactly when in the hell did I step back into a 1980s horror flick ?! What’s next? Will my bike breakdown and some crazy scene from The Hills Have Eyes be replayed in real life?!
Next we arrived in Bowman and found a travel center. I picked up a coffee cup souvenir and we had a little lunch before hitting the road west. It wasn’t far from here to Montana down Highway 12.
We reached the state line to my 37th state via 2 wheels in no time and it was like stepping into the water from a hot sandy beach we went from vast nothingness to some really cool rock and sand formations and a curvy hilly road
I should’ve appreciated that stretch of highway while it lasted much more than I did because we were turning down Highway 7 and it was all gone! This highway parallels 85 so essentially I was just driving down the backside of everything I had seen all morning. I’m not going to bother re-describing everything you’ve already read, enough about that. I will just say that after our stretch of Highway 7 came to an end we found the coolest little bar and a little four corners in south-eastern Montana. Everything from the deck to the bar to the bartender to the bathrooms had me entertained here so we took a nice long break and enjoyed an adult beverage to celebrate the 300 miles of boredom being behind us now.
After seeing the sights down the hallway here I finally made it to the restroom and I’m not gonna lie it was kinda graphic……
I lost hope for humanity again in this bathroom but not for reasons you may think. I found a small bundle of cash on the floor when I walked in and assumed it belonged to the girl who had occupied it before me so I took it out to her friend who was waiting in line to use the bathroom and neither one of the girls thanked me for returning it! I can’t help but wonder if the friend returned it to the rightful owner?!
These would have made excellent stocking stuffers if I had thought that far ahead.
After taking full advantage of the photo opp here we came to the conclusion that we just might be the tourists that we make fun of because neither of us had a clue where we were, hadn’t looked at a map since we left, and the trusty ol’ google maps app only works if you have service. Now this is becoming a true road trip….not all who wonder are lost….and at the risk of sounding even more cliché, it’s about the journey not the destination!
I decided to leave behind a bumper sticker since everyone else left their autograph and date carved or signed into the wood here, hey who knows maybe I’ll be famous and some passers-by might want to read about my adventures!
Eventually we picked a direction and before we even had a chance to leave 3rd gear there was a sign saying Devils Tower Wyoming was to the right, that is close to Aladdin so off to the right we went.
If you have never ventured to Aladdin Wyoming I strongly suggest you go. The first several years I stopped here the town, Population 15, was for sale. This real estate ad was hand written in giant letters on a poster board attached to the front door of the General store-Post Office-Bar-Souvenir shop-Antique store-Gas Station.
This year I noticed the sign was gone so i assume it finally sold. I was happy to see whoever bought it left the high-class bathrooms outback with the fancy plumbing. It is honestly all just part of the Aladdin experience!
Dad bought a shirt and I used the facilities then bought some cheese curds for the ride back to Sturgis and we were on our way. We rolled into Belle Fourche and I recognized the RV on the corner covered in stickers from this morning but dad was not convinced I was going the right way. We often disagree on where we are going and how we should get there but somehow we always find the way. After I pointed out the sticker RV he remembered where we were and all was well.
Land mark navigation is the best! ask me directions to a place and generally it comes out something like, “well hang a left at the pointless fork in the road, go down to the big red barn, take a right, keep going until you get passed the 35 MPH S curve…..” I pretty much tell you everything except the names of the roads but hey I always get where I’m going and once in a while I’m even on time!
It wasn’t long before we found ourselves downtown Sturgis ready for food and fun. Tonight our favorite band was going to be playing at the Iron Horse Saloon. We found parking spots and began to walk over, about half way there dad remembered he forgot his phone, back to the bike he goes! Then we grabbed seats at the bar to order dinner and I realized I left my wallet on the bike, back to the bike I went!…. can you tell we are related yet?!
Wayland was taking the stage out back in about an hour so we sat and ate and chit chatted with our super perky talkative bartender to pass the time. after dinner we decided to go check out the crowd and have another drink. We found our way outside and up to the stage, but not as “up to the stage” as dad wanted to be. If there had been chairs here we probably would be around the 8th row standing at the fence we were at. Dad wanted to be up close and personal but that area was reserved for VIP/chrome Club members and last I checked we were not either of those things. No biggie to me but before I knew it dad came skipping back from the bathroom with 2 passes for the front section…alright I suppose we can go hang out with the cool kids.
If you have never heard Wayland you may not understand dads obsession so I highly recommend you google them and then download every song they have on digital media platforms! You could follow that up by visiting their website and purchasing some merch because these guys are unbelievable and well worth the money! I promise you will not be disappointed, they play all over the U.S. all year-long catch a show near you and you will be impressed and obsessed.
Somewhere in the midst of things they were tossing out Dennis kirk shirts and a gigantic man next to me caught one. I was a little jealous until he turned around and actually handed it to me because it was a small and not a giant man size!
Bike Rallies are dangerous in the sense that there is a bar every 10 feet and more vendors than the Mall of America just waiting to sell you all their shiney new chrome and leather motorcycle gadgets and apparel. Aaaaand a few drinks in everything seems like you REALLY need one of those! Whatever “those” may be, you wont find out until you are packing your bags to go home and open a bag you don’t remember putting in your saddle bag.
Had to give a shout out to Mr tire around the waist guy, I rode 40 miles like that once with 2 tires!
Goes without saying, we may have spent a few dollars downtown Friday night. However, can you really put a price on a good time?
We danced, we sang, we walked, we talked, we drank, we shopped, we……well its Sturgis I can’t tell all the secrets! I can tell you a Bloody Mary was necessary Saturday morning and I felt the need to go find a shirt saying, “Bikers have more fun than people do!”
You simply can’t go wrong with live music in every other building, motorcycles roaring up and down the street, people of all shapes sizes and colors wandering around for you to watch, food and drinks literally on every corner, and endless Tee-shirts to read! This list could go on for ever so I’ll stop there and say Thanks for another great year Sturgis!
Up and running from my much deserved nap here at Hog Heaven. Now….whatever will I do with my day?!
First things first, I should finish unpacking the saddle bags. This was a great idea until I decided to repack the passenger side bag which was on the down hill side of the bike which was basically perpendicular to the ground due to the kickstand leaning into the hill.
I pushed my jacket down into the bag with the precise amount of pressure required to tip the entire bike over towards myself.
Not the first or the last time I’ll drop one of my bikes. Life happens! Aside from a minor bruise on my knee and some scuffs to the paint on the saddle bag nothing was damaged. I walked over and asked my camp nieghbors to give me a hand putting her back rubberside down and all was well.
Next up, downtown Sturgis for my annual shopping trip … bandana for a friend, Tshirts for a few more, leather vest for the kiddo, and a new patch & pin for me. Done! One stop shop, one bag to carry, time to stroll the streets and see the sights!
Shows at 12, 2, and 4 …I simply MUST see this happen! Not a clue what it does but it’s definitely something I’ve never seen.
My downtown stroll was eventful and entertaining as always but I called it an early night and headed back to camp.
I didn’t quite make it…The Jackpine Gypsies were holding a Hillclimb at the entrance to my campground and dad and I used to race there so I had to stop. Turns out it was actually Hilldrags and I got a discount on admission when I mentioned I Hillclimbed there 20 years ago! I failed to get a picture but there is a video on my Facebook page, Jessie Lee’s Open-Road Experience. Watching bikes run side by side up a 300+ foot hill that looked to be completely vertical at the top was awesome! However it mostly made me wish I had a dirt bike with me! Good times!
Ok time for bed! And for an entire night not just a nap!
Thursday morning I was up with the sun! My favorite part of camping in Sturgis, head to the shower house for coffee and chit chat. Today I met several people from Canada and Washington. Some had never been before so I shared a few of my favorite places with them. Others have been many times and we swapped rally and road stories. One guy from Alberta has been almost everywhere in the U.S. that I have been so we chatted over breakfast for about an hour and several others joined in with questions and comments, it was a regular family affair. Love it!
Camp breakfast never disappoints…no I didn’t order it to go on the bike, these are the plates here at Hog Heaven.
Someday someone will tell me why we only park on one side of the street in Deadwood?!
Down the road I rolled to my favorite rest area on HWY 385. I never remember the name so I took a picture of the sign this time in case anyone else wants to go visit it. There was a fun group of guys there from Texas…Rig Riders I think the name was. They were having a good time taking pictures making smart ass small talk and just enjoying the day! Exactly the kind of people I love finding out on the road! I took about 30 minutes to enjoy the scenery and entertainment.
Next stop Hill City where we get to park on all sides and in the middle of the street! I waited my turn on the roof top of the Buffalo bar to get up to the railing and enjoyed the bikes rolling by with my coffee.
Hydrated and caffeinated I was ready to roll on. Needles Highway up next! One of my must do rides in the Black Hills I have never missed it even on vacations here in a car. It was creeping up on lunch time when I pulled into Sylvan lake and they always have a beat & burger stand out front of the park office. I stopped and grabbed a plate and a guy in line behind me commented on my Betty Boop patch on my vest. It occurred to me that it came from here so I shared the little story of how the people on the Indian Reservation in Custer hand carved and painted the leather and one year when I couldn’t make the rally someone brought it back for me.
I continued through the line and perched myself up on a rock wall like many other years the tables were full. I was just finishing my food and the Betty Boop guy wondered up and asked if he could give me a compliment, now I thought seriously about saying, ” Absolutely NOT!” But figured he might not get my sarcastic humor so I simply said “sure!” And he proceeded to tell me that I am very beautiful…..WOW way to make a girls day guy!!! THANKS A BUNCH!
I pulled over in a new spot I had never stopped and got a great view of Harney Peak. This is a fantastic place to hike to, 7 miles round trip climbing I forget how many thousand feet to an old Army Ranger station which is on top of a ginormous rock face and you are able to go up inside the tower to the look out station. Generally in the clouds and the views are amazing!!!
I didn’t hike it this year but figured I should tell you why I’m posting a picture of what seems to be nothing ….waaaaaaay out in the middle of this ontop of the highest peak is a dot. That dot is the ranger station tower.
What an awesome trip through the Needles!
Buffalo happen in the black hills …cruising along behind a few bikes with an Allstate Insurance can behind me when suddenly the brake lights flashed up ahead and people actually came to a complete foot on the pavement stop on a curve in the middle of my lane!!! Are you EFFing serious?! Yes I see a buffalo 50 feet off the road laying down ….no I don’t think you will hit him from here….yes I like pictures of buffalo…no I do NOT find it necessary to stop in the middle of the road in a curve with traffic behind me to take said picture!
Ok rant over …for real people get a clue!
Now after I went around them and continued on my way I found another buffalo on the side of the road that ended up in the road. He had terrible timing. He was the star of the show and everyone was pulled over off their bikes taking pictures when police cars and an ambulance were trying to come trough to an accident. One officer stopped and asked everyone to please get back on their bikes and away from the road so the emergency vehicles could get through.
This was becoming an eventful day…no word on the accident yet hopefully they are all ok.
The streets were fairly empty but the board walk was full ! I wondered over to the empty balcony above the ice cream shop and had the deck and the views all to myself. It’s open to the public yet every year I seem to be the only one who gets the memo. Fine by me I like having my own place ! Wild Bill was in the street cracking his whip and put all of our exhaust pipes to shame with the loud bang he made! And man what a giant I’m guessing a few inches over 7′ tall!!! No one was telling him to be quiet or get out of the road anytime soon.
I took a rather quick paced ride back into Sturgis . I was in my zone on my favorite curvey piece of asphalt in the hills and there wasn’t a soul in front of me!!! Time to fly kids!!! Throttle cranked, sidewalls getting a work out, round and round I go! I don’t want to incriminate myself here so we will just pretend I was obeying all traffic laws and wearing proper safety gear. Wind in the hair sun on the face and tires to the pavement man what a ride!!!
Final stop of the day the Full Throttle Saloon! Met a friend for a few adult beverages and some awesome yet strange live entertainment. Definitely one of those “only in Sturgis” type situations. Hell I even found Waldo!
Turned onto the camp road and discovered there were once again some races going on and tonight it was a run what you brung type deal. I watched bikes race trucks and bikes race bikes and a few other vehicles that remain unidentifiable.
Stopped at the camp bar for a final drink of the day and chatted with some fellow campers. Ended the day with a full moon.Thanks for following along I hope you are enjoying the ride!
Just wait until you hear what dad did tomorrow!!!
FINALLY it is Tuesday and I get to leave for Sturgis! But , first I must work a 10 hour day at the office. The bike is packed up and ready to go and I thoroughly enjoy the sound of my recently tweaked Vance & Hines exhaust on my 45 minute commute, oh she roars now!!!
Doctor clock watcher made sure I knew all day long how many hours and minutes I had left to wait, (this actually kept me entertained most of the day) while others randomly told me what time it was, and we all had an in depth conversation about what would happen if we pulled the fire alarm or called in a bomb threat ….not that any of us would ever do that, made for fun lunch room talk though! After what I swear was 10 days, it was time for me to roll west!
I checked my email to discover I had gotten my FedEx delivery this afternoon which they said couldn’t arrive until Wednesday so I had it go to my house instead of my office. This means a pit stop and some rerouting was in order because it just wouldn’t make sense to go to the biggest bike rally in the U.S. without advertising myself right?! Instead of heading north from Verona and up through Wisconsin into Minnesota I would simply drive south to my place and go through Iowa to get to Minnesota no big deal, one twist of the throttle and away I went to retrieve these awesome stickers!
I was about 30 minutes into my commute home and there were 4 vehicles in a line in the fast lane and 3 vehicles in line in the slow lane when all of the sudden there were brake lights and cars swerving everywhere in and out of both lanes and coming to an abrupt stop! I shouted a few choice words into the wind missed the back end of an orange Jeep by about a foot and rode the center line between the chaos. It appeared someone in a large black SUV was turning left from the fast lane and had not signaled or braked to do so until last minute so everyone else nearly had a 7 car 1 bike pile up, I can only hope someone stopped to inform the SUV driver of what they almost caused to happen. Now home safe and sound, stickers strategically placed on the bike, what in the hell is that route through Iowa again ?! 11.5 hours that is not so bad. Except I’ve already had a 12-13 hour day working and driving so we will see what happens.
Iowa is a 100 MPH state, meaning there’s no reason for me to be there other than it’s in between me and South Dakota therefore the speed limit should just be 100 MPH to get me through it faster. It was still daylight out on my venture through there and one nice thing about the flat 100 MPH states is they usually have the best sunrise and sunset views. And of course the mighty Mississippi!
Shortly after midnight I was passed Souix Falls, which is my halfway point, and I pulled in for fuel. I grabbed a couple Snickers and some caffeine, thought the hotel next door was looking like a great idea , sat down on the bike with my snack and fell asleep! I’m guessing about 30-40 minutes later, a truck pulled in and the headlights woke me up. Now I am wide awake the coffee I had prior to falling asleep was kicked in and I just got a nice nap in, I should probably just keep rolling west….
30 miles later it’s smelling like rain in the air. 35 miles later the highway is soaking wet and there is some awesome lightening off in the distance. 36 miles later Jessie is pulled off on some side road trying to put rain gear on in the wind. I could not have timed that more perfect if it had been daylight and I could see it coming! Slid my helmet on and hopped back on the bike, WHOOSH!!! Rain drops are falling on my head.
The rain was directly followed by what appeared to be large snow flakes which ended up being some kind of unidentifiable insects, the bike and I were covered in goo!!! Yucky! I was very happy I had my helmet on. I am willing to bet whatever these creatures were they have won an award for most successful mating process. I’ve only ever seen that many bugs in one place one other time in my entire life and that little story will soon be in a book of mine.
3/4 of a tank of gas later I pulled in for fuel and the rain had pretty much stopped but I had been running in it through construction zones in the dark and only able to go about 45-50 MPH so the night is slipping away quickly and I’m still about 250-275 miles away from Sturgis.
As I was pumping gas a guy in raingear with a cell phone in hand comes wondering over to announce that “we” are going to get wet again according to the radar. Now mind you it is somewhere around 3:30 A.M. I have been up and running since 4:30 A.M. Yesterday minus my accidental gas station bike nap, so, that being said, I may not be in the best of moods as I stand here soaked and a tad cold pumping fuel.
My initial thought was, “There is not now and never will be a “WE” here!” Edit
Then I checked myself and realized I should just smile and be nice. Turns out he’s coming from Minneapolis and usually trailers out but decided to “torture” himself this year. As I sat there with more coffee and he appeared to pack and unpack his trunk a few times, 3 more bikes pulled in. I noticed the one was carrying a notebook and checking the bikes dashboards as they got fuel. Soon I found out why, these guys had just completed their K in a day Iron Butt challenge! I and the Minnesota man signed off for them as witnesses and they told us their story. Very cool guys from North Carolina, they left Tennessee this morning and just now at 3:47 A.M. Successfully had Iron Butts. Originally there were 14 going to do the challenge and have an entire convoy but when it came down to it just these 3 showed up to go! I can relate to this I’ve had as many as 6 people going to Sturgis and ended up solo.
This had been an eventful gas stop and I was awake again ready to roll….except it seemed Mr Minnesota was him -hawing around as if he was going to ride with me from here, Nope! I very politely told him to have a nice ride and put in my earplugs before sliding on my helmet and played with my phone until he was on his way. Nice guy but I’m not up for company.
I rolled on until I got to Chamberlain bridge and decided I needed a nap big time. I pulled over at the huge rest area there and found my self a picnic table to rest on, I layed down and looked up and there right above and beside me was a gigantic silver statue of an Indian woman. How I didn’t notice this on the walk over I can only blame on my exhaustion but there she stood big and proud scaring the crap out of me,I almost fell off the bench and then I followed that with a loud giggle which was replied to by a near by dog with a series of barks!
Ok 5 A.M. Closing the eyes time!
I had breakfast in Wall at The Cactus Cafe, the service was less than great but the coffee was hot and the food was decent. I’ve eaten there other trips and thought it was much better so maybe they were just having a bad day.
While I was eating I did have live entertainment from a table of guys discussing their trip. They were all terribly upset that they have come across so many gas stations with only 87 octane fuel because their “bikes just won’t run on it”…more than once this trip they have put in just enough to get to the next town where they hoped there would be 91 octane. I’m going to guess they aren’t getting very far very fast either.
Everyone has their own opinion on fuel and oil and tires and everything else in life so I just giggled to myself about the fact that I have 2 Harley’s with combined mileage around 75-80,000 mark aaaaaaaand the majority of those were while burning 85, 87, and 89 octane fuel. Hopefully the rest of their Sturgis experience goes more pleasantly.
From breakfast it was not far to my little slice of heaven …. where I will be surrounded by motorcycles and then more motorcycles and even more after that all while cruising amazing backroads with beautiful scenery.
766 miles from home I arrived, set up camp, and am now headed for a much overdue nap !!!
When the weathers right and the wheels are rolling you know good times are ahead! Saturday morning it looked a lot like rain but the chances were low and scattered. I hopped on the Streetglide and headed to meet up with several other bikes and good people for a short day ride in honor of a friend of mines mom who passed away several years ago.
One of many great things about being a biker/ motorcyclist is there are infinite causes and reasons to ride for aside from the pure joy of it. Many times on rides like these most people don’t know most of the other people and it never matters because they are all out for the same purpose enjoying the same wind and living the dream. By the end of the day new friends and memories have been made. On this particular ride most of the people were family and that was ok because they all treated me as if I was too!
First stop Paoli Pub in Paoli Wisconsin….After filling the parking lot with chrome ponies we all saddled up and headed down the wonderful winding Wisconsin back roads to the Junction House in Monroe. We rolled along on our wide variety of machines each enjoying the ride for different reasons.
Next stop Blanchardville. Followed by me hopping behind the bar in Mt Vernon to work my night away after a great day with awesome people on cool machines!
Have you ever been to Marcines in Mt Vernon Wisconsin??? I highly recommend you get there and order a pizza! They should seriously be world famous! I love the can koozi! Mostly because I am a bartender and people always say that they are overserved, then I have to correct them and let them know that that is a lie! They in fact over ordered!Sunday Bloody Sunday was a whirlwind of people, roads, and bars! I chose to take the Streetbob without a windshield and discovered throughout the day that the bugs are out in full force and I was going to get plenty of protein in my diet!
The Breakfast Club meets up on Sundays at The Riley Tavern for some charcoal grilled steak & eggs with a side of some mysterious but spectacular hash browns. There may or may not be vodka in the orange and tomato juices that come in those wonderful red solo cups….some mysteries are better left unsolved. After our bellies were full we decided a bar tour was in order for our Sunday Funday. Somehow I became the ringleader of our circus and mapped out a 4 bar excursion that would lead us on a lovely backroad adventure.
Before we even made it out the door plans changed. This is the best part about having a Sunday Funday, go with the flow and see what happens next! Now that our course had changed I factored in a fuel stop on our way to enjoy a meat raffle at everyone’s favorite basement bar in Basco, Dots Tavern!
4 bikes, a jeep, and a few miles later we arrived at Kwik Trip. This is where my first ever butt hug happened….yes you read that correctly I did say butt hug! A few photos and shenanigans and down the road we went.
Dots proved to be a worth while stop, a few of us won meat at the raffle and we acquired a truck with more friends to lengthen our convoy!
Being the beautiful day that it was, we milled around outside admiring some classic cars and chit chatting about bikes. Drinks were cold, company was great, and Lady’s Luck was the center of attention once again. This would be a Road King belonging to a very good friend of mine that was painted by another friend of ours….it is AMAZING…so amazing in fact that most people can’t just look at it they actually reach out to touch it !Pop quiz…..does anyone know where to put gas into a 57 Chevy?!
We took turns trying to push and pull parts of the bumper and tail lights with no luck at all. Finally I decided to crawl under the car and see where the fuel tank neck lead to and TaDa there it was right behind the chrome on the tail fin …who knew?!? Dots to Marcines is not a long ride but it was great to get a little wind in the hair between stops! We now had 4 bikes, a jeep, and a pickup truck parading around the back roads. Here we gathered 3 more people and 2 more bikes to the group. The day was rolling along fantastically at this point and the next stretch of road was one of my personal favorites with lots of curves! I’m a fan of the 30-40 MPH curves than can be taken at 50-60 MPH on my Streetbob without scraping my pegs into the pavement.
Off to Bluemounds we traveled, 2 bikes went a different route and the rest of us enjoyed the slow roll through the countryside. A little while later we were approaching our last turn before our next stop when the 2 bikes went cruising by in front of us….guess both ways consume the same amount of time! Good to know for future adventures in case we need a fuel stop on the route. Hooverville is one of my favorite places to have a Bloody Mary. I may have skipped the water at this stop .
The 5th stop of the day was Hyde General Store. Another country favorite. We lost 3 bikes when we left Hooverville but the rest of us made a photographer out of an unsuspecting bicyclist who happened to be taking a break by the old mill. This is a fairly famous motorcycle photo opp here in Wisconsin. County T is a scenic ride to Hyde but the road itself is rough and broken up unfortunately. It was this stop where the group discovered that Sesame Street and pink can koozis are the new trend …The afternoon was winding to an end and we had one more stop to make. Originally we were headed to Pleasant Ridge, another general store country stop, but our new friends suggested Traders instead. I stepped down from ringleader and followed them to the next destination after watching a very impressive wheelie from their big wheeled bagger.
Traders does not believe in air conditioning so we rallied out side for a bit everyone deciding to head different ways for the remainder of the day. This was the end of my part in the convoy I was headed south about 45 minutes to enjoy the final part of my Sunday ride solo before picking up my little man for the week. What a fabulous weekend sharing the road with some wonderful people! Sometimes it’s not about the miles traveled but more the smiles that happened.
1869 miles later I arrived back home tonight.
I left Iowa in a T-shirt thinking it was much warmer than it was! This stretch of roads I have traveled dozens of times so I was in the 100 MPH state kind of mood and too stubborn to pull over and put my jacket on. On the flip side of things it was another sunny day and I was still rolling on 2 wheels! Today was a day for wrong turns. First as I was traveling across Iowa I missed my turn north and all I could do was laugh at myself because this isn’t the first, or the second, or even the third time that I have missed this turn! I have actually lost track of how many times I have missed this road and I am not sure why, there are great big green and white signs stating where I need to go and every time I fly right by. As per usual I went up the road to one of the no U-turn spots and made a not so U-turn?! I went back took the turn I was supposed to take and boy when I caught up to that minivan that had been following me they were just a little confused. I just waved and rolled on by laughing out loud at myself. You would think if I am able to navigate myself all the way across the country and back that I could probably find my way home maybe from now on I should start leaving breadcrumbs.
I logged onto my Instagram account as I was rolling along and to my great surprise the first thing in my news feed was a picture of myself with my bike! The Alabama friend I had met the previous day put a lovely post about me up. 5 minutes of Instagram fame, I love being a unicorn!
I couldn’t help but notice as I got closer to Wisconsin the wind was picking up at a high rate of speed. It was beginning to become one of those days where when you pass a semi you get a big burst of wind coming out the other side that pushes you over towards the ditch or the median. But the sun was still shining and I was still rolling on two wheels so life was still good.
I crossed over the mighty Mississippi once again and found my way home, stopping an extra few seconds on the offramp to throw my jacket on finally. I pulled in my driveway, checked my oil, unhooked my bag and helmet from the bike, and met up with this fine piece of iron to continue my adventures for the day. What an awesome machine! We made five or six stops and nd everywhere we were this thing was the center of attention. Pictures, stares, and a few people had to touch it! Now there is something I will never understand, I have a few friends with some pretty bad ass paint jobs on their bikes and it never fails people have to touch them. I can’t help but wonder,what exactly are they expecting to feel other than cold smooth paint !?
Not exactly sure where we were headed for the day, I took off winding down the back roads and up on top of the ridges couldn’t help but notice that my bike was more of a sail in the wind than anything, I found myself riding a little more horizontal towards the road then perpendicular!
After a little lunch in New Diggins I headed us South crossing into my fifth state for the long weekend, Illinois. Council Hill Station is always a treat! There were a few people there from Des Moines Iowa we had a nice little chat about bikes, roads, places we’ve been and things we’ve done.
From this spot I had planned on running down into Galena Illinois and I was beginning to run low on fuel so needed to get somewhere before too long. In the midst of talking with the folks here I completely changed my course of direction and decided to hit up Bobbers bar in Winslow Illinois instead.
This is where the day got a little interesting. First after heading down to Stagecoach Trail I remembered I needed to get fuel and that there was a small gas station in Scales Mound. I turn into scales mound to find out that the gas station is closed and they do not have pay at the pump. Thinking I knew where I was I headed out the back side of town on a small windy road only to discover that I in fact did not know right where I was. That’s OK I’m always up for a new adventure and when the road came to a T I made a right hand turn which would take me back to Stagecoach Trail with any luck. A short bit down this road it suddenly looked like we were going to run face first into a wall, I did not remember seeing any dead end signs ….then it hit me, not the wall but my memory. This road has a tunnel under the train tracks what an excellent feature I was at this point very happy I somewhat got us lost to wind up here.After getting back out on Stagecoach we soon came into Apple River where there was a gas station and my motorcycle flashing low fuel at me was very happy about this fact.
I think at this point I was three wrong turns into my day but it’s just all part of an adventure right? Leaving Apple River I knew I had to make a left-hand turn once I got into warren Illinois and then that road would take me into Winslow, I thought wrong. Soon I arrived in Nora Illinois and remembered I had done this once before because I had missed my turn. I pulled over grabbed my trusty phone which actually had service so I was able to use my Google maps and looked up the fastest route over to Winslow. I recognized the names of a few of the roads so away we went. I took a right on Quarry Hall road only to discover it was gravel. I don’t think twice about this I just continued to head on, then I looked in my rearview mirror and realized my travel partner was quite a ways back. Ooops! Probably should’ve made sure the gravel was OK with them. After a few miles we came up to a paved road and I was laughing hysterically, turned around and said, “Hey, so by the way I forgot to ask, are you OK with gravel?” We laughed and continued on our adventure where I continued to miss two more turns, a stop sign, and wind up on gravel twice more. Eventually though we found our way to Bobbers! Excellent outdoor river side bar themed like a giant fishing boat! The bartender there is hilarious I’ve stopped a few times this year and she has entertained me and kept me there longer than intended. Today my friend asked where the bathroom was and she pointed behind us and said, “Turn around and pick a size.” ….this is what we saw she told us most guys pick the hole to the right! …Then was kind enough to point my friend to the actual men’s room.
After striking up a conversation with a couple standing by the river we came to find out that we had some friends in common, what a small world it is! We swapped some stories about a few people and good times we all had and couldn’t help but wonder if we had been in the same place at the same time before since one of our mutual friends owned a bar that we have each been to to listen to some bands. Crazy the people you meet out on the road!
Next up dinner time! I was half starved and luckily about 10 minutes up the road a good friend of mine manages The Vault in South Wayne Wisconsin and they happen to have excellent food! I guess I should say it was only supposed to be 10 minutes up the road, the way that I took to get there since there were a few other wrong turns, took more like 20 minutes! Still having a great day just laughing not a care in the world. Though I was starting to feel like Dorothy out here looking for Toto in this wind seriously it was a little nuts.
We arrived at The Vault I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to eat but my lovely friend Miss Fish recommended trying out the nachos with beef brisket on top, turned out to be fabulous and the pizza was also excellent! So if you ever find yourself traveling through South Wayne Wisconsin make a right hand turn off of Main Street and find the vault! Actually that depends on whether you are traveling east or west through town and on second thought why would you take turning directions from me at this point?!
Use google maps!
The day was starting to get away from me and I wanted to make it home at a decent time since tomorrow is back to reality! One more stop at the Cork down saloon by Yellowstone lake not far from home and the day was done.
Here I am roughly 5 miles from my house and what do I do? Yep you got it, made another wrong turn! It was more like an 8 mile ride home. No idea where my head was today but what an excellent adventure no harm in racking up a few extra miles with some wrong turns in the wind right?
I have no idea what the weathers going to be for the morning so I’m just going to leave the bike right here at the front door in case I decide to ride to work.5 states, 1869 miles, dozens of conversations, and a lifetime of memories all in 4 days time! Life is a highway!
Day 3 of my 3 day tour ….
I woke up somewhere in Arkansas, as always, I was in desperate need of some coffee! I walked down to the hotel office where the desk clerk was sleeping in the lobby and I couldn’t help but notice that there was no coffee out. So I went back to my room for a bit, packed up my things, and got ready for the day. Roughly 30 minutes later I walked back down to the office and lo and behold the desk clerk had awoken.
I caught the weather map on the TV as I was pouring my coffee and the man behind the desk asked where I was headed, I told him Iowa but I was taking the roundabout way to get there.
It was at this very moment that I did not need a penny for his thoughts they were free for the taking! It turns out this man was not only a desk clerk at this local motel he was a weatherman, GPS, geologist, and tour guide all rolled into one. I did appreciate a small amount of his information but given the fact that I was without coffee at this point in my day I did not absorb much of it and was very happy when the phone rang so I could run away.
After the hellacious storm that had crashed down much earlier in the morning the beginning of my ride was a tad foggy and wet but it was warm and very eventful in all the best sort of ways. I discovered another favorite Highway, Arkansas 123. Full of Rolling hills, twisty curves and beautiful scenery even in the rain. I shared my lane with some bicyclists who happened to be peddaling uphill paying no attention to my motorcycle rapidly approaching them and I am assuming they were just as shocked as me that all of us fit between the yellow and white lines! It was also along Highway 123 where I not only became a hero but I also became a turtle! First I saw a little hard shelled creature in the middle of the road, I noticed that he had not yet been squished as the many others this week, I pulled over and put him off in the grass where I thought he would be safe. As Mother Nature would have it, shortly down the road after that it began to rain so I stopped and put on my rain gear. However, I am stubborn and knowing that several hundred miles of my day was going to be in a state with a helmet law I was going to take full advantage of not having to wear one in this state. I put on my yellow glasses and raingear and away I went only to discover that at lower rates of speed rain and wind in the hair just do not mix and stick to your face, I solved this problem by pulling up the hood on my rain jacket resulting in myself becoming a turtle. While in full turtle mode I was tooling along rounding one of the curves when I saw a black Dodge charger screaming around this very same curve over halfway into my lane, now you may think that this was karma at work for me sharing lanes with those bicycles…EXCEPT, I made sure all of us stayed in one lane this guy was taking up both lanes and there was nowhere for me to go other than onto the shoulder, luckily I wasn’t traveling at that high of a rate of speed and kept everything under control. Had this been my first rodeo I may have swallowed a Barbwire fence.
Not too many miles further I drove out of the rain and came to an awesome one lane hundred year old bridge, on the other side I found some fellow motorcyclists from Alabama. We will call them Scott and Robert. These guys were traveling together up to this very point and then one was headed to Montana and the other back to Alabama. We started swapping stories and taking pictures and next thing we knew we all had been standing out there swatting Nats for about an hour of our morning.
I was informed that I am in fact a unicorn! I will take this as a very big compliment, by their definition a woman who is out riding alone for the adventure or fun of it is indeed a unicorn. I like it!
Turns out Rob and I were headed down the same stretch of road for the next hour or so and we traveled together until 123 came to an end, both agreeing it was by far one of the best roads we had ridden in a while and very similar to those in northern Georgia and Tennessee. Steep grades coupled with 10 MPH curves all the way up to 50 MPH curves made this one adventurous beautiful ride. I pulled into a gas station to top off and say goodbye to my travel partner. When I walked into the Casey’s in Harrison Arkansas the clerk right away struck up conversation about riding and roads and motorcycles. What an awesome way to be greeted! Pretty soon a customer sitting in a booth by the window started talking with me and gave me some advice on different routes I can take from here to Iowa today. He was a truck driver and has been in all 48 lower states in his big rig and also rides motorcycles! It never ceases to amaze me the people that I meet on these adventures. A few minutes later I went outside to eat my lunch and chat with Rob a bit before heading out, out of the blue a man walks up and hands me a business card from Youngblood Harley Davidson in Harrison Arkansas he had seen us standing there with the motorcycles talking and just wanted to make sure that we were OK and didn’t need anything. Once we said we were fine he handed me his card and said well in case you ever do let me know.
Now that is some excellent marketing! After putting my helmet back on and once again becoming a bobble head I trusted the good old GPS to route me the fastest way to Iowa. First it took me down Highway 65 through Arkansas up into Missouri which was quite a beautiful ride for four-lane highway. The speed limit is only 60 miles an hour but the views were fantastic and the pavement was smooth as glass.
Next it ran me down Highway 44 (Route 66) where I discovered some more excellent marketing skills! There’s a big yellow billboard on the side of the road and in large letters it says URANUS. Right away this grabs my attention and when I got close enough to read the rest it not only got my attention but had me laughing for miles! Uranus is the name of a fudge factory. Anyone else find the irony in this? Somewhere down the road I turned up Highway 54 which was also very scenic and great riding. I spotted Ozark Harley Davidson and noticed they were open so I hopped off on the frontage road to go grab my son and Isome poker chips. I don’t believe we have any from Missouri yet unless I happened to pick some up on my trip down route 66 with my dad a few years back, I’ll find out soon.
As I pulled off the interstate to find the frontage road the Harley dealership was on I found another sign that still has me laughing today! Apparently there is a town called Licking….. I am most definitely going to google the history of this town and how exactly that name happened.
It was just a short little trip maybe a mile down the road to Ozark Harley Davidson. They had bikes outside for demos and the inside was full of very helpful happy staff! For people working on Sunday of a holiday weekend I was thoroughly impressed at their smiles and helpfulness! Back out on the interstate with a few hundred miles yet to go I started growing tired and I hate to say it but a tad bored. Today was not a day I wanted to be on four-lane highway with a bunch of cage traffic. I wanted to be winding down back roads around curves and over hills again! Unfortunately that was not my reality so I made the best of my situation. I discovered that if you set the cruise control you can actually get a hell of a workout on a motorcycle on a smooth flat road surface. I would stretch my arms out and fight the wind giving my biceps and triceps a great challenge and from there I wrapped my legs behind me and in front of me working on some yoga stretches … I should ask the people down here for some marketing advice on this! Anyone ever heard of Harley Davidson road workouts? Or yoga poses? I think it fits right up there with my wind therapy theory. Although if this started catching on I can’t help but think Insurance companies would need to add a new clause to their policies and the highway patrol may need to add new citations to their ticket book! Shortly after my workout I got serious again and was riding as a normal motorcyclist should, feet on the floorboards hands on the bars and I still had a brain bucket on my head. It was around this time when an unidentifiable insect smacked into my vest and somehow maneuvered its way into my jeans!!
I am here to tell you; you never fully understood what your grandmother meant when she asked you if you had ants in your pants until you are riding down the highway at roughly 75 miles an hour and have something unknown crawling around inside your pants!
This is not the first and I’m sure not the last time this has happened to me, I’ve had Hornets up the pant leg which caused me to Depants myself on the side of Highway 90 in South Dakota. Once while wearing a full face helmet I for some reason had the visor up and a bumblebee went directly between the padding of the helmet and my temple. And there have been numerous other occasions when said insects have flown down my shirt, up my shirt, and every other inconvenient place you can think of. I am certain passersby at this point figured I was inventing new dance moves.
I enjoyed Route 54 even though I wasn’t feeling the four-lane vibe today, somehow even ended up on a country County Highway H which was definitely a motorcyclist dream. Crossed a beautiful bridge. Before I knew it I was in Iowa, where I once again pulled over right at the Stateline and removed my helmet. After which I was sporting some pretty amazing gas station sunglasses ! Iowa isn’t home but it was for tonight. I ended my 600 mile day with magnificent sunset views followed by going to see my favorite band perform. What a completely fantastic and eventful day on two wheels! All that’s left from here is a 2 hour and 15 minute ride home…let’s hope it’s in the sunshine!
Hope you enjoyed my three day tour and you will all join me again on my next adventure!!!
Day 2 of my 3 day tour….
14 hours of adventure leaves a lot to talk about. What an epically fantastic day!
This morning I discovered that southern Missouri is quite wonderful aside from the helmet law. That half of the state is jam packed full of swervy curvy hilly roads and wildlife.
Does anyone know why The armadillo crossed the road?
If you think you do you are probably wrong because from what I saw today none of them actually made it across! These crazy creatures along with the poor turtles were obviously never schooled on the “look both ways before crossing the street” theory and they repeatedly fail to make it all the way across the road down here. The fox are much smarter or maybe just faster because they seem to be living long enough to hang out in the ditches waiting for unsuspecting vehicles to pass by so they can dart out in front of them.
I’m going to come back to this roadkill/wildlife subject later at the moment I have another question.
What do breakfast, Chinese food, salads, and burgers have in common?
They are all served here before 11 a.m. Now, I will give the owners credit the advertising is perfect, very first thing I saw when I pulled off the interstate was big bold bright red letters saying “CAFE” and I was starving. If you do not like your coffee refilled & are a huge fan of liquid smoke saturated bacon this my friends is your breakfast café! I try hard not to criticize I know everybody has a bad day once in a while so I will just leave it at that. The biscuits and gravy here were actually pretty fantastic. That is all I have to say about Nevada Missouri.
I left there and headed to fill up with fuel where I discovered that on top of having famous motorcycle roads this area of the country is also well-known for jeep & 4×4 trails! These guys looked like they were about to have some fun.
From here I was headed to Arkansas it was only a few hour ride and I was very excited to get off of the interstate. The weather was sketchy off in the distance and I was happy to steer away from it successfully… Once I finally did I found heaven. Rolling paved Hills winding through the forest and bright blue sky! After many miles of twists and turns down highway 86 I found myself right where I wanted to be, the Stateline where I could remove my helmet since it was 92°! I wear my helmet when it’s cold and when it’s raining but on a day like today I prefer to let the wind rip through my hair and feel the sun on my face. Helmet laws will be a subject of another post here soon. Now THAT feels better!!! I know you are all jealous of my $7.99 gas station sunglasses.
Strolling along through Arkansas I couldn’t help but notice that not only do they have armadillos and turtles they also have snakes on the roads. One lucky turtle was saved today though, I came around a curve at a rather high rate of speed and there was a man walking down the road, as I got closer I realized he was holding a turtle that he had pulled off of the road to go back and save! Now that is a standup kind of guy don’t you think ladies?
Where I live we also have tons of road kill but ours consists of deer, raccoon, and possim for the most part. It is a whole different world down here trying to get used to seeing all of these other creatures in the roadways. The most fascinating thing I may have ever seen crossing a roadway was right here in Arkansas on this day! I have seen numerous animals in numerous states on numerous roads all over the country. I like to consider myself a fairly well traveled person in the US. Today I was cruising down a back road I had just rounded a curve and was leaning the bike back up right when I caught sight of a raised shadow ?? towards the centerline roughly as big around as a soup bowl and an inch or 2 high.
I simply could not get to my camera fast enough but right there ladies and gentlemen was the biggest spider I have ever seen in my entire life! And I saw him on the roadway of all places! Shortly after that sighting I found myself driving down the road singing in a true Wizard of Oz tone armadillos, turtles, snakes, and spiders oh my! Then I hit shuffle on the iPhone and found one of my all time favorites…excuse the dirty dashboard I’ve been too busy riding to stop and wash it!
Next up was a place I was very happy to have my camera out for, Eureka Springs. What an awesome little town it is jampacked full of everything & anthing. I was trying my best to take in all of the sites around me and almost ate the rear end of a Cadillac, I’m guessing that would not of tasted so good so I’m glad I got stopped in time to avoid disaster. There was one picture from Eureka Springs that needed to be set aside from the crowd so I am going to upload it here and you are probably going to think I was taking a picture of a mural on the building but that is not what caught my attention.
Can you zoom in and find what I found so entertaining? After Eureka Springs I headed south on Highway 23 down Arkansas’s Pig Trail & stopped for a snack at a neat little souvenir shop where I met 4 combat veterans on their way from South Carolina to San Diego on their bikes. That was a half an hour not wasted out of my day, awesome people! Maybe I’ll see them in Sturgis this year.
The Pig Trail ride was nothing short of amazing it was just like being in the smoky mountains in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina the entire ride felt like I had been there before and my pictures won’t even do it justice! There are 50 mph curves all the way down to 10 mph U-turns. The road crosses and follows a few rivers and creeks and is surrounded by lush green forrest on both sides full of 4×4 roads! Highly recommend this route as long as you watch out for the armadillos, snakes, turtles, and spiders oh my! After today’s ride down route 23, I am convinced I am the last motorcyclist in the country to know about this place. Not exactly sure how I have never heard of it but I’m glad I finally found it! It was awesome to see the parade of other bikes around today from all over the country. The cage drivers down here are very motorcycle friendly and about every other house in north western Arkansas has a “lookout for motorcycles” sign in the yard, very welcoming!
I was being followed by a giant Dodge truck as I was following a Ford Ranger and there were three sport bikes that came flying down the hill behind all of us, one by one we motioned them around us on the straight parts of the road since there are no passing zones we shared the lane as best we could so they could get passed us to enjoy their stroll through the winding curves. I can only corner so fast before my pipes dig into the pavement and I was trying to behave and obey the speed limit. (A few of you who know me will find that hilarious) It was an excellent team effort from a group of people who will probably never know each other and we all got to enjoy our ride at our own pace. After finishing up with the Pig Trail I found the Scenic 7 Byway which led to Jessieville! I’ve been famous down here all these years and never even knew it!
The sun was going down and it was time to figure out where to end my journey for the day. I headed back up Scenic Route 7 and took a different stretch of it than I had on the way down and discovered that it just doesn’t matter where you are around here it is beautiful! 560 miles of nothing but fabulous weather, roads, people and scenery today!
A margarita and Mexican food hit the spot and I was back at my hotel for the night. Around 1 o’clock in the morning I heard something that woke me up and set me straight up in bed, it turned out to be the most wicked thunderstorm I have ever witnessed. The lightning in thick bright white bolts coming down all around and thunder so loud it shook the entire hotel and drown out any other sound. Never in my 35 years have I heard something so loud that just echoed for what felt like several minutes, I’m sure it was seconds but WOW Mother Nature has one hell of a voice on her here tonight! I am a lover of thunderstorms so this was quite an awesome end to my day that I thought had already ended hours before!
Tune in tomorrow for day 3 and my report of Arkansas Dragon, HWY 123