Sturgis 2005 – a tale of detatchment attached

Yeah, it’s a motorcycle rally, but the Sturgis Rally is really about people. It means socializing, networking, connecting with like-minded people. You can do Sturgis as an isolate or as a socialite. It’s a huge community, so prepare to socialize.

After two years of less-than-pleasant socializing with a grumpy riding partner, I did the Sturgis 2005 rally alone.  I made up my mind I would go as a spectator with camera in hand to record the event.  Have you ever noticed some things are better enjoyed with a companion:  sunsets, sunrises, fireworks, a comedy?  The Sturgis Rally is the same way – best enjoyed with someone.

3 flags outside the Circle Bar, Belle Fourche

Even so, there are some good things about “rallying” by yourself.  You meet a lotta people, if you’re open to it.  In 2005 I met several people including Jeanie who introduced me to the Circle Bar in Belle Fourche.

That’s where I parked my bike, right outside the front door of the Circle Bar.

Vickie on her 883 riding toward me is what you see

Then there was Vickie whom I met  on the way home, and with whom I later returned to Spearfish Canyon to help get her counter-steering abilities sharpened on the curves in Spearfish Canyon.  So, this photo introduces you to Vickie. It is not from the 2005 rally, but from the next summer.  Reader, meet Vickie.  Vickie, meet reader.

Tip #1: If you’re open to it, meet and greet!  Get to know people.  I betcha you’ll run in to them more than once.  So make friends!

A tool you can use to meet people is a camera.  Talk to them, take their photo and ask them to take your photo.

Late day Hulett

In this case, a fellow I met from Indiana (or was it Illinois) parked near me at Hulett, Wyoming. We visited, I asked him my pic and that’s how I got this.

Of course if you don’t have anyone nearby, you can always find a fence post to hold your camera, set the timer and voila` there you have a self-portrait at Devils Tower.

For a couple days I just used my camera as my companion.

Leaning the way around Needles

On Needles Highway I shot bikes curving around the bend.

In town, I looked for interesting images such as this little man coming up over a headlight.

The experience was not that exciting, and by the last day, it was grueling. As is always the case, rain and storms move through the Black Hills during the rally.   It got cold and stayed that way.  So, my advice, whether alone or in a group:  prepare.

Tip #2 Rain gear – never leave home without it.

Inevitably you’ll get caught in rain so pack your rain gear.  As welcoming as is Keystone during the rally, it’s more so when it’s raining.  (See that front fender sticking out from the parked bikes to the left? The one marked “Road King?”  That’s as far as I got in the rain.)

What is odd is that I backed in to my spot, looked up at the folks under the porch roof at the Red Door Saloon, and there was a group from Bismarck, including a close friend who runs the Scooter Shak in Mandan where I have my bikes serviced. Coincidence?  Yeah, prolly, if there is such a thing.

I hoped the rain would let up.  It did, briefly, but so did the day’s heat.  I headed back to my camp at Belle Fourche.  From Keystone, down through Rapid City the temperature dropped along with the rain, both falling at the same time.   Every time and temperature sign along the way showed the numbers falling until I got to Sturgis.  Rain still falling but the temp stabilized at 51 degrees.

Sturgis 51 degrees.

Spearfish 51 degrees.

Belle Fourche 51 degrees.

What the heck?  Had the banks all conspired to set their thermometer at 51 degrees?!

I got back to my tent, clothes wet.  Yeah, I had not bothered to take my rain gear and my leathers were drenched.  I sat at the unzipped door of my tent and pealed off my leathers.  I dried off, crawled in to my sleeping bag and tossed another blanket over me.

I never warmed up all night.  The next morning, cold, tired, alone I said, “Goodbye Sturgis.”  I packed my bags and rode home.  My leathers weren’t dry so it was a chilly start to the ride because I left my leathers on the outside of my pack, hoping the breeze would dry them.  Once dried, I put them on.

I headed back on the back roads to North Dakota, and at every stop met the same group of riders who were equally chilled.  That’s how I met Vickie whom you met earlier.  We parted when they went on to Aberdeen and I headed north to Bismarck.  But it was enough of an introduction to meet up again as I already mentioned.  The moral of the story, Sturgis is about people as much as it is about motorcycles.  Be friendly. Don’t be afraid. Introduce yourself. You’ll never know the benefits that might roll your way later.

   Lesson Learned – A motorcycle rally is about people

   Lesson learned – Rain gear is essential.

   Lesson learned – Rallying is better with friends (unless they are cranky and grouchy — see earlier blogs).

2 Responses to “Sturgis 2005 – a tale of detatchment attached”

  1. Yup. That surely is Sturgis. 🙂

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