Sturgis, SD. Saturday, Sept 15- Leaving Sturgis in our rear view mirrors was tuff. We had a great reception and party out at the Glencoe campground as we rolled in from a long day of sightseeing and beautiful riding. We cruised the Badlands, stopped by Mount Rushmore for a few snapshots, and then swept along the scenic canyons before arriving in Sturgis.
We enjoyed our day off but for many of the riders, there wasn’t any rest at all. The minute we got to town most were busily taking advantage of the break by tearing into their motorcycles. Entire engines needed rebuilding and the residents of the city that hosts one of the biggest, and oldest, motorcycle rallies in the U.S. stepped up to help.
Competition Distributing turned into a sort of medical ward for ailing motorcycles and riders took advantage of the open doors and warm welcome. The company helped the wounded warriors any way they could by not only inviting them in to utilize the full shop facilities but by lending expertise and guidance in the rebuilds. There was even food delivered to the shop to feed the hungry mechanics who had missed the community meal so riders and their crew could graze in between turning wrenches and twisting wires.
The city of Sturgis as well as Competition Distributing hosted a dinner party down town on Friday night right after Michael Lichter wrangled everyone into a huddle and took a group photo just before sunset. Locals were thrilled to get to fire off their instamatics and capture their own keepsake image of a truly impressive gathering of vintage machinery right there on Main Street, USA.
By the time we headed to the Wyoming city of Gillette for our Saturday lunch stop at the Deluxe H-D, several riders were back on the road.
Doug Feinsod is convinced his trailer days are behind him, now. He noted that it was like this for him in 2010, too. The first half of the run was committed to figuring out engine trouble, the second was dedicated to enjoying the ride, so having sat out the last week wasn’t a real concern for Doug.
Eric Dunk rolled out with a reconditioned engine as well and everybody’s favorite Aussie was grinning, certain he would be in the wind and trouble free. From all we’ve seen with rider #16 Chris Knoop, it wouldn’t matter much anyway, he is here to enjoy his time in the States and nothing would change that. Getting to ride all day would certainly kick his vacation up a notch.
“Around the world” Doug Wothke, however, continues to have trouble with his Indian and it will stay on the back of the trailer.
By Saturday morning, Paul d’Orleans’ 1928 Velocette, which has been sidelined since New York, will rumble along the black top once again. He arrived first at the Deluxe H-D lunch stop with a huge grin and quite oil soaked. The shiny MC number 38 is now grimy and, obviously, well broken in.
Our lunch was hosted by the H-D dealership but the owners, Chuck and Maria, we unable to meet the riders since they had a prior commitment. Seems the couple were off to the local fairgrounds to ride Buells with friends there. Chuck explained that they would rip around an arena with talc-filled balloons strapped to their helmets. They would then whack each other with tack studded wiffle bats. The last one with a balloon in tact would be the winner. This, of course, sounded like great fun to us, but we enjoyed out great meal and the dealership’s warm hospitality before heading off into the warm weather toward Sheridan, our evening stop.
The VFW in Sheridan threw an impromptu dinner party for the riders. The thoughtful group there was swarmed with hungry folks who appreciated their generosity before heading back to the pits to work on motorcycles. The next day riders would be faced with the most challenging heights of the run. We would climb the Big Horn Mountain Pass, an elevation of 9,033-feet, before our hosted lunch at the Irma Hotel in Cody, Wyoming.
Riders were offered the opportunity to trailer their bikes over the pass with no penalty. Since the smaller bikes would have the hardest time making the steep ascent, it was expected that many wouldn’t make it, there by creating a difficult day for the sweep trucks that would have to pick them up roadside. In the end, 11 riders took advantage of the freebie and pulled their bikes off the road for the piggyback opportunity.
By the time the group pulled into the Lake Lodge in Yellowstone for the evening, the skies opened up and pelted the bikes. The lodge had fires burning in each of their stone fireplaces and the riders got comfortable on the leather furniture scattered about the huge log-cabin structure. By morning, the fog from the lake would engulf the area.