At Last, Sturgis!


Continuation of the Series Sturgis and Beyond

Originally posted on August 10, 2010

Days five and six

On Sunday morning, still in our campsite near Mitchell, South Dakota, we took our time getting ready to leave. I did some laundry; Jim repaired a window screen that had become loose, and I finished blog and Facebook postings. While I sat outside completing these tasks, I watched streams of motorcycles speeding past on the I-90. By 10:30 we had joined them, but the bikes ruled the road.

With a couple of stops along the way to refresh, we finally arrived at our campsite at Sturgis around 4:00 pm.

The day was another very hot one, reaching temperatures in the upper nineties. Our poor old motor home began to protest when we stopped to register. She didn’t want to start again. But we managed to slowly move her to our campsite and backed into place. We did our nesting; electric hooked up, table and chairs out, awnings pulled to provide some shade. We started a list of things we should purchase the next chance we got, like a sewer connector, a new door blind and stamps to mail cards. After a frustrating evening of trying to get and stay connected to WiFi, an internet stick was added to the list. Hence the reason no news got posted that day.

On Monday we took the bike into downtown Sturgis, list in hand. Lots of luck! There were many interesting sites and lots of pictures to take. Beer could be bought at nearly every corner; if you wanted a souvenir t-shirt or cap or any biking paraphernalia, you had hundreds of shops to choose from. But nowhere in sight was there a computer or mobile phone store, or a grocery store. Our list had to be discarded for the time being. We just parked the bike and enjoyed the show. The streets were lined with bikes of every shape, size and description that you could imagine. Granted the majority seemed to be Harleys. At least the loud pipes on our Virago blended right in.

There were bikes customized to look like cars; there was a bike that looked like our Venture, but it pulled a coffin for a trailer, painted to match the bike. The licence plate read “X-wife”.

The people riding the bikes and walking on the streets were just as varied. Jim especially enjoyed photographing the buxom women who equally enjoyed flaunting what they had. It seems that pasties are the only top covering required in this state. We saw people dressed in caveman/warrior garb, women in bikinis, old people, young people, an extremely tall woman, probably seven feet.

We stood in the crowd for the daily group photo. If you look really closely you can recognize Jim’s hat in the crowd. Well worth the $10 we paid for a copy. We poked through several of the shops, ate pulled pork for lunch and ice cream cones for dessert. We visited the Knuckle Saloon for a cold drink and a listen to some excellent guitar picking and songs by Rogan Brothers Band.

By 4:30 the sun and the walking had done us in so we found our bike and decided to look once more for the Post Office. By the time we found it, it had closed and there seemed to be nowhere else to buy those stamps. Some suggested we might try the grocery store and told us where to find it, but it would mean another slow ride through town; We came back to camp.

But the desire to get internet connection to complete some business and post our updates led us to get on the bike again and head sixty miles east to Rapid City. There we found the internet stick we were looking for and an IHOP where we finally had some dinner. It was nine o’clock by the time we finished eating, time to return to camp. Perhaps tomorrow we’ll get that list taken care of.

In the evening we were still struggling with internet while enjoying some live music coming from the beer tent.

Bikes, bikes and more bikes; and corn!


Originally posted August 2010

Day 4- Saturday

The bikes began to pass us first thing this morning, one or two bikes for every two or three cars. By one o’clock the ratio had changed. By then we’d crossed the border into South Dakota. There were bikes on the road, bikes in the back of pickup trucks, bikes in trailers and bikes in toy haulers. There were girls, guys, one-up and two up, some pulling trailers, others packed with gear. There was even a “headless” rider! Or at least that’s what it looked like. When he passed us his gear was stacked so high behind him, that he couldn’t be seen, but a helmet attached to the side of the load created a strange illusion. There were bald heads, scarved heads, hair flying, since riding without a helmet is legal in this state unless you are under eighteen. Often times, though, the women were wearing helmets as were some men.

After we crossed into South Dakota, we stopped at the visitors centre, and met up with many more bikers. We thought we were pulling a load until a huge motor home that must have been 42 feet long pulled into the parking lot. A lift on the back held a trike, and behind that was a twenty foot cargo trailer, presumably containing a few more bikes. Jim asked the fellow that was outside it if he found that the weight on the back made the front of the motor home lift. He was told, “It poses no problem. It’s much easier to pull with the motor home than with the hummer!

That’s a heavy load!

At the visitor centre we picked up several brochures and when we said we were on our way to Sturgis, we were given a Rally Package. Inside was more literature about things to do and see in the area. Looking through them stirred our excitement. We could spend a month here and never see all there is to see!

As the day wore on, however, the cool temperatures of the morning turned hotter and more humid. We stopped more, as did many other bikers. The vehicle a/c wasn’t working. Our last stop was at Mitchell where we filled up with gas, bought a Dairy Queen treat and then visited the Corn Palace.


The Corn Palace is an intriguing thing to see. The outside is adorned with pieces of art done entirely out of corn cobs of various colours, straw and other grains. Inside there are many more murals of the same medium. Amazing! And it was all free to see, even the parking. Purchases from the gift shop pay for the upkeep.

Jim made a new friend

When we left Mitchell it was already five o’clock and we’d still have a four and a half to five hour drive before we reached Sturgis. We decided we’d had enough for the day and looked for a campsite. We found a quiet RV park attached to a motel about thirty kilometres down the road. We plugged in, turned on the “house” a/c and barbecued outside under a tree. Sturgis can wait another day.

COVID-19 and a Much-needed Venting Post


I said yesterday that I was going to be posting updated versions of my posts about our trip to Sturgis and Beyond, and I still plan to do that. But today, I need to rant!

This morning I was reading some posts on one of  the FB pages from our “winter home” at Mesa Regal RV Resort. I was shocked, but not really surprised about what a saw. What used to be a friendly, all inclusive community has become greatly divided. I’ve seen it  progressing over the years while following some of the FB posts, but now it is out of control, and the cause is the same that has escalated the already ripe division throughout the US this past year – COVID-19.

The post that started a succession of name-calling and finger pointing was a simple question: “Is anyone else concerned about the big gathering of people at the west end (of the park) yesterday? There appeared to be no masks or social distancing and it went on for hours.”  (Paraphrased)

Some people confirmed their concerns and questioned why the management rules weren’t being enforced. There was mention of Covid cases already in the park.

Then, there was a barrage of angry residence who had been participants, with the usual excuses: It was a Memorial Service for a long-time resident; it was a gathering of mostly relatives, and some close friends from the park; you weren’t invited so it was none of your concern; you weren’t close enough to get infected so you don’t need to worry.

It quickly escalated to personal attacks: You weren’t invited so mind your own damn business; you’re just busybodies who tattle on their neighbours; if you don’t want to be involved, stay home, inside; this would be a good park if it weren’t for the busybodies. And on and on. One person even had the audacity to suggest that a commenter needed to “get a life!”

It takes a lot to get me riled up enough to speak out, but this time I responded:  “And this is why Covid is out of control! There seems to be no understanding of how it spreads, not because of a lack of scientific information, but because too many people choose not to believe it.”  

I know that I’m wasting my breath because “there are none so blind as those who will not see,” (a phrase that got its origins from the Bible In the book of Jeremiah, chapter five, verse twelve). But I need to at least try, because this reality crushes my hopes of ever getting out of this depressing situation any time soon.

How can these non-believers. How can we make them see that it is their selfish attitude, their determination that they will not be “told what to do”, their belief that their own personal “freedom” is the top priority, are destroying what their country stands for: Justice and Freedom for all!

Thanks for indulging me. My next post, I promise, will be back to our travels.

Stay safe; stay sane!

A different kind of “camping”


Original Post written August 5, 2010

Yesterday was a very long day. We crossed the border at Sarnia, into Michigan. It took nearly an hour to get across the bridge and through customs. Once across we stopped along the way at various rest stops, trying to find information about camping, but there was none. Jim thought he’d like to get as close to Chicago as we could before stopping. Finally, at nearly 9pm we found a campground near Michigan City, Indiana. We tried to call to book a site, but the number was out of service. That didn’t look good. We made our way down a tree-lined road, in the semi-darkness to find it. It did exist, just under a different name, but when we reached the gate there was a sign “Camp Site Full”. Now what? There were no others around that anyone knew of. We made our way back to the Blue Chip Casino. We’d heard that most casinos allowed overnight RV parking. So we “boon-docked” it once more. Of course having felt that we should patronize the casino for a little bit, at 10:15 pm we stood in line to get our membership cards and off we went with $20 each in hand to find the five cent slots.

Camping at Blue Chip Casino

Camping at Blue Chip Casino

It wasn’t long before the smoke accosted my eyes and nose. I’d forgotten that that’s the one thing I don’t like about travelling in the US, there are still no No Smoking laws. Oh well, I thought, if the usual scenario takes place, my self-allotted crazy money would be gone in fifteen minutes and we could leave. 🙂

Wouldn’t you know it, it lasted twice as long! Jim and I managed to lose our last nickel about the same time. We packed it in and headed to bed in the RV. I can say it definitely isn’t a camp site that I’d choose again, if given the chance. Not a lot of quiet; lots of lights. There was a nice breeze blowing through the windows and vents though, giving us some relief from the severe humidity of the previous night and day.

Jim insisted we should take advantage of the free gift offered to new members once they’ve garnered 200 points (by betting $40, including winnings re-bet), so we each came away with a case of coke! Oh well, it was a bit of fun and worked out alright.

Tonight we are in an actual campground for the first time since we left home. We put in over 500 kilometers, but we managed to arrive here, at a KOA near Austen Minnesota, before dark.

The I-90 is a good road in some states, a terrible one in others. We did a lot of bouncing at times. Making our way through Chicago with our 44 foot rig (32′ RV plus 12′ bike trailer) was interesting to say the least, as was weaving between pylons on the various sections of highways where road work was being done. I was finally inspired to take some pictures, although it was difficult to keep the steady hand needed to get quality shots. 🙂

Throughout the day we were overtaken by many many bikes, some being ridden, many more being towed behind trucks or motor homes. A quick glance around this camp ground indicated that there might be a few here as well.

Tomorrow we should reach Sturgis, where I expect to gather some much more exciting material for these posts.:)

Re-postings from our Sturgis and Beyond Adventure, 2010


Since there’s nothing new to write about, but I figure it’s way past time for another post, I looked through some of my previous posts and discovered that many of my early ones didn’t include many pictures, although I took a load! Probably I had no good Wi-Fi access. One amazing trip in particular was to Sturgis, South Dakota for the big bike rally. My next several posts will be repeats of that journey, with more pictures added. This is when we had our old 1972 Thor Pinnacle.

It began on August 3, 2010, but I’ll begin with my first post after we crossed the border from Canada to the USA.

Hope you enjoy.

Crossing Border Canada/US
Crossing Border Canada/US at Michigan