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

December 11, 2020 COVID-19 Journal


Time for an update.

Once the weather got too wet and cold to ride our bikes, and we decided, since cases are rising rapidly in Ontario, that we would play it safe and withdraw from our weekly outdoor pickleball games, we fell into a funk.

I had household chores I could have done, but I wasn’t inspired. I spent a lot of time reading, playing games on my iPad and watching TV, too much of the depressing  news. I often attempted to do some writing one day, but had no inclination to continue the next day. I was working on my Memoirs, but looking through old pictures and taking the sometimes painful walks down memory lane only made me feel worse. All of this resulted in great fatigue and anxiety, both of which exacerbated my chronic pain.

I ordered a new mattress for our bed, to replace the 20 year old one, and then I worried about how I was going to pay for it. I have some savings, but feared spending any of it. I might need it for a rainy day!

I thought doing some Christmas decorating would help lift my spirits; it did, briefly.

Finally, after the US election was officially over, even if the current President has still not accepted his defeat, I stopped spending so much time reading and watching the news. I decided I was going to get back to my writing!

Earlier this week, in the middle of a night that sleep was eluding me, I bit the bullet and shelled out the money needed to join an online writing group where I could share my stories and get reviews. I could review the writing of others and get to know fellow writers. I could also enter contests with the prospect of possibly winning back what it cost me to join.

The next day I began. Receiving positive reviews and encouragement lifted me out of my sadness and returned purpose to my life. I have a much better attitude; I have much less pain; I’ve let go of past resentments. My energy has returned and I’m excited to face each new day.

I’m looking forward to the day that the World is vaccinated against COVID, and happy that it will be coming sooner than expected, but in the meantime I will focus on what I really like to do – write!

A Ride through Presqu’ile Provincial Park in Brighton, Ontario


Because our riding friends had visited family who work in the medical field, it was agreed that we shouldn’t risk exposure until they’d done a quarantine period, so we did a few short rides around our community on our own during the warm days. By the time their quarantine period was done, the weather had turned quite nasty – rainy and cold most days.

This week we were suffering from Cabin Fever! When we heard the weather forecast for Friday – sunny and hot! – we made plans to take our bikes to Brighton and tour Presqu’ile Provincial Park. Unfortunately our friends had already made other plans for the day, so we struck out on our own after an early lunch. It turned out to be a beautiful day!

By 1:00 pm we had our bikes unloaded at a little parking lot and were ready to ride. As often happens, we were questioned about our bikes by a man sitting in his car and he gave us some tips about what we should look for in the park.

As close as we have lived to Presqu’ile Park, the only time we’d ever been there was for a retirement party for a friend who had worked for the Ministry of Natural Resources, several years ago, so it was an entirely new adventure.

Presqu’ile Park is located at the southern side of Brighton, Ontario, along the shores of Lake Ontario. It is a popular place to camp, whether in an RV or a tent. Paved roads wind through it, connecting the many camping areas. We explored all of them and a few unpaved trails as well.

This rocky beach is a place where many people have built some amazing rock sculptures.

Many leaves now lay on the ground, but the colours were still brilliant with the sun reflecting off them.

We discovered a history we had no idea about before this tour.

There is a story posted near the lighthouse about the dangers of the lake in the fall and the number of ships that ended up wrecked near the shores.

The shipwrecks

The long-gone  dance pavilion and hotel: At the end of a side road leading to a spot called “Day Use Area” there is an inlet and a marshy area.

It’s a pretty spot looking over the lake, but we were surprised to find a billboard that described a hotel and dance pavilion once being in the area.

I wasn’t able to get a picture that could be seen close enough to read clearly here, so I’ve transcribed it:

“In the end of the 1800s pioneer society was changing. Increased  prosperity let to a growing interest in summer resorts and leisure activities and Presqu’ile was seen as an ideal location to pursue these activities. During the summer, tents started springing up on small lots along the bay shore between Salt Point and the lighthouse. As families returned year after year the tents were replaced by small wooden cabins.

In 1891, ferries and other boats began bringing vacationer to the point from Rochester and other cities along Lake Ontario.  In 1905 ,Peter Covell of Brighton opened a summer hotel and dance pavilion that was located at the base of the large dock you can see down the shoreline I front of you.  In 1913, Grant Quick opened a larger dance pavilion, the Presqu’le Pleasure Palace, across the road from the hotel.  This dance hall proved very popular and a year later Covell sold the hotel to Quick.

Over the years additions and upgrades were added to the hotel, with electricity reaching the peninsula in 1923. In 1937, a landing strip for small aircraft was opened on the field close to here to ferry paying guests to the  hotel. In 1939, the old wooden dock in front of the hotel was replaced by the current concrete dock.

Dances were held at the pavilion six nights a week from mid-June to mid-September. Men paid $1.00 per evening or $10 for an annual pass. Music was supplied by a six to eight member live-in band, many of them well-known in the era. In addition, annual regattas with swimming and boat races were highly anticipated by the cottagers.  On Sunday nights, large crowds gathered at the pavilion for a singsong.  At the last singsong of the year, Grant Quick had the audience stand, join hands and sing “Auld Lang Syne”.

After much research we determined that the location would have been behind the brush seen on the right had side of this picture.

It was nearly four o’clock when we had our bikes back on the carrier and ready to head home, feeling invigorated, and carrying a bit of new knowledge.

For more information about camping, walking or biking in the park visit the website.

Sadly, it looks like our biking season is coming to an end, but the purchase of these iGo e-bikes from Green Street Bike Shop in Peterborough was the best decision we’ve made in a long time. We read that the City of Peterborough has offered to pay for snow tires for a number of bikers who want to try riding the trails in the winter, but having spent the last seven winters in Arizona, we just can’t see ourselves adjusting that well to the cold weather!

 I fear we will become arm chair travelers this winter. Future blog posts will be re-runs, or Memoirs, until better ways of dealing with COVID are found and we are free to travel once more.

Hope you will come along for the ride.

Riding West Along the Trans Canada Trail out of Hastings


We got in another, shorter, ride on Wednesday, before the wind, rain and colder weather blew in. Our plan had been to drive to Omemee to unload the bikes and then ride to Lindsay for lunch, and back, but the forecast wasn’t looking good for later on in the day. The morning, however, was sunny and warming up nicely by the time we met with two of our riders in Hastings, to take the Trans Canada Trail west out of Hastings for an hour then return to Hastings where we’d meet the other couple for lunch.

There isn’t much to say, other than it’s a beautiful section of the trail. The many pictures that we took tell the story of the vibrant autumn colours we passed through. Enjoy!

The Trail took us mostly alongside Trent River/Trent Severn Waterway, then we veered off to the north to take this tunnel under County Road 2 and went a little further before turning back toward Hastings.

This could be our last ride of the season. But, then again, maybe we’ll get one more shot at warm sunny weather before winter reaches us. 🙂

Again, thanks to Jim and Julie for contributing to the pictures.

Exploring Peterborough by Bike


A couple of days ago we decided on another trail ride. This time only two of our friends were available. It was another gorgeous fall, almost summer-like day.

We’d planned to meet at the same place we began on our first excursion, on Auburn Street in East City. Since our friends had a slight delay in arriving, we nipped into our Barber who is on that street, and got our overdue haircuts while we waited. They ended up having to wait a few minutes for us!

We took the trail in the same direction as before, toward Lakefield, but this time we turned off at Trent University and crossed the bridge to tour the other side of the campus.

From there we crossed Water Street and used the sidewalk for one block, until crossing back at the next set of lights and riding through the Peterborough Zoo trail, then up the hill and across Water again at the lights to the beginning of the Parkway Trail on Cumberland Street. This is a very pretty part of the trail passing through a forested area where you forget you’re in the city. We used to live in this part of the city, and had  ridden this trail many times  on our mountain bikes. I was grateful for the electronic assist for getting up the long, gradual hill this time.

The trail took us across Hilliard Street, and continued through a greenbelt between subdivisions, across Chemong Road, through another part of the greenbelt, until it came out at Fairburn Street. Across the street was a non-maintained bit of a path that led us down into Jackson Park once again. The section was steep and rocky. We got off our bikes and walked, which isn’t too easy either when trying to hold back the weight of a 50 pound bike!

Back on the trail through the park we continued on, crossing Parkhill Road and a few other quiet city streets until we arrived in the restaurant district of downtown, where there are designated bicycle lanes on the main streets. We thought about stopping at one of eateries, but decided to carry on to the waterfront and through Millennium Park, for lunch at the Silver Bean Café.

It was busy, but spacing was regulated outside, masks required, and tables cleaned and disinfected before new patrons were allowed to sit. We let the two men go inside to place our orders. There was no seating inside the small café. Jim and I each ordered chicken and avocado sandwiches (I forgot to take a picture!) that were so huge we should have shared. We packed up most of the delicious accompanying salad to bring home for dinner.

Leaving the café, we continued on the path along Little Lake, crossing the railway bridge and cruising past the waterfront patio of the Holiday Inn.

We crossed a little wooden bridge that took us into the Marina that provides docking for the many private boats that tie up there during the summer.

Most summers it’s also where the Lift lock Cruise Boats  pick up and drop off passengers, but of course this year COVID put a stop to that.

Beyond the Marina is another waterfront restaurant at the edge of Del Crary Park,  home of the Peterborough Musicfest which, under normal circumstances brings awesome entertainment to the city twice a week, all summer long. Closer to the road a winding path leads to a bronze statue remembering fallen Peterborough firefighters, and the Peterborough Walk of Fame where bronze plaques are laid to commemorate local area residents who had contributed to the arts and entertainment life. Jim’s dad, a well-known local musician and entertainer from the latter half of the 1900s is remembered there.

From there we passed the Art Gallery on the way to the narrow path worn into the grassy area between Little Lake and Crescent Street. We admired the beautiful old homes with the amazing view.

We toured through Little Lake Cemetery.

We ended up on Lansdowne Street at the foot of the bridge that transported us back into East City. It’s a busy bridge and there was some construction going on so some of us chose to walk our bikes to the other side via the sidewalk.

Further along Lansdowne Street we took a short cut through a subdivision that led us out to Ashburnham Drive, where we caught the Trans Canada Trail, going through Ecology Park, Beavermeade Park, Trent Severn Waterway Lock #20 and Roger’s Cove beside the lake.

From there we wandered up hill, through a few quiet residential streets, past the ball field and Quaker Oats and finally got back onto the paved trail that took us back to where we had begun.

Our friends, Julie and Keith, said they’d never known so much about Peterborough and all its treasures before, and I remembered why I like that city so much in the summer time.

Bike Ride Number 2 – Peterborough to Omemee


When we woke up yesterday morning, the sun was shining, but the thermometer  told us it was only 4 degrees Celsius! So we donned an extra layer of clothing before driving to Peterborough again to begin another adventure.

We caught the trail in the south east corner of Jackson Park, from the parking lot off Fairburn St. at Parkhill Rd. I don’t recall ever being in this park during the whole time I lived in Peterborough. It’s beautiful!

We crossed Jackson Creek via the covered bridge, and then stopped to gather for a group photo, soliciting the help of a lovely young woman who was enjoying the morning with her little son and friends. Thank you!

Once through the park, the paved trail ended, but everything beyond that was smooth and packed either gravel or sand.

We rode through cool shadows beneath arches of trees, then emerged into the sunshine on bridges crossing rivers and creeks; through dense forests and past golden farm fields.

Beginning of another Trail

More amazing scenery! Notice the very clear blue sky.

We had to take care to cross some, sometimes busy, roads but were thankful that there is a tunnel running below busy Hwy. 7 at Fowler’s Corners. These trails are all built on the old railway beds, and very well maintained.

After stopping for pictures many times, two and a half hours later we were gladly seated on an outdoor patio in Omemee, more than ready for lunch at Bill’s Pizza House. Some of us had Pizza; others had Fish and Chips. Both were excellent!

An hour later we were back on the trail leading us back to Peterborough. Clouds had rolled in and a bit of wind had picked up.

On our way back through Jackson Park, we stopped to take a look at the Flood Control Weir.

And we lingered a little longer in the park admiring the ducks and the views.

By the time we pulled into the parking lot, it almost felt like time for dinner, but it was only 3:00 pm!