Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A quick Sturgis trip with Joe13

Last year I wrote about a trip to the Black Hills during the last week of August. it was a beautiful time to be there. Not only were the motorcycle crowds gone, but almost all the tourists had left, leaving some great riding in perfect weather. This year I decided I'd give the rally a try. Having never been to Sturgis during rally week, I figured I'd go for a day to see what I was missing. I'm glad I went.

I'm glad I went early. Sturgis officially started today, August 9th. I rode up with a friend on the 7th and back on the 8th. It was a last minute decision to go, so no plans were made. We left Loveland before noon, and with a detour to my favorite quilt shop in Hill City, we got to Sturgis just before sunset. We hit Main Street, parked, and walked around for a bit, stopping to visit Webb from Joker's Wild in Fort Collins tattooing at the Tattoo Cellar. Cell service in Sturgis is terrible, but I was able to text a friend who told us to meet him at Full Throttle Saloon.

We figured out how to find Full Throttle and headed out. When we got there, we parked next to Geico's Dyna Drags trailer. My friend loves motorcycle racing, so we hung out and watched. They wanted people to race, which was $30 for three runs, plus you got a t-shirt and print-out of your racing statistics. I'm not sure what made me think it was a good idea, but I thought it looked like fun, and I wanted to see what my bike would do. I paid my $30 and went for it. I was the first woman of Sturgis 2010 to race on the dyno. Nobody went while I was there, so I did it alone. I say alone, but the crowd got pretty big. The guys running it were hyping it up, and someone was filming the whole thing. I was nervous, never having done this before, but I had a blast. My last run was 13.25 seconds for the quarter mile, with a speed of 107 MPH and 71 horsepower. Wow! I was so excited all night that I couldn't sleep.

Oh yeah, sleep. We had made zero plans for a place to stay. Someone told us about a campground a little way out of town where we could get a spot for one night at a time. This was different from a lot of the really big places that only sold week-long spots for big bucks. We had no idea where we were going, and it was getting really dark and desolate, but after a while I saw some lights and a lot of vehicles turning down a side road. Sure enough, I'd found the Shade Valley Campground. The rate there is $20 per person, per night. They have a pretty impressive shower house way in the back for the tenters, but beware of cow patties everywhere.

The next day we went back into town for breakfast, where I was promptly recognized from my run on the dyno the night before. Very cool! We paid $7 for an all-you-can-eat pancake and biscuits and gravy breakfast at a school. Then we went into town, parked on Main Street again, and checked out the vendors. My friend owns Two Guys Motorcycle Shop in Loveland, so it was a trade show for us. It was a lot of fun meeting the vendors and learning about their new products.

By noon on Sunday, between the lack of sleep, heat, and crowds, I was on overload and was ready to head home. I'm not a big fan of crowds, and I'd reached my limit. It's easy to see why there are so many wrecks during bike week. It's hard to focus on everything you need to in order to ride safely. Riders are of all different experience levels, and you never know what the person next to you is going to do. I'm glad I went, and I'm glad I went early. I'm not sure I'd be able to tolerate much more traffic and noise, and the official week hadn't even begun! I'll probably go back, but not for much longer than I did this year.

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