The bike had a nice cushy ride in the back of an air-conditioned semi. I'd like to say my travels out to Sturgis were just as comfortable but alas, just not so. I bet we are not the only household where the bike gets better treatment than the old lady, are we?
Had to fly to Utah from Boston, spent a couple of nights outside of Salt Lake City, picked up the rental and off we went.
The route from SLC to Sturgis took us straight through Wyoming. I was extremely excited to drive through the 'Cowboy' state...I was expecting tumbleweeds and saloons. Instead, we drove through an extremely 'green' and innovative state.
I was pretty impressed with the many 'wind farms' that out my way can't seem to make it past Massachusetts taxpayers. What I wasn't too impressed with were the 'green' rest areas that appear to have normal toilets but really are toilets with a hole in the ground, no septic. Ugh, the smell and flies were beyond disgusting. It is clearly a state that cares about its resources, so can't complain. If I ever go again, will just put a hold on the water consumption.
Because we left after a full work day, we decided to stop five hours out in Rawlins, an industrial town south of Casper. I pre-paid the room on a booking site and based on reviews, it seemed okay. Again, if we ever make it that way, just going to keep on truckin' through. 'Ick' is all I have to say 'bout that.
Got an early start and made our way up north to South Dakota. Went through Douglas, Wyoming, home of the 'jackalope', which I was not aware is not a real animal, but more along the lines of 'Big Foot' or 'Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster'. Thankfully, my husband only let me search out my window for them for a short while before he broke the news to me that the jackalope is a fictitious animal. Wh-wh-what?? Bunnies can't have antlers?
Arrived 6 hours later to Rapid City where the old man and his baby were reunited. Not a scratch on her...she was well taken care of.
Finally made it to the hotel that we would call home for the Sturgis Rally. Mt. Rushmore Plaza Holiday Inn in Rapid City.
Much nicer than the flea pit we stayed in the night before...cost twice as much but it was certainly worth it. Didn't have to worry about being shanked in my sleep. Not a bad location, but I think when we visit again we will stay in Deadwood, and perhaps one of the parks in a cabin for a few nights. Rapid City is like any other city, chain restaurants, strip malls, nothing exciting.
Threw the bags in the room, and off we went. About 20-30 minute ride to downtown Sturgis. We arrived on a Thursday so traffic was okay, but was pleasantly surprised to see the crowds. It appears that many start to show up a day or two early.
Our first stop was at The Knuckle Saloon and Grill for a cold beer...it was hot as hell and the beer icy cold. The Knuckle describes itself as the largest entertainment venue in Sturgis. Loaded with Sturgis memorabilila and old antiques and signs, it is a great place to stop. During the rally, it is home to local radio station, KNKL, who broadcasts live each day. There are several bands all day and some type of extreme street fighting and other events held all week long. Pretty cool place.
Took off for a cruise down Main Street. Bars were starting to fill but still plenty of room on the balconies on a late Thursday afternoon. Several bars along the downtown strip have long balconies to watch the bikes ride through.
Continued towards the Full Throttle Saloon, since I am a fan of their reality show. It is outside of all the madness of downtown, maybe a couple miles away from the action on Main Street. Next to Buffalo Chip.
Looked just like they show on television...this was Thursday before Rally as I mentioned earlier..not too crowded but still some action happening, including some karaoke. Eek.
There are a couple of bars...this was the back bar which was closed for filming at the time...
Full Throttle is more than a bar...they have a Wall of Death stunt show, lots of entertainment and dancers, including Flaunt whose leader, Angie, is the owner's girlfriend. Angie has her own special area called 'Angieland' where you can get your picture taken with her butt on your head, if that's your thing. There is even a zip line that goes across the back of the property. Wish I tried it...maybe next time...might even have my picture taken with Angie sittin' on my head...we'll see.
Since I am a fan of the show, I was very excited to see the film crew on site. I was not excited to see the scenes that were being set up that will probably be shown as their 'reality'. If I was a bartender there, I'd be pretty pissed to see them bring in the 'A Team' for filming while I did all the work, but I guess us average girls do not make for good TV. Eff them, I say!
'Nuff about that..I still love the place and will watch the show...
Jesse James' America's Outlaw Beer seems to be the beer of choice at Full Throttle. Who first comes to mind when you hear the name 'Jess James'? Jessie, the Outlaw? Jessie, the Biker, who cheated on Sandra Bullock? Ahole. Nope there is another infamous Jesse...it is the creation of Jackyl front man, Jesse James Dupree. Who knew there were so many famous Jesse James'?
All types of characters at this place. Outside there was a couple, dressed in pink...even the dude...pink wig, pink shirt...whole nine yards. They were raising money for breast cancer awareness and had already received over $25,000, I think. Bikers are a generous group.
There is plenty of parking...in front of bar and in a huge lot adjacent to the cabins.
Off we went to the next destination, Deadwood, about a 15 mile ride from downtown Sturgis. Deadwood is steeped in history and home to one of the last gold rushes of the country, as well as Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane.
There is a bar, Saloon 10, that sits on the exact spot where Wild Bill was shot while playing poker. In the lower level of the bar, there is a scene reenacting the poker game and his death. He was found holding a pair of eights and pair aces, now known as the Dead Man's Hand. You probably already knew that, didn't you?
A lot of history in Deadwood, and I really wished we had stayed there. Great bars and saloons, gambling is legal, and it is convenient to all the attractions. Great little town.
Called it a night after a nice steak dinner in town. We were off to bed early eager to get up early and explore this beautiful part of our country.