Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Lusk to Loveland

Friday, 13th August 2010

OMG! Friday 13th! I say a little prayer this morning - please, please, please may everyone stay safe on their bikes today - & every day, come to that. I'll be good forever, honest.
We visited Fort Laramie this morning, & I find early American history so fascinating. We learned all about day to day life in the fort from costumed re-enactors. It was never stockaded with wooden defensive walls the way we usually imagine frontier forts to be. Truth is, there were enough men & artillery housed there so the Indians would never attack; they just picked the soldiers off like snipers when they ventured out in small groups.

Ali Barber & the Cavalry!
We also learned how the settlers & cowboys left messages for eachother before emails - they'd write on bleached bones with charcoal from their campfires. 
Click on this picture to read the travellers' messages.

I loved hearing the tales of the life of a laundress back in the day; a hard life, though not without some status & benefits. But I would have preferred to be an Officer's Wife, all afternoon tea & dishing out orders! No change there, then! John enjoyed it, too. Delusions of grandeur surfaced in John, as he spied a cavalry hat he fancied - he says he'll have three stripes on his shoulder by next year to go with it!

I didn't take a photo of John's new hat, but it was nothing like these!
I'm sure we could have stayed longer at Fort Laramie, but it was getting hot, & we had a road to ride, so after grabbing a quick bottle of Sarsparilla from the Soldiers Bar, we mounted up & continued our journey.

Our destination for lunch was Laramie itself, which strangely enough is almost a hundred miles from the Fort, & afterwards we headed for Loveland, where we had scheduled a visit to Thunder Mountain H-D. They keep some great ladies clothing in there, & I was looking forward to calling in, but for some reason, my sat-nav took me straight past it to our hotel. John & all our riders stopped & shopped there, but I had dropped so far behind the group in the busy teatime traffic that I didn't see them turn off the motorway. Funny that, I must ask John how I bypassed it, as he's the one who programmes the sat-navs ...

Friday evening, Colin & Sandra, Kev & Janet, & John & Janice found a hip 'n' happnin' little pub around the corner from our hotel, where they had already sampled several glasses of the landlord's finest when who should walk in but our cheeky cockney chappies, Harry & Bob! Well, much frivolity, singing on the karaoke & dancing moves ensued, & a cracking good night was had by all! Good enough to give Kev the mother of all hangovers next morning anyway! I'll leave you with these images ...

Kev gets wiv it, large!
Sandra & Janice - at least three sheets to the wind!

John makes some shapes on the dancefloor!
And a good time was had by all!

So, Friday 13th ended well after all. Mind you, Saturday the 14th was a bit of a headache for some!!!!

Deadwood to Lusk - continued

Thursday, 12th August 2010

Leaving Crazy Horse, we were heading for Custer State Park, & a twisty, winding road called the Needles Highway. Well, I say we - that is, everyone except me in the van! Truth is, there are some extremely narrow passageways between the rocks, & I don't think the van would get through them. I just scraped (not literally!) through last year, in a smaller van, so I didn't want to risk it in the Mercedes, which was both wider & higher than the Chevvy. So, the plan was that I'd meet up with the bikes at the restaurant in Custer State Park for lunch, & that's pretty much what happened. Custer is famous for large numbers of Bison, & we saw plenty of them. Up at the front, they were on the road & the bikes had a great view, but by the time I got there with the van they had wandered over into the fields.

What's the difference between a bison & a buffalo?
We arrived at Lusk for our overnight stay in good time for a swim in the outdoor pool, but sadly there was no BBQ for us, as Tom, who owns the hotel & is chief BBQ cook on these occasions, was away at Sturgis enjoying himself. However, he was thoughtful enough to leave a little 'Goody Bag' for every room in our group instead. How very kind of him, it's little touches like these that make us want to go back each year.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Deadwood to Lusk

Thursday, 12th August 2010

We left Deadwood on the Thursday morning, anxious to resume our adventures on the road. It was great to stay in one place for a few days, but there are still a lot of wonderful places to visit, as we begin the second leg of this epic tour.

We began with a ride through Keystone - keeping an eye out for the cops - & pretty soon we were faced with Mount Rushmore. We stopped for a few photos, but carried on to Crazy Horse where we were to spend a couple of hours learning more about this mammoth task. This is much more of an achievement, when you consider it was one man's dream, with no government help or funding. The monument to Crazy Horse is a fantastic tribute to native American Indians, & will not be completed for many, many years.

Scale model of finished Crazy Horse Monument

Must go & board the plane home .... will continue later ...

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Images of Sturgis

Big Guy at Full Throttle Saloon
Wednesday, 11th August 2010

I thought I'd not ramble on too much with this page, & try to fill it with photos instead. That's me on the left with Wild Bill Hikock.

We didn't have a group ride-out today, John & I had a few things to do, & we thought we'd just let everyone do their own thing.

One of John's tasks for today was to wash the bike. Luckily for him, he found some help! Doesn't he look pleased with himself?
Well, he does like a nice clean bike!
This bike belongs to a serious Beatles fan!

Bare Bones Bike at Buffalo Chip

That's all for now, it's late & I'm tired. I'll try to write more tomorrow.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Hang 'em High at Hullet!

                                 Spearfish Canyon
Tuesday, 10th August 2010

Part of the attraction of Sturgis is the fantastic rides & wonderful scenery all around the area. The plan today was to take a ride through the beautiful Spearfish Canyon, all twists & turns, with dramatic rocky walls towering over the lush green canyon floor. I coudn't help imagining how peaceful it must be there, when there isn't a constant stream of noisy motorcycles roaring through.

The canyon receded & the landscape gradually opened up, & we carried on our ride for a while longer, until we came to a stone building on a gentle mound, slap-bang in the middle of nowhere. There were loads of bikes outside, so we decided to call in & see what was going on. It had been a while since we left Deadwood, so we we thought everyone would be ready for a 'comfort' stop about now, anyway. We turned up the long drive, & while we were parking the bikes, I noticed Harry admiring a sort of Davy Crockett-style hat worn by another biker. Now Harry has been gradually 'going native' since we began this tour. He arrived in Las Vegas in T-shirt & jeans, looking like a regular sort of guy. But, as the tour progressed, he's bought an Indian-style leather waistcoat & ditched the T-shirts, some leather chaps, (& he got some flak for those, I can tell you!)  & next time I looked he's wearing the hat, & the other guy is walking away stuffing a wad of dollars into his pocket!

                                                         We're going to Hullett next, Harry! Wear the fox hat!!

The building we had stopped at was called the Stone House - quite appropriate I thought. It's a bar/restaurant, but the best thing about it was the loos! Away from the main building, which was quite decrepit, there was an obviously brand new wooden structure, all pale pine & spotlessly clean. I went into the ladies door, & it was just wonderful! Completely open to the skies, it had no roof at all, & a new stone floor, several wooden cubicles & proper loos. There was also a row of basins, gleaming in the sunshine, lovely handwashing lotions, soft paper towels - the whole place was posher than a lot of places I've visited, & totally unexpected.  So our 'comfort' stop turned out to be quite an experience!

Next, we were headed for a little place called Hullett. Hullett is famous for 'No Panties Wednesday'! Apparrently, way back in the day, all the bikers would converge in Hullett on the Wednesday, on their way to Sturgis for the rally weekend. Spirits would get a little high, beer would flow, & the bikers would get a bit  raucous. 'Course, it's all rather more low-key & PC now - but I made sure we went on the Tuesday, just in case!

Pat & Chris decided to keep their panties on - with dire consequences!

We had lunch in Hullett, & a little look around, & we came across a couple of mean-looking cattle rustlers who paid the ultimate price for their misdeeds. Funny though, they looked strangely familiar ... 

We decided to leave Hullett while we still had some of our group left alive, & headed off towards Devil's Tower, famous rendezvous point for the aliens in Close Encounter of the Third Kind. Devil's Tower Trading Post is also famous for wonderful ice-cream (well, it is with me, anyway), & I was so looking forward to a large helping of Praline Pecan as we approached the strange mound of rock. However, when we arrived at the Trading Post, it seemed that one or two hundred other bikers were of the same mind, & we couldn't even get parked, let alone get anywhere near the ice-cream counter. With deep regret on my part, we aborted the mission, & headed instead for Sundance, home of the Sundance Kid, & site of recently opened Harley-Davidson dealership, which was to be our new goal.

Devil's Tower - & Praline Pecan - far in the background

Later that evening, John & I, & Elaine & Dave, went to the Buffalo Chip, one of Strugis' famous campgrounds, to see Bob Dylan. What an experience that was! Bob was good, no doubt about it, but it was the crowd there that was truly entertaining! I don't have any photos to put on here, (just as well, I might get arrested!) but there were girls there wearing nothing but skimpy bikinis - well, skimpy bikinis just painted on their skin - they were actually not wearing a stitch! Others wore little shorts - real ones - with bodices or corsets painted on as tops, & they all loved to be stopped by the guys to have their pictures taken. Well, you know what they say about having it & flaunting it! Speaking of which, one very large lady had a lot more than most, & she flaunted hers in a string vest -very scary!

Thursday, 12 August 2010


Monday, 9th August 2010

At last! We're actually going to Sturgis today! We met at 9am for the 10 mile ride to the small town where the 70th Sturgis Rally was taking place. It's a lovely ride from Deadwood, with long, sweeping curves through pleasant countryside, & of course those roads are teeming with motorcycles on both sides, coming from & going to Sturgis.
Riding along Lazelle Street we slowed to a snails pace, snarled up in the sheer volume of traffic, with multiple STOP signs at the junctions slowing us down even further, but giving us the chance to see the many stalls & trade stands which line both sides of the road, all vying for our attention & tempting us to buy from them.
We were baking in the heat, with the sun beating down, & the engines burning our legs as we crawled off Lazelle, & eventually turned in to Main Street. We rode slowly up the street, parked motorcycles lining both sides of the road, with a double row up the middle. Every building wore biker livery - all the usual shops & businesses move out for the rally, & rent their premises to the hundreds of t-shirt shops, food outlets, stalls selling cold drinks, leather gear, tattoo parlours, bars, pin & patch stalls - anything to make a buck from the bikers.
We continued in awe along Main Street, until we came to the end of the shops & stalls, & into the residential area. There were tents in almost every garden - some people move out of their homes for the rally & rent them to bikers, others have signs up advertising camping space in their gardens, some offer bike parking, some offer showers, some sell cold bottled water & soft drinks from coolboxes in the garden, & all along people sit on garden chairs to watch the bikes go by.
We left our group in Sturgis to wander & soak up the atmosphere, & maybe even buy a t-shirt or two, or chill out on the balcony of One Eyed Jack's Saloon with a cold drink to watch the biking world go by. Bliss!

Buffalo to Deadwood

Sunday, 8th August 2010

Nothing on the road apart from us!
8th of August is our actual anniversary, & when we came into the dining room for breakfast this morning, everyone cheered & applauded. Bob serenaded us with some old cockney song - don't give up your day-job, Bob - & we were handed a lovely card, which everyone had signed. Well, we were so overwhelmed, & I came over all emotional! Thank you everyone, for all your good wishes & kindness. What a great bunch you are! Eeeh, I'm filling up again just thinking about it!

And today's a big day in another way, too; today we hit Deadwood, where we get to stay in the same place for 4 consecutive nights, & enjoy the Sturgis Rally, & the reason for this tour. We've been seeing more & more Harleys on the road in the last few days, although you wouldn't think it from the picture above! We stop for lunch at the Buckhorn Saloon, along with a whole lot of other bikers, all heading for the same destination. Some people there like to show off a bit ...

Boss Hoss Trike - for sale at $90,000!

We passed some great placenames on today's ride; Crazy Woman Creek, Dead Horse Gulch, Sundance (where The Kid got his name from), & another, which was far more familiar!

 We called in at Deluxe H-D in Gillette for a bit of retail therapy, taking full advantage of the free coffee & help-yourself ice-cream machine. Well, it'd be rude not to, wouldn't it?  I know who came off best from our visit - collectively we boosted their sales enormously, so I s'pose a drop of coffee & a dollop of ice-cream is neither here nor there in the scale of things!

The roads began to curve gently & were filled with bikes as we swept down towards Deadwood, arriving at Cadillac Jack's, our hotel for the next four nights, around 3.30pm. Our people were like kids let loose in a candy store, barely taking the time to dump their bags in their rooms before rushing out to see as much as they could of this exciting area. The whole place was buzzing - or should that be roaring? - with thousands of bikes & bikers everywhere you looked. We agreed to meet at 8am next morning to go into Sturgis, & see what delights awaited us all there!