To the Dakotas

Posted in Uncategorized on August 2, 2022 by Pat Regan

After checking out Antique Archeology, I looked around La Claire a bit before heading north.

This car had Tennessee tags. I wondered if it may be Mike Wolfe’s ride. I heard an employee at the picker’s shop tell a customer that Mike was in town and he frequents the local bars and restaurants.

I continued north on the Iowa side of the Mississippi. My original plan was to camp in the area. I had a reservation at Maquoketa Caves State Park. A few days before arriving, I got a message on my phone telling me that my reservation has been canceled and my money would be refunded. Huh? No explanation was given. I was reading the news the next day and I found out why. There was a murder in the campground.

https://iowacapitaldispatch.com/2022/07/22/iowa-politicians-respond-to-maquoketa-caves-state-park-shooting/

The roads along the Eastern edge of Iowa are fun to ride. Lots of swooping hills and curves with nice scenery. Straight out of a Grant Wood landscape. Or visa versa.

When I got to Dubuque I crossed the Mississippi River again. I wanted to continue north on the Wisconsin side.

I thought I hadn’t ridden this side of the Mississippi but then I came across this place. This is not a place one forgets. Welcome to the Dickeyville Grotto and Shrines.

The last time I visited I took a bunch of photos. This visit would be a quick visit.

Iowa can get 3 syllables out of only 4 letters. Trempealeau is a bit more excessive.

I sat and had a sandwich at a park along an off shoot of the Mississippi. The train also ran along the great river.

Full disclosure. I am embarrassed to admit it but I nearly ran out of gas. It was a messy day. Rain was intermittent. In between rainfall it was warm. This sucks when you are wearing a rain suit. It gets steamy. As I rode north I passed a town every once in a while. I knew I would need gas soon but the last town I rolled through only had a BP station. I still hold a grudge against them for the big spill in the Gulf of Mexico. So I figured, fuck them I will get gas in the next town. There was no next town. After about 40 miles I began to see houses, but my electronic gas indicator was quickly ticking to zero. I saw a station and it was out of business. When I got down to one mile left, I pulled into the driveway of Phil and Ellen. Not only does Phil have this awesome vintage gas pump in his front lawn, he had a plastic container of the good stuff in the garage. These kind folks helped me on my way and I was able to make it to Superior for a fill up.

The next town as you head North is Duluth, Minnesota where you can find the childhood home of Bob Dylan.

Dylan lived in the house from 1941-1947. The lady here at this home gave me the name, address, and phone number of the guy who lives in the home Bob Dylan moved to after this one in Hibbing, Minnesota. I would have given a call and visited but it was out of the way, and with the crazy on and off rain I just wanted to get to my campsite for the night.

I did make one more stop in Duluth. I saw a large sign on the side of an old brick building on my way to Bob Dylan’s house. It said Aerostitch. This is the place where they make Aerostich motorcycle outfits. Many touring folks consider these to be the best.

It’s a simple enough outfit. This is the showroom. I imagine most of their business is exported from here but this is where they are made. It’s an old building and you can hear the sewing machines rattling above as you walk around the showroom.

Further on down Route 2, I came across the Big Fish Supper Club. It looks like something you might expect to see along Route 66.

Here is Paul Bunyan and his blue Ox, Babe. They are a monument along Lake Bemidji which means I am close to camping for a couple nights.

This campground was nice and well kept. I liked my site as it was more elevated than many of the others.

In the morning as I was having coffee, I noticed a movement on the edge of the tree in front of me.

Oh wow! It was a cicada climbing out of it’s shell.

It was mind blowing to watch this transformation. I had never seen this before. It almost looks alien.

After climbing completely out of the shell the cicada let it’s wings stretch out and dry.

Once fully extended, the cicada began slowly climbing upward into the tree and out of sight ready to take on it’s new life. It was an amazing thing to watch.

Here is the park’s namesake Lake Bemidji.

After chilling by the lake for a while, I noticed some people shooting bow and arrows. I went to check it out. It was something the park offers. I hadn’t done this since I was a kid. Iwas doing OK, then I broke the bow.

That sucker snapped and smacked the shit out of my arm. Bruised me up pretty good. I got another bow and finished up. Nice grouping, as they say. Below is the broken bow.

There is fungus among us!

I could imagine this thing below freaking someone out given the time of day, or night.

I saw some people posting signs earlier for Erika Bailey-Johnson. There was some kind of political event going on to support her. Between a few speeches Corey Medina & Brothers rocked out some bluesy jams. I must be in the front row!

Another bonus to the political event was a food truck. I was shocked to see muffulettas written on the side of the truck. This is Teresa’s Wicked Tasty Food (WTF). I mentioned that my family was from New Orleans and Theresa was eager for my opinion of the muffuletta. I was pleased to report that it was really good. I said the bread is a little different. She said someone else from New Orleans said the same thing. Then Theresa gave me a second muffuletta for free. A lagniappe, I said. Although she practiced it, she didn’t know the term.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lagniappe

I have to say, I give Lake Bemidji State Park a big thumbs up.

I always like to see a repurposed Muffler Man. In this case he stands outside an Indian Trading Post.

I kept that second muffuletta on ice so I could enjoy it on the banks of the Mississippi. The origin of the Mississippi is a few miles from here.

I came across a car show as I rode west on Route 2. I love stumbling upon a car show.

Ah, the Mach 1 Mustang. I had one of these in the 80s. Mine was 72, red with a 351 Cleveland. It looked just like the one James Bond used in Diamonds are Forever as he rides through the streets of Vegas causing mayhem.

This hard top convertible was really nice.

This 58 Chevy was in pristine condition.

The engine was running as I passed this old timer. I said it has a great sound. He said, “Yeah! And when the rubber band is done winding, we can get going.”

Just before I crossed the line into North Dakota I saw some out of place old structures to my right. This was the Polk County Historical Society Museum.

Inside were many artifacts of the local past. I love some of the old advertising labels.

There were rooms converted to look like they did in years past.

I asked about the fella with the propeller on his head. Larry the curator was pleased to say that it was his childhood toy.

Larry also plugged in this stove to light up for a photo. He explained it’s importance as it sometimes gets down to 40 degrees below zero here in the Winter.

Perhaps Carnivorous Flora? I thought it looked like the witches hat from the Harry Potter movie.

In addition to the museum of artifacts, the Polk County Museum has buildings outside. Some are historic like this old schoolhouse below. Some are large warehouses for other items on display.

This hanging globe was amazing. I asked Larry if he had ever seen on before. He hadn’t. Me either.

In one warehouse was old cars and an airplane.

The Polk County Fire Department keeps this warehouse up to date and in tip top shape.

This is an old steam tractor. It still runs and is used in local parades. Larry was proud to tell me that the whistle on the tractor belonged to his dad and is a real attention grabber at the parade. I was really unfamiliar with the Case brand. After I left the museum, I passed 3 Case dealers. They are still making them today.

The next day I visited Fort Totten. We have a Fort Totten back in NYC. It is a part of Queens. This Fort Totten is a former military post. It was active from 1867 to 1890 when it became a boarding school for Native American children. Since 1891 it has been the property of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

And here I am in in another old school room.

They don’t mess around here. They come right out and call it Punishment.

There were some nice size yellow gourds growing beneath these large green leaves.

Inside the flower there was a bit of pollinating going on.

This flag on the wall was dated 1945.

I am not sure what the purpose of this wall hanging was, but it sure has some cool, interesting depictions.

As you pass through Rugby, North Dakota you encounter the Geographical Center of North America. I had been to the Geographical Center of the lower 48 in Lebanon, Kansas before, but this is the center between all of Mexico, The US, and Canada.

My final stop before heading to Sturgis is Minot, North Dakota. This is the Gol Stave Church Museum in Minot.

It is a full size replica of an original church constructed in the 13th century.

This is the only thing I went out of my way to see here in Minot. My real reason for staying here was the great deal I got on a hotel to rest, finish up this posting, and do some laundry. Tomorrow I head south to Sturgis for nearly 2 weeks of camping and motorcycle fun. Oh boy!

On to the Mississippi

Posted in Uncategorized on August 1, 2022 by Pat Regan

I headed west after leaving the Mid-Ohio Racetrack. I had a plan to take some small roads I had never taken before.

I flew past this sight below! As I approached, it looked like an alter of some sort. As I got closer, I could make out three separate parts. Even closer, I could tell the top piece was carved. And finally I saw that it was a semi truck. I had to turn around. I was wondering if the two top parts of that alter were carved from one piece? And was it carved from the tree that once stood there? Well, the answer to both of those questions was yes. Carol was there to tell me that she had this sculpture made for her husband. They had long feared that the tree may fall into the highway in front of their house. They thought the tree was dead. Turns out it wasn’t. Bummer. But she had this made with the remains of the old tree. It’s a replica of her husband’s semi that is parked on the other side of that beautiful house. You can barley see the truck’s nose peeking out in the photo below.

Here is full size photo of Carol’s husband big rig.

I was told things looked good weather wise when I left Mid-Ohio but I didn’t check the radar myself. As I rode along, the sky just didn’t look right. By the time I checked the radar, I had one choice. I needed to move south and do it fast or I was going to get very wet. I rode fast toward Dayton and got a room for the night. It had been days at the racetrack and they don’t have showers, so I was looking forward to a room and a bed.

National Museum United States Air Force

I may have been brought to Dayton by running away from a storm the day before. As it turns out, I was running toward a remarkable museum. This is the National Museum of the Untied States Air Force. It is impressive.

The history of flight is captured with many of the actual planes that made that history.

These planes are displayed in massive connected hangers.

Hangers are arranged by their place in history and according to war campaigns.

Last year I got to see a Flying Tiger in action at an air show in Lakeland, Florida. It’s an awesome plane.

Looking at the nose of this plane, you can see the hand made patchwork of hammered out metal and rivets holding the skin in place.

This is the Memphis Belle. Made even more famous in the movies, this was the first heavy bomber to return home to the United States after flying 25 mission over Europe in WWII.

It was wild to look up and see into the bomb bay. You can see how the bombs drop in succession like you see in vintage films.

This little sucker looked like it was right of of a Buck Rogers movie.

There are a number of planes at this museum that hit me in an emotional way. This was one of them.

This is the Bockscar. The Enola Gay is often referenced in history books and lore because it was the first plane to drop an atomic bomb during a war campaign. Soon after Bockscar was dropping the Fat Man on Nagasaki.

Here is what the Fat Man looked like. On August 9, 1945 this atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, killing between 60,000 to 80,000 people.

There were hallways between some of the hangers that displayed signs of the times.

Another hallway had a display of actual bomber jackets from WWII. These were cool.

35 missions!

And Good old Stinky!

The B-52 Stratofortress is insanely large.

This plane below with the skin removed was fascinating. Look how it all that stuff packs into the structural frame.

Occasionally I would hear the knowledgeable dad, proudly sharing everything he knew about each plane in great detail to his patient, loving family. I am sure this is a sentimental pilgrimage for many veterans of the Air Force.

This was the other plane with a profound emotional impact.

I feel silly admitting this but when I was a kid riding my bicycle, I would pretend I was the pilot flying the President. It was my mission to provide the smoothest ride possible. I’d look for every blemish in the terrain that lie ahead. In NYC I’d occasionally hit a cobblestone street in the neighborhood where I lived. I would quietly say to myself, “Sorry Mr. President, we had unavoidable turbulence”. 

This was no bicycle I was on here, it was the actual cockpit where the pilot who flew the President would sit.

On one tragic day in November, a pilot would have to sit in that seat and safely fly two Presidents. One had recently been assassinated and the other sworn in while in flight. This was the plane that brought Kennedy home from Dallas. Below you can see LBJ being sworn in right here in the space I am occupying. 4 seats were removed in the back of the plane to make rook for the slain President.

The most recent part of the museum displays more modern craft and space craft. We now have The United States Space Force.

I believe this craft below is what Steve Austin was flying on the beginning of each episode The Six Million Dollar man.

She’s breaking up! She’s breaking up!

This is that craft you always see on those UFO shows. “…Or, could it have been mane made?” Then they show a clip of this vehicle wobbling around between some hangers on an air base.

This is Chris. He was parked right next to me as I walked out of the museum. I had never seen a Moto Guzzi built for touring like this one. He was telling me how he sealed his rear spoke wheel so that he could run tubeless tires. It’s sounds like a lot of work but it would be nice to not worry about tubes. Why don’t they just make them that way? Keep the look with spokes but seal that wheel. I mean, Triumph doesn’t mind putting on fake carburetors to keep a vintage look. I have popped tires in places where they didn’t have the tube to fit my bike. I once re-used a tube when replacing the tire due to wear because they had no tube. C’mon! Seal the wheel!

They had a flew planes outside. I said a quick hello to the Warthog and was on my way.

Wait. One more plane? This is far from the museum. Just a Corsair II hanging out by the grain mill.

A milestone on many journeys is the crossing of Route 66. Here I am crossing at Pontiac, Illinois. Last year I rode the entirety of Route 66.

This was my third time criss-crossing through Pontiac on my many journeys. I had never stopped at the auto museum until now.

It’s a fairly modest museum but has a few choice vehicles. The Judge GTO.

A Pontiac Phoenix Hatchback. It’s got some junk in the trunk.

This is an old suspension bridge in Pontiac.

I said farewell to Abe in Town Square and continued west.

I crossed the Illinois River into the town of Henry.

As I planned my route toward the Mississippi, I realized I would be passing by a town I knew well. I had camped just outside this town a few times. One of those times I met a guy in the nearby town, so I gave him a call. He told me to stop by. On the way, I saw a familiar spot. The Psycho Silo Saloon. This sign below didn’t exist the last time I was here.

I expected the gate to be locked as this bar is unfortunately only open on the weekends. However the gate was open, so naturally I rolled on in.

I saw a guy who seemed to be doing some work there. I asked if it was cool to walk around and take some pictures. He directed me to an older gentleman who told me this place was the brainchild of his son Troy. He told me to feel free to look around. He said Troy likes to do all kinds of interesting things with old vehicles and such as he pointed out a motorcycle placed high in a far away tree.

As I walked around, Troy drove up. We talked for a bit. I was admiring how much it reminded me of the old Full Throttle Saloon before it burned to the ground. He acknowledged that and talked about possibly opening up for a few weeks so travelers to and from Sturgis could enjoy the place.

It must be so much fun here when it is open. I’ll have to travel through on the weekend sometime.

Now I was continuing west to meet my friend Lynn who I had contacted on the way. Below is his grocery store. It was a theater back in the 30s. Maybe 20s too.

I met Lynn years ago when I was snooping around taking photos of the vehicles you see below.

As I was taking photos that first time, Lynn approached me cautiously curious but friendly as could be. I’ve hit him him up ever since if I’m passing by.

The magical surprise of that visit was the huber man cave behind the walls of the garages I stopped in front of. It has changed a bit since I was last here. The vehicles are different. And there are more tables and chairs for sure. It’a a wonderful place.

I noticed a seam in the wall and asked if it was a door. Lynn then showed me a bit more of his cavernous collection. The hubcaps below were one wall of a continuous collection of car artifacts. He had rooms connected with cars and collectibles along with remarkable projects he is working on. It was so cool!

Lynn has been organizing a car show on Father’s Day. He said it has gained quite a following from a handful of cars to 150 cars. This last car show Frank Fritz from American Pickers stopped by. Lynn showed me a photo of them together. Unfortunately, Frank has had a severe stroke and apparently isn’t doing all that well. Wishing you a speedy recovery Frank!

This is an old 4 way stoplight with a spotlight that would have shined down to the center of the intersection.

Lynn set up this scoreboard above a pick-up truck bench up for his daughters high school graduation, so the graduates could all take photos with it. He made the score 20 to 22, (or whatever the year was). He’s crafty. He has an idea to turn a dry cleaning carousel into a rotating bar and he has the smarts and skills to make it happen. I look forward to having a seat at a traveling stool someday.

Lynn had a bunch of people over after a car show. He said one of the guests got very excited, calling him over. The guy said, “That phone booth. I know that phone booth.” It seemed an unusual and unlikely possibility. But then he said, it’s from Alexandria, Illinois. Lynn asked , How could you know possibly that? The guy told him that the phone number written in the booth is to the local bar in Alexandria and he still has it memorized!

I mentioned Frank Fritz a moment ago. Now here I am at the original home of American Pickers in La Claire, Iowa. This means I have crossed the Mississippi.

These are a couple of bikes NOT FOR SALE. They are part of Mike Wolfe’s personal collection. I can only imagine the vastness of the rest of that collection.

The store is fun. If you watch the show you will recognize some of the more dramatic picks.

You may recognize the old rusty car outside beyond this flathead. In fact, while I was in that hotel in Dayton, I was watching TV and saw the ladies break that pinball machine in an episode.

I have taken many routes across this nation. This time I am going to cross the river again and follow it north on the Wisconsin side for a while. See ya on the other side in the next post.

AMA Vintage Days 2022

Posted in Uncategorized on July 31, 2022 by Pat Regan

I rolled into the Mid-Ohio Racetrack for the American Motorcycle Association’s Vintage Days. This is a fun event. I got there fairly early on Friday thinking it would be no problem to find a space to pitch my tent. Ha! Seems everyone else arrived on Thursday. The place was packed. Fortunately people are kind here. This guy Darren told me he had no problem with me pitching my tent next to his van. Technically that space was not on his site, so I asked another guy (with the flags in the photo), Brent if it would be OK. He said it would be fine. I wanted this particular location because it is the only area with morning shade. The rest of the place is an open field. All good!

This event is filled with things going on all day, every day. There are races on the track throughout the day. Different races for every type of motorcycle. Races are broken up according to the size and various types of motorcycles, from vintage machines to super sport bikes. There aren’t that many great vantage points to see the races up close and personal. You are looking at some major zooming in these photos below, but regardless, it is cool to hear them ripping past.

Besides the races, this is one of the largest, (if not the largest) swap meet east of the Mississippi. If you are working on a vintage bike and need an obscure part, chances are you will find it here.

It’s not just parts. You can pick up a good deal on a variety of bikes ready to ride away. Someday I just may take advantage of that when I become a man with a van.

Frankencycle!

When I saw this vehicle below, I asked, ”Are those old pick up truck fenders?” The guy lit up with a smile and said, ”Yeah! I just bought it! The guy had no idea what it was.” He told me it was from a 39 Chevy and the headlight was from some other vehicle from the 30s.

There were Triumphs everywhere you looked this year. Both at the swap meet and at a show down the hill.

Remember this is a racetrack, and not just for motorcycles. This pile of discarded race car tires is at the other end of the swap meet.

Unlike the place I am headed to in South Dakota, this was one of the few vintage Harleys I saw.

Another awesome attraction here is the Wall of Death. The Wall of Death is always a thrill to watch.

Below you can see this old timer scaling the walls. He is 70 years old riding an Indian even older.

Then this guy from New Jersey did the more death defying rides around the wall. A crowd favorite is to hold out a dollar bill.

Then the rider grabs them as he rips around perpendicular to the ground.

Video is something new to MyBonnie. Hope you enjoy them.

As cool as the races are on the paved track, my favorite event is watching the impromptu riding of the guests on an oval dirt track. This is an anything goes event, that lasts all day and through the night. People of all ages and gender ride all kinds of vehicles around this track from vintage full size bikes to quads. It’s a blast to watch.

This dude’s name is Brandon. The sidecar is called the Drunk Tank. We’ll see him agin later at the burnouts.

Notice the sign behind the kid who crashed. There will be an interesting video of that Punk Rock Tonight later in the post.

Kids were having a blast too. These young ladies were fearless!

A short but heavy rain storm blasted through making the place a muddy mess. This guy in the quad was enjoying fish-tailing as he passed groups of people, spraying them with thick gobs of mud. I caught a baseball size clump on the top of my head.

This guy (I forgot his name), was camping with Brent and a bunch of guys where I pitched my tent. He wasted no time getting out there after the storm.

It may have stormed but I still needed to get out for groceries. I braved the mud and made it back with no problem. You can see the treads on my tires solidly packed with that same gooey mud that slapped me upside the head.

A few years ago I began fish-tailing as I was leaving this place after a rain. The bike swerved left right left. I was fully packed and thought I may go down but I kept that bike upright. As I was pulling away I could hear cheers from some folks who also thought I was going down.

In the evenings there is an area where people do burnouts. Folks line up their rear wheel on an old board and let ’er rip as viewers pour beer down their throats. It’s a riot. For this part, video is an excellent source.

This kid was, let’s say, enthusiastic.

Here’s the Drunk Tank side car that we saw at the dirt track earlier.

After checking out some burn outs, I was curious what the punk rock sign was all about. Well, let me show you. I introduce you to Body Farm.

I mentioned earlier that the dirt track mayhem went on through the night as well. Check out the Jet Ski motorcycle in this last video clip.

I’ll wrap this post up with a look at the vintage bike show. Below is the original version of the bike I ride now. The T120 Bonneville. Beautiful!

Like I said at the swap meet… this year is heavy on the Triumphs.

What the #$%@!!! A Honda Davidson?

BSA had a flair for style. That Gold Star above is a classic emblem and the older design below represents what the company actually was, Birmingham Small Arms.

This was a Moto Guzzi with a turbo engine. I heard it starting up as it was taking off from the other end of the field. It made a wild whistling sound.

This muddy mess of a Honda was parked outside the bike show area as I was leaving.

This was my third time here at the AMA Vintage Days. I was hoping to see a bunch of guys from Rochester who I have hung out with in the past, but it seems they didn’t make it this year. I hope everyone is alright. I know they like to visit the swap meet in Rhinebeck, NY as well. Maybe I will see them there.

Now, which way to Sturgis?

NYC to Ohio

Posted in Uncategorized on July 26, 2022 by Pat Regan

It’s time to roll again! Before I get into my present journey I have an admission to make. Back in March, there were a couple of unusually warm days in NYC. With that, I saw an opportunity. I packed up the bike and took off for Florida. I didn’t post a thing about it. For that I am sorry. I’ll get to it at some point.

Now let’s get back to the present. I am on the road again! My plans are loose with two exceptions. I am going to the AMA Vintage Days at the Mid-Ohio Racetrack and the I am headed back to Sturgis. Other than that, I am trying to keep things spontaneous. Let’s go!

Due to incredible storms I delayed the trip by a day. Since I missed a day, and left late the following day, I didn’t frolic on small highways. I hit the Interstate. My destination was a bit further than I realized. I should more accurately say, it took much longer than expected to get there. I booked a campsite at Swanee State Park in Pennsylvania. That ground you see below looks flat and smooth. It wasn’t. I arrived late and pitched my tent by flashlight. This was going to be a quick in and out as it were.

The second day began the type of journey I appreciate. The two lane highway is my preferred route of travel. I began going west on Route 30. I have ridden much of Route 30 further west but had never been to this part. I did a quick U turn when I saw a large unusual structure in the middle of an old cemetery. This is a log church built in 1806.

I walked up to the door of the old church and was surprised to find it open. I was immediately brought back two centuries. It was a place I had previously known only in movie sets. It was easy to picture the place packed with people quietly sitting in this tiny space dressed in their old-timey Sunday best.

Then I saw a staircase in the corner leading to another level. It led to seating that wrapped all around so everyone could see the preacher in his elevated pulpit equidistant between his parishioners above and below. It really was spectacular.

Also along this part of Route 30 is the Flight 93 National Memorial. I have always wanted to stop here. I had mixed feelings. Being from NYC, I remember the day all to well.

I was of course curious, but at the same time felt a self conscious morbidity about that curiosity. It is a sight of profound tragedy. Nonetheless, I rode on. I decided not to go in to the Visitor Center. I didn’t need to see the day replayed. I just wanted to see the point of impact. It’s now not much more than an overgrown crater. Near the tree line in the photo below you can see a brown boulder depicting the exact site of impact.

There is a memorial. A wall made of white marble slabs with the name of a victim carved in each. The white wall aligns with the final flight path. There were a few with additions to some of the names on the wall, like Captain, or Flight Attendant.

One of the marble slabs was especially touching. Next to a woman’s name was written “with unborn child”. It was uneasy to read this. “Unborn Child” is a strange and interesting term when applied to today’s conversations regarding the abortion debate. I wondered how far into term this woman was? It didn’t say. Does it make a difference? It’s interesting to consider when applied to today’s debates. I found It to be the most profound of all the slabs of marble.

At the other end of the wall is a wooden gate. Beyond the gate is where the plane went down.

I rode south a bit before heading west to Ohio. Along the way I passed through a quaint town with this interesting birdhouse.

I stopped when I saw this strange old vehicle parked in front of a building.

As I looked around the building I noticed more old industrial machines.

I have no idea what this thing below is for. Actually I wasn’t sure what any of them were used for.

This marker below depicts the final resting place of General Edward Braddock, or at least most of him. In 1755 General Braddock was mortally wounded by French and Indian troops. A young George Washington, (who suddenly found himself in charge) ordered that the general be buried under the road so that the enemy would not find him and desecrate his body. Unfortunately, his body wasn’t discovered again until 1804 when workers were repairing a stretch of the road. His remains were moved to the site below, but not before some souvenir seekers pilfered his remains. It seems not all of him were buried under this monument. Some of the bones from his hand ended up in the Peale Museum in Philadelphia. They were then sold to PT Barnum and later lost when his American Museum in NYC caught fire destroying all his inventory.

After my log haul across Pennsylvania I crossed a river into West Virginia. At first I was puzzled and thought I had traveled too far south. However, if you look at a map, West Virginia has this one part that sticks way up like a middle finger. And on that finger is a giant wart. This is an ancient Native American mound. The town is named after it. Welcome to Moundsville.

Directly across the street from the mound is the West Virginia State Penitentiary. I would love to take a tour one of these days, but leaving the fully packed bike here didn’t seem prudent.

Continuing into Ohio I came across the barn covered in old murals.

I finally made it to my second campsite in Dillon State Park. It was getting late. I set up the tent and decided to put up the tarp to block the morning sun. The problem is, I didn’t know about the impending storm. That tarp was fine for the morning. It was not prepared for what would be coming that night. Below is the first time I am adding video to a post. What you see is the calm before the storm.

I slept in after a long night with that storm. I mean it was fun and exciting, but I wasn’t sleeping through it. That tarp didn’t have a chance in the storm. The ground is soft here and this spikes did not hold for long. In the morning I hung the tarp again and crashed. I thought I’d have time to see more, but I did visit a couple interesting places. Before I took off for the day I heard some action below me. The campsite overlooks a disc golf course.

Then I took off toward Columbus, Ohio. On the way I passed this amazing office building shaped like a giant picnic basket. Looks good eh Boo Boo?

This sculpture of stacked stones depicts Chief Leatherlips. He was called this by the local white settlers because he never broke a promise.

Within the city of Columbus is this remarkable topiary garden. It depicts the famous painting by Georges Seurat, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte.

The original painting can be found at the Art Institute of Chicago. They even had figures in boats on the pond.

I got a new point and shoot camera for this trip. It has a great zoom. Should be fun.

After Columbus, I returned to the campsite. As it was getting dark I could hear a kid riding down the hill on a bike. He was ahead of the pack and yelled bak at his trailing parents. ”Did you say be careful? I don’t need to be careful. I’m too old to be careful!” Ah, the beginning of the ”I’m indestructible” phase.

I had a good night’s sleep on my second evening here at Dillon State Park. It was hot in the morning as I packed up but the sun soon moved beyond the tree above to provide some needed shade. I took a shower (perhaps my last for a few days), and headed North toward the Mid-Ohio Racetrack to camp out at the AMA Vintage Days event.

I took a lonely road North. So lonely that I began to worry about gas since my light gauge went on. I was hungry too. I finally came across a gas station. I was determined not to eat there. I was craving a turkey club. I needed a diner. At the very next town of Mount Vernon there was the Sunrise Diner. It was a damn nice diner too. Clean as could be and everybody working there was super nice. It always takes a couple days to get into the road vibe. This diner sure helped.

I looked at Atlas Obscura while I waited for my lunch. It told me of the ruins of an old glass factory right here in Mount Vernon. I went to check it out. This was once the PPG Glass Company. It churned out glass products of all kinds for 40 years. It sat crumbling for years before being converted into a park.

There were piles of this blue glass placed around the park with signs saying ’stay of the glass’.

From the old glass factory I was headed for the Mid-Ohio Racetrack. I made one last stop to photograph this dancing bear. It’s a Grateful Dead thing, (for those that don’t know). I took it as a sign that it was going to be a great weekend!

Coast to Coast 2021

Posted in Uncategorized on October 14, 2021 by Pat Regan

Howdy folks! This Spring, after riding from NYC to Key West and back, I took off again in June. I rode the entire section of Route 66 from Chicago to California with a few fun sidetracks along the way. This Summer’s 2021 Coast to Coast journey is now compiled chronologically. Just click the link below to check it out.

CLICK HERE

I have added the 2021 trips to the map. This years’ journeys are represented by the red lines with a white outline.

Headed East

Posted in Uncategorized on September 11, 2021 by Pat Regan

I knew that I would have to adjust my focus once I crossed the Rockies. I pulled off to get gas at Pine Bluffs, WY. This would be the last town in Wyoming for me, and the last place with any type of rock formations for quite some time to come. In Pine Bluff, I switched to a local road to head east. It was time to make the switch from spectacular natural beauty to focus on the interesting ways the United States was settled with its history scattered about the countryside. Just before crossing into Nebraska, was a mural that summed up my adventure this summer. It depicted locations spanning the nation from west to east.

As I jumped on Route 30, I was smacked with this gathering of old gas pumps and other such collectibles at Pete’s Service Station.

Down the street from Pete’s is the NEB / WYO borderline once represented by this old crossing site.

Between long stretches of farm and grazing land, I would come upon a lonely town from time to time.

Each town of any substance will have a water tower with the town’s name emboldened on it. Welcome to FUNK, NB.

I saw Funk on my big Rand McNally map that I carry with me. I had also seen ‘Harold Warp Pioneer Village’ written as a site in nearby Minden, NB. Reading the name on the map I thought perhaps it was one of those wild west reenactment things. You know, with gun-blazing shootouts and a fall from the balcony. That’s not what it was at all. Beyond this building’s facade is something remarkable.

Pioneer Village is a treasure trove of American History artifacts. This overwhelming collection comprises everything from a small piece of American china to an entire building. Many of them are historic buildings. Other buildings are large warehouses that contain more huge collections of Americana. It begins with vehicles from carriages to airplanes. You will receive a map upon entry and there are arrows everywhere to guide you along.

There were numerous old carriages. Some were practical like this vessel and the hearse to its left. Others were the carriages for charlatans and snake oil salesmen.

This first enormous room leads you to another football-field sized room filled with trains, fire engines, and more planes.

I stepped out the back door of this gigantic room filled with technological history and really began to see how vast this collection is. It looks like you have entered a small town. There is no evidence of this mass acreage when you first approach Pioneer Village from the highway. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It looked like I was going to have to cover quite a bit of ground by foot before I put the round rubber back down to the pavement.

As I faced the church it felt like I was standing in an old town square, but each building in its circumference was unique to a different time and place. What I was looking at was the greatest private collection of Americana anywhere! Harold Warp’s vision is described well on Roadside America’s website. I am amazed that I did confer with this site as a reference before visiting. Everything was a wonderful surprise.

The Elm Creek Fort. This was the first log cabin in Webster County Nebraska, both as a dwelling and as a community fort against Indian attack. Built in 1869, the interior is authentically furnished. An original Pony Express mailbox is on the wall.

The People’s store is a replica of everything the people may have needed during the migration west.

Below is a testimony to memorialize the fortitude of Americas’s pioneers. It goes on to explain the personal reasons for Harold Warp’s endeavors.

The firehouse had all the contents intact that a fireman of the time would need.

To the right of a Petticoat Junction type water tower was a large steam engine. From 1872 to 1882, during homesteading days, this was the western terminus of the B & M Railroad.

Beyond the imposing locomotive was a cute little steam engine. It’s the one that could.

Inside the station office, everything looks tip-top.

There was an authentic rural school building of the late 19th and early 20th century, furnished with original desks, books, stove, water pail, dinner pails, etc. Even Harold Warp’s Perfect Attendance Certificates hung on the wall.

An authentic replica of the home where Harold Warp was born.

Built in 1884 the first church in Minden, has the original pews, pulpit, and organ.

This authentic log building was moved to Pioneer Village from Bridgeport, Nebraska, where it originally served as the Pumpkinseed Creek relay station to the Black Hills for the Pony Express. Wild Bill Hickok himself may have stopped by here for a fresh horse.

The oldest steam-powered merry-go-round in the United States. Rides were only a nickel.

This typical pioneer barn was moved to this location from the Warp homestead 9 miles south of Minden. (Harold Warp’s parents were good Christians, so the hayloft boards were laid rough side up, so young folks couldn’t have barn dances.)

Inside each of these massive old buildings was a thematic collection of some sort.

Outside too, there were old steam-powered vehicles lying about.

Just one of many buildings housing old cars was 22,400 sq. ft., two stories, featuring antique Buicks, Cadillacs, Dodges, Chryslers, Oldsmobiles, and of course Edsels. 100 cars placed in their order of development. There was another building for Chevrolets and motorcycles and other buildings for everything imaginable.

When I was making my purchase to enter the museum, the lady behind the counter said, “You may be interested in the motorcycle collection above the cars in this building”, as she pointed to the map that she was handing me. Yes! I am absolutely fascinated with everything here!

In yet another massive building there are twenty rooms of the past, showing kitchens, living rooms, and bedrooms of each generation since 1830. It’s amazing! There is also a music shop, doctor’s office, lawyer’s office, print shop, drug store, barbershop, and many others.

There were so many rooms! Many of them had wonderfully tacky mannequins portraying happy families of days gone by.

I am sure this was a local lawyer whose entire office was displaced here.

You would think we were looking at another life-size diorama at Pioneer Village. But no, this is not a bedroom circa 1953, this is the Graduate Hotel in Lincoln, NB.

I stayed at a Graduate Hotel once before in Richmond, VA. There are only and few of them and they are awesome. The decor is a mind-blowing time warp and the staff is excellent. Besides that, it is reasonably priced. It ranked with the less expensive hotels in Lincoln. I give it two straight cylinders! (That’s a Triumph joke.)

When you are on the road for extended periods of time, sometimes you have to wash your clothes by hand. Fortunately, my overpacked bags leave a lot of surface area for my socks and undies to dry in the wind and sun. Gold toes baby!

I happen to be posting this on the 20th anniversary of the attacks of September 11th. I rolled through the town square of Leon, Iowa just to take it in and have a drink break. (I used to carry a Camelback and was able to drink while I ride. The new bike configuration didn’t allow for that this trip.) Anyway, in front of the old courthouse was a miniature Statue of Liberty honoring the souls lost in NYC on September 11, 2001.

The saviors of many old and otherwise neglected buildings throughout the United States are the artists and artisans who recognize their beauty and repurpose them or re-utilize them bringing them back to life.

The second melancholy milestone that I mentioned in the last post was upon me. I was crossing the Mississippi River. It’s exhilarating going in the other direction. The excitement and anticipation of a great adventure await you! Going east it is quite the opposite. It feels more like the door closing behind you. The beginning of the end.

Towns along the Mississippi have many elements of yesteryear. I feel like I crossed that bridge from Fort Madison, Iowa across the Mississippi before, but the town on the eastern riverfront was unfamiliar. This was Dallas City, Illinois.

This looked like it may have been an old service station in La Harpe.

I shacked up in Canton for the night. There was a large sidewalk area outside my window so I parked Bonnie there for the night. I wasn’t even looking for camping spots anymore. I was heading home.

I was heading home, but that doesn’t mean there is not more to see. In fact, I missed about 40 or 50 miles of Route 66 when I was heading west. Somehow I missed a turn in Dwight, Illinois. I kept riding south when I should have turned to the right. I found my way back to Route 66 when I got to Pontiac, so that was my destination. Strangely I found more things I hadn’t seen on my way to Pontiac, and I am sure there is more than this.

Route 66 may have multiple routes in any given town. It moved around from decade to decade, so there could be one part representing the 30’s and 40’s and another road that existed during the 50s and 60s. I stopped to have a look at this church because the steeple reminded me of the Art Deco church I visited in Tulsa, OK.

Now I was back on track. Here is Old Route 66. This part of the highway in Towanda was called Dead Man’s Curve.

This small part of the old highway is called ‘Memory Lane’ in Lexington, Illinois. It is a bumpy mess but wonderfully nostalgic.

And finally, I had returned to Pontiac, where I thought I had originally found my way. This was actually my third visit to Pontiac and there was more I hadn’t seen.

This painted sign on the side of the bridge is the last of its kind in Illinois. It shows that this section of Route 66 was originally Route 4.

Here is another Old Route 66 establishment. The Old Log Cabin.

The Old Log Cabin actually resides where there is a split in Route 66 like I spoke about previously.

When I first pulled up to the Old Log Cabin there was a big SUV next to my bike. I went to take a photo across the street of the above signs. When I returned, I am thinking, OK great! The SUV left. Now I can get a good photo of just the bike and the Old Log Cabin. It’s just me. I am tired, hot, hungry, and thirsty. I go inside to remedy these factors. As I walk in. a lady welcomes me in, then walks around me and locks the door. Hmmm.

So here I am, alone and the door locks behind me. I am reminded of one of my favorite movie scenes in A Bronx Tale, when Chaz Palminteri locks the door behind a group of unruly bikers and says, “Now you’s can’t leave.”

My experience fortunately was a lot more pleasant. This lady was there with her daddy the cook and they closed at 2 o’clock. That’s why she locked the door. She told me to take my time but she didn’t want any more folks coming in after me.

Moving north to Odell, I found an old service station that I had marked on my map but missed it when I got lost the first time.

Finally, back in Dwight, I completed my Route 66 journey at this old Texaco station.

This was the last site I had marked to visit from my original Route 66 plan.

This story ends like many before…abruptly. Once I get closer home, I get more aggressive. I take more risks. It’s a classic tale. As you get closer to home, you lose focus.

I took on another storm as I said I would never do again. I thought I would get to the other side and everything would be alright. I would cross this storm. I had a plan. I was zipping across making eastern miles on my way home. I didn’t factor in the equation that the storm had the exact same plan as me. It was swirling eastward as if it wanted to tuck itself in bed with me for the night.

And to cap it off, when there are low black clouds overhead…remember to duck…no wait, remember the duck.

I rode through that terrible storm for most of the day as I took Route 30 east. The rain let up periodically as it did when I passed through a small town in Ohio. A duck flew right by my head. It could have easily hit me. It must have been 3 or 4 feet in front of my face. It pretty much blinded my vision. Fortunately, it missed me as it flew from right to left crossing into the next lane of traffic and promptly smashing into the windshield of the car passing me in the other direction. SMACK! I watched that duck go toppling limply into the air and landing with a loud thud across the street. Ducks are like flying footballs filled with water. Could have easily been me catching a duck upside the head. Not my time.

The rain only got worse. Because of the rain, I hadn’t consulted my maps. I didn’t realize that Route 30 went directly into Pittsburgh. UGH! And guess who had the same travel plan? That horrific storm. Traffic became impassible and streets quickly became rivers. It was horrific. My hand is a small piece of evidence for this trying day.

Just after I took this photo, I walked into the convenience store at the gas station. The girl behind the counter looked at me and said, “Are you OK?” I was so beaten down. I just asked her if she knew where I could find a hotel, then I warmed up my hands on a cup of coffee.

The following day I rode all the way back to NYC. Exactly 10 weeks to the day since I left, I made it safely home.

Though the end was tough. I can now reflect on another epic journey. I had an amazing adventure. I met so many interesting people and was able to reconnect with others I have met on other journeys. I saw great friends from my past as well. It’s a wonderful life…and it’s even better on a motorcycle.

I end the final post of my journey across this great country with a moment to remember the innocent souls who lost their lives 20 years ago today on September 11, 2001.

Wyoming

Posted in Uncategorized on September 7, 2021 by Pat Regan

Go West? This was not my normal routine following Sturgis. This would normally be time to head back east. Time to slip back into routines. There are no more routines. This time I was headed to Yellowstone National Park. I decided to take a scenic route, riding numerous roads I had never ridden. That may mean going out of my way, but I was in no hurry. I rode north and then west to visit Devil’s Tower as I made my way toward Yellowstone. On the way, I passed this old coal mine. The Aladdin Coal Tipple is one of the last structures of its kind in the American West, constructed to store coal coming out of the mine and sort the resource as it moved down the chutes.

Passing slowly through Hulett, WY I rode by the Rogues Gallery. Hulett was one of those towns where I suspected a cop might be waiting to make sure one respects the local speed limit. I was correct. I had already slowed down to have look around because Hulett is actually an interesting looking town, but there was that Barney Fife awaiting the next unsuspecting passerby.

Then I went to have a look at Devil’s Tower. I had been here a couple times before. The smoke and sun weren’t ideal to photograph the tower in its glory. That was something I had to get used to. The fires from the west were obscuring a lot of the color that one would normally see in these landscapes.

I rode all the way to the parking lot at the base of Devil’s Tower, but I did not hike around. I’ve done it before and to be honest, I was tired after Sturgis.

I had been lugging around a big old Canon camera and hardly used it at all this summer. These prairie dogs seemed like a good opportunity to take out the big guns.

I wisely decided to reserve a campsite between Sturgis and Yellowstone. That would be my destination for this night.

In between some lonely stretches of highway, I would come across some signs of life, though nothing was moving that the wind didn’t blow.

Traveling through Clearmont I saw a sign that said Historic Site. It directed me to a two room jail. There were some turkeys wandering around outside in a park next to the jail. I grabbed a couple stray feathers to add to my handlebars.

The Occidental Hotel in Buffalo, WY goes back to the wild west days with former guests like Butch Cassidy and Calamity Jane.

From Buffalo, the road leads into the cool air of the Rocky Mountains. That is where I would be camping tonight. After a week of endless party, I had a nice peaceful site overlooking a rolling stream that would whisper me to sleep.

Within hiking distance to the campsite was a camp resort, with cabins and a restaurant where I grabbed a meal.

My instincts told me that a lot of hunters and trappers would stay here.

Others, like myself, were here to rest.

This rock was at the base of a tree by my tent. I thought it was a mushroom at first. So it actually made me laugh without the instructions.

In the morning I stopped by that resort for a cup of coffee, then rode off toward Yellowstone. Well, I was going indirectly to Yellowstone actually. I wanted to enter from a way I had never gone. As I rode along I saw a sign for a scenic view. I pulled off.

When I got to the top of the vista, I saw another biker. I quickly rode up alongside him and hopped off my bike. I yelled, “PAUL!” I saw his whole body jump just before I snapped this photo. It was Paul who I said goodbye to 250 miles ago and a day before at Sturgis.

It was funny as hell to bump into Paul like this. Long term, he was a little uncertain about which direction he was going. The one place he did know he was going was a brewery in Ten Sleep, WY. That was on my way too, so we rode through the smoky passes of the Rockies down to Ten Sleep.

We had a beer and talked about the next steps for travel. I recommended that Paul go south to Colorado. South enough to get around the I-70 mess. I figured that would be the best way to see the Rockies without all the smoke. I kind of envied the idea myself, but I had reservations in Yellowstone.

Back in Buffalo, WY (the day before), I had stopped at Subway to get a sandwich. The kid behind the counter was real chatty and he thought he was funny. When someone would ask for lettuce and tomato. He would hold up just one slice of tomato. Then he would say “Tomato or tomatoes?” I heard him use this line numerous times as I ate. I also heard him talking to a family from Lithuania. He told them that there was a town on the way to Yellowstone with giant hot springs and buffalo. I later asked him about that town. It was the town of Thermopolis.

As I looked over the edge of this pull off area I was amazed to see this geological formation. It looked a lot like Mammoth Springs in Yellowstone. Written on the side of the butte in large white rocks it says, Worlds Largest Mineral Hot Spring.

Mammoth Springs in Yellowstone is strictly off limits in terms of exploring the waters. Here you can jump right in!

There was also this strange structure. I believe it started out as a fountain and then began to grow as mineral deposits continued to form over time.

Riding toward Cody the skies were a mix of overcast and heavy smoke.

This strange building silhouetted on a peak west of Cody, WY is the Smith Mansion. It was never finished and has been sitting for over 20 years. The ride between Cody and the park is normally beautiful with giant brown rocky cliffs, but you can see just beyond the mansion how smoky it is.

When I got to the gates of Yellowstone, I was asked to remove my feathers. The ranger said it may be perceived as something I took from the park. GRRR! I liked my feathers.

I didn’t get assigned an actual campsite before arrival. They assign you at check in. When I arrived I realized that I has stayed at the Bridge Bay campsite years before and didn’t like it. I was in a large open field surrounded by RVs and generators. When the parks service person was helping me I questioned the area with all the RVs that she was pointing out as my site. She could see the horror in my face and said, “Wait, let’s see…It’s just you with a tent and a motorcycle? I think we can put you over here.” I was given this lovely site for tents only with plenty of trees, a picnic table, and my own bear box.

It did not take long to experience the Yellowstone wildlife. This young elk strolled right into the campsite. He hopped and jumped at the ground in this one particular area. At first, it seemed like erratic insane behavior as he attacked the turf. Then it became obvious that as he stomped he was creating a mud pool which he then jumped into and gave himself a mud bath. It was rather ingenious. But I still think there was something off about this guy.

During the elk visit I was talking to a neighboring camper. He was telling me about a place where I might see a grizzly, and another spot where there may be wolves. He inspired to me to get up early. In the morning I asked him to point these spots out on a map for me. I took off for the grizzly location first. On the way I noticed a herd of buffalo crossing the river.

I continued along and found more buffalo. It does seem that they are rather active in the morning.

I arrived at the grizzly lookout. The guy back at camp told me to look for a guy with a spyglass. Sure enough he was right there at a pull off as marked on my map. The man with the spyglass was very generous with people wanting to have a peek. He noted that not only was there a grizzy bear munching on a carcass, but there was a bald eagle waiting for a moment to get a scrap for himself. I noted both species with red arrows. Grizzly on the left, eagle on the right.

I rode on to another spot far north in the park. It is interesting how word of mouth travels quickly in the park. By this time I had heard more people speak of the potential spot for seeing wolves. Slough Creek is apparently a spot where the park rangers will drag a large animal that has been killed in the park. The wolves will then come down from the mountains there and feast on the dead animal. On the way to Slough Creek I passed a huge herd of buffalo.

Everything seemed peaceful until it wasn’t!

These two big bulls started going at it. It was fast, violent, and loud!

You were really able to see the speed, agility, and strength of these great creatures as they rammed their bulbous heads together.

And then they were done. Like nothing ever happened. But that is not always the case.

This came up on my news feed. Two bulls going at it. It could even be the same ones. But this time, there will be more food for the wolves.

Below you can see the area by Slough Creek, where the rangers bring the kill. I was not able to see any wolves during my visit. I saw a very healthy looking coyote, but he was gone by the time I got my camera out.

I did see a bald eagle in the distance.

Because of the smoke from the wildfires and general bad weather I didn’t focus my camera much on the landscape of Yellowstone.

As I was riding along the river toward West Yellowstone, I saw another bald eagle flying overhead. I turned around to find two eagles on the edge of the river. Then they took off separately.

More elk back at camp.

Here you can see Mammoth Hot Springs. See the similarity to the hot spring in Thermopolis. I have actually seen Mammoth Hot Springs drying up in my lifetime, (perhaps it’s seasonal). When I was here in the 90s there was much more water. It also smelled a lot worse from the sulfur.

On my way back to camp, it began raining again. Only this time it never really stopped. It let up to a light drizzle at one point. The problem is, I have no idea what to expect. There is no phone signal or electricity. I have no up to date news of any kind. That includes weather. There was this one couple a few sites away who (unlike most visitors), looked like they knew what they were doing. They had a nice set up with lots of wood that they had brought with them. They were sitting by their large fire when I approached them. I asked them if they had an idea of what to expect from mother nature. They did. They said to expect more rain and it’s going to drop about 20 degrees from what it was today. They said it would get down into the 30s at night. They were not wrong. Fortunately after my fall road trip in Vermont, I wisely got a better sleeping bag. I slept comfortably enough, but the sound of the rain was continuous. When I finally awoke in the morning, it hadn’t stopped. Neighbors, (who didn’t know what they were doing), had their sleeping bags hanging from trees next to a collapsed tent, as they slept in the car. Weather was bad and expected to get worse. It just didn’t make sense to stay and fight it. Getting supplies in Yellowstone is difficult on a good day. When you add bad weather and moronic drivers to it, resupplying would be a nightmare! The weather may never let up. It seemed wise, to just pack it up. I rolled my wet tent up and stuffed it in a air tight bag. It would have to dry out elsewhere.

In my mind I would ride far out of the great Yellowstone and end up somewhere sunny and wonderful. Reality can be so different.

It was in the 40s and I was on a motorcycle in the rain riding behind bad drivers with twitchy foot brakes on a small twisty road. The mist under my mask got so bad bad from the car tires ahead that I had to lift my visor and expose my face to see. My rain suit leaked. I was now wet beneath my suit and the cold quickly followed. By the time I got to the exit gates at West Yellowstone I was a different person than the guy who packed it up an hour ago. Dreams of sunshine and blue skies had been brushed aside for the bare necessities of food and warmth. I grabbed a coffee and looked for rooms. I could go no further.

I draped my wet filthy tent and tarps across the bathroom. Fortunately the motel room had a heater in the bathroom. Other wet things were laying all over the rest of the room. I put on some dry clothes, went to a local restaurant and ate a buffalo steak that they called the Tomahawk Prime Rib. It was expensive and just OK, but it gave me some normalcy to sit down and have a meal. You have to realize, not only did I just have this days experience with bad weather, I have not slept in a bed in two weeks! I’ve been sleeping on the ground everyday since I left Colorado before Sturgis. I was frazzled! I chewed that buffalo down, and then told the lady at the motel to add on a second night. It was going to take my equipment a while to dry out and I needed a recharge myself.

Coming out of the high elevations of Yellowstone was a welcome relief, weather wise. I knew that the relief came with mixed blessings. It was time to make my way east. I was still west of the Yellowstone mountain range, so I had to go south and around it. But a heavy heart and a worn down body knew that the open-ended part of the adventure was winding down.

The ride itself was nice, winding through farmlands and small Wyoming towns.

It was getting damp and chilly again as I got back into the mountains overlooking Jackson. Jackson Hole is a cool place, but I wouldn’t be visiting this time. I had to escape this weather.

Now on to the high plains! I stopped for gas and some grub at Daniel Junction.

Inside the dining area, people display their many kills.

I stopped in the town of Rawlins for the night, where you can find this old Texaco station.

In the morning I visited the Wyoming State Penitentiary.

While looking it up the night before I read a review on Google:

The tour felt rushed. The guide spoke quickly, and was difficult to understand (maybe because he wore a mask?) The prison was interesting, but we were still a bit disappointed.

Well what are the odds that I get the same tour guide…100%!

Right away I knew my tour guide was the one the lady in the review was talking about. She didn’t mention that he is an annoying little shit as well. He tells jokes that he thinks are over your head, because you don’t laugh. He even said once, “It’s a Pink Floyd reference, you probably don’t get it.” I get it! Your jokes are rushed and not funny. Do I look like I am laughing?

You got to love the Hopalong Cassidy blanket in a prison. Now that’s funny.

At one point during the tour, the guide stopped to ask me what I thought so far. I said, “It’s OK. I’ve visited many prisons around the United States.” He said, “Oh really? What did you like best about them?” I said, “They were self-guided.”

Up the stairs and through the yellow door is death row.

Here’s a look inside is the gas chamber. When you pull the lever on the left it drops a cyanide pill into another compound inside the chamber to gas the condemned man strapped to the chair.

After doing my time in prison, I rode forth to have my final look at the Rocky Mountains before crossing the lonely flat plains. I was concerned because from this point of view the mountains lie nearly obscured in a smoky pool.

Once I got up into the mountains things looked much clearer.

This is Medicine Bow Peak, 12,000 feet high!

A plane crashed here in 1955 killing 66 passengers. The plaque below commemorates them.

Coming down from the mountain I passed through the small town of Centennial. Here they have a museum consisting of old buildings and equipment from the period of the towns founding.

Inside the train depot there was a very nice lady hosting from behind a desk with a donation jar. There are also a few rooms made up with various antiques like the one with the bathtub below.

Other buildings included old farming and mining equipment.

There was an old school.

It was neat to go inside of a caboose.

I would have thought this space inside would have been better utilized. You see it on pretty much all cabooses. Why is the upper level there? If it is to see the rest of the train, why is it so inconvenient to get to the windows? I have questions!

This is the interior of a skid shack. It is explained below.

I have seen these giant metal structures before. I never really understood their purpose. I asked the lady in the station house and she told me they were for burning all the scraps from a lumber yard. They are giant furnaces.

While I was about to leave the outdoor museum, a man pulled alongside my bike. He was cleaning his windshield. He was a retired school teacher as well. He said he rides a motorcycle and told me some story about riding into a swarm of bees. He also told me about a road. He said it was a dirt road with wonderful rock formations. I said it may be close to where I am going. I was taking a paved road. I saw the dirt road the man spoke of as I passed some of the rock formations. They were large pink and gray granite protrusions in the landscape. Maybe it was the smoky haze, but they almost looked painted into the rolling hills. A questionable apparition to remind you of what you are leaving behind as you return to the east.

Nature’s landscapes would be replaced by man-made structures creating new metallic textured landscapes or more often than not, nothing at all.

Things become flat. Mile after mile of farmland. Sometimes I wonder if I’ll run out of gas before I see another town. The Emerald City can be seen off in the distance towering above the horizon, or so it seems until you come upon it and recognize the giant grain elevators. These monuments of America’s heartland let you know civilization is at hand every once in a while.

Before leaving Wyoming it seemed appropriate that would bump into this small herd of longhorns to bid farewell.

It’s now time for that long ride home.

Sturgis 2021

Posted in Uncategorized on September 2, 2021 by Pat Regan

Welcome to the 81st Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. “What a relaxing and restful week and a half”, said nobody ever! Sturgis is the greatest party on Earth. It’s a fun-filled mix of motorcycles, music, mayhem, and merriment.

I rode the lonely Route 85 north from Cheyenne, WY, and headed for the Black Hills. On the other side of the Black Hill Mountains in South Dakota, would be Sturgis. I was headed straight for the Buffalo Chip, the place where I would be living for the next week and a half.

I set up in an area where I have never pitched my tent before. This is one of the few shady spots at the Buffalo Chip. When I was last here in 2016, I met some great folks over in this area.

Frank (who I visited in California), his friends, and his family were already here when I arrived as were many others! Everyone was commenting on how crowded it was, and the actual rally hadn’t even begun yet!

In my post about California, I referred to this little fella below as ‘Trigger’. Nope. His name is ‘Tripper’! I also mentioned that he now answers to another name. Since Frank has gotten hold of him, he answers to ‘Killer’.

We wasted no time going for a nice ride. The thought was, if it is this crowded now, let’s enjoy the roads before it really gets crowded. So we got up early and hit the Black Hills. In the mirror below is Charlie, (on the chopper), Jeff and Mary, and Rayce and Tanya. Frank is in the lead position with Nancy and Killer. Frank is always in the lead position.

We checked out Mount Rushmore.

Jeff and Mary in the center, live near Frank in California. I met Jeff when I visited last month. Charlie is on the left. He and Jeff have been friends since the 7th grade. He now lives in Tennessee. And that is Rayce front and center. He is Frank’s grandson. And of course, me on the right.

Iron Mountain Road twists around in the mountains overlooking Mount Rushmore. In one of the caves, you can see Mt. Rushmore as you ride through.

These stacked jagged rocks come upon you quickly while riding the Needles Highway. They are beautifully distracting while riding up here with so many bikes.

Like I said, it was crowded and the rally hadn’t officially begun yet.

After a nice ride, we all stopped at the grocery store and headed back to camp at the Buffalo Chip. The Buffalo Chip is where the best concerts are. Every night there will be a headlining band. I have seen amazing concerts here over the years. I’ve seen Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue, Bob Dylan, The Guess Who, John Fogerty, Willie Nelson, Lukas Nelson, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Greg Allman, Alice Cooper, Slash, Def Leppard, Stevie Nicks, George Thorogood, Cheap Trick, Kid Rock, and more. This year Kid Rock returns. Stone Temple Pilots and ZZ Top will also be here. Only weeks ago ZZ Top lost their bass player Dusty Hill. I thought ZZ Top may cancel, but Bill Gibbons said the show must go on!

The first night Puddle of Mudd was the headliner. It was fun!

Generally, after a show is the Miss Buffalo Chip contest. These contests go on throughout the week. You can often hear the announcer all the way back at the campground.

Between the outdoor arena and the campsite is Bikini Beach. Bands play Bikini Beach every night after the main concert in the arena. During the day folks party and swim in this pond. It’s kind of nasty, but I have swung on the rope swing in years past.

There was a bike show at the Iron Horse Saloon. Darren McKeag made the poster for it.

I recognized this flathead. It belongs to a guy named Mad Stork who I follow on Instagram. He takes great photos of motorcycle events all over the place. In fact, I would meet him later in the week at Sasha’s Cycles.

There were a number of sweet bikes at the Iron Horse.

Darren McKeag’s bike.

Buckcherry was this night’s entertainment.

Rayce is generally eager to ham it up!

I stopped by Sasha’s Cycles to have a look at some of their vintage machines.

While checking out these antiques, I noticed Darren McKeag riding by. He then pulled up and we talked a bit.

Back at the Chip, some things were different than in years past. There were fewer stages for the smaller bands. And there weren’t as many smaller bands. That’s too bad. I have seen some great original bands on these smaller stages. Now it seems to be a couple rotating cover bands.

There was also a section with a tent city that was set up ahead of time for folks to rent out. Weird.

But the most profound difference since the last time I was here, was the golf carts. Golf carts are everywhere. After the concerts, they line up side by side, awaiting people to entertain them with burnouts. Which they do. My friend Randy, who I visited in Amarillo, Texas said the overwhelming number of golf carts and RVs was the reason he wasn’t coming to Sturgis this year.

Each night the burnouts take place outside the pond area.

It gets hot out here. You must remember to hydrate!

Deadwood, South Dakota is located a little over 20 miles from Sturgis. Deadwood is where Wild Bill Hickok was gunned down at Saloon Number 10 while playing poker. He held the now-famous Aces and Eights hand, AKA: The Dead Mans Hand.

David Uhl, the great motorcycle and Americana artist was in Deadwood. If you follow the blog you may remember that he was also in Lakeland, Florida for the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo.

This is ‘Six Pack’ in the blue Slingshot below. He switched to this 3 wheeled machine after a bad accident on two wheels. I think I am able to relate to many folks here in the biker world because it turns out that the New York salute and the biker salute are one and the same. Nice to see you too Six Pack.

Kid Rock fired up the Buffalo Chip. It’s the third time I have seen him here and he never disappoints. Unlike other times I have seen him here, this time it was packed. More crowded than I have ever seen it.

At 6’4″, there is not a bad seat in the house for Frank.

The nearby gas station is a hub for all passersby. I generally go here daily for ice and basic needs, like beer.

This is Kyle. He is from Kansas. When I pulled up this year, Kyle called out, “My hero!” A few years ago I returned from a concert to find Kyle standing upright, but still on his bike. His buddy Brian was laughing hysterically and not about to help poor Kyle. They were both plastered after riding their bikes back from the show and now Kyle couldn’t find his kickstand. He just stood there helpless until I came along and dropped his stand for him. He’s forever grateful.

Rayce’s belt seemed to be rubbing the tire a little. Dr. Frankenstein to the rescue.

Motorcycles as Art. Each year the Buffalo Chip has a gallery show of bikes with photographs by Michael Lichter. It’s always a well-thought-out show with a beautiful selection of motorcycles.

This Indian Big Chief with a Vincent Black Shadow engine was a standout for me.

I had seen this beauty below at a motorcycle show in NYC.

I stopped when I saw this big green truck. It belongs to Horny Mike from the TV Show Counting Cars.

Tonight would be the Stone Temple Pilots. I saw them at their peak in the early 90s. It was a bit weird without Scott Weiland. These guys are a great band but they now have a singer who kind of sounds and behaves like Scott Weiland. Like a mimic. It’s strange and a little uncomfortable.

But they blasted through their hits and it rocked! This dude slept through it. Seriously he slept through the whole show.

Main Street is lined with endless bikes parked side by side, block after block during the rally.

A couple of B-1 Bombers did a fly-by over Main Street.

I walked into the Hells Angels store. There were different tables and areas for various chapters throughout the United States. I was looking to see if NY had a section. They didn’t.

I said something to a member behind the Arizona table. Ya see, 81 is a Hells Angels thing. 8=H 1=A. And since it’s the 81st Sturgis, I said. “81. This is your year!” He looked at me coldly and said, “Every year is our year!” I nodded and slowly crept out the door onto Main Street as a dog would do with its tail between its legs after a good scolding.

Rayce, Tanya, and I checked out the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum.

At the museum, I was able to get a copy of last year’s Sturgis Magazine. I am pleased and honored to have one of my photos published in last year’s magazine. The photo is part of a featured article about the great tattoo and motorcycle artist Darren McKeag. I took this photo of Darren and his wife Missy in 2015 at the 75th annual Sturgis Rally.

I really liked this clean, bobbed-out Triumph Bonneville.

There was a time that I once said, “Gee, I didn’t know Sears made motorcycles?”
Now, you might hear someone say, “What is Sears?”

Tonight ZZ Top takes the stage. With the recent passing of their bass player Dusty Hill, there was some uncertainty that they would be performing. Fortunately, ZZ would be there. And they were great!

And like clockwork, the burnouts began at Bikini Beach.

On this night Horny Mike came out to see what all the noise was about at Bikini Beach.