Sturgis – 2011
And then there was Sturgis! I went last year and had a blast. I was psyched to get there again. So where the Rocky Mountains ended, the fast road to Sturgis began. The only thing that caught my interest on the way was a sign in Wyoming that said Oregon Trail Ruts. I thought, that sounds cool, so I altered my route slightly. On the road to the ruts I saw this truck.
And here are the ruts left from the Oregon Trail deeply grooved in the sandstone from heavy usage between the years 1841-1869.
From there it was straight to the Buffalo Chip Campground. When I say straight it really means, side to side, up and down, and all around. Through hot and cold, passed young and old. From open stretch to quite compressed then on to the Buffalo Chip.
My first night there Lynyrd Skynyrd was supposed to open for Greg Allman but they didn’t show up. Greg did though. Having just gotten there, I was running around like an excited kid but Lukas Nelson (son of Willie Nelson), played before Greg and caught my attention. He sounded really good. Gonna have to keep an ear on him.
I knew from the previous year that shade was important. That sun gets hot first thing in the morning. After the inevitable late night at the Chip you want as much morning shade as you can get. So I got Bonnie to help me out.
My neighbor Brian however is the shade king. He has three shade tents. One for morning, one for evening and one for the tent. And he happily shares his shade with all.
I visited a couple places near the Buffalo Chip. First the Full Throttle Saloon. It’s a labyrinth of bars and activities.
Outside they had a round arena where a guy performs the wall of death. The whole thing rattles as he whips around on the wooden slats just beneath you.
I also went to the Broken Spoke Saloon. This guy Randy from Texas had shown me this place last year. There is a big pool there and they have a bar that you can drive your bike into on the way to the parking area.
Randy said he might stay at the Broken Spoke this year and I was hoping to bump into him. He’s a funny dude.
Unfortunately there was no sign of Randy, but poolside still looked good.
Jeff Bridges and then Stevie Nicks opened for John Fogerty on my second night there. I got caught up hanging with people at the campsite and missed Jeff Bridges.
I got there for Stevie, but she only played a few songs. The wind was blowing hard and there were storms in the background. It made for a nice effect. In fact it was like a Stevie Nicks video. But as a result they pulled her early.
Here…see what I mean for yourself.
This girl from the Miss Buffalo Chip Contest was posing for some photos. Then she asked does anyone want to pose with me? Nobody stepped up! She asked, “Nobody wants to pose with me?” I was as shocked as she was. So I quickly hopped up there.
The guy taking the pictures called out, “I’m not sure that worked!”
“So take another one!” I said. Duh?
The raging storm passed and John Fogerty played a great show!
And now it was time for me to ride the zip line. They have wires running from tower to tower over the entire concert area. During the storm it was closed, so as soon as I saw it reopen I jumped in line.
Here is a video of the zip line and John Fogerty.
You can get 2 photos printed from your ride for 20 bucks. When I got back down on the ground I bought them, then I had someone take this picture below. To look cool I took the white envelope with my printed photo of me on the zip line and stuck it under my jacket.
I went back to watch the concert over where Tim and Jean were. Tim and Jean are a nice couple I met from Phoenix who are also my camping neighbors. And Jeff Bridges came out and joined Fogerty for a tune.
As I am grooving to the show, I realized the white envelope with the zip line photos is gone. Noooooo! I decide I am going to find them. Amongst this giant maniacal party I was going to retrace my steps and find my photo. I walked all over the place until I got to the area where I had taken that photo with those girls. And then I saw it. A white envelope. I did a little happy dance, ran over, picked it up…looked inside… It was me!!! Then, when I stood up, there he was. Standing right in front of me was that big, 6 foot 5 five inch, Texan truck driver. It was Randy who I had been looking for earlier that day. How crazy is that? Right there standing over the envelope. Amazing!
The next day I was going into town to get a new rear tire. I am talking about the bike, not the photo above. All my center tread was gone. (As you can see, the center tread is firmly in place in the photo above.) I wasn’t risking riding all the way home on a bald tire and this was as good a place as any to find a motorcycle tire to fit my bike.
After getting the tire I had a look around Downtown Sturgis. Even the cops have bad ass bikes!
I do believe Custer is standing once again! Check out the details on this guys bike.
Then it was back to the Chip.
I stayed a third night. Puddle of Mudd opened for Tesla. It was cold this night and the crowd was not raging like the nights before. Back at the campsite we sat around and laughed a lot. A new guy had pitched tent there too. Jim. He was from nearby and very happy his boss gave him a few days off and told him to go to Sturgis. And later in the night Brian and this guy Die Hard showed up with some hilarious stories of their nights adventures. Sure, there is a lot of fun and exciting things to do at Sturgis but it’s really the people that make it great.
The next day I did some laundry and said my goodbyes. Die Hard rolled by just before I left and almost had me convinced to stay for George Thorogood, but I felt it was time to go.
So as nearly everyone makes that left turn on 34 out of the Buffalo Chip to seek more Sturgis entertainment, or to board that Interstate in their desired direction, I made a right turn and headed east down a long lonely highway.
And off into the sunset with the cows.