I left the comforts of my suite in Minot, ND, and headed for a week and a half of chaotic camping at the Buffalo Chip in Sturgis, SD. I took some lonely roads southwest and was surprised to see this:

I spotted these three flags flying together 2 days before when I rode through Rugby, ND at a monument for the Geographical Center of North America. Apparently, that designation in Rugby was roughly calculated by a U.S. Geological Survey mathematician 90 years ago and inaccurate. Recently it was determined that the actual center of North America is 145 miles Southwest of Rugby, coincidentally in a town called Center, ND.

Road construction can be expected, but this one kind of ticked me off. We waited nearly 15 minutes for the lead car to return from the other end. When it arrived we followed the lead for 8 miles of a one-way road due to construction. However, we traversed the whole thing and nobody was working. Both sides of the road seemed perfectly fine. WTF! They are making people wait on each end and nothing is going on! Once released from the construction hijacking, I was behind all these cars on tar and loose gravel. I was getting pelted with rocks. It was a no-passing zone but I flew past the lot of them.

Once I passed that pack of vehicles it was a long ride across the plains, south to Sturgis.

After a long day of riding, I arrived at my destination, The Buffalo Chip.

I was early this year. When I arrived I pitched my tent and met my neighbor in the yellow and orange tent. His name was Warlock.

I didn’t really consider the lack of shade at the spot I chose. It wasn’t that hot the first few days. That would soon change.

I rode around a bit and stopped at Sasha’s Cycles.

Sasha has a nice collection of bikes around the shop.

We talked for a while. I mentioned that I had retired from teaching and began painting in the past year. When I showed him a sticker I had made, he took it and slapped it in the front window of the shop.

In town, the rally hadn’t officially begun yet but parked on Main Street was this Shelby Cobra. During the rally, no cars are allowed on Main Street.

Standing before the Full Throttle Saloon is another converted Muffler Man.

At the campground adjacent to the Full Throttle is a big pool. It was a nice place to chill before the rally officially started.

I slapped up another sticker outside of the pool. The stickers will come up a few times during this post. I will explain more about what I have been doing in the art world in another post, but the stickers are part of it.

My friend Frank and his crew from California showed up and we went for a ride in the Black Hills. Below is a photo from a tunnel you pass through. In the background, you can see Mt. Rushmore.

At the end of another tunnel, we discovered a stormtrooper interacting with riders.

There’s that sticker again. This is in the interior of a bus used as a bridge to get to our camping area.

The first concert of the week was Quiet Riot. The original band was formed in 1975. None of the guys on stage were part of that original band. Rudy Sarzo the bass player on the left in the photo below joined Quiet Riot in 1978. He left Quiet Riot to play with Ozzy Osborne and a bunch of other bands. He returned a couple years ago.

It was fun and they sounded great, but it’s strange that they are all replacements.

I rode into Deadwood the next day.

These two were a sight as you can see by the heads turning by the pedestrians on the sidewalk. The couple on the bikes were tiny. They looked like children. It was impressive to see them handle these big machines.

Next to the casino in Deadwood was a bike show. I dug this tough-looking, low riding panhead with a teardrop tank.

This knucklehead was badass with a slick 1970s seat.

These bikes below were not in the show. They rolled up while I was looking around.

When I got back to the Buffalo Chip I rode up a ramp that brings you to an upper level bar where people do burnouts. Below is the concert area.

I bumped into the lead singer of Buckcherry while looking around for merch.

I returned to Sasha’s Cycles where they were having a block party.

It is rare to see 4 fully functional knuckleheads together like this. And, as I was taking this photo, a fifth knuckle rolled up.

One reason for returning to Sasha’s was to see Mad Stork. That is Mad Stork’s knucklehead and his rolling museum in the background.

Mad Stork is a NY guy. He is from Yonkers and was a firefighter with an artist I knew.

Jef Campion was that artist. He was a first responder at Ground Zero during 9/11. As an artist, he went by the name Army of One. Jef was an awesome guy and had a powerful personality. He was passionate about the human condition and focused on anti-war themes in much of his artwork.

Unfortunately, Jef took his own life. It was a shock to those that knew him. The last time I saw him was at a July 4th event where he and the guys from the fire department would raise money for Ronald McDonald house. Jef is gone, but I keep being reminded of him. In April I rode to Miami and hung out with a dear friend of Jef’s. Just before I left for this Summer trip I was offered an opportunity to buy a piece of Jef’s work, but the seller reneged his offer. And now, here is another piece by Army of One. It is part of Mad Stork’s Art and Motorbike Museum. Mad Stork drives his van to Motorcycle Rallies around the United States. Check him out on Instagram @mad_stork.

This camping setup was behind Mad Stork’s van in Sasha’s backyard. Now that’s a shade tree!

Mad Stork let me put one of my stickers on the back door of his museum van as he filmed it.

When I returned to the Chip, someone had pitched a tent and parked this old Honda Magna in front. I loved this bike when it first came out. This one is a 1987 Honda 750 Super Magna model with some extras.

That night Buckcherry (who I did not see perform) opened for Ice T. Snoop Dogg was supposed to be headlining this night but he apparently canceled his entire tour. Ice T was the replacement and he did not quite vibe with this crowd. He seemed perturbed that people would show their gratitude with the throttling of their engines. It seemed to piss him off. Of course, this only riled up the bikers more and they let their engines rip.

I honestly only walked up to this booth to take a photo of the FUCK sign, but there were extra participants.

The next day, some of us went up to the Broken Spoke to have a beer and check out a bike show.

Later in the evening, someone showed me photos of this Harley Davidson snowmobile getting busted. The owner has wheels that attach to the skis so they can be ridden on the street. The Sturgis Police Department did not act kindly to this thing being ridden on the street and stopped him.

All the shows this year were packed with people and motorcycles.

Tonight was a return to the 90s as BUSH headlined.

More people had moved into our camping area, and as you see my tent (on the left) is perfectly placed to receive direct sun all day long.

A few of us decided to ride out to the Badlands. 5 of us on 4 bikes began the journey. Frank and Nancy led the pack on Frank’s Indian Chief. I rode second, a guy named Auggie rode third, and Craig in the rear. About halfway to the Badlands I realized Auggie and Craig were no longer behind me. When we stopped at Wall, SD, we found out that Craig was hit by a car. He was shaken up but OK. He decided to ride back to the campsite but Auggie would still be joining us, so we hung around in Wall for a while.

Then we hit the Badlands.

Frank (on the left) met Auggie (Center) in Gallup, NM on his way to Sturgis.

This is Craig who was hit by that car on the Interstate. He is lucky to be alive. The car hit his crash bar and bounced him off the road. It just so happened that an exit ramp was right where the accident occurred and Craig veered off onto the ramp. Had the exit not been there he would have flown off the road.

This night Lynyrd Skynyrd would play. Or would they? The last time I saw them there was only one remaining member of the original band left. I was surprised when I realized that Gary Rossington (the last surviving member) was not amongst the folks on stage.

These two guys come close to being part of the original band. Sort of. Rickey Medlocke (left) played with Lynyrd Skynyrd back in the early days but was not a member. On the right is Johnny Van Zant, the brother of the original singer Ronnie Van Zant.

Below is AJ. I had met him the night before with Warlock. He is a miner. He once worked in a copper mine in Arizona that is 7000 feet deep! I thought he was drinking a bottle of water in that bottle behind his windshield. Then he handed me that bottle of water. He said, “‘make sure you sip it”. Ah! This was some hard moonshine.

After the show I bumped into Travis. I met Travis about 7 years ago and hadn’t seen him since.

Here is a good look at the place I like to camp at the Buffalo Chip. These days the Chip is filled with RVs and golf carts. This small area is surrounded by a moat and only motorcycles can access it. I also moved my tent to a shady spot. You can see it just to the right of the bus that crosses the moat.

Tonight Rob Zombie was headlining.

These two couples were at Sturgis for the first time and I am glad they were there. Matt and Ashley (on the left) were from North Dakota. Brian and Tammy (on the right) were from Massachusetts. These guys got along great with everybody and both were hilarious!

Brian had told Tammy she could put stickers on the upper bag of the bike. She plans on covering it with stickers. Mine would be the first. Thank you very much.

Riding below on the trike is Baltimore Bob. Bob is 81 years old and sleeps in a small one man tent. Most folks call me Pat, but Bob is an old gentleman and always calls me Patrick.

I took a ride to see Mt. Rushmore. On the way, I passed this T-Rex.

The town just below Mt. Rushmore is Keystone where you can catch this old train for a ride through the Black Hills.

A short twisty ride up the mountain brings you to Mt. Rushmore.

People ride here from all over the United States. Many need a tire change. Well, some, like those above need a change for other reasons.

Meet Killer. He is Nancy’s dog. Well, his name was Tripper until Nancy met Frank. Now he will answer to either name. This dog is spoiled rotten and amazingly popular. When we go places together there is always a non-stop stream of people wanting to pet Killer. I mean Tripper.

Frank and Nancy had family business in Iowa and Kansas respectively, so they were leaving a little early. I don’t blame them. The music lineup for the rest of the week wasn’t all that great. The day before, Frank reached the 98,000 mile mark on his Indian.

One of the guys who left early gave me a token to get a free prime rib dinner. Unfortunately, you have to wait in line.

My friend Cliff stopped by the Buffalo Chip. I first met Cliff in 2009 at Crow Fair in Montana. Cliff is the President of Redrum Motorcycle Club. He also organizes many charitable events as well as numerous pow-wows in the NY tri-state area. Great to see him and ride with the club on a ride for Vets.

While I filled up with gas for the Vets ride, I met these fine pups.

Before the ride, there is a raffle. Here Cliff presents the winner below with a Knuckle Chopper. It’s a hatchet made by Nash Motorcycle Co. and Jason Momoa, (who is a member of Redrum MC).

Ironically the guy in the wheelchair won the raffle for the boots. He graciously offered them for auction and they fetched a fair price for the cause.

After a ceremony, we were off with a police escort all the way to Rapid City.

When we arrived in Rapid City, Cliff was interviewed by the local news.

Below is a specially designed motorcycle for the vet who was leading the ride.

When I got back to the Chip, Auggie pulled up with a special guest.

I was going to stay at the Buffalo Chip until Sunday, but the music wasn’t really worth hanging out for and the place was quickly clearing out. I decided to do the same.

I bid farewell to the Chip, but I wasn’t going far. I booked a room in Keystone.

Tonight would be a full moon and I was going to visit Mt. Rushmore at night.

When I first arrived, I was not able to see the monument. It wasn’t lit and it was way too dark to make it out at all. As everyone faces the darkness, a video presentation is displayed on a screen below in the amphitheater. A history of each of the 4 Presidents is presented with a dramatic patriotic soundtrack. Then the lights go on. It’s a little hoaky and I am glad I did it!

After a good rest in Keystone, I decided it was time to head east. I had thoughts of continuing westward but not this trip. It is homeward bound for me. Now to find an interesting route to get me there.

2 Responses to “STURGIS 2022”

  1. Good to see you are enjoying retirement! Haven’t been on Bonnie much of late with HI of 105-110 it’s no fun. Do you have the stickers available ?

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