We finally got loaded and out of the yard about 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday. As usual our "intentions" didn't come to fruition - that was to be on the road by ten. Somebody told me once that we plan and God laughs. Our plan was to drive as far as Faith, SD and camp there for the night. We did do that - but that last 90 miles seemed like 190.
Once you cross the ND/SD line at Lemmon, SD you better make sure you have a full gas tank because there is NOTHING out there. The road is narrow, has NO shoulder and the grass is about knee high and grows right up to the edge of the asphalt. This makes it quite interesting as all kinds of creatures are jumping out of the ditch in front of you - fox, coyote, antelope and various other small critters. Even though Ole was running with the high beams on he turned on the spotlight on the roof of the rig and shined it just beyond the range of the headlights so he could see better. I was really glad to see the lights of Faith that night. A number of years ago we hit a deer with our old rig. I don't want to do that again. It makes quite a mess.
From Faith it was about two hours to Sturgis the next day. When you can see Bear Butte you know you're getting close.
We were the first ones into the campground on Wednesday (that's a first) and spent the afternoon lounging around waiting for our friends, Karen & Dave from AZ, to show up. They got a late start that day and didn't get in until ten at night - after having dealt with having to replace 4 truck tires and 4 trailer tires along the way. All the tires had less than 12,000 miles on them and started to bubble on the inside. All defective I guess - but still money out of their pocket until they can get home and return them to their dealer. Not a good start to their trip.
Jeff and Jerry showed up in the afternoon. They're a father and son from Huron, SD that farm 3000 acres of corn, wheat and beans. They're a riot. Jerry, the dad, is new at dealing with diabetes so isn't always feeling quite up to par but is learning to deal with it. Jeff is 28 and used to work at a boys' ranch out in western ND as a counselor. He's so interesting to talk to and has quite the stories to tell. A year ago he decided it was time to go back to farming and gave up his job and moved home with his dad. He's an only child so will be taking over the farm eventually.
Shortly after that Rocky and Billie (husband & wife) arrived from Kansas City. And of course, Norton. Can't forget Norton. He's a black lab that loves everyone but you better look out for his tail because it can be used as a weapon. Rocky owns a business in Kansas City and his wife, Billie, is his office manager. Fun people. Rocky just had his shoulder replaced a month ago, is deep into physical therapy, so his riding is going to be limited.
On Thursday, after spending the morning lounging around, sitting at the picnic table and consuming large amounts of coffee we all decided to go into Sturgis for lunch. After dining on the fine cuisine of pizza and burgers we all decided to head down to the Harley shop a few blocks away. Karen, who usually rides her own bike, wasn't feeling well that day so had decided to ride on the back of Dave's bike. Dave was halfway out of his parking spot when his boot hit gravel on the street and slipped. He tried to hold his bike up, his boot caught on solid asphalt, but by this time his bike was so far down that his ankle rolled and the bike went down with his foot under it. We got Dave and the bike back up with a minor amount of damage done to the bike, but I'm afraid there's more damage done to Dave. He thinks he's just sprained his ankle, but several of us think he may have detached some ligaments or tendons in his ankle/foot. Hopefully we can convince him to go to the ER this morning.
So you can see we're all quite a conglomeration of riders that have gathered together. Dave with ankle issues who won't be able to ride - and to have that happen on the first day here is so frustrating; Rocky with shoulder issues who will be able to ride but not for long distances; Jerry who is dealing with getting used to diabetes, doesn't always feel well so doesn't want to go long distances; and myself having hip issues and can't ride long distances due to the pain. Let me tell you, this getting old stuff is NOT for wimps!! And to think that when we first started out doing this years ago we would leave the camper at 10 in the morning and not return until 10 at night. Guess we'll have to live with the memories (chuckle).
This group of people has been getting together at the same campground for the last eight years so a lot of the fun is not only the riding, but the camaraderie. They're a wonderful bunch of people.
The rally doesn't OFFICIALLY start until Sunday and runs for a week, but every year riders seem to come earlier and stay later. So at this point there's not a lot going on but it's a nice time to be here - before all the heavy traffic arrives and makes it more difficult to get around. Here's a link to a web cam that is on the main street of Sturgis. You can click on it and watch the progress throughout the week. There's not much traffic on the street right now, but by Monday the street will be blocked off to car traffic and there will be wall to wall motorcycles and people. Tune in - you might find it interesting.
Of course there's always work to be done in a campground. Somebody's got to drink the coffee and then there's those who have to unload the bikes. Here's Ole helping Jeff & Jerry unload Jeff's from the back of the truck.
On that note I'll leave you for today and hope to find more interesting things to report next time.
PS: Tami - I know you're reading me so you could be gracious enough to acknowledge yourself by leaving a comment!!!