Greetings from Frederick Colorado – it’s been an amazing week so far – the people, the bikes, the scenery and just being able to be part of Trevor’s big adventure!
I flew into Billings Montana which was a huge bonus as it meant that I got to catch up with one of my best buddies, Bill, and enjoy his generous Montana hospitality. Not to mention I could leave some luggage….one thing that Trevor drummed into me was the need to pack light. Hmmm no hairdryer and no hair straighteners then – I did wonder about buying a pair of leather chaps with a holster and then I’d have room for them there, but decided against that…although when you see the photos you might disagree!
I also got to catch up with Bill’s parents and we reminisced about my previous visits which included shooting at small criters, also known as prairie dogs – yes I know they are cute, but they are also major pests…anyhow I couldn’t hit the side of a barn door, so other than perhaps parting some fur, they are safe from me. I mention it because Bill’s mum was saying that the latest technique for getting rid of them includes buying hundreds of sticks of bubble gum and leaving for the dogs – apparently it had little effect, but I have this image of Prairie Dogs chewing gum and comparing flavours – hmm delish I like strawberry the most what about you?
One thing I wasn’t expecting was that Trevor would ride up to Billings and pick me up as I had booked to fly to Rapid City – but hey this was sooooooo much better and we both got to enjoy watching the local bullriding championship – yeeeehaaaaa -rather them than me…although…but we’ll come to that later.
So 500 miles and one numb bum later we arrived in Sturgis which acts as the central hub for the annual bike rally which attracts…wait for it…this year 600,000 bikers and this was a quiet year – last year which was the 70th anniversary attracted 900,000. Now would be a good time to point out that I am not really a biker chick..but perhaps one in the making…I guess we’ll see. I have to say it is addictive and I think I’ve been bitten by more than just the mozzys on this trip…
The ride to Sturgis through Montana and Wyoming was stunning – take it from me – enjoying it from a bike is the way to do it. Enroute we made lots of stops and more and more bikes were converging the closer we got which made it fun as we chatted to different people and compared stories and also saw some very impressive bikes on the road.
I think in an earlier post Trevor talks about being over dressed – geez no kidding – picture this – me in full gear, i.e. helmut, protective jacket, protective jeans and gloves…real biker chicks – bikini tops and Daisy Duke shorts. It was interesting when we stopped at traffic lights and I could see them giving me the once over and no doubt thinking -” hey what a loser”…as for me I was giving them the once over thinking “Eggadds! Sunburn and nasty if you do have a spill”….and there were some spills cos we saw some of the aftermaths – not pretty.
Still it all made for some most excellent people watching and bare boobs seem to feature heavily as part of the rally culture – really a lot of the gals seemed like bike fashion accessories…but what the hell, they were enjoying it for sure. I have to say despite the heavy suggestion of “we are bad ass bikers”, for the most part folks were very friendly and happy to chat…having a funny accent also helps…mind you, that said I wouldn’t like to mess with them.
We were camping – 2 person tent – but thankfully mixing that up with hotels – yeah camping hasn’t really changed from what I remember – instead of mints on your pillow – you get huge grasshoppers…not the same at all! But it is a good way to meet people and so the social aspect is cool….unlike the line for the ladies showers…I couldn’t get near the bathroom mirrors for women with…yes you guessed it hairstraighteners…well I guess they rocked up in the flat bed truck, towing a 20ft RV, with the trailer on the back for the bikers. Referee – that’s cheating!
Okay back to the scenery – there are a number of rides you can do and they were all amazing – I loved the Black Bills – no wonder the Lakota Native Americans treated them as sacred. I also loved the Crazy Horse monument – it’s still being blasted out of the side of the mountain and who knows how long it’ll take them -it really is a labour of love. The Native Americans wanted it be known that they also have their own heroes. This monument will be 4 times bigger than Mount Rushmore. They also want to include a university on the site and it’s all being done without any government money, even though they were offered a $10M grant (twice!). I found it very poignant and got quite emotional thinking about how such a proud people had been lied to and cheated by us invading land and gold hungry Europeans.
Talking of gold – we also visited the town of Deadwood which was settled illegally by gold hunters – we did a bus tour and our guide was fabulous. I loved Calamity Jane movie as a kid and so it was fun to hear about her – hmmmm she liked to exagerate her talents, but colourful she sure was. We also visited her grave which is next to Wild Bill Hickock. She wasn’t exactly the most attractive woman – bless – but she was a survivor in what were tough times, especially for women and according to our guide she did have a huge personality.
As for the Sturgis night life – as said the constant parade of bikes, custom bikes and people was entertainment enough, but there was also live bands and huge bars offering all sorts of things from tattoos, live bands and bare knuckle fighting to mechanical bull riding – and yes I did try it (the bull thing not the fighting thing) and lasted about 5 seconds…being a girl I got another shot – didn’t do any better – doh!
We saw Def Leppard and they did a great gig, but were totally disapointed when Lynyrd Skynyrd was a no show – still we headed out to Full Throttle and enjoyed the smaller bands there and from there we could walk back to our camp site – although there was “da bus” which served beer and actually was a blast…well what else would it be with bunch of party hard bikers.
Well I guess I should hand the ‘puter back to Trevor – Trooper has had his service and we can now head into the Rockies…
In case you hadn’t guessed I’m loving being here and a big part of that is cos I’m with Trevor – aw shucks.
Thanks for letting me share with y’all!