Onto Sturgis and the Chip

Day 29 Thursday 1st August 2013 – Buffalo, WY to Sturgis, SD

Today was the day I ride to Sturgis. I was getting kind of excited now – I woke up at 5am. Sturgis is a 2 week long party with some great riding nearby and some awesome bands.

Half way down the I-90 I could see the rain and lightning strikes ahead.

From South Dakota, August 2013

With a little help from Google maps, I tried to judge the route ahead. With a few well judged, or more likely just plain lucky, stops at gas stations along the route, I missed all the rain.

And then I was there, riding down the main drag in Sturgis. The road chock full of bikes. All the 4-way stops and bars, as familiar as if I’d been here only last week. The rally doesn’t kick off proper until the weekend, so progress was a lot better than it will be later.

My mission now was to set up camp before any more rain appeared, so I didn’t linger in Sturgis itself, but rode the couple of miles straight out to the Buffalo Chip, the venue that would have the most and best bands of the rally.

From South Dakota, August 2013
From South Dakota, August 2013
From South Dakota, August 2013

The last time I had been to the Sturgis rally, I had only been to Chip to see bands, I hadn’t  camped here before. Riding onto the campsite didn’t look promising, as most of the site is completely out in the open, with no shade whatsoever. I knew from last time that shade  in the evening, and especially in the morning, was going to be important, unless you wanted to be up almost as soon as the sun rose and the heat in the tent became unbearable.

I spotted a cluster of trees, but it didn’t look promising as there were tents already pitched under all of them. I parked up the Trooper and went for a wander, and I am delighted I did, because in doing so I spotted a near perfect location. If I had just ridden by I would never have seen this.

All the neighbours are real friendly. Alan from one side gave me a ride in his golf car (which you can rent here) to get a pillow, cooler and ice. Kyle gave me a cold beer. And Mike and Donna, two Canadians from Ontario, have said come over to their big covered area, which seems to be the social hub in our ‘hood, anytime. Living in a good neighbourhood is always important.

From South Dakota, August 2013
From South Dakota, August 2013
From South Dakota, August 2013
From South Dakota, August 2013

Jeff, Alan’s brother, commented on how badly worn the Trooper’s tyres were. I told him about not getting in at Beartooth HD, and said I’d have to make it down to Rapid City during the week. But he told me of a shop that had set up at the front of the campground, that could do the tyres and the oil and fluid changes I needed. He recommended I went to see them sooner rather than later, before the crowds really started arriving tomorrow and Saturday.

I took no further persuasion, and rode the Trooper straight up there. I got a good price, but they wouldn’t have my front tyre in until Friday, so I left the Trooper with them, and strolled over to the bar.

As I was walking in, a guy asked if I had a spare cigarette, which I did. Once he heard my accent and where I was from that was it, Randy had me at the bar buying me a drink and making everyone we spoke to guess where I was from. The party was starting and it seemed as if I was meeting half the campground in the first night. That’s Twitch, Mike and Randy in the photo below.

From South Dakota, August 2013

Randy was from North Dakota, and had come down with two Sturgis virgins, Chris and Little Joe. Mark, another of Randy’s buddies chauffeured us around in his custom golf cart, and by midnight I’d had enough beer and not enough sleep, so it was time to find my way back to my tent. I didn’t want to crash and burn too much on the first night.


One thought on “Onto Sturgis and the Chip

  1. Pingback: Evicted | ridingamericana

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