FINALLY it is Tuesday and I get to leave for Sturgis! But , first I must work a 10 hour day at the office. The bike is packed up and ready to go and I thoroughly enjoy the sound of my recently tweaked Vance & Hines exhaust on my 45 minute commute, oh she roars now!!!
Doctor clock watcher made sure I knew all day long how many hours and minutes I had left to wait, (this actually kept me entertained most of the day) while others randomly told me what time it was, and we all had an in depth conversation about what would happen if we pulled the fire alarm or called in a bomb threat ….not that any of us would ever do that, made for fun lunch room talk though! After what I swear was 10 days, it was time for me to roll west!
I checked my email to discover I had gotten my FedEx delivery this afternoon which they said couldn’t arrive until Wednesday so I had it go to my house instead of my office. This means a pit stop and some rerouting was in order because it just wouldn’t make sense to go to the biggest bike rally in the U.S. without advertising myself right?! Instead of heading north from Verona and up through Wisconsin into Minnesota I would simply drive south to my place and go through Iowa to get to Minnesota no big deal, one twist of the throttle and away I went to retrieve these awesome stickers!
I was about 30 minutes into my commute home and there were 4 vehicles in a line in the fast lane and 3 vehicles in line in the slow lane when all of the sudden there were brake lights and cars swerving everywhere in and out of both lanes and coming to an abrupt stop! I shouted a few choice words into the wind missed the back end of an orange Jeep by about a foot and rode the center line between the chaos. It appeared someone in a large black SUV was turning left from the fast lane and had not signaled or braked to do so until last minute so everyone else nearly had a 7 car 1 bike pile up, I can only hope someone stopped to inform the SUV driver of what they almost caused to happen. Now home safe and sound, stickers strategically placed on the bike, what in the hell is that route through Iowa again ?! 11.5 hours that is not so bad. Except I’ve already had a 12-13 hour day working and driving so we will see what happens.
Iowa is a 100 MPH state, meaning there’s no reason for me to be there other than it’s in between me and South Dakota therefore the speed limit should just be 100 MPH to get me through it faster. It was still daylight out on my venture through there and one nice thing about the flat 100 MPH states is they usually have the best sunrise and sunset views. And of course the mighty Mississippi!
Shortly after midnight I was passed Souix Falls, which is my halfway point, and I pulled in for fuel. I grabbed a couple Snickers and some caffeine, thought the hotel next door was looking like a great idea , sat down on the bike with my snack and fell asleep! I’m guessing about 30-40 minutes later, a truck pulled in and the headlights woke me up. Now I am wide awake the coffee I had prior to falling asleep was kicked in and I just got a nice nap in, I should probably just keep rolling west….
30 miles later it’s smelling like rain in the air. 35 miles later the highway is soaking wet and there is some awesome lightening off in the distance. 36 miles later Jessie is pulled off on some side road trying to put rain gear on in the wind. I could not have timed that more perfect if it had been daylight and I could see it coming! Slid my helmet on and hopped back on the bike, WHOOSH!!! Rain drops are falling on my head.
The rain was directly followed by what appeared to be large snow flakes which ended up being some kind of unidentifiable insects, the bike and I were covered in goo!!! Yucky! I was very happy I had my helmet on. I am willing to bet whatever these creatures were they have won an award for most successful mating process. I’ve only ever seen that many bugs in one place one other time in my entire life and that little story will soon be in a book of mine.
3/4 of a tank of gas later I pulled in for fuel and the rain had pretty much stopped but I had been running in it through construction zones in the dark and only able to go about 45-50 MPH so the night is slipping away quickly and I’m still about 250-275 miles away from Sturgis.
As I was pumping gas a guy in raingear with a cell phone in hand comes wondering over to announce that “we” are going to get wet again according to the radar. Now mind you it is somewhere around 3:30 A.M. I have been up and running since 4:30 A.M. Yesterday minus my accidental gas station bike nap, so, that being said, I may not be in the best of moods as I stand here soaked and a tad cold pumping fuel.
My initial thought was, “There is not now and never will be a “WE” here!” Edit
Then I checked myself and realized I should just smile and be nice. Turns out he’s coming from Minneapolis and usually trailers out but decided to “torture” himself this year. As I sat there with more coffee and he appeared to pack and unpack his trunk a few times, 3 more bikes pulled in. I noticed the one was carrying a notebook and checking the bikes dashboards as they got fuel. Soon I found out why, these guys had just completed their K in a day Iron Butt challenge! I and the Minnesota man signed off for them as witnesses and they told us their story. Very cool guys from North Carolina, they left Tennessee this morning and just now at 3:47 A.M. Successfully had Iron Butts. Originally there were 14 going to do the challenge and have an entire convoy but when it came down to it just these 3 showed up to go! I can relate to this I’ve had as many as 6 people going to Sturgis and ended up solo.
This had been an eventful gas stop and I was awake again ready to roll….except it seemed Mr Minnesota was him -hawing around as if he was going to ride with me from here, Nope! I very politely told him to have a nice ride and put in my earplugs before sliding on my helmet and played with my phone until he was on his way. Nice guy but I’m not up for company.
I rolled on until I got to Chamberlain bridge and decided I needed a nap big time. I pulled over at the huge rest area there and found my self a picnic table to rest on, I layed down and looked up and there right above and beside me was a gigantic silver statue of an Indian woman. How I didn’t notice this on the walk over I can only blame on my exhaustion but there she stood big and proud scaring the crap out of me,I almost fell off the bench and then I followed that with a loud giggle which was replied to by a near by dog with a series of barks!
Ok 5 A.M. Closing the eyes time!
I had breakfast in Wall at The Cactus Cafe, the service was less than great but the coffee was hot and the food was decent. I’ve eaten there other trips and thought it was much better so maybe they were just having a bad day.
While I was eating I did have live entertainment from a table of guys discussing their trip. They were all terribly upset that they have come across so many gas stations with only 87 octane fuel because their “bikes just won’t run on it”…more than once this trip they have put in just enough to get to the next town where they hoped there would be 91 octane. I’m going to guess they aren’t getting very far very fast either.
Everyone has their own opinion on fuel and oil and tires and everything else in life so I just giggled to myself about the fact that I have 2 Harley’s with combined mileage around 75-80,000 mark aaaaaaaand the majority of those were while burning 85, 87, and 89 octane fuel. Hopefully the rest of their Sturgis experience goes more pleasantly.
From breakfast it was not far to my little slice of heaven …. where I will be surrounded by motorcycles and then more motorcycles and even more after that all while cruising amazing backroads with beautiful scenery.
766 miles from home I arrived, set up camp, and am now headed for a much overdue nap !!!