We got our maintenance done and met with our Italian friends in the evening at their
hotel and immediately left for Mt Rushmore.
A group picture to prove we were all there. Then we had dinner at the cafe and reassembled
for the evening program at the stage in front of the monument.
For the program a Park Ranger speaks about the monument, then a video is shown, the
National Anthem is sung by the audience and it finishes with a lighting of the faces
and the calling of veterans to the stage for the lowering of the National Flag. All
in all a very moving, patriotic presentation.
We rode back to Custer and separated for the night and the next day too. They are
going to the Badlands in the morning and on to the town of Sturgis in the afternoon. We
are going straight to Sturgis, we've been to the Badlands already.
And we made it to Sturgis. This is the famous Main Street. There are bikes parked
on each side and in a double row down the middle. The stores and parking lots are
filled with souvenir shops.
Last year there were over 400,000 visitors for Rally Week. They expect just as
many this year.
It is about 60 miles and 1.5 to 2 hours from our campsite near Custer to Sturgis. There
are several options on which roads to take between the two towns. There are many
interesting things to see along those roads, as we have shown you in previous pages. As
we have travelled those roads we have been observing some things about all those
bikers. Over 90% of the vehicles on the road are motorcycles and of that;
First is that Harley Davidson is the most popular brand of bike by far. Second is
that only about one-quarter of the riders have helmets, of any quality, on. (There
is no law requiring helmets in South Dakota.) Third, maybe only 5% have additional
protective gear, such as leathers or nylon riding gear. and lastly there are a few
that are riding in shorts and sandals. There have been several accidents and one
death that we have heard of (they hit a deer and she died, he's critical).
Enough of that, here are some pictures of barmaids and other girls.
The one on the right and below are at a temporary outdoor bars selling water and
On the right, the black shorts are real, all the rest is paint!
Now for some bikes, some on the street, some in shows for judging.
This next bike, in the judging area, has a very interesting drive system.
It has a drive belt that wraps around the hub in the center of the rear tire (actually
there are two rear tires side by side with the belt and suspension system in the
center). This gives a look that is vey distinctive. The rear tires stay flat and
the front half tilts in corners.
Lastly, with all the bars and drinking, they needed more posters like this!
We wandered the streets of Sturgis for several hours, had some good food and excellent
service at the Easy Riders Saloon, looked at tens of thousands of shirts and souvenirs,
even bought a few, and then headed back to camp. We saw some of the Italian's bikes
parked in Sturgis but never saw them in person.
On our way into and out of town we saw several homes that had been turned into campgrounds. The
front yard has tents and the back yard has bikes. I'll bet the bathroom is a real
mess in the morning. We are in Custer State Park, one of the few places that does
not raise their rates for bike week. Three campsites up from us is a family that
lives in Sturgis and rents their house out. They live in their pop-up trailer for
this time period. It costs them $24/day and they are making thousands (they didn't
actually say how much but the camp host told us what's common).
The next day, our last here, we did some small things.
The first was go to the nearby stockade. In the early 1870's the Native Americans
were given a huge tract of land centered on the Black Hills. In mid-1870's General
Custer led an expedition to explore the area and found gold. In the late 1870's
some miners illegally entered the area and built the stockade. They were kicked
out but the word was out and thousands of miners and merchants moved into the Black
Hills in spite of the treaty.
We then had to stop at a rock shop and buy 2 tons of rocks, well maybe only 2 handfuls,
but they were heaping full!
From the stockade we headed up the Needles Highway again and worked our way on back
roads to Hill City. We have stopped here and passed thru here several times. This
time we had lunch on the top deck of the Bumpin' Buffalo Bar and Grill, across the
street from the Mangy Moose where we ate the first time through here. We could look
up and down the street from its deck.
Left is left, and
Right is right,
from the balcony.
A whole street full of motorcycles, and this isn't even Sturgis!
While in Hill City we went to Teddy Bear Town. The lady (on the right), that's Kathy
on the left) is in the Guinness Book of World Records as having the most teddy bears,
just shy of 8,000! And growing! She has them from every state and a over a dozen
countries. They fill this house on main street in hill City completely, she lives
And of course we couldn't leave until we had bought a teddy bear from the gift shop.
Tonight we pack up and tomorrow head for Cody, WY with our Italian friends. We have
returned to our campsite early to start packing. We have been here for eight days
and are very disorganized and we have to be ready to leave early.