Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is one of the few things that I commit to every single year. Which I guess in itself, says a lot about my priorities in life (and my commitment issues). 😆 I remember the first time I came to the Rally - I was so excited to see and meet other people with a passion for riding like myself. To be surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people who ride motorcycle, from all walks of life and from all over the world is surreal! I've been coming to Sturgis Bike Week for several years and have met so many amazing people - and those people are basically the reason I look forward to returning year after year. One of the first years I camped in Sturgis, I remember pulling into the campground overwhelmed at all of the tents, people, and bikes for as far as the eye could see. It was just Shelly and I that year and I cant tell you the number of hot laps we made around the entire campground to find that 'perfect spot' to camp. We found one area with trees (a HOT commodity around the camp), a decent distance from the shower house, and on the main drag so we could people watch. We stalled in front of the spot twice, if not more, hesitant to make a final decision because there was a tent full of chicks next to it and they were basically wearing nothing. And they had a vehicle, not a single bike between them all. Yes, I realize that was a bit judgmental, but I was here for bikers, which they were not. Well, we finally decided to pick that spot as our camp area and it was by far the best decision made! Not only were the girls super cool (they were from Montana and in town to work the rally at the local bar), the other neighbors around us quickly became lifelong friends, to which we see annually at the same camp.
This year we took off from Minneapolis around 7am, eager to make the 630-something mile trip to our little slice of Sturgis heaven. And of course, part of my 10 hour ride tradition to bike week is my hot pink shirt... (also in good fun but man does it bring a ton of conversation and laughter along the way!)
New this year, was Shelly's shirt:
While the ride gets a bit long and dull, people get pretty creative, which makes the drive a bit more entertaining!
This guys bike said "His sh*t" on the left bag... "Her sh*t" on the right bag and "More of her sh*t" on the trunk bag HA!
This guys license plate on the truck AND the bike said "NoWife"
My/our best Sturgis friend had arrived just prior to us and instead of camping in a tent alongside of us, he upgraded to an RV. Yes, he trailered his bike as well.. and yes, I gave him hell for it. But all in good fun. We pulled the bikes up and started to unpack our tents and other camp gear when he demanded that we instead use his 'mansion' tent. We obliged and MAN is it nice! It's kind of like going from a Motel 6 to a Radisson hotel (or whatever a fancy hotel might be these days... clearly I don't stay in many hotels these days). He is just one of the amazing people I have met during the rally over the years. Can't wait to see what the 2019 Rally brings!
Part One: How to pack a lot of gear on a motorcycle... and keep it there for the duration of the trip!! How the heck do I get ALL the gear I need on the bike to ride long distance and/or camp?? Where there is a will, there is a way! I started riding and camping with my Suzuki Boulevard M50 - Love that bike, still own it. I had two gallon size saddlebags on her and the rest was pure strategy. I bought a Saddleman luggage pack and a bunch of bungees - which quickly got traded in for LOTS of straps and then a net on top. I first went long distance riding and motorcycle camping with a good friend, nickname HD, years ago. Let me tell you, she was a GREAT teacher in the art of packing a motorcycle. I would make the effort, get to the meeting point, have to retighten every since strap, ride, and repeat. She probably felt both sorry for me and annoyed by me for the extra time I took at stops to make sure my gear wasn't going to wind up on someone's windshield. So between her expertise…
Remember when you first started learning how to ride a
bike? It’s a struggle to keep your balance and if you start to tip over your
first instinct is to jump off the bike, hands first, planting your wrists
against the ground with force, while your skin is soaking up the gravel, one
tiny pebble at a time... and then you run crying the whole way home? Well, when
you’re on a motorcycle do NOT do that. Nothing will go well if you try to jump
off a 700-pound metal beast with flammable liquids between your legs and think
that you’re going to be able superman your body farther than your bike will
land. You can’t fly. Your bike can. You won’t win. The best thing to do is
opposite of what your instinct might be – when you start to tip over, think of
the bus lady yelling the rules at you on the first day of school. “Keep your
hands and legs IN the bus (aka on the handlebars and foot pegs) while in motion”.
And motion includes that of tipping over. At least on my Suzuki and my Victory,
the bike …
A lot of people hang up their motorcycle keys once temps get into the 40's. Those people are kind of smart. I, however, choose to ride until Mother Nature makes it physically impassable to do so, aka snow falls and stays on the ground. In order to ride when its in the teens, 20's, 30's, or even 40's, there is some gear that is a necessity to try to keep remotely warm while riding. And thanks to this gear, I have only gotten frostbite once while riding motorcycle. And to be honest, I doubt ANY cold riding gear would have spared my fingers from riding 70mph in temps of NINE (9) degrees. Yeah, that was stupid. But I was on a mission..... I WAS going to ride to Daytona!! And naturally, it had been in the 50's the week prior, aka when I decided I was going to ride there. Anyways - here is my GO TO cold riding gear!
<--- In Iowa, on way to Daytona. It warmed up to 24 degrees!!! There is no solution for frozen eyeballs.
Tour Master Synergy 2.0 Electrically Heated Leath…
Ah, the annual fall trek to the Bikes, Blues, and BBQ Rally - in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Northwest Arkansas is my ALL time favorite place to ride in the USA. Four of us girls took off after work to get a head start on the (easy) 11 hour ride. The more daylight we could arrive in, the better, since 3 of us were going to need to set up camp when we arrived to Arkansas.
Sporting my Nomadic Gear thanks to @NomadicMichigan
We all look so bad-ass in our leathers!!!
We stopped for the night just outside of Des Moines - get a few hours of sleep, and back on the road in the morning!
After an easy 7 hour ride to Eureka Springs, we debated between heading straight to camp to set up, or heading straight to the Cat House bar to park and walk over to Aquarius for THE BEST TACOS in the entire region. In the end, Tacos clearly won! Aquarius is a cute little place on Main Street in Eureka Springs, AR. I don't even think the name of the place is on the outside - they get straight to the point …