Saturday, August 10, 2013

DAY 8: Cody, WY to Sturgis, SD

Woke to a loud wind-like sound hovering over me. Confused and curious, I pulled off the sleeping bag off my face and this is what I saw. Sweet way to wake up! After a cup of coffee in me and even more oil in the bike and it was time to leave. Definitely want to return to Cody some day.

 Wyoming sure isn't flat cattle and corn country like I thought. Lots of rivers and streams and mountains and trees and deer, even deer running around eating grass off lawns in Cody!

 A ride over another pass brought more great views, lots of dinosaur archaeological sites and even up into come clouds. Coming down the mountain wasn't so pleasing however, as I lost all my back brakes due to the altitude change causing a vapor lock. Using my engine to slow me down and my front brakes to take me down the 8 percent grade, I got down just fine, and my back brakes came back. I am now seeing a ridiculous number of bikes on the road. A short run on the interstate and I was going to be in Sturgis! I wonder what the grand-daddy of all motorcycle rallies is going to be like...
Well first, getting there without getting pulled over would be a start. With Rancid pumping angry tunes into my earphones, a truck towing a trailer doing 80mph just wasn't possibly going fast enough for The Big D. Downshifted fast to the chorus, rolled the throttle back like Evel in Snake Canyon, and off I was passing this guy like a dull kidney stone. Midway through, the glimmer of sunshine off the Highway patrol in the center grass caught me. Well golly! Having experience with this, I stayed with the truck, not slowing down or speeding up, just keeping the radar gun hitting me and the truck. Why? Can't prove who it was in court. Immediately the officer came my way, so before he hit the lights I pulled off and he quickly approached. He first told me that he was going to give me a warning(because he didn't get just me in the radar). After asking me the basics, he asked me to have a seat in his car with him. Huh? Oh no, I must really be screwed. I've never been asked this before during a traffic stop. So I walked over to have a seat in the back and opened the door, only to be greeted by man- eating K-9. HOLY CRAP DUDE!!!! "SHUT THE DOOR!!!" the officer screamed! I slam the door faster than I could comprehend. "IN THE FRONT!" he yelled back. What's going on?!?!?!?! Turns out, it's common practice in South Dakoda to sit up front with the cop while he talks to you. In LA, that means you're spending the night in county. We clarified our differences, and he let me be on my way after expressing gratitude that his dog didn't take my hand off. Nervous from being pulled over and from almost losing a limp, I took it a bit slower to Sturgis.
Here we go! Or not?


 After walking around town for a few, I met Charley and his 4 friends in passing. They were the only people I could hold a conversation with. Walking up and down the main drag, I quickly realized all these bikes looked the same: new baggers in stock colors, all with Harley accessories. The riders all looked the same too, leather vest, live to ride eagle patch, cloth skull cap, and old. You might ask, "It can't be that bad right? What about the boobs? Did you see any boobs?" Well, yes! But those were just as unappealing and appalling as some of the bikes I was seeing. This place isn't at all the freedom-celebrating, brotherhood-bonding, story-sharing environment I thought it would be. Bikes suck, the bikers suck, beer prices suck, and the boobs suck. I saw a few cool machines, but this wasn't Born Free by any means. Screw Main St, I'm gonna go explore. There has to be a cooler place than this. I putted around and, what do ya know! Full Throttle! I rode up with a new sense of excitement and appeal! Music, even if it's crappy, will make me feel better about this place. I park in the sea of chrome and walk to the front, only to discover a 20 dollar cover charge. No way. Before I could sigh, a fellow bumps into me. Charley! Is this fate?? Yes it is! He pressed the stamp he got from exiting the place from his hand onto mine, and we both walked in without question. No way! Rest of the night went on without a hitch! Charley and company were great to talk too, and Bret Michaels wasn't as horrible as you would think. For free, how could I complain! How could this twist of fate get any better? Before I could even think about where I was going to sleep that night, my buddy from LA Ian, on a fishing trip with his dad, texted me to say he was at a hotel in Belle Fourche, 20 miles north of Sturgis. A shower, warm sleeping, and a continental breakfast sure made it an awesome ending. The best plans you can ever make, is to not have them.

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