Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Driving Down Memory Lane - Sturgis 1998 (Hot Springs, SD)

We drove to Rapid City last Friday.  We were seeing quite a few early arrivals with their loaded down motorcycles on the road heading for Sturgis.  The annual Sturgis Motorcyle Rally started on Monday, August 4.  Seeing all the travelers brought back memories of our trip to Sturgis in 1998 so I thought I would share a few photos and memories.
 A quick rest from icy roads and photo op in the Colorado Rockies
Far right:  Dan and I
We planned our trip with two other couples and riders from Albuquerque. One couple rode double while the other two rode their own Harleys.  I had spent almost a year learning to ride my own motorcycle - a Yamaha Virago 350, so we could have more space for packing tents, sleeping gear, and clothes.  My bike wasn't as powerful as the smallest Harley, but I had no problem keeping up with them.  I also found this more entertaining to drive my own motorcycle than to ride on the back with Dan.  Although, it was hard to look around and view the country side as we drove from Albuquerque, NM to Sturgis, SD (around 800 miles one way).

The weather did not want to cooperate.  We ran into hail, heavy rains, ice covered mountain roads, and one mud filled road along with high winds, but we made it all in one piece with no incidents.  Funny, we are having about the same weather this time too.  We had over an inch and a half of rain last night from a thunderstorm that shook our motorhome and had our cats sitting wide-eyed.   
Devil's Tower, WY before the downpour blocked our view
Dan had reserved a campground between Sturgis and Rapid City near the highway.  The campground claimed it was a couple of miles from the highway exit.  We thought it meant 'away from' the highway too.  No, that was parallel which means we could see and hear the highway all night long.  That turned out to be no problem after a day of activities with eating and drinking too much, I don't think a single one of us had a problem going to sleep at night.
staying dry was a challenge for the first part of the week
With overcast skies and threat of more rain, the guys setup the camp by circling our three tents with a makeshift awning to keep the center dry.  This worked well once the sun came out giving us some shade and relief from the humid heat.
Welcome to Sturgis
Once we started touring around the Black Hills and the Rally, I decided to park my bike and ride with Dan.  I did not want to miss a thing!  I think I gave myself whiplash from rubbernecking to view people and bikes.  So much to see and so little time.  Crowds everywhere.  Sounds of music, smells of food....

....at times it was almost overwhelming so we would head out to the Black Hills for a quiet ride and serene views of wildlife except the buffalo were running down the road the day we drove through.  We don't know if it was all the noise from the bikes causing them to run or if someone told them it was dinner time.  Either way, it got a little iffy with us being so exposed to the huge critters.  We had heard that it wasn't unusual to have a buffalo flip a motorcycle with its driver.
Buffalo Jam
All in all, we had a great time and have some wonderful memories.  Would I do it again?  Traveling exposed to the elements on a motorcycle was fun when I was younger, but  I have become a creature of comfort.  I like traveling with our own bathroom and kitchen with a solid roof that doesn't leak when it rains.  I love sleeping in a bed that doesn't deflate during the night leaving us to wake-up on the cold hard ground with stiff backs.  I will stick with our home on wheels.

I'm almost done with all of the new Happy Campers and the Sweet Dreams quilt.  I'll try to post some photos when I get ready to list them on Etsy.
Happy Quilting and Safe Travels to All!


  1. And all that without helmets? Motor bikes scare me ... but I almost lost a daughter on one. There just isn't much between you and the nuts out there.

  2. What a great post. I so enjoyed seeing your photos. What an experience! I've never ridden a motorbike or even been on the back of one. It's not likely now! Like you I love my home comforts. X


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