Monday, August 31, 2015

Out of the madness and back on the road

It's time to get this trip finished, blog-wise, as, you guessed it, I'm gone again.

On Tuesday, August 4, I woke late, and saw that Biker Bill was online.  I phoned home and chatted for a bit, letting him know I was heading out.  The deer were scarce this morning (did they know I was leaving?), and there was a heavy fog coming in over the mountains.  I watched as I talked with him.  It was moving quickly and by the time we were finished talking it was more than halfway down the hill, and continuing to move in quickly, hiding the mountains on the other side of the valley from sight.

Coffee is nearly always the first order of the day, and I had about three cups.  I always seem to delay getting on the road when I’m with friends.  I’m enjoying myself, chatting, and yet, know if I want to make any miles at all, I’d better get going.  But I did run up to the neighbor’s house around the corner to see the buffalo she’d painted that were standing in her yard.  What a great view from her window … buffalo butt!!!  They’re awesome.
Nothing like a herd of buffalo in your front yard.

This buffalo is dedicated to miners.  Note the mine shaft near the back of the head.

This looks like a rainbow to me.  The colors are beautiful.
Lenny had changed out my bike seat for me.  I’d changed the original police bike air seat for an extended reach, traded it out for a mid-range reach seat, and now have a regular seat from one of his bikes on Harlow.  It’s been better riding, and seems to fit me better, but now the true test is coming … about 1,300 miles.  It will probably be more as I usually make a wrong turn, or two, adding miles to my trips. 

My goal was to be on the road between 8 and 9 a.m.  I made it by 10.  I’d said my good byes to Missy, Lenny and Sam, the yellow Lab. 
Sam was bored with my travel preparations.
I always tear up when saying good bye to my friends, because my friends are family, and I never know for sure when I might see them again.  Missy is now my official photographer and photographed me each day, posting the photos on Facebook so people knew what I was doing and where I was.  My last ride of the visit heading out of their driveway was no exception.  Good bye, my dear friends, good bye.  What a great time we had, and I got to share a little bit of Missy’s first crazy Sturgis with her and Lenny.  Thank you for letting me be a part of that.  See you next trip. 

I knew I had to get several hundred miles away from the Sturgis area if I expected to find a room for the night.  I made it to Riverton, Wyoming.  While it might not have been as far as I’d have liked, it was far enough to get a room.  Yahoo.  That’s always a plus, especially this year when it has seemed more difficult unless you call earlier in the day and make a reservation.  That means work … googling lodging, looking at photos and reviews, and making a call.  You still can’t be 100 percent sure of what you’ll get.  But it’s been okay to really great, except for that one crappy Super 8 on Russell Street in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

On Wednesday, August 5, I’d decided to make it to Baker City, Oregon, meaning I’d finish crossing Wyoming, and get on through Idaho, about a 650-or-so-mile day.  Reaching Baker City didn’t happen.  While I got through Wyoming and across Idaho, my goal was about 75 miles out of reach as I got halted by wild fires.  I had been running I-84, making miles along the white line.  I saw some signs that talked about road closures due to fires.  I talked to people and heard folks were being turned back at Ontario, Oregon, which is just across the Idaho-Oregon border.  I figured I’d better hurry and get a room as there were a lot of people trying to get through and since they couldn’t continue, they’d be looking for rooms.  Yep.  I was quick enough, and as a line formed behind me, everything worked out and I was in for the night, and hoping that the highway would be open in the morning. 
While I needed to make some miles, I made time for a few photos , including a few in places I've been before with Biker Bill.  Grand Tetons.

We've also been through Jackson Hole, Wyoming, a few times.

This guy came up and wanted a photo.  He showed me a badge, a cop.  He liked my police bike.
In Idaho, there was time for a photo or two at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.
Once again I’d mostly skirted any major rain storms, and was liking that a lot.  I think I can say that so far, I’ve not ridden in the rain.  Showers, even heavy ones, don’t count as they are quick to come and also go.  I’d stopped to let one go by, and ended up riding in between the one that passed, and another one coming in behind me.  My rate of speed for that was perfect.  I believe that’s because I’m pure of heart mostly.  Woo hoo.  Life is good, even if there is an occasional bit of rain.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

STURGIS AND ITS CRAZINESS ... WARNING ... Risque' material ... don't look if you'd be offended

But first, I had to post a deer photo.

Or two.
Today, Monday, August 3, is Sturgis photo day for the Alaskans and former Alaskans.  I don’t know how many will show up.  I know some are still on the road, but I have to be on the road tomorrow, so today is it for the photo I want.

We got on the road and joined the masses … many were coming toward us, many were going with our flow.  It seemed to take forever, and did.  Slow vehicles, some slow bikes, and a steady stream of traffic going both ways.  I can’t help it, though, I’m exhilarated at being a part of it, being in the mix, being in the stream of bikes heading into Sturgis.  I’m loving it.  The whole Sturgis area and its surroundings exude life, fun, excitement.  It’s the Sturgis madness of rally week.

This was the Alaska and former Alaska folks that showed up for the photos in Sturgis. 

We found a little entertainment as we were walking.  Who know Harleys could do fender stands?

They were doing some pretty nice burn outs, too.

Golf cart?  Bar cart for those runs to the bar for a drink, or two?
Sturgis takes on a life of its own during the rally.  People crowd the sidewalks and the shops, restaurants and bars.  The main street is closed off to cars and open only for bikes and bike parking, four deep.  It’s a show room of every bike, every model, every fancy accessory you can imagine, every paint scheme you can only dream about.  It’s fun to wander and peruse … sometimes wondering what on earth would make someone do that?  Others?  It makes you drool.

Cowboy and I both liked this one ... holsters.

We saw some Indians.

I don't know what this is, but it was bright red.  Red rules!!!

Welcome to Sturgis.  See Lenny on the left waving to you?

I had to photograph meat on the grill.  It smelled wonderful.
Then we started seeing them ... girls with pasties and paint.

Lenny was getting a tire on his bike as it was pretty near done.  We wandered, going to the Harley place to get our free pin and then heading over to do a little shopping.  Trying to keep seven of us together was like herding cats, but we managed for quite a while.  Then Grant and Ron went off to get some kind of backrest for his bike, Mac and his lady friend went to look at something, and we ended up at a bar for lunch.  The salads were awesome, fresh, tasty and just perfect.  There was also a bit of entertainment in the next room that I had to check out.

This is what was going on in the next room.  She knew I wanted her photo.

The skeleton on the near bike almost seems to be a twin to the person in pink on the far bike.

Woo hoo.  Bar bike.

It seems unbelievable they'd parade trailer bikes through town.
More paint.

This one was my favorite.

There was some ministry going on, too.  I'm not sure they were receptive, but the dog kind of seemed to be paying attention.

No Sturgis visit is complete without seeing the buffalo bike.

I think Lenny was getting tired of shopping.
You always see this in Sturgis.

For Biker Bill.

Bar bike.  I wonder how many hours they spend cleaning these things.  They probably have enough money they can pay someone to do it for them and gas up the bikes, and they just ride them.

I liked the painting on this one.
Another parading trailer of bikes.

Nice tutu.

Our very own colorful Hoka Hey Cowboy.
Then we headed back to pick up Lenny’s bike and ride on back to the barn.  It was getting crazier by the minute with cars and vehicles mixing on the street and highways, heading both directions.  There were even some bikes being towed.  Bet there will be some indignant folks.

Guess you shouldn't have parked there.
We did Interstate as it was getting late and we didn’t want to deal with curvy road and riders and animals.  There were two accidents, one of which involved at least two motorcycles.  We were stopped until the ambulance drove off.  At least the lights and siren were going, making you think there’s a chance.  We saw the bikes shortly after, and they looked bad.

Home loomed into view, and I was glad we were home safe and sound.  So was Sam.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Surrounding Sturgis

On Sunday, August 2, I was up again at 7 a.m.  First thing I did was look for deer.  Yep, they’re there.  Love it.  Drinking coffee and watching deer.  There were three of them laying down and eating.  I kept an eye on them and worked on a blog.  I love this place where Lenny and Missy are and wonder if I could live here if I had a place like this where there is a bit of land and deer coming around all the time.
Isn't she pretty?
The first ride of the day goes to Sampson.
But I got mine.  The Model A.  Later we went to the store and Sam got the front seat.  I got the rumble seat.  Haha!  Was tons of fun.  And Sam gets attention no matter where he goes.

And I got a ride in the Model T.  This thing goes!!!!
We were going to hit Custer State Park today.  Missy and I are excited because we want to see the buffalo.  We rode, and rode, and rode.  We saw some donkeys.  They are cute, but they aren’t buffalo.  We saw antelope.  But they aren’t buffalo. 
Lenny and Missy and the little donkey.

There were a lot of asses in this area, not all were four-legged.

Hey, baby.  Wanna kiss?
Then, there they were in the distance, covering the green hills with their dark mass.  I was hoping when we went over the hill and down into the valley there’d be some up close, but not too personal.  Oh wow.  There were park rangers, there were buffalo wranglers, there were cars parked, there were bikes parked.  We wormed our way into a parking spot and got off the bikes. 
There were lots of buffalo close enough to see.  I wonder if they watch us like we watch them?  I think not.  They're too busy lunching on the grass.
The park rangers were asking people to stay by their bikes and not get too close to the buffalo, some of which were right next to the road.  One woman was oblivious, and walked right next to the one closest to the road.  It charged her, and I don’t think she even realized it.  I had my camera at the ready for the photo-of-the-day … her being tossed into the air like a marshmallow by the buffalo.  It did not happen.  I was so disappointed.
The park ranger said this one's a mean one.  And it's the one that chased the lady.  Doesn't look friendly to me with those horns.
The buffalo wranglers rushed in, cracking bull whips and sending the buffalo pounding up the hill, their huge mass making the ground shake, with their little tails in the air.  It was exciting to see.  And then they were off, and it was time for us to mosey on.  We’d had our thrill.
This was an interesting operation with buffalo wranglers cracking their whips and the buffalo running on up the hill.
We continued on some great roads, riding more of the Needles Highway.  It’s great with its hairpins, spirals and twisties.
A view of Mt. Rushmore is always a plus.

Aren't they cute?  I love these people.
Norbeck pullout where we viewed Rushmore, the parking lot was full.
Can you tell these folks are from Texas?
 It was lunch time and we went back to Hill City, to engage in some more people watching and bike watching as we munched some lunch sitting on a deck overlooking the road.  It was fun to be out of it but able to see what was happening. 
Bar bikes ... but they sure are beautiful, and EXPENSIVE!!!

This was one of my favorites ... the '57 Chevy trike.
We wandered back to the house.  The roads are getting full with bikes, and cars.  There are still some trailer queens showing up, but it appears many have offloaded their bikes and are into the show mode. 

We saw the little four-point again.  Velvet antlers are gorgeous.
 Later in the evening we walked down to town again.  This time I was photographing buffalo.  They are commissioned by the city and the lady who paints them lives close by Lenny and Missy.  Some of them are truly amazing, and I loved seeing all of them.  I have a few favorites, too.

Each one of these is unique and has a different theme.

This one has a wild fire at the top of the hump.

And a fire hydrant on the other side of it.  It's dedicated to fire fighters.

There's just something about a white buffalo.

A buffalo on a buffalo.  I didn't see all of them, but sure liked the ones I did see.
The buffalo are painted and then put in a large pasture close by the lady’s home.  They are auctioned off at some point and then placed near the businesses who have purchased them.  It’s a very cool project.