Featured Sturgis 2023: Taking The Long Way ' Round In The American Southwest

Discussion in 'Rideouts, Trackdays, Touring & Spotted' started by Sandi T, Aug 19, 2023.

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  1. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Day #6: Deadwood and Sturgis on foot

    A Pictorial (Mostly) Report


    We awoke to a very cloudy and dark morning with the chance of rain at 50% for today and a flood watch for the rest of the week. :(

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    The view out our hotel room window. We were on the second floor and our bikes were parked directly below us in this parking lot.

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    With our tummies full of coffee and waffles and the bikes parked and covered, Ron, Steve, and I decided to take a cab the short way down the canyon to Deadwood. We'd ridden about 1,750 miles over the previous five days so we were ready for a day off from riding. And Ron had never been to Deadwood, so Steve and I were eager to show him why we like it so much.

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    Deadwood is a city in South Dakota known for its gold rush history. Mount Moriah Cemetery has the graves of Wild West figures like Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. Exhibits at the Adams Museum include a huge gold nugget and a plesiosaur fossil. The 1892 Historic Adams House is a Victorian mansion with original features. South of town, the George S. Mickelson Trail leads through the Black Hills National Forest. ― Google
    Population: 1,201 (2021) Elevation: 4,715′ Founded: 1876

    This grayish-silver building is a terrific hotel but way too expensive for our blood during the rally. It's called the Marriott Deadwood Mountain Inn.

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    Just because we're not staying there doesn't mean we can't poke around in the Deadwood Mountain Inn. ;) Last time we were here we were intrigued that it has a bit of a rock 'n roll vibe to it but never found out why. It also has a casino in it, one of 24 casinos in Deadwood!

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    We began our morning rambles in Deadwood at a cool coffeehouse that we'd gone to back in 2019 when we were here. Last time around the glass blowing part of the business was hopping, but it was closed up tight this time around sadly. Ron, our beemer guy, was interested--and relieved--to know that there were actually bikes other than Harleys here! :joy:

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    This historic (for the U.S. :joy:) hotel sits at the top of Main Street which slopes down the canyon for about five or six blocks.

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    So, so many fun motorcycle related things to see! These bikes were "window dressings" in a Main Street business (sorry about the reflections). Guns and guitars--and certainly bikes-- seemed to be a theme around here. :joy:

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    One of the first stores we went to was Deadwood Harley-Davidson which is a "satellite store" meaning no bikes or parts but loads of tee-shirts, gear, and accessories. And who should we run into right off the bat? Our camping buddies, Russell, Chas, and Kelly along with the friends with whom they were camping who hailed from Canada and North Carolina. Small town--small world!

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    Day #6 continued in my next post......
     
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  2. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Day #6: Deadwood and Sturgis on foot, continued

    Our whole Deadwood plan was simply to meander down one side of Main Street and back up the other, stopping to watch "the show" on the street or going in to any shops or galleries that tickled our fancies. Honestly, I could have probably spent twice as long doing this as we actually did but even Ron and Steve didn't seem in a hurry. There was LOTS to see!

    Even though the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally didn't officially kick off until tomorrow afternoon, the streets were already busy and filled with all manner of bikes and bikers. We'd heard that lots of folks come even up to a week prior to the beginning of the rally which is why our group had decided to be in the Black Hills for two days prior to the rally and two days during.

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    One of the many bars we poked our noses into. This was at about 10:30-11:00 in the morning.

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    Although Main Street only allows motorcycle parking during rally time, there are always lots of interesting vehicles parading up and down the street. Check out the cow horns on the front of this "bus".

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    Lots of expensive paint jobs to be seen, too!

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    I wonder if this worked. :joy: It is rather creative even if a bit desperate...

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    Speaking of creative, Steve noticed the dog bed on this blue bike.

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    And when we turned around, the dog himself and the owner were lounging on a nearby bench. The guy said his dog absolutely love to go riding! :)

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    Some aspects of Main Street were not quite so obviously noticeable but I love spying little quirky things like this door handle.

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    And some of the quirky things are B-I-G!

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    Time for lunch! We sat on the patio of Mustang Sally's and watch the Main Street Parade go by over a beer and burger.

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    Day #6: Deadwood and Sturgis, continued in my next post
     
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  3. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Day #6: Deadwood and Sturgis on foot continued

    If you're in Deadwood, ya gotta go to Saloon #10 which is touted as the location where Wild Bill Hickok was shot on August 2, 1876 while playing poker in the basement.

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    This is a lively place and a great spot to order a local beer and take a break.

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    Me, bellying up to the bar....... I'm the one in the white shirt and not the in the unobservable shirt. :joy: You might have recognized my trademark Vans. ;)

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    We saw this guy wander in and asked him to allow us to read his shirt. Awesome!

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    After we'd settled in to a high top near the front of the bar, a guy who'd been talking at the bar strolled over to a guitar on a stand that we'd noticed when we came in. After getting a few things squared away on the guitar and amp, he began to play and sing. He was absolutely fantastic and I could have listened to him for hours. His name was Yahtzee and during a break told me that he does some covers but mostly writes and sings mostly his own songs. I gladly shelled out $15 for one of his CD's. Not only was he a wonderful singer and guitar player, he was funny as heck and kept us all laughing between songs. And it turned out that that high top we snagged when we first entered the bar was the best seat in the house.

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    Dang! All that beer drinking made me feel like doing a couple rounds of bull riding!

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    Our weather luck finally ran out a little before 4:00pm. Fortunately we'd brought our motorcycle rain jackets so donned those and made our way back to the top of Main Street and over to the Deadwood Mountain Inn. From there we called our friends Patrick and Roseanne, our Prius Princess. We'd made loose plans with them for them to come pick us up in Deadwood and then we'd all ride over to Sturgis in her car.

    It started to get a bit soggy......

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    Goodbye to Deadwood for today and onward to Sturgis...

    Day #6: Deadwood and Sturgis on foot (and Prius) continued in my next post
     
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  4. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Day #6: Deadwood and Sturgis on foot continued

    Ron, Steve, and I were very grateful to be able to ride in a nice, dry car for the 15 miles to Deadwood. There were lots of bikes on the road but nearly all the riders were by now in rain gear and looking none too happy with the weather. Patrick and Roseanne had spent most of the day in Rapid City at Black Hills Harley-Davidson where Patrick was getting a new motorcycle seat--a replacement for the seat he'd ridden for the last five days.

    Once in Sturgis, we hit the Sturgis Harley-Davidson satellite store for a few more souvenirs. After that we headed over to The Knuckle Saloon where on of Steve's and my favorite bands, The Garage Boys, would be playing starting at 7:00pm. I think I've posted photos on the forum of The Garage Boys before. We first learned about them then learned to love them at the Laughlin River Run over ten years ago. Well, sadly, the Laughlin River Run is now defunct but The Garage Boys are still going strong. With one replacement member, that is.

    This view is from the 2nd floor of The Knuckle Saloon. You can see the Sturgis sign on the hillside. :) And you can see that it's still raining. :(

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    This side entryway facing Lazelle Street has a U.S. .map with stick pins that people from all over the U.S.. can pin their hometown. I wish there was a world map, too, because there were people at Sturgis from all over the globe!

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    These guys were definitely from somewhere in Europe but I couldn't quite place their accent. They were riding as a group and I think that FastHouse was sort of a tour leader or organizer for them. They were getting geared up and ready to leave about when we showed up.

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    A bigger view of the interior of The Knuckle Saloon so you can get a sense of the vibe. It's much bigger than even this shows, though.

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    Because the rally hadn't yet officially started and because it was only about 6:30pm when we arrived, the crowd was fairly small. That was good for us because we got a good table and were able to order something to drink and eat without waiting in a long line. The Knuckle also has a brewery and this is their IPA. Pretty tasty! :yum

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    Getting there early with a smaller crowd also gave Steve and me an opportunity to connect and chat with Bryan, the band's lead singer, who we've gotten to know over the years. He told us that he and his wife just purchased some land in Deadwood and plan to build a place where they can get out of the Las Vegas heat (their home base) during the summer. Tonight was their first night playing The Knuckle and they'd be playing there through the rally for the next ten nights!

    Bryan and me

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    Patrick and Roseanne, the "transportation bosses" :joy: were ready to head back to our hotel long before I would have been. But, alas, the rest of us were beholden to the wheels. It's hard to be the youngest one in the group. ;) Bryan told Steve and me that they are playing at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas regularly so we'll ride up there one of these long weekends and listen to the band to our hearts content. :D

    Coming up next, Day #7: More happenings around the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally!

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  5. learningtofly

    learningtofly He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!
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    Heroic effort here, @Sandi T. Make sure you're eating and sleeping properly ;)
     
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  6. Bikerman

    Bikerman I used to have 5500 posts.

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    Holy crap, I've been to 80% of them places @Sandi T Talk about a trip down memory lane. When I was in Germany a few weeks back, and American guy said that Sturgis had had some flooding. I thought about you. Brilliant write up as ever.
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  7. joe mc donald

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    You are a real star. I love your adventures and like before it like we were traveling with you. I have just flicked through but will spend some time later to read properly. That Tunnel was made for Harleys. And did you ask the H A member to remove his cut off. Or indeed did anyone. Love you all
    Joe
     
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  8. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Hey, @Bikerman! Welcome back from your trip. :) I'm looking forward to reading your ride report, too. I hope you had a fantastic time! :kissing_heart:

    Very cool that you've been to so many of the places we were this year and back in 2019, too, I'm sure.Yep, it was definitely a very wet rally. I read in several places that it was the rainiest Sturgis Rally in 25 years! We got lots of rain in the short time we were in the Black Hills but since the rains had just begun we didn't see much flooding. Thankfully. Thanks for the kind comment about my write up. :kissing_heart: There's more to come--I've written through Day #6 and we were on the road for twelve days.
     
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  9. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    @joe mc donald
    Hi, Joe! Great to see you on the forum. Thanks for the kind comments about my trip report. I'm glad you're enjoying it so far. Yes, that tunnel was fun! Um, no, I didn't think to ask the HA member to remove his cut. ;):joy: I don't suppose anyone else did, either. I saw very little law enforcement presence but we wound up only be in Sturgis on one "official" day of the rally so there may have been more of that later on. I've six more days of reports I'll get to with a bit of time. Trying to report a day for a day but that's not quite working out with now being back at work. Hope you're doing well! :kissing_heart:
     
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  10. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #50 Sandi T, Aug 30, 2023
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2023
    Day #7: More Sturgis and Deadwood with my Minnesota family.

    One of my two brothers and his wife and boys live in Minnesota on the farm where I grew up. They are less than a days drive from the Black Hills so drove over to spend several days there--some with us and some with friends of theirs who live in the southeast part of the Black Hills. Additionally, their two sons--my nephews--are in their 20's and recently each bought used Harley touring bikes. They rode to the rally with a group of friends. This was their first motorcycle rally--what a way to start off!:)

    We spent most of today in Sturgis then went back to to Deadwood in the late afternoon. My brother and sister-in-law, Pete and Tammi, had been through both towns but never during the rally so they were eager to see what this big event was all about and the see these famous towns in more detail. They picked up Steve, Ron, and me in their SUV mid-morning and we headed off from Lead to Sturgis.

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    It wasn't raining when we headed out for the day but it definitely looked ominous and the weather predictions weren't very promising, either. But we did get in a couple of hours rain-free during which we checked out lots of the big vendors on Lazelle Street which parallels Sturgis' famous Main Street.

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    A mural on a side street between Lazelle and Main

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    Looking out across the big Harley-Davidson vendor area at the Sturgis sign on the hillside in the distance

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    Steve and Tammi catching up with iPhone photos at the H-D vendor area. My guess is he's showing her pictures of Ellie, the Boxer ;):joy:

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    I spied this Road Glide ST model under one of the H-D tents and chatted with the staff guy who was manning the tent. We talked about this HUGE 135 cubic inch engine and I asked to sit on the bike. This model comes stock with a 117 cubic inch engine, BTW.

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    Of course, just sitting on it isn't riding it...but this bike was NOT in the test ride lineup. The new CVO's were, however, but I was with family and without riding gear. :(

    These models all have what's called the Fast Johnnie paint set. I love this paint job and am SO tempted to do some trading to get either the Fast Johnnie Street Glide ST or the Fast Johnnie Low Rider ST. Now I just have to win the lottery. ;)

    I've been checking these out and drooling over their muscle car look since they came out a couple of months ago. Steve was telling Pete to watch for my reaction when I came around the corner and saw this display. He was spot on......:D

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    When Tammi parked the SUV earlier on a Sturgis residential street near Lazelle, she parked right behind this. KlockWorks is a company in South Dakota known for making great aftermarket parts, and they are particularly known for their windshields which are wind tunnel tested. Brian Klock's wife, Laura, races baggers and has some land speed records on them that she set at the Bonneville Salt Flats. :) The bike on the right is a Road Glide Special and is EXACTLY the same bike and paint job (Laguna Orange) as the one I owned before my current Street Glide Special. It looks red in the photo (I blame the cloudy skies) but it's a brilliant orange with gold metal flake.:heart_eyes:

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    Tammi eyeing a potential purchase. :joy::joy::joy: Not!

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    Day #7 continued in my next post...
     
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  11. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Day #7: More Sturgis and Deadwood with my Minnesota family, continued

    Our BMW buddy, Ron, was please to see that BMW had a big presence on Lazelle Street, and it was sandwiched right between Harley and Indian no less! It was a very classy vendor area with not only the newest models (with a focus on the R18 models) but also with some vintage bikes on display as well as live music! :)

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    Indian Motorcycles was well represented among the big Lazelle Street vendors, too. This is the Sport Chief, a new model designed to compete head to head with Harley's Low Rider ST. But this is definitely not a stock version!

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    If you've not seen any video of the King of the Bagger races, check it out on YouTube. It's really wild and I'd absolutely love to see those races in person. They didn't have a King of the Baggers race at the rally but Indian did display one of the bad boys that they've done well with.

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    This view is of the Knuckle Saloon from Lazelle. It's the venue where we listened to The Garage Boys last night.

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    My brother Pete just had to have a corn dog. :yum :joy: In spite of the stunning price:eek:

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    A massive photo of Main Street from a rally past on the side of a building between Lazelle and Main Street.

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    That hillside Sturgis sign is kind of like the North Star :joy:

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    Lots of custom bikes with amazing paint jobs were to be seen. They were a little less sparkly than usual under the dark skies which were getting darker by the minute.

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    Day #7: More Sturgis and Deadwood with my Minnesota family---continued TOMORROW! Bedtime for me.
     
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  12. Bikerman

    Bikerman I used to have 5500 posts.

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    Shame Sandi that the weather wasn't that good this year. You're right about the colours bring so much better to look at under brilliant blue skies.
     
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  13. learningtofly

    learningtofly He’s not the Messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!
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    Enjoyed that, @Sandi T, thank you. Interesting to see that Indian now have a direct competitor for the Low Rider ST, as I've been looking upon the latter as my potential next Harley for some time now.

    Anyway, sounds like the rain's coming...
     
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  14. Dawsy

    Dawsy Cumbrian half-wit
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    Great write up as usual @Sandi T but, No, just no!:confounded:
     
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  15. MoreT

    MoreT Senior Member

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    Nice, compelling, trip summary.
    You should make an ebook and sell on Amzn. Would pay for the next trip.

    :)
     
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  16. Armando Morales

    Armando Morales Senior Member

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    I'll be planning a trip to those areas
    @Sandi T superb travel log, thanks for all the tite you spend documenting your adventures for everyone to see!
     
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  17. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Your prediction is spot on regarding the rain coming, @learningtofly. :(

    Yes, it's pretty obvious that the Sport Chief was designed to directly compete with the Low Rider ST. There are lots of heads up reviews in the motor mags and online. I've test ridden the LRST and loved it! The one thing I didn't care for and would change if possible was the (for me) height of the pegs which put my legs in quite a tight position. But that 117 engine, the suspension, and the handling were a blast! Harley came out with a mid-year "Icons Edition" bike (really a paint set) called the Fast Johnnie. This paint set is available on the Low Rider ST, the Road Glide ST, and the Street Glide ST. If I had a larger garage and bank account, I'd go for this bike. Love the muscle car look and love this particular model with this paint jobl. My 2020 Low Rider S that I had prior to my Fat Boy was basically the same bike but without the fairing and bags. This new bike has a bigger engine and a taller suspension.

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    Here's the origin of the Fast Johnnie moniker:

    Screenshot 2023-08-30 at 8.43.40 PM.png This "piglet" is on the left side of the gas tank. And the photo below that is iconic and shows Ray with his piglet Johnnie. I grew up on a pig (and grain) farm so doesn't it seem like this bike is my destiny? :joy::joy::joy:

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  18. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Thanks, Armando! It's fun to go back through my photos, relive some great memories, and share about our adventures with others. If ever I can be helpful in making any recommendations or answering any questions about some of these routes and areas, please don't hesitate to ask!
     
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  19. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    Day #7: More Sturgis and Deadwood with my Minnesota family, continued:

    Lunch time! Main Street was pretty busy and we had a group of group of eight which made it a bit more complicated to find a place to sit down and eat. We found this place that was in a tent that appeared to be set up in what was an alley. The food was good and they had big tables!

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    Here's our group minus our friend, Ron, who was taking the photo. Included are my brother and sister-in-law and their two boys, Jake and Eli, plus Jake's girlfriend, Carla. The youngsters had ridden their motorcycles to Sturgis and Tammi finally tracked them down and directed them to our lunch spot.

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    The rain began in earnest while we were eating, so much so that a water leak began at that back wall which funneled right not our table and the picnic table seat. Fortunately by that time we were done eating and ready to head back out to see more of Sturgis--in raincoats.

    This is a photo of Jake and Eli along with Eli's roommate, Clay. Jake sent this photo to me because I failed to get a shot of them during the (literally) 2 minutes that both of them were together with their bikes because they had to move to new parking spots thanks to the upcoming opening day parade. I think this was taken by the VRBO where Eli was staying with Clay and his family.

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    Main Street in Sturgis on opening day of the rally

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    All kinds of bikes and all kinds of riders (including inflatable ones) :):joy:

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    Yes, the guy with the pink hat actually rode in on that minibike!

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    Hurray for Triumph! :heart: That's Jake and Eli to the right in the photo.

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    I love the Vance & Hines pipes on this little Honda. I love that there ARE Vance & Hines pipes on this bike! Who thinks of that?

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    Day #7 continued in my next post
     
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  20. Sandi T

    Sandi T It's ride o'clock somewhere!
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    #60 Sandi T, Aug 31, 2023
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2023
    Day #7: More Sturgis and Deadwood with my Minnesota family continued (yep, there's more!) :joy:

    The rain was not super heavy but it was relentless. Our group had staked out a good spot on Harley-Davidson Way and Main Street from which to watch the opening day parade. The parade was scheduled for 3pm but we were about an hour early. There's that Sturgis sign on the hillside in the background.

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    There was a lot of commotion on Harley-Davidson Way. Evidently someone had forgotten to put up a No Parking sign so bikes were parked along the curb as well as two by two down the center of the street just like everyone does on Main Street. The problem was that it was part of the parade route and we learned (from the woman who was yelling at all the bikers to move!) that the Budweiser Clydesdale's were to be in the parade and coming right down the middle of the street. So officials were trying to notify bikers over a loudspeaker system and on Facebook and by word of mouth that their bikes needed to be moved or they would be towed. Jake's bike was actually one of the bikes that had to be moved but he got his off that street well before they STARTED TOWING BIKES! Yikes! We saw at least four bikes get towed off. I'm sure there were a few fireworks at some point even though the real fireworks were cancelled due to rain.

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    Steve, Ron, and I decided to walk a block back down the street and go to the Stinger Bar for a beer and told my brother we'd be back before 3:00. He said he'd hold down the fort...and his family. ;):)

    The bartenders were friendly and the beer local...and delicious.

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    The Stinger Bar is owned by a guy named George Ganem. George owns Ganem Jewelers in Phoenix, Arizona, and he started an offshoot jewelry business specializing in "biker jewelry"--and REALLY nice stuff. I have some rings and pendants and earrings that I've collected over the years. Night Rider used to have an amazing 18-wheeler they'd bring to rallies like the Laughlin River Run and set up a vendor space nicer than some jewelry stores. We first saw Night Rider when they had a vendor stall at Arizona Bike Week. Earlier in the day we'd gone into the Night Rider brick and mortar store on Main Street. It's not always there but they move in for the rally and the weeks prior and after.

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    After finishing our beers we strolled back to Harley-Davidson Way because the parade was to start soon. I was pretty excited but the parade sort of turned out to be a bust (no) thanks to the rain. There were a handful (three) of motorcycles with people like the South Dakota governor and the rally Master of Ceremonies. And there were lots of American flags. So we crossed our fingers that we'd get to see those Budweiser Clydesdales.

    Hmmm, I've only five photos in the post but it says I have 10 and can't load anymore. Next post.......


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