My 10 day journey to and from Sturgis

By DeAnna White Bear

Photos by DeAnna White Bear & Justin Veo

Being a solo female rider is an exhilarating experience. I’ve been riding solo for four years and even though I feel confident on the open road I still struggle with parking lots and sharp curves and knowing I’m not the only one helps. I see more and more female solo riders every ride I take. It has motivated me to be a better rider. I often see a spark in the eyes of female passengers as if they too want to ride their own. One day girl one day…

One of my bucket list check off items was riding my 2018 HD Softail Deluxe from Edmond, Oklahoma to Sturgis, South Dakota during the 79th Annual Biker Rally. I was accompanied by a character named Stacy. We traveled back roads, stopping at dive bars and interesting places such as Carhenge (Alliance, NE) where cars painted grey are sticking out of the ground. We even came across a rest stop with free WIFI complete with a toilet on top of a haystack. In Jetmore, Kansas was a garage that had really old cars and a cool Texaco Fuel Truck. My favorite was a rock carved into a Native American face with the grain of the rock showing detail.

On Highway 2 near Hyannis, NE, we met Bernie Harberts who travels on a mule with a pack mule that holds his camping supplies. Bernie was traveling from Lenoir, NC to Idaho where his family would fly to meet him. His journey would take him 132 days. www.riverearth.com is where he blogs his journeys and on Aug 5th 2019 blog you will find a picture of Stacy and me!!

All together we crossed four state lines and traveled over 1,600 miles to Sturgis and back to Oklahoma. We traveled a few hundred miles while in the Black Hills of South Dakota on various rides and just to go from here to there. No particular route… A bikers’ life.

We stayed a few days in Rapid City and then made our way to Chris’s Campground in Spearfish, SD where we stayed in a quaint little cabin complete with microwave, air conditioning, and refrigerator. There is a pavilion in the middle of the camp where breakfast and dinner were served at an affordable cost. The food was hearty and good. There are laundry facilities and clean showers available as well.

Cruisers Bar and Grill in Stateline, Idaho reserved an area of Chris’s for their Twelve Days Behind Bars camping event where for one price you got a camping spot and daily hot breakfast and for a bit more, a nightly open bar too! Cruisers would even bring your gear if you needed that so you could ride with less stuff onboard your bike. Then Cruisers’ proprietor Justin Veo actually left Chris’s early going back towards Idaho to help one of his campers who broke down and was stranded on the road.

During our stay at Chris’s Campground we met a few interesting people with life stories that will stick with us forever. Ashley from Washington State was traveling with her son who suffers from a lung disease and during their stay had oxygen delivered right to the cabin. Due to elevation issues her child ended up in the hospital for a few days. Lana the owner of Chris’s Campground was generous and extended the stay for the family while they waited for the boy to get released from the hospital.

Mike and Sue were traveling with a 1977 FLH Shovelhead bike (“Gurt”) that Mike built in their living room from the frame up. They were experiencing mechanical issues on a daily basis and found relief at the bottom of a cooler. Many laughs and good times.

The Heathens MC (est. 1973) had their annual get together at Chris’s Campground during the Rally. They came from Utah, Arizona, California, Missouri, and Wyoming. They shared with me their experiences of biker profiling in each of their states. Basically every stop that is made while wearing their cut turns into an investigation instead of a routine traffic stop. An epidemic that is happening all over the country. I myself have experienced biker profiling during my stay in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Hanging out in downtown Sturgis we found the tallest bartender Krista Kay who is 6’6”. She was gracious enough to pose for pictures. She has appeared on My Big Life and is a comedian in Las Vegas, NV. I plan on seeing her show when I return. The Ornery One and Stephanie collected donations for a lady named Tia and her family, and presented their “Pay it Forward” gift to Tia and her family. Tia lost her husband in a motorcycle accident on Mothers’ Day. I also came across the Law Tigers mascot Tank the tiger, and our friends at EyeLabRX with 7eye performance eyewear. You just never know what and who you will find in the streets of Sturgis!!

One of the major highlights of my time in Sturgis, SD was the reunion of the character Stacy and his son Trey. They had not seen each other in six years. When Trey saw a post on Facebook that his father was going to be in Sturgis he messaged that he lived close to where we would be. We made the ride Wednesday from Spearfish, SD to Newcastle, Wyoming and the two had a huge hug, beer, and steak. A perfect father and son reunion. Trey joined us Friday for an overnight stay at Chris’s Campground and we took advantage of Da Bus that picks up and drops off at various locations in the surrounding areas of Sturgis to avoid heavy bike traffic at night and enjoyed a couple bands at the Loud American Roadhouse in downtown Sturgis. Many memories that will last a lifetime.

On our way to Sturgis the character Stacy had a chance to visit his mother in Seiling, Oklahoma and on the way back, his father in Vici, Oklahoma where we stayed on the Salisbury Homestead. Joseph Salisbury homesteaded 160 acres during the Oklahoma Land Run in 1905. The original deed hangs on the wall of the house that was built for the homestead. His son Guy Salisbury raised sixteen children in that little two bedroom house. Stacy’s father was one of the sixteen.  During our stay Stacy was happy to see a sister whom he hadn’t seen in a while. Our last day there he was surprised with a visit by aunts and uncles. My heart is filled with joy to be a part of this family reunion and to learn a little history about this family.

I plan on attending Sturgis next year for the 80th anniversary. I haven’t decided if I’m going to ride, or trailer like I have the last three years. I do however want to make Sturgis Bike Rally a yearly event for myself.

I’m glad to be home. I’m a bit tired from the ride but for some reason I feel the need to get on my bike and just ride somewhere for no particular reason because I can. It’s about the journey not the destination …. A bikers’ life…..

 

The Mayor’s Ride– Sturgis SD

The weather cooperated very nicely on the day of The Mayor’s (Mark Carstenson) Ride which has been held for seventeen years, during Sturgis Rally. 160 bikes participated along with passengers. The ride was well attended. Various organizations benefit from the proceeds of the ride. Last year the proceeds went for scholarships to local high school graduates.

The Mayor’s Ride and the City of Sturgis are also strong supporters of the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars). The Senior Vice Commander-In-Chief Al Roesch was in attendance for the opening ceremonies. The Grand Marshals of the ride were Michael Ballard, owner of Full Throttle Saloon, and Jesse James, co-owner of Pappy Hoel Campground. The ride was a continuous no stop ride strategically planned by local police departments. One stop was made at Crazy Horse Memorial where a group picture was taken.

The Colorado Captain did this ride with a mission on spreading the word about fighting childhood cancer. www.ColoradoCaptain.com is where you can read about some of his adventures. He rides in full uniform and was fun to speak with.

The end of the ride was at Custer State Park Pavillion where we were served a bar-b-que lunch. Michael Ballard and Jesse James donated signed guitars as door prizes. Chris Hanson from Vacaville, CA and David Thiessenhusen from Milwaukee, WI were the winners.

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