We said goodbye to Canada and crossed over the border into Montana USA via Glacier National Park, the scenery was superb even through the mist & fog as we went up above the glacier & snow line. Once more it was a Public Holiday (USA) and the traffic was heavy with very few areas where we could pull off for photos, a couple of the group turned around at the bottom and went back for a second look. That night we stayed in Kalispell, a short day at only 250k’s.
After Kalispell it was onto Missoula for the night then to Bozeman, Montana. At Bozeman some of the group decided they wanted to go a different way so we paired up with Pete & Vicki and went on to Yellowstone Park to see Old Faithful. Many parts of Yellowstone are a much larger version of Rotorua mud pools and terraces, and Old Faithful the geyser shoots off every 45 minutes, luckily we made it with 5 minutes to spare. We came out of the park in Wyoming and carried on to Cody and the Buffalo Bill Museum which had the largest collection of guns & rifles you have ever seen. After Cody it was on through Shoshone National Forest to Dead Indian Pass on Chief Joseph Scenic Highway, here it decided to rain and we had mesh jackets and no wet weather gear so got wet and very cold as we carried on to Beartooth Pass at 10,947 feet. Beartooth Pass is rated No1 motorcycling road in America and we now know why. Curves all the way to the top where we parked above the snow line (where it was even colder) and zigzags all the way to the bottom. We crossed back into Montana and stayed at Red lodge for the night, four very weary people after 12 hours in the saddle. When we arrived at the motel we found the others had gone off to the Pig Racing, yep! the pigs had riders. After a few beers and a good night’s sleep we were ready to ride again but had only ridden for 5 minutes when we stopped at another bloody Harley shop in Red Lodge where many of the ladies in the group shopped AGAIN. As non-Harley riders Dale & I have never been in so many Harley shops, many of which only sold clothing, no bikes. After the shopping stop we carried on via the Little Bighorn Memorial Park where there were a lot a burial markers for the US soldiers killed in the Little Bighorn battle but not much to show where the Indians were buried, after the compulsory T shirt purchase we carried on to Sheridan for the night. Next morning the group split up with some having hard accommodation for Sturgis at different locations and some giving Sturgis a miss. For us it was off to Walmart to buy our camping gear, 1x 4 person tent, 1 x Queen size airbed, 1 x pack of sheets & pillow cases total cost US$80.00, once this was all secured to an already loaded bike it was off to Spearfish to find the Glencoe Camp Resort 7 miles out of the city.
None of us wanted to cart our tents etc around for the rest of the trip so gave them away to a group in motor homes for their grandchildren
Sturgis had already been going for a week unofficially and was quite busy. When we arrived at the campground we had to check in at the gate, I was a bit slow to move off and the rest of our group disappeared into the campground which was so big it took us 5 phone-calls and a ½ hour to find them. Once we had set up camp in the shade of a big tree we went looking for a beer and something to eat, we had just got into the big food shed when the sky went black, the wind started to howl and the heat storm started, this was to be a feature every day at
5.30-6.00pm but it was all over 40-45 minutes later and the sun came out. I couldn’t believe how disorganised the food team were, an hour wait for a burger and there was only 10 people waiting for food. After our burger & beer it was off on a long hike to the entertainment marquee, this also was a disappointing experience with a long wait for a beer and a group of girls/women doing their best at the give the coke bottle a blow job competition on the stage.
Oh well! It was only a 1k walk back to our tent and a glass of wine. It was also more than a kilometre to the nearest shower block, by the time we got back to the tent we needed a shower again.
I was surprised at the number of people in motorhomes and camper vans with trailers who had motorbikes on board, Sturgis the easy way, we had just ridden around 8500k’s to get there. We had booked the Indian in for a service at the Sturgis Indian shop, 1st in 1st served style so while we were waiting Dale & I did the buying thing before walking around the dozens of accessory & equipment stalls, hell it was so hot I nearly passed out from heat stroke. We picked the bike up and headed for Rapid City and another big bike & accessory display, there were hundreds of motorcyclists travelling back & forth in large groups many wearing no helmets, jackets or gloves, we tried riding with no jacket because of the heat but felt uncomfortable and we didn’t even consider riding without our helmets.
Day three saw us head off to Deadwood for breakfast then on to the Chief Crazy Horse Monument, the creation of this started in 1948 and won’t be finished in our lifetime as they will not accept government money. Once finished it will be the highest monument in the world and we were really impressed by the dedication of the rock carvers. The site also includes a First Nations university which is up & teaching. On the way back to Sturgis we stopped at Mount Rushmore,we should of come here first because after Crazy Horse it looked insignificant but was really quite large and impressive. I dropped Dale off at the campground and went back to Sturgis to take a last look around and check out the 2017 Indians. Just as I arrived so did the thunderstorm, we were pleased we were leaving the next morning as we also had a big wind storm in the middle of the night which flattened our tents.
None of us wanted to cart our tents etc around for the rest of the trip so gave them away to a group in motor homes for their grandchildren and we headed off to our next destination, Casper, Wyoming. So far approx. 9000k’s
LWayne Painter. #1756NZ
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