American Soldier Network


Sturgis 2007 (sort of)

I named this trip "Sturgis 2007 (sort of)" because it was not meant to be a trip to the Sturgis rally. Rather it was a bike trip for Nick II and me that was 25 years in the making and it just happened that we ended up in Sturgis at about the time for the rally. In reality, we left one or two days before the rally officially started, but as the pictures show, the event was already kicking off with several thousand bikers and all the vendors doing business when we got there. It really worked out great because not only did we find parking spaces available, we got first choice on all the run shirts, bandanas, etc! Then we left before the masses rolled in!

Nick and I have been talking about a cross country ride since he was a little boy and always one thing or another kept it from becoming a reality. This year, we decided that no matter what, we were going to do it. We have no way of knowing what the future holds, so we knew we had to do it now.

Charla was unsure as to whether or not she wanted to go. She is not the outdoors type nor is she a real motorcycle enthusiast. In the end, she decided to go and for all of our fears of her not being able to handle the ride, she turned out to be a real trooper and never complained (except rightfully in some of the downpours we encountered). Even then, the complaints were shared by us all. She now says that she would not have missed the ride for the world even with the rain! The ride was definitely the vacation of a lifetime!

It was really incredible to realize how controlled we are here in California. Just outside of California, the rubber tipped gas pumps are never seen again. Remember those pumps that Governor Brown's nephew invented and Brown made the gas stations install them for "environmental reasons" at a cost of $11,000.00 per station? Also, the silly slow speed limits stop (some states even have a "minimum" speed limit!). Next we get on the other side of Nevada and we are allowed to dress ourselves again without the governments' help! Yes, we had a choice of wearing a helmet or not! It felt great to ride free again! Of course in the rain, we wore our helmets, but in good weather, we took them off. Let's see, we were being allowed to be responsible for our own actions! Sort of like being an adult! How novel. In some states we saw parents giving their kids a ride to school - in the back of a pick up truck! They, of course, drove carefully and the kids were safe. Adult like.

We saw many places to purchase fireworks. The crime was not to have fireworks, rather it was a crime to use them irresponsibly, how novel! In Utah we saw a sign "$45.00 hurts, do not speed"! Imagine a $45.00 ticket! In California they start at $345.00! No dogs were allowed in stores, parks, or restaurants. In California, a dog is a fashion statement, a god of sorts. In real states, a dog is a, well a dog. In fact, coming back into California is a sign; "Welcome to California, animal abandonment is a $1000.00 fine". Wow! Is California broken or what?

In Utah, we found July 24th to be a state holiday called pioneers day. Everything was closed including the Harley shop I needed. Officially, the holiday is to celebrate the first pioneers in Utah. Unofficially, it is a Mormon holiday celebrating the Mormon pioneers coming to Utah. Ask anyone on the street and they will tell you it is a Mormon holiday. Imagine in California a state sponsored religious holiday! In California, the kids are not even allowed to acknowledge Christmas or Easter in school (except my grandkids of course). How nice it will be in two and one half years when I retire and ride off into the sunset outside of California for the last time! And take my tax dollars with me.

A couple of tips for those of you planning such a trip:

  • Figure on spending twice as much as you thought you were going to spend. I mention pricing throughout the entire vacation detail not to complain about the pricing,
  • The gas prices are not a lot cheaper than California.
  • Book hotel rooms well in advance especially if you are going around Sturgis Rally time (2nd week of August). And take the confirmation number with you and who you spoke with.
  • Do not assume that is the cheapest available. Use them for a guide and then call the hotel directly.
  • Take plenty of rain gear, do not scrimp on this.
  • Purchase and take Gerbing electric clothing. At least take the vest, Charla fell in love with her Gerbing vest and it kept her warm through the cold spells. It was money well spent. Heather at Gerbing was a tremendous help to me.
  • Use good quality sun block. I normally never use sun block and this time I paid the price on my face and lips.

Click here to see our route and itinerary