Rides, Rallies and Events Recap

Road Trippin' to Sturgis - 2014

Written by  August 29, 2014

The anticipation of our annual road trip to Sturgis is almost too much to handle. This is our favorite ride of the year, and the only opportunity we have to meet up with some of our good friends and riding buddies from around the country.

We woke up early on Saturday, August 2, and made our way over to Danny and Amanda’s house, where Nichole hopped in our support vehicle with Amanda, before heading north on I-29 out of Kansas City to meet up with the rest of our group at the rest stop on I-29 between Platte City and St. Joseph, Missouri. We arrived a bit early, and before long, everyone started rolling in. We took off ahead of the group so we could drop off our doggie with my mom in my hometown of Wathena, Kansas, and to hook up with my cousin Mark, who met us at a convenience store in town. Before long, we could see several headlights, and hear the roar of several Harleys as the rest of our group pulled into town.

After some had topped off, our group of 13 riders headed east on Hwy 36. After a couple fuel stops, we pulled into the city park in Mankato, Kansas where we hooked up with a couple more of our friends who were already there. After a nice lunch put together by Sheila, kickstands were up as we continued our journey east. After fueling up in Oberlin, Kansas we stuck our helmets on our noggins and headed north on Hwy 83 to McCook, Nebraska, and weaseled our way up to the Quality Inn in Ogallala, Nebraska for the night.

On Sunday, August 3, after a quick breakfast, our group assembled in the parking lot for our traditional Bloody Mary bar, which Sheila had setup in the trunk of her car. After a couple drinks, we headed to Boot Hill to pay our respects to our fallen brothers and sisters, and unfortunately, to add three more boots to the fence posts across the highway from Ash Hollow Cemetery. This year, I brought the boot of my dear friend and fellow Cycle Connections team member Bruce Stimpson, who we lost this past December due to a massive stroke. Bruce has been the Cycle Connections studio photographer for years, and will be greatly missed. We also placed another boot on a fence post for Carl Brent “Radar” Estep, who everyone knew and loved. The third boot this year was for Jerry Bryant, who was a good friend of Bruce and Sheila. All three of these friends and riding buddies will be greatly missed.

After a short ceremony for each of our fallen brothers, we mounted up and headed on to Alliance, Nebraska to fuel up before riding on to Carhenge for lunch. As you may know, this is a tourist attraction where several old vehicles are spray painted gray and placed in the ground and stacked up to resemble Stonehenge. We normally stop there for lunch, and so any newbies have an opportunity to check out the odd display before lining up for our annual Sturgis virgin group photo. Rick and Tim were the only two Sturgis virgins this year. After lunch, we headed north to Chadron for our last fuel stop in Nebraska, and then headed into South Dakota and on to Rapid City, where we fueled up one more time before heading west into the Black Hills to Nemo Guest Ranch; our annual home away from home.

On Monday morning August 4, we made breakfast in the cabin before heading to Sturgis for our traditional rendezvous at the Easyriders Saloon; formerly Sickie’s Garage, and site of the original Broken Spoke. We met up with a couple more good friends Brad and Melinda, and enjoyed a few drinks before heading over to the Dungeon Bar, which is the next stop on our Monday morning ritual. This place is a small dive on the main drag, and after a couple more drinks, Stripe had everyone pose for our traditional group shot in the courtyard out back. After leaving The Dungeon, we headed out to the new Broken Spoke outside of town, and after enjoying ourselves there for a while, rode back toward Sturgis and decided to check out The Beaver Bar, which is a new location right across the street from The Full Throttle Saloon. There really wasn’t much going on there; however, their beer prices were great, and they did have midget wrestling. From there, it was time to head back into the mountains to our cabin.

On Tuesday morning, August 5, we stuck to our tradition by heading to the Fort Hays Chuckwagon Supper Club for breakfast, which is where part of Kevin Costner's Dances with Wolves movie was filmed. After breakfast our group wandered around the old buildings and movie sets, before heading south. We rode through Keystone, and then hit Needles Highway and into Custer State Park. After paying to enter the park and having brightly colored orange bands attached to our handlebars, we rode through the park and on into Custer, where we always enjoy shopping and having a drink at the Gold Pan Saloon, complete with swinging bar doors. From Custer, we rode back into Custer State Park, and took the wildlife loop to see the buffalo, who were hanging out right next to the road this year. After playing with the buffalo, we rode back into Keystone for a couple drinks, before riding up the hill to the Powderhouse Lodge, were I had the best prime rib I’d ever tasted, and guess what? It was buffalo! Just as soon as we had finished eating and was getting ready to head out, it started raining. Everyone put on their rain gear and headed back to Nemo via Rapid City. We I hadn’t gotten far before Mother Nature decided to unleash a torrent of rain on us, and by the time we reached Rapid City, I could no longer see well enough to ride, so Nichole, Stan and I peeled off from the group and decided to stop at a convenience store and park under the overhang at the gas pumps. It wasn’t long before the flash flood warning sirens started going off (we thought they were tornado sirens, but the gas station attendant informed us otherwise) , so we hung out until the downpour had slowed down to a mild rain before heading on back to the cabin. When we got there, we were surprised that that rest of our group wasn’t there, even though they kept riding on when we stopped. As it turns out, we made the right decision to stop because apparently the rest of the group rode through a low part of the road where the flash flood waters were at least a couple feet deep. It’s amazing none of them crashed and were washed off downstream! Before long, the rest of our drenched group pulled up to the cabin and told us how they were trying to yell at us when we rode by where they had stopped to seek refuge, but we didn’t see or hear them.

On Wednesday, August 6 we decided to ride into Deadwood for a while, and then rode to the base of Spearfish Canyon to check out a waterfall we’d never seen before. The place is called Roughlock Falls, and it’s definitely worth taking the short well-packed gravel road to this very scenic location. From the falls, we made our way up Spearfish Canyon, which is always one of our favorite scenic rides. Once we reached the top of the canyon we made our way along an outer road off I-90 and looped back in to Deadwood where we had lunch at Saloon #10. From there we rode south to Boondocks, which is a very cool gas station/restaurant/carnival tourist trap, where you can get 94 octane fuel. After fueling up and enjoying an ice cream cone, we rode back to our cabin.

Thursday, August 7 was the day we set aside to ride to an outdoor shooting range we found the previous year, which is located a few miles outside Lead, accessible via a long paced gravel road. This is a new tradition, in which everyone brings their firearms and target ammo, and takes turns shooting everyone’s firearms at silhouette targets we bring along just for this occasion. This year I brought along my new toy to try out, which is a Mossberg 12 gauge tactical shotgun with a pistol grip. As always, I also brought along my Glock .40, Ruger .380 and American Arms .22 magnum for everyone to try out. Nichole tried the .380 and .22 for the first time, and did a great job hitting the center mass of the target. After shooting off a few hundred rounds, we rode back to Deadwood. Some of us, including yours truly had never visited Wild Bill Hickok’s grave before, so Stan, Mark, Nichole and I rode up the steep twisty road out of Deadwood to the Mount Moriah Cemetery, which is also the final resting place of Buffalo Bill’s good friend Calamity Jane. There are several other semi-famous Deadwood residents buried there, which are also worth checking out. After leaving the cemetery, we headed back to the cabin, and spent the rest of the evening playing the card game 31, in which our good friend (or should I say former good friend) Kevin took all of our money.

Friday, August 8 was our last full day there, so we decided to ride into Sturgis for lunch and some last minute shopping. By the time we finished walking up and down the streets of Sturgis, we rode back to the cabin and started packing our bags.

On Saturday morning, August 9, we loaded all of our excess gear back into Danny and Amanda’s SUV, Amanda and Nichole climbed into the vehicle, and followed Danny on his bike, who had decided to hard butt it all the way back to Kansas City. The rest of us took our time packing our bikes, before riding into Rapid City and heading east on I-90. The decision was made that rather than riding all the way across I-90 to Sioux Falls, we would cut down through Nebraska and spend the night at Grand Island.

On Sunday, August 10, we ate breakfast at the hotel, climbed on our bikes, continued south to Hwy 36, and continued east toward St. Joseph, MO. Just before reaching Wathena, Kansas, it started raining on us again, and by the time we reached the Missouri border, it was pouring again. By the time I arrived home, I was completely drenched and ready to get off the bike, dry off, and take a well-deserved rest.

Between the cool weather, great friends, and no mechanical issues with any of the bikes this year, this has to rank right up there as one of our best trips to Sturgis. Although it took us a few days to recoup from the trip, we’re already looking forward to Sturgis 2015!

Also make sure to check out Sturgis 2014 - Stripe's Trip, Sturgis 2014 Racing, and our Sturgis 2014 Bikes, Sturgis 2014 Babes, and Sturgis 2014 Bikers photos!

Story by Mike Schweder

Photos by Mike and Nichole Schweder, Stripe, Stan Purdy, Kevin Lorensen, Bonnie Beau, and Danny and Amanda Webb

Mike Schweder

Editor-in-Chief - Kansas City, MO

Mike is the original founder of Cycle Connections Online Motorcycle Magazine and an avid motorcycle enthusiast. He has been riding for over 40 years, belongs to several local and national motorcycle organizations and travels to numerous rallies and events throughout the US each year. Mike has been a writer and editor for many years and has a passion for sharing his motorcycling experiences and stories with you. Contact Mike at mikes@cycleconnections.com