On Sunday morning, Ben and I drop our sister, Sarah, off at work
(I also find this on her fridge)
Then we pack up our bikes and head toward Iowa CIty to have lunch with Alaina’s brother and sister-in-law.
Oh, and we buy those awesome PBR hats at Dirty John’s. They have an incredible beer section. After some kick-ass tacos and some lovely A/C at El Banditos, we kinda face to the north, and real subtle-like turn left. We ride through the late afternoon heat and traffic and heat. Did I mention it’s on the warm side? 100 degrees or more? Feels like riding into a hair dryer. We make terrible time. By early evening, we stop in Fort Dodge for some milkshakes and onion rings.
And stay for a while to rest. See, riding isn’t like driving a car. You have to use all four limbs to control a burning hot 700 pound machine, all while balancing in the wind, and making sure the cars, minivans, and trucks (to whom you’re completely invisible) don’t turn you into a 1/4 mile skid mark. It’s also incredibly, indescribably fun.
As the sun sets over the Iowa corn fields
we stop to put our leathers back on. And take some pictures, of course.
Then I hear some coyotes that were pretty damn close. I suggest we get going. Ben poses for some more pics
After a couple more stops, we make it to our campground in Sioux City at about 11:30 PM. It is still hot, but there’s a nasty storm getting closer and promising relief. We leave the rain fly off of the (very small) two-person backpacking tent I brought. It’s… cozy. Around 1:00 AM, some fat raindrops fall on us, so we get up, put the covers on the bikes, and put the rain fly on the tent. Now it smells like two sweaty, dirty bikers, and it’s even more sweltering. Oh, and it never actually rains.
The next morning, we wake up around 5:30, shower, put on the same dirty clothes, pack up camp and go in search of coffee.
One of the first things we see in South Dakota
is a teepee (of sorts)
So, I lie down
to get a cool shot
And make some more faces.
And off we go again.
Ben burns his arm, but disguises it
And finally make it to Buffalo Gap National Grassland
Where there’s a whole lot of nothing
Then on to the Badlands
We actually don’t stay at the Badlands that long– it’s about 105 degrees, and there are too many rubbernecking tourists in minivans, SUVs, and trucks pulling campers as big as houses. Also, not enough bikes.
After the Badlands, we cross the Cheyenne River valley. When we roll through there, the temperature on the west side of the river is at least 15 degrees cooler. It feels amazing. Of course, there’s also a 25 mph crosswind from the north doing its best to blow my helmet off.
We decide to get a hotel in Sturgis, rather than camp. Good thing, too. We meet some pretty cool Canadians who suggest the Loud American for dinner.
After which, I’m pretty pumped to be at the Black Hills Rally.
Then we sleep. A lot. 1,300+ miles over two days, with a total of about 6 hours sleep.
Now, I know the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally hadn’t officially started. And that picture of me and the crowd is obviously me in front of the Sturgis 2011 photo wall. But, the vendors were all there setting up and it was the closest we could get to being at the rally. I looked forward to this trip like a hipster looks forward to
growing a mustache growing a huge beard getting a tattoo of a toaster being ironic, but the end of July couldn’t come soon enough. Lily & Cohen were coming home on the 31st after being with their mom for all of July (a couple nights with us in the middle). It felt weird without Lily and Cohen around. Too quiet. 31 days without my kids sucked, and I wanted to be home when they got there.
The next morning is cool and clear. The plan is to ride through the Black Hills all day and see the sights. The main attraction really is the riding, though. There’s just something about this place. Winding, hilly, smoothly-paved roads. Peaks and valleys. Farms and forest. It actually smells like pine. But pictures and words won’t let you feel the rear suspension settle in while you roll on the throttle and lean in to the curve. Or Be dazzled by the rising sun sparkling over a valley when you crest a hill.
But here are the randomly-ordered pictures anyway: