I have been meaning to write this article for quite some time, unfortunately I have been too busy since I returned back from my trip, to write this article until now.
My trip to the 2013 Sturgis motorcycle rally, was not only a trip to the rally itself, but was also a trip to the Little Big Horn National Battlefield, in Custer Montana, and to the Yellowstone National Forest in Wyoming.
Further, this trip would mark my first major trip, or motorcycle rally, as a single man.
For this trip, my plan was to tow my motorcycle in my new custom trailer, behind my 35 foot class A motorhome. This would be a small trip of approximately 3000 miles, as opposed to my 8000 mile plus around the country RV trip that I took two summers ago in 2012.
I prepaid two months in advance for a weeks stay at the world-famous Glencoe campgrounds, in Sturgis South Dakota.
At the time of the writing of this article, I do not remember the exact amount of money it cost me for my space at Glencoe Campground, but I’m guessing it was around $600 for the week for a 75 foot, 50 amp space, plus a couple hundred dollars for a wristband.
The campground requires everyone that enters the campground to have a wristband, because they have headliner bands playing at night, which they sell tickets to separately.
Glencoe campground in Sturgis is famous for all the shenanigans that happen there during the rally. No children are allowed in the campground during the rally, and it only opens for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. The rest of the year it is closed. If you do a Google search for Glencoe campgrounds you’ll see that there’s a lot of nudity there during the rally. I experienced said nudity firsthand, see below.
For a trip like this, the plan was to take approximately a month to do the entire trip. It is almost impossible to find friends or family that can take that much time off work for a trip like this. This was the case for this trip, nobody was available to come on the trip with me. Anyway, I needed this time by myself anyway, to find myself again after the breakup of my long-term relationship and marriage.
I contemplated taking a lady with me on the trip, but in the end, I decided not to bring her. After thinking about it, I decided that I needed some alone time. Unfortunately, I already paid for her wristband before the trip and couldn’t get a refund, oh well.
The excitement leading up to this trip was almost unbearable. My new custom motorcycle trailer, made the thought of going to Sturgis even that much more exciting, because it is an enclosed trailer and I would not need to use any straps like I did on my last long trip.
I bought many new things for this trip. I bought a new camera, a new camcorder, a GoPro HD camera for the motorcycle, and many mounts for the cameras so I could get a lot of footage.
Two days before the trip was about to begin, I started loading the motor home up for the trip. Most people would think I’m crazy leaving the resort town where I live, Huntington Beach, CA, to travel to Sturgis, South Dakota during the summer for a month. Only a biker, and motorcycle rider, would know why I would take a trip like this. Over a half a million people every year make the same journey.
The morning of August 1, 2013, I pulled my motorhome out of the storage space, attached my new custom motorcycle trailer to the motorhome, and proceeded to load my motorcycle into the new trailer for the first time.
The biker bar mounting system was incredible. The biker bar was the new mounting system that I had installed in the trailer so that i would no longer have to strap my motorcycle in like me and everyone else with a trailer had to in the past.
Sometime soon, I will write a separate article and review about the biker bar mounting system, because I believe everybody who has a motorcycle trailer should get one of these things.
Suffices to say, once I clicked my motorcycle into the biker bar, it was a plug-and-play type of deal. I did not have to worry about tightening straps, or the motorcycle whatsoever for the rest of the 1300 mile trip to Sturgis South Dakota.
I did get a late start on August 1, 2013. By the time I left Huntington Beach, California, it was already about 1 o’clock in the afternoon. I did not care, I just wanted to get on the road. The weather was nice when I left, but I did hit heavy-duty traffic on the 91 freeway, and the 15 freeway headed to Las Vegas. Further, I had massive traffic in Las Vegas because I got there during rush hour.
It was hotter than hell in the Las Vegas area, and beyond in the afternoon. I drove to a truck stop approximately 100 miles north of Las Vegas to fill up gas, and to fill up my main propane tank in the motorhome. I also fixed myself a sandwich in the motorhome, and had a cigar, because I was planning on driving until I could not drive anymore. It was going to be a late night.
I drove that night until I could not drive any further. The new GPS I got for the motorhome is set up for recreational vehicles, so it directed me to a truck stop where I parked for the evening and dry camped with all the truckers.
When I woke up on August 2, 2013, my plan was to drive until I could not drive anymore again. At this point I was approximately 700 miles away from Sturgis South Dakota. I made myself some breakfast in the motorhome, got some coffee, and filled the motorhome up with gas and I was off.
It was a great ride in the motorhome from where I had camped on August 1 in Utah, through Wyoming on my way to South Dakota. The GPS took me over 100 miles out of my way on a scenic route. I had no clue that the GPS was set up to take scenic routes. In a way I’m kind of glad it did take me on the scenic route, it was a great drive.
There was a point on the drive in Wyoming, where I was so far off the beaten track, I was concerned that I would not be able to find gas. I was literally in the middle of nowhere. Everything turned out okay.
There was major road construction in Wyoming, and I encountered dirt roads and closed roads along the way. In one case construction crews had the road closed; I had to wait for about 45 minutes for them to reopen it. When they did reopen the road, a pace car guided us on a very bumpy dirt road to where the pavement started again. This would’ve been fine except me being in a big motorhome with the new motorcycle trailer, with my motorcycle inside. It was very bumpy to say the least.
When it got dark, I decided to keep on driving until I could not drive anymore. When I got to around two hours outside of Sturgis at approximately 12 midnight, I was tired, and about ready to just park the RV at Walmart for the night. The winds were howling, and I can see major thunderstorms in the direction of where I was heading. When you’re in a 35 foot class a motorhome, strong winds are not your friend.
However, I was so excited to be so close to Sturgis, I decided to just drive the last two hours, and get to Sturgis. The weather was so bad on the way in, that I did not make it into Sturgis until about 4 AM.
My GPS was set up to take me to the Glencoe campground. To get there, you have to drive directly through downtown Sturgis. I could see all the vendors set up as I drove in, and I became very excited.
When I got to the Glencoe campground, I was thoroughly exhausted. I could barely stay awake. I had been driving essentially nonstop for over 700 miles. I checked in at the front shack at the front gate, got my wristband, and waited for a guy to come around on a little cart to show me where my Space was. It was still dark as I was driving in, but as I drove in, I could see a couple of naked people walking on the road.
The guy from Glencoe showed me my Space, and directed me while I backed my motorhome into the space. After almost 19 hours of straight driving and sheer exhaustion from doing the 1300 mile one way drive in less than two days, it was a trickey proposition. We are talking an over 50 feet rig with the motorcycle trailer. It was not easy backing it in being so tired, and it being pitch dark, but I did it.
I then set up my camp as quickly as possible. I hooked up the 50 amp power cord, fresh water, and sewer to my RV.
Believe it or not, I was so excited to be at the rally, that it was difficult to get the sleep, but I did eventually get to sleep that first morning.
When I woke up on August 3, 2013, the first thing I did was to remove my motorcycle from the trailer, unleash my flagpole and flags, and get ready to go to town.
Before going into town the first day, I decided to ride through the campground to check it out. Glencoe has vendors set up in the middle area of the campground. They say that Glencoe is the largest campground in the world. I’m not sure, I heard that the Buffalo Chip is big as well, but I have never been there and cannot tell from personal experience.
When I rode through the campground, I saw a couple of naked guys with their dongs hanging out, not something I wanted to see, along with an older lady that was walking around topless.
The campground was semi-full, and I knew it would get much more full as the rally progressed.
When I finally made it out of the gate, there is excitement in the air. Basically there were motorcycles everywhere. Further, as I rode down the road I discovered that the world-famous Full Throttle Saloon was directly across the street from the Glencoe campground. The main road was packed with motorcycles going in both directions.
I was kind of upset that the speed limit on the main drag was 25 mph. I know they’re trying to keep the motorcyclist safe, but 25 mph is kind of ridiculous. It was obvious to me that it was a big speed trap so I took my time to not go above the speed limit. As I got closer to downtown Sturgis, I saw even more motorcycles. When I finally got to downtown, it was packed with motorcycles all over the place, as far as the eye can see, a sea of motorcycles.
I did what everybody who goes to Sturgis does as a rite of passage, I paraded up and down the main street twice each direction on my motorcycle.
There were tens of thousands of people walking on both sides of the street, and thousands of motorcycles in the main drag. I knew that the rally would get even more crowded, since this was officially the first day of the rally. I have never seen so many motorcycles or bikers in my entire life in any one place. It was almost like going home. I felt like I belonged there at Sturgis. It’s hard to explain. Bikers and motorcyclists already have what I consider to be a camaraderie between them, because they ride motorcycles. However, the bikers at Sturgis all seems to be connected in some way. It was like one interconnected extended family even though everyone are strangers. We all had motorcycles in common, and everyone is friendly to each other. Only bikers at Sturgis will ever understand what a ritcheous feeling this is.
The bikers and motorcyclists at Sturgis come from all over the world, and all walks of life. You have lawyers like me commiserating with motorcycle mechanics. All professions, all classes, and all the people Sturgis, are for all intents and purposes part of one huge motorcycle family while you are there. There’s no way that I could put this in the words so that you can understand, the only way to truly understand the Sturgis experience, is to go yourself.
I have talked to many bikers about Sturgis, most of them have never been there. Each one of them says that one day they will go. I can only say one thing to these people, Sturgis is something that you have to do at least once in your life. For me, I will be there again next year, and probably every year thereafter.
Let’s get back to the story.
Now I was at Sturgis from August 2, 2013 to August 11, 2013. I’m not going to write a day by day, hour by hour Chronicle of the rally. What I will do is describe the things I did at the rally as a whole, and I will discuss specific days as they stood out from the rest.
Where I come from in Southern California, we have some of the best motorcycle riding in the world. The Sturgis’s, South Dakota area, and the Black Hills of South Dakota are truly a beautiful place to ride, and an excellent time. For most Americans, I am sure the Black Hills of South Dakota are probably the best rides they will do their life. I am spoiled because I live in the land of twisties and mountains, in Southern California. With that being said I cannot sit here and say that the Black Hills of South Dakota, are any better riding than I’m used in Southern California. I will say, that I truly do enjoy riding the Black Hills of South Dakota, and because you are at the Sturgis motorcycle rally, it is a truly bitchin ride. In other words, the riding is no better than I am used to at home, but it is still excellent riding.
I rode over 1000 miles on my motorcycle while at Sturgis, South Dakota in 2013. I rode all over the Black Hills of South Dakota. I went to Mount Rushmore multiple times, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer National Park, and all over the place. I rode to Deadwood, South Dakota may times as well.
You can read about a trip I took in 2012 to the same location, but not during the rally, by clicking here now.
Part of this year’s trip to Sturgis, was about me finding myself again. Having just got out of a 12 year long-term relationship with my wife, and having just been to the same location a year ago with my wife, made this trip a bit melancholy in a way. It was melancholy in a way, simply because I rode to some the same places with my wife just a year before, and now we were no longer together.
This trip to Sturgis for me was not about meeting women or getting laid, it was about me finding myself again, and doing some great riding.
I took many pictures at Sturgis you can see some of them sprinkled throughout this article, and you can see a video of some of my pictures by clicking here, or going to the bottom of this article.
I took much video at Sturgis as well. I’m not going to post the video in this article, I will save it for a later article.
Sturgis is the granddaddy of all motorcycle rallies. It is the biggest motorcycle rally in the world. All the motorcycle vendors that you can think of, or anybody in the motorcycle world you can think of were represented at Sturgis. You can find any leather item, motorcycle part, T-shirts, literally anything you want in the motorcycle world at the Sturgis motorcycle rally.
I have been to so many motorcycle rallies in my time, that the vendors all look the same to me. I am one of those unique bikers who can honestly say, that there is literally nothing I need. So walking through the vendor village which is basically the entire Main Street in Sturgis, and all the side streets, was just something to do to check out all the people, since I did not need anything.
Yes, I bought a whole ton of Sturgis motorcycle rally T-shirts, including my first Harley-Davidson T-shirt, and still to this day almost a year later, I have not worn any of them. I bought a bunch of t-shirts at the Full Throttle Saloon, and I haven’t worn any of them either.
I am one of those bikers, that simply does not buy and wear what I consider to be motorcycle paraphernalia T-shirts to prove I’m a biker. I have no need to prove I’m a biker. I will never buy another rally T-shirt, or Harley-Davidson T-shirt again. Why, because I never wear them.
Every night at Sturgis I saw a major headliner band. I spent most nights at the concert venue at the Glencoe campground, and a couple of nights at the Full Throttle Saloon.
There were beautiful women all over the place at Sturgis. Women running around with nothing at all on except for body paint, or pasties. I will tell you, nowhere on earth will you see
so many women running around with so little on everywhere except for maybe a nudist beach somewhere in Europe, or where I live in Huntington Beach.
One day when I was heading to the Crazy Horse Monument, I got stuck in the beginnings of a major thunderstorm. As I was going up the hill with no jacket on it started raining. I decided to head back to the campground. I went through Rapid City, South Dakota, and got back on the interstate headed towards Sturgis. I stopped at the Black Hills Harley-Davidson dealership on the way. This place was massive, and they had tons of vendors. The makers of the Biker Bar, the motorcycle trailer mounting bracket that I installed in my trailer, were also at the Black Hills Harley-Davidson dealership.
While at the dealership, I got a replacement lighter for my Harley-Davidson Electra glide, and my first Harley-Davidson T-shirt. To this day I have never worn the T-shirt.
The sky looked ominous. Dark storm clouds were approaching. After my visit to the Black Hills Harley-Davidson dealership, I continued to ride back to Sturgis.
No matter where I rode while in Sturgis, I always made sure to do the ubiquitous parade up and down the main drag while leaving or arriving in downtown Sturgis. This day was no different. I rode my bike up and down the main drag twice when I got into town. There were as usual thousands of people and motorcycles on the main drag.
As I was heading to the Glencoe campground, the entire sky seemed to open up with one hell of a massive thunderstorm, and hail. The hail was so large, that it hurt tremendously as it hit my head. (yes, I did not wear a helmet the entire time I was in South Dakota, Montana, or Wyoming)
The rain was coming down so hard, it was impossible to see in front of me, even with no helmet on. I like many other people stopped on the side of the road, to try to wait the storm out. When the rain let up a little bit, I jumped back on my bike and made it to the gas station on the road outside of the Glencoe campground, and huddled under the awning there with many other stranded bikers, as the rain came down so hard it was unbelievable.
This was the worst rain I have seen since I was at the Four Corners Motorcycle Rally in Durango, Colorado in 2001. Had I stayed on the road during this rainstorm, there was a very good chance I might have wiped out.
When the rain let up a little bit, I managed to ride back to the campground. My campsite was a muddy mess by the time I got there. My motorcycle sunk into the mud as I rode up to my motorhome; there was mud everywhere.
I opened the door to the motorhome and got undressed on the steps leading up to the motorhome. I had mud all over my boots, and pants; all my clothes were soaking wet.
Because of the tremendous rainstorm, and the mud outside, there was really nothing to do at this point but to put the heater on, throw some sweat pants on, put the satellite TV on and have a little dinner.
By this time in the rally, I had been partying to three or four in the morning every night, and I was a bit sleep deprived. I laid down and crashed out for the evening. It pretty much rained all night anyway.
Other than what I want to call the night of thunder, every other night at the rally was excellent.
Now let me tell you about the Glencoe campground, it’s full of debauchery. Another way of putting it is there are a lot of adult games going on in the campground.
The main drag is affectionately known as Perverts Row. All night long motorcycle riders, and people on golf carts and small ATVs go up and down Perverts Row, looking at all the naked girls parading and exhibiting themselves up and down Perverts Row.
I even saw a couple sex acts going on at night on Perverts Row. I had women coming up to me, doing some nasty things. It was all in good fun. You guys that get motel rooms would never know that all the action occurs at motorcycle rallies in the campgrounds. If you are in a motel or hotel, your are not experiencing the true essence of motorcycle rallies.
On Perverts Row, many girls earn their beads throughout the rally by flashing their tits. There are no prudes at the Glencoe campground during the Sturgis motorcycle rally.
As the rally came to an end on August 10, 2013, the Glencoe campground started to empty out very fast. As is my custom, I always stay an extra day at motorcycle rallies. I owned Sturgis on August 10, 2013. There were only a small fraction of riders left in and around Sturgis on this day. It was actually kind of depressing to see the rally winding down.
I wished inside that the rally never had to end, but I knew it had to.
I rode to Deadwood, Custer National Park, Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, and to many other places on that last day. It was kind of sad to see that all the bikers had pretty much departed already.
That night I went to the Full Throttle Saloon for a last night of fun. Traditionally, on the last night of the rally, the locals go to the Full Throttle Saloon. I saw many people at the Full Throttle Saloon who are a part of the famous TV show Full Throttle Saloon, including Fajita Mike, the little person dressed as a leprechaun, and many of the gals from the TV show. Hell, Fajita Mike asked me to give him a hand getting up on the bar. I put my hand out so he could step onto my hand to get onto the bar. The son of a bitch got mud all over my hand, he is a big boy.
To be frank, tried as I might, I did not really have a good time that last night, because I knew I would be leaving the next day, and I did not want the rally the end.
When they announced last call at the Full Throttle Saloon at around 2 AM, I walked outside the door for the last time for this particular rally, jumped on my Harley-Davidson Electra glide, and rode to Glencoe across the street.
I first did my traditional parade up and down Perverts Row, but this time there was no action like there was throughout the entire rally. I doubled back and drove by the concert venue inside Glencoe. I went inside and it was dead, no one around. I knew the rally was over.
I went to my motorhome, and went to sleep the last time at the Sturgis 2013 motorcycle rally.
On the morning of August 11, 2013, my plan was to do my laundry, strike camp, and drive to Montana, so I could visit the Little Bighorn National Battlefield the next day. I figured that since most of the people had left the campground already, and the campground went from a full city packed full of motorhomes and tents, to just a few motorhomes left in the entire place, that it would be easy to do my laundry.
Unfortunately, many of the locals who worked at the campground apparently saved their laundry up for the last day as well. I had to wait for quite some time, but I was finally able to do my laundry before departing. While waiting for my laundry to finish, I listened to rock & roll, and sat outside and smoked a cigar thinking about how great the rally was, and watching the very few holdouts like me, slowly getting ready to leave.
It was depressing to see the campground so empty, and thinking that the rally was officially over.
After my laundry was finished, I went to the motorhome and proceeded to strike camp. I attached the Biker Bar to my motorcycle, rode my motorcycle up into the trailer, and clicked the Biker Bar in place. I locked the trailer, put everything away, and for a last act took my flagpole down.
There was something inside of me that just did not want to leave, but I knew I had to. There was a motorhome three spaces to the left of me who also did not want to go home. This guy had a couple naked girls walking around his motorhome, and unfortunately he was naked too. They looked like hippie types, and they looked like they were having a good time.
I decided to make myself lunch before departing. By the time I finally decided to get on the road, it was already 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
By my calculations, my drive to Montana would be about 2 to 3 hours, so it did not matter to me that I left so late.
I started up the motorhome, let it warm up, and drove out of the Glencoe campground thus ending the Sturgis 2013 Rally part of my trip.
As I was driving out of town, I saw a few hundred holdouts hanging at the local bars in and around Sturgis, as well as riding their motorcycles. But for all intents and purposes, Sturgis was a ghost town compared to during the rally. You could see all the vendors packing up, it really was depressing.
From Sturgis, I rode to Hardin, Montana, the Little Bighorn National Battlefield, Cody Wyoming, Yellowstone National Forest, Las Vegas, Nevada, and then finally home.
I got back home on August 16, 2013.
This article is about my trip to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, therefore I’m not going to discuss the other parts of my trip. I will say that by the time I decided to drive home, it was time to go home. I put a lot of miles on my motorcycle, and my motorhome, and this is one hell of a fantastic trip.
In my life as in many other men’s lives, I have had to experience many things alone. When I went to US Air Force basic training, I went alone. Sometimes, you just have to face things alone. I did this trip alone because it was something I had to do alone. Maybe next time, I won’t do this trip alone.
As I write this article, we are less than three months away from the 2014 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. I am planning on bringing somebody with me to this year’s rally, but you never know if they’ll back out at the last minute. It is difficult for many people to take two weeks off for rally such as this. I will be at the Rally either way.
I have been to motorcycle rallies all of the country, there is no doubt that every biker and motorcyclists must experience the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally once in their lives.
It is a unique once-in-a-lifetime experience, that I can assure you, you will never forget, and that you will want to repeat over and over again. I plan on going to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally as many times as I possibly can for the rest of my life.
Here are some raw videos I took at the Sturgis 2014 Motorcycle Rally