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I always look forward to my annual trip to the Sturgis motorcycle rally. For the last 4 years I’ve taken my RV, and trailered my motorcycle. This year was no different.
However, what was different this year, was that because it was the 75th annual Sturgis motorcycle rally, everything was completely sold out months in advance.
I usually stay at the Glencoe campground. However, this year, all they were offering for $1200 was an RV site with electrical hookup, and water, but no sewer. If you wanted to dump your RV, you’d have to notify them and wait for them to come.
I could’ve went to many ordinary RV parks in and around the Sturgis area that provided full hookups, but as in previous years, I wanted to be in the middle of the action, and in an RV park that offered concerts, recreation, and other amenities.
I found that the Broken Spoke Campground was advertising a full hook up RV site without sewer just like Glencoe was advertising, but their price was only $899. You would also have to purchase a $200 wristband per person if you were to stay at the broken spoke campground, whereas Glencoe was charging $300 for the wristband.
Basically sites like the Glencoe, Broken Spoke, and others, have premium concerts every night, so they charge for wristbands on top of the charge for the actual RV site.
I ended up choosing the Broken Spoke Campground because it was approximately $800 cheaper than Glencoe. It turned out to be a big mistake see below. The total price was approximately $1400 including the wristbands.
This year I purchased a new RV 3 months before Sturgis. The damn thing was constantly in the shop up until a few days before Sturgis. There were still a few bugs with the unit that were not fixed prior to leaving, oh well.
As in previous years it was kind of hectic getting ready for the trip. For the most part I think it’s all a mental thing. I, and I’m sure a lot of other people get so excited before the rally, that just preparing to leave is exhausting.
It is very hard to find people that can take a week to 2 weeks off work to travel with you to the Sturgis motorcycle rally. Many guys plan trips like this years in advance. Last year I went with a friend to Sturgis, she was able to do the entire trip with me. This year my new female friend was unable to do the drive with me due to work, but was able to fly in on Tuesday night, and then fly out on Sunday night, September 9, 2015 the last night of the rally.
Although I like to travel with friends because it’s much better, I’m the kind of guy that is no problem packing up and going across country by myself. Done it many times, no problem.
I love the drive to the Sturgis motorcycle rally, it’s the excitement that gets you. Many moons ago before I got into the RV scene I would traditionally ride to events like this on my motorcycle. There’s something to be said about doing either. I love riding don’t get me wrong, but 1700 miles each way wears on you a bit. At my age, I prefer taking my RV. At motorcycle rallies the big party happens in the campgrounds anyway.
I have done this drive many years in a row, so all the sites along the way are becoming familiar to me now, almost like old friends and landmarks. This year it took me a bit longer to get to the rally because frankly I was burnt out on the 2nd night of driving and stopped at a rest stop in Wyoming to sleep for a few hours.
Sturgis, South Dakota was about 150 miles from the rest stop. Excitement was in the air in the morning. In years past I went through this area at night, let me tell you the drive from the Wyoming to the South Dakota border was beautiful. Coupled with the fact that there were thousands of bikes on the road made it even better. You could just tell that this year was going to be special.
Ordinarily every year I get off of the freeway and drive on the main drag through downtown Sturgis to go to the Glencoe campground and set up. This year it kind of sucked because as I pulled off the traffic was much worse than any previous year that I’ve seen. It took me an hour to get from the freeway to near the Glencoe campground. It was bumper to bumper motorcycles the entire way. Being in a big RV above the action was kind of cool because I could see all the action but the traffic was horrible.
This year because I was staying at the Broken Spoke Campground, I passed the Glencoe campground for a couple miles then made the turn off to the Broken Spoke Campground. It was on the way to the Broken Spoke that I became concerned. I was basically in the middle of nowhere and there is barely any motorcycles on the road.
Finally about 15 miles down the road, the Broken Spoke arose out of the country rolling hills. It was exciting, and it was packed.
I was directed into the check-in area and proceeded to go from my RV to the check-in area. This is where my nightmare began.
The girl at the Broken Spoke campground check-in immediately told me that they had no spaces with water, and that if I had a problem with that I could go online and request a refund. I told her “what are you talking about, I paid for a full hook up space, and my RV is almost that of water.” She told me that there is nothing that she could do, and that if I placed a certain flag in front of my RV there would be somebody coming around to pump water. Imagine, all of Sturgis was sold out this year. I was pissed.
I thought to myself this is complete bullshit. I would’ve never stayed at this place had I known there was no water for the RV.
I’m not going to waste a bunch of space in this article to talk about what bullshit the Broken Spoke Campground was and how it almost ruined my trip this year, but I will say that after wasting 2 days of the rally there, I found another RV Park with full hookups in Deadwood, South Dakota, for $600 thank god, and high tailed it out of the Broken Spoke Campground as soon as I could. I felt sorry for the poor shmucks stuck there waiting for water for 4 days. Screw that.
The Broken Spoke Campground was a dustbowl in the middle of nowhere. I am sure if it wasn’t so crowded it might’ve been an okay place to be, but they grossly oversold it knowing full well they didn’t have enough spaces to accommodate what they were selling. I was able to get a refund of a thousand dollars from them via PayPal a week after I got home. I will give them credit for that they did refund me for the campground part of the trip. I never did recover the cost of the wristbands and lost $400 on that deal because I never went back.
Suffices to say I will never stay there again, I highly recommend that you find another place to stay if you are ever at the Sturgis rally. Now if they come to me and make me an offer I might give them another chance but right now I am highly pissed off at them still over a month after the fact.
I went and stayed at a place called Whistler’s Gulch in Deadwood, South Dakota which is about 16 miles from the main drag in Sturgis. I love this place, but it is a bit of a drive to and from Sturgis.
As far as the rally this year went, frankly, it sucked compared to previous years. The Broken Spoke Campground nightmare was part of it, but also it was a sausage fest, meaning there was at least 4 to 5 guys for every one gal at the rally and most of the gals of the rally were not hotties like I am so used to seeing at motorcycle rallies. There were only a few hot gals there. Seems like every guy in the country and their friends decided to go to Sturgis this year and left the gals behind. It was a complete sausage fest.
Further, the traffic was so bad that it was horrendous. I did ride about 3000 miles on my bike during the rally. I’m not the bar going type of guy. I’m a rider. When I get into the Black Hills and start riding, which is my passion. I rode my ass off this year as in previous years.
I rode my old favorites, Mount Rushmore, Custer National Park, all through the Black Hills, the Black Hills Scenic Byway, Crazy Horse, and many places off the beaten track. As usual I found hidden places to ride for many miles on dirt roads with my gal riding shotgun on the back. As usual we found a couple secluded spots to enjoy each other as well, which is kind of tough in the Black Hills because there are really are no places to hide.
Staying in Deadwood this year definitely changed the ambience of the rally for me. It was a lot mellower this year than in previous years, because in previous years I would’ve been at the concerts every night until 2 in the morning. Hell last year after the concerts ended I went to the only gym in town to work out in the middle of the night.
Now this rally totally sucked compared to all the other rallies I’ve been to in the past at Sturgis. The main culprit this year was just flat-out shitty weather. It was cold and rainy over 50% of the rally this year. Just flat-out shitty weather. The rain caused many people to leave after a couple days, and by the end of the rally the place was pretty much empty. You can’t do anything about Mother Nature. This year the weather really sucked. In previous years there was rain for one or 2 days at Sturgis, but nothing as bad as this year.
I definitely got some good riding in, and had some good times, but this year was definitely not worth the time and effort as in previous years. I’m hoping next year will kind of calm down a little bit. What may sound like a sacrilege is I may not even go to Sturgis next year. It remains to be seen. I’ve always wanted to ride Alaska during the summer, so I may take my rig and do an Alaska trip will see.
My lady friend and I had a good time on this trip. She was the one good thing about the rally other than the great riding. We had some good times between each other as a man and women do, which I’m not going to describe here but I’m sure you can let your imagination run amok.
Rallies like this are about adult pleasure. If you go by yourself without a woman to a rally like this the chances of actually hooking up with a woman at the rally or are almost impossible, because most of the women are hooked up with men. So all these guys showing up with all their buddies just kind of ruin it.
On the last day of the rally, Sunday, I struck Camp and drove my RV through town to the Rapid City Airport to drop my lady friend off who had to fly back home to be at work the next day. It kind of sucked to watch her go but they get then again I was excited, because I was now headed towards Cody Wyoming and Yellowstone.
I should’ve just parked the RV when it got dark and camped out for the night but I figured if I was able to get to Cody straightaway I could spend 2 days riding Yellowstone instead of just one day. That’s exactly what I did. I rode my 36′ Class A motorhome with 12 foot trailer, total length of about 50 feet through the Greybull National Forest which goes up to about 90,000 feet in pitch darkness.
I had an accident 4 years ago where I lost the brakes on my motorhome in the same forest and almost got killed, see the article about that experience by clicking here.
I Rode the same exact route, and actually stopped in the middle of the night at the spot where I had the accident 4 years earlier just to contemplate what happened. Let me tell you something, it’s eerie in the Greybull National Forest at night, there was nobody else on the road with me. If anything would’ve happened nobody would’ve discovered me until probably the next morning. The time I got to the Yellowstone highway through Greybull, I was spent and could barely keep my eyes open. I got to the Walmart in Cody, parked the RV and crashed out.
When I woke up the next day and went to the Yellowstone Valley campground set up camp, got my motorcycle out of the trailer, and rode the Yellowstone national forest. I was able to ride Yellowstone for two days before heading home. This article is not about my ride through the Yellowstone national forest, but I will just say that I’ve done it every year after Sturgis and I love it.
I definitely had a good time riding Sturgis this year but it was not as good as previous years. Nothing is perfect, but I had a good time.
When I left Hardin, Montana, on August 13, 2014, I drove my motorhome, with my Harley-Davidson Electra glide in my enclosed trailer in tow, to Cody, Wyoming.
Due to road construction, and the fact that part of this trip was through mountain roads, the trip took me approximately 3 to 4 hours. It was a good ride, and I was looking forward to getting to Cody Wyoming.
When I got to Cody, Wyoming, it was like seeing an old friend again. This trip marked my second year in a row coming to Cody, Wyoming, to ride the Yellowstone national park on my Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
This time around I selected an RV Park which was closer to the center of Cody Wyoming, whereas last year, I stayed in RV Park on the north end of Cody.
I stopped in the local Walmart, to get a few supplies, and headed to the RV Park. By the time I checked in, got parked, removed my motorcycle from the trailer, and set up camp, it was starting to get dark, and the sky was overcast.
I got my portable barbecue from the basement the motorhome, fired it up, and made some burgers and hot dogs on the grill.
It was with great anticipation that I ate, thinking about the great ride to Yellowstone national park I was going to make the next day. Although I intended to go to the rodeo that they have every night and Cody, Wyoming, that evening, instead, I opted after dinner to kick back in the motorhome and watch movies. By this time in my trip, I was burnt out to say the least.
The next morning on August 14, 2014, I saddled up on my Harley-Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic, and rode through Cody, Wyoming, which is a Wild West town whose sole existence relies on the tourist the travel to Yellowstone national forest each summer.
I stopped and got some gas, and proceeded to start my 70 mile ride north to the south gate of the Yellowstone national forest. Unlike last year, where I rode with my now ex-wife in cold cloudy rainy weather, this year the ride was sunny and nice.
Although there were some ominous clouds in the sky, by the time I got to Yellowstone they were all but gone.
The ride north of the main highway from Cody to Yellowstone is an awesome, awe-inspiring ride which words cannot describe. There were beautiful mountains, rivers, rock faces, the kind of scenery that makes you want to cry it’s so beautiful. This type of scenery, makes you know that there is a God, because only God can create such beauty.
The ride from Cody to Yellowstone National Park is an event all by itself let alone the actual ride through the Yellowstone National Park. It was awesome.
When I finally got to the Yellowstone National Park south entrance, I waited my turn to pay the entrance fee to the Park. When it was my turn to pay the fee to get into the park, I paid my fee, then hit the restroom at the entrance.
At this point I was very excited to be back at the Yellowstone national forest.
I entered the park, and had one hell of a great ride. For the heck of it, I stopped at the same Lake that I stopped at the year before with my ex-wife. This time however, it was nice and sunny, and I got some great pictures.
There were a lot of cars on the road this time around. As usual, there are your ubiquitous what I call Sunday drivers, who drive slower than the speed limit, and block everybody in behind them. It was with great pleasure, that I passed the Sunday drivers when I got the chance.
Yellowstone has some of the greatest riding in the world. As you can see from the pictures throughout this article, and my ride video below, it is awesome.
A few years back there was a massive forest fire in Yellowstone national forest. Much of the vegetation is been burned in many parts of the park. I am quite positive that the Park was much more beautiful before the forest fire that it is right now because the vegetation is burned, however it is still beautiful.
I rode over the Continental divide, and to Old Faithful, where I along with many other tourist enjoyed the geyser.
I actually rode so many miles in the park that I lost track of time, and suddenly it was late in the afternoon. I knew that I had at least an hour ride to get out of the park, and then another hour to get back to Cody. Further, the entire ride consists of twisties through beautiful mountain ranges.
It was with great trepidation, I began the journey from Old Faithful, to the south entrance of the park. Many of the tourists actually camp within Yellowstone National Park, so the ride out of the park at this time in the afternoon was really easy. As a matter of fact, there were no other cars on the road it was kind of odd.
I stopped to get gas at the last gas station, and the last stop before you ride to the south park entrance.
There I met a couple other or motorcycle riders who were on Harley-Davidson’s, they were surprised that I intended to ride out of the park at this time in the afternoon. They were staying in the park.
Let me tell you, I’ve ridden all over the country, at all times of the day and evening. Unless it is snowing, or pouring rain, I have no fear of riding at any time whether it be day or night.
I knew it would be a hard ride back to Cody, but I was looking forward to it.
As a left the gas station a few miles down the road, there were Buffalo smack dab in the middle of the road. As you can see from the first picture in this article, a bull Buffalo basically stared me down for a couple of minutes.
Now I will admit, on the straightaway leading up to where the Buffalo was standing, I opened my bike up. I must have been doing at least 100 miles an hour. At that speed, you have to have your shit together.
When I saw the Buffalo, I basically locked my breaks up, that’s how fast I was going, and that’s how fast the Buffalo appeared. My heart was beating rapidly to say the least. I stopped in time luckily.
It was an ass puckering moment in time that only bikers know.
There is nothing more exciting than having a huge bull Buffalo that probably weighs a ton or more staring you down while you are sitting on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
I had nowhere to go, he was blocking the road. There was no way to safely turn around.
My plan if the beast decided to charge me, was to drop the bike and run like hell. If you know anything about Buffalo, you know full well that these things Buck each other head-on during mating season, and can run a hell lot faster than I can.
Basically, I was worried that the beast would mistake my motorcycle, for another Buffalo and try to buck me. I was screwed.
I stood my ground and did not move. The Buffalo just stared at me.
Take a look at the picture how would you react? In a car you’re protected, on a motorcycle you’re screwed.
Thank goodness the Buffalo lost interests after a while, and moved on. As soon as he moved on I moved on.
As I was riding the twisties out of the park, I contemplated my close call with the Buffalo both as I speeded up towards him and locked up my brakes at high speed to avoid hitting him, and as he stared me down.
I knew I was lucky to have made it out of there without either hitting the Buffalo, or having him hit me.
Sundown was fast approaching, as I was leaving the park, about 20 miles from the south entrance, I came upon a grand Valley, and Canyon. You can literally look down thousands of feet and see the most beautiful valley that you have ever seen in your life. I must stress that there was no other cars on the road, I owned the road. I finally got to a steep Canyon Road at around 8000 feet elevation, and parked my bike on the side of a steep cliff to get a couple of pictures.
The beauty was just so unbelievable, that it makes you want to go back year after year. I knew that I would not see this site again for another year and I took it in before finally doing the final ride back to Cody.
I was still in Yellowstone National Park.
At this time I unleashed my leather jacket from the saddlebags, and got ready for the 70+ mile ride back to Cody Wyoming.
I took it easy on the ride back to Cody, and just took it all the sites, and really enjoyed the ride. I love Wyoming.
When I got back to Cody, it was already dark. I passed the rodeo on the way in. I could hear the announcer, and see the tourists at the rodeo. I had a long day in the saddle, and I was very tired.
When I got back to the RV Park, I fired up my grill and made some burgers. I met a couple of people at the RV Park who were going to ride the Yellowstone national forest the next day.
After saying good night, I went into the RV, and watched a movie, knowing that the next day I would be headed towards Las Vegas, and ultimately home in a few days.
The next day I struck camp and began the long journey home.
I’m looking forward to riding Yellowstone national forest again in about 45 days.
Check out some of my ride video below, which includes GoPro footage taken from my motorcycle while riding the Yellowstone National Park in August, 2013.
Soon, I will write about my trip to Cody Wyoming, and the Yellowstone National Park in August 2013. I’m a little late writing these articles, because it is been a very hectic year.
When I left Sturgis, SD on August 11, 2013, it was late in the afternoon. I was in my 35 foot class A motorhome, with my enclosed custom motorcycle trailer, and Harley-Davidson in tow.
I was excited about the trip I was about to take, but I was a little bummed out when leaving Sturgis SD, because the motorcycle rally had ended, and I had such a great time, I did not want to see it end.
By my calculations, the trip to Hardin, Montana would only take about two hours. As it turned out, my calculations were a bit off.
On the way in to Hardin, Montana, I stopped at a Walmart and stocked up on supplies. I also stopped and filled up the RV with gas.
My trip from Huntington Beach, California, to Sturgis, SD, to Hardin, Montana, and to Cody, Wyoming, cost about $1300 in gas, not including all the gas I put into my motorcycle in the thousand plus miles I rode while on this trip. Unfortunately, motorhomes eat gas like Carter eats pills.
Although I thought I would get to Hardin, Montana while the sun was still out, it started to get dark while I was in Indian country. The trip from Sturgis, SD to Hardin, Montana takes you through beautiful country, and a couple of Indian reservations. I could feel the history as I drove from Sturgis to Hardin.
As I was driving my motorhome, I could sense that I was entering a historic place. I had the same feeling when I toured the Gettysburg national battlefield in 2012.
I arrived at the RV Park in Hardin, Montana, in the evening, at around 10 PM. On the way in I passed the Little Big Horn National Battlefield Monument, but because it was dark, I could not really see anything.
The lady at the RV Park gave me a pull through space which is easy to get in to and set up in with the motorhome. Since it was on a gravel pad, I know I would have to be very careful taking my motorcycle off of the trailer in the morning.
In the morning when I woke up, I prepared to go to the Little Bighorn National Battlefield. I had a quick breakfast in my RV, and some coffee. I quickly took my motorcycle out of my enclosed motorcycle trailer.
The battlefield was only about 10 miles from the RV Park up the interstate.
I rode hard and fast, like I love to do, to get there. I did not wear a helmet in South Dakota, or Montana.
During the day, it started to become quite warm.
Outside of the Little Bighorn National Battlefield Monument, there is a gas station on the Crow Indian reservation. I stopped there to fill up my motorcycle. The reason I’m mentioning this gas station, is because the potholes in the surface of the gas station were so bad, and I had to be real careful so that I did not drop the motorcycle.
It’s not something you want a ride a motorcycle on too slowly because you will drop it.
There were some Native Americans with a small tractor working on the road outside. I knew I was on an Indian reservation, and I could feel that I was in a historic place.
Directly across the street and up the road just a bit from the gas station, is the entrance to the Little Bighorn National Battlefield Monument. When you pull into the entrance, you have to drive up a ways to get to the actual visitor center below the main battlefield cemetery, and monument.
I did not know, but the Little Bighorn National Battlefield Monument, stretched on for miles, and even through private property. It was a much better experience than I expected.
When I initially got in, I parked my motorcycle at the visitor center. I noticed the park rangers were giving a talk to a bunch of visitors at the visitor center. It looked like a scheduled class in a way. There were at least 100 people at the visitor center.
I decided to walk up the road to the main resting place of General Custer on Last Stand Hill.
You cannot help but see those famous graves as you walk up the hill.
I walked around and got many pictures and video which can see in this article and below, of my experience at the Little Bighorn.
After touring this area above Last Stand Hill, I went and got my motorcycle and rode back up to this area again on the top of the hill.
After taking in the sights, and trying to imagine what it what it must have been like for those doomed men as they were slaughtered many moons ago, I got on my Harley-Davidson and rode very slowly South through the battlefield.
As with my tour of the Gettysburg national battlefield, my tour of the Little Bighorn National Battlefield Monument would not even be close to the same in a car; you must do this type of tour on a motorcycle.
Considering the fact that this battle was mostly on horseback, except for the parts of it where the 7th Calvary, and the Indians dismounted, it is only right to tour it either on horseback or on an iron horse, a motorcycle.
As you go further south on the road, there are grave markers scattered all over the battlefield. There are also signs and placards showing significant places throughout the battlefield.
There are wild horses scattered throughout the battlefield monument.
On a couple of occasions I had to be real careful, because the horses were crossing the road right in front of me, and then right next to me, and there was no fence to keep a them away. I did not want to spook these guys. Check out my GoPro video footage of my ride through the Little Bighorn National Battlefield Monument below.
Throughout most of my tour of the battlefield, or at least this part of the battlefield, I owned the place. I guess most of the tourist stayed at the visitor center. There was one couple in a small RV that pretty much stayed near me the entire time and at each stop miles down the road, you can see them and their motorhome in some of my video below. I did some very slow riding through the battlefield monument. I was in no rush, I wanted to take it all in.
Throughout my tour of Little Bighorn National Battlefield Monument, I tried to imagine what it must have been like the men of the 7th Calvary.
I not only took still pictures, I also took some GoPro video from my handlebars, and some handheld video with my camcorder.
When I got back to the visitor center after riding the Little Bighorn National Battlefield Monument, I parked my motorcycle near the visitor center, grabbed a cigar, and went to listen to the class that the park ranger was giving to another group of tourist.
The park rangers described in graphic detail, how General Custer, his brother, and his men were slaughtered by the Indians during the battle. These guys were basically butchered. You Can’t really blame the Indians, to them General Custer and his men were an invading army, and the Indians who were present at the Little Big Horn had their family and children with them on site, to them it was a life or death fight against an invading army.
There was about 3,000 Braves on horseback, against a couple hundred seventh Calvary men on horseback.
General Custer did not really know what he was riding into when he approached the Little Big Horn. I think it is safe to assume he thought it was just an ordinary Indian village.
When he crested the bluffs, and got real close, he must’ve then realized, the bad situation he put himself into by splitting his troops up. He tried to send a messenger back to Reno but by this time it was way too late, he was already doomed and he did not even know it.
After hearing the park rangers give their speech about the battle, I went into the main cemetery, sat on a bench where you can perfectly see Custer’s grave along with his other men’s graves, and had a fine cigar. I took it all in.
After I finished my cigar, I walked back up to my Harley-Davidson. I saw that there was a bunch of other motorcycles there as well. I said hello to all the other bikers, and introduced myself.
I then mounted my motorcycle, to go find somewhere to eat. In this part of Montana, there is literally nothing around. Hardin is the biggest town close by, and it is tiny.
There are no restaurants anywhere near the battlefield monument, so I jumped on interstate to head back to Hardin where I was camped out, because I saw some what I thought were restaurants there, on the way to the battlefield.
When I got to Hardin, there really wasn’t much of a selection. There was a fast food restaurant, so I decided to ride through town to see if I can find anything else. This was a tiny town to say the least. I saw a sign that said Chinese buffet, so I decided to go in.
When I got inside the Chinese buffet, there was no air-conditioning, it was hot, humid and stifling inside. I got some food started to eat.
I found myself talking to a Native American woman inside the Chinese buffet which is the reason why I even brought the story up.
Turns out she was a honcho in the Crow Indian tribe. She said she was a princess.
She told me that in three days they were going to be having a major Indian powwow on the Crow reservation. She invited me as a VIP guest of the tribe. I had a good conversation with this lady.
She mentioned that in the town of Hardin, Montana, that there were still problems between the town folk, and the Native Americans.
There were a couple local people in the Chinese buffet at the time the Crow Princess mention this.
I also met a couple from Canada at the Chinese buffet, the female was one was beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. They were very nice to me, and extremely interested in the fact that I was traveling so long of a distance alone.
They were on a Harley Davidson Road Glide and had also been to Sturgis. They were much closer to home than I was.
To be frank, I felt kind of uncomfortable, when the Crow Princess told me about the problems between the town folk and the Native Americans. One of the town folk was actually sitting at the table listening to her talking. It was almost like being in a Billy Jack movie.
I have seen enough movies to know that I did not want to get into any beefs between the town folk and the Native Americans. She told me that there were killings still going on.
I seriously considered either staying for the powwow, or going to Cody, Wyoming, and the Yellowstone national forest, and coming back for the powwow.
After I finished my meal, I went back to the motorhome, and did a load of laundry. I had a cigar and watched the sun go down. I heard on the radio that there were expecting severe thunderstorms in Hardin, Wyoming, big sky country, where I was.
They were not wrong. As I was watching a DVD in the motorhome at about 10 PM, the wind started blowing the motorhome severely. I had the jacks down, but the motorhome was still swaying from the wind. The rain started pouring down like thunder, and there was a severe lightning storm. I have never heard of any tornadoes in Montana, but it sure felt like there was one coming.
I hunkered inside the RV, knowing the next day I would be departing for Cody, Wyoming, and the Yellowstone national forest.
The next day, on August 13, 2014, I put them motorcycle in the trailer, struck Camp, and departed for Cody Wyoming. It was a beautiful sunny day, after a night of thunder, lighting, and severe wind.
In the end, I decided not to stay for the major powwow on the Crow Indian Reservation. I felt that a three-week trip away from the office, was long enough, it wouldn’t be fair to my partner to stay for an additional week. Hell, I was gone almost two months the summer before this one.
My trip to the Little Bighorn National Battlefield Monument was something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time.
As you can see from the pictures throughout this article, and the videos below, it is a beautiful and historic place.
I have been all over the world. I’ve ridden my motorcycle all over the world. No matter where I’m gone, the most beautiful country on earth, is the United States of America.
Nowhere on earth is there better motorcycle riding, or a better place to ride, then the good old United States of America. I enjoy sharing my trips will all of you. My next article will be about my trip to Yellowstone national forest that I took right after the trip I just described. Look for it soon.
Below are some videos i took at The Little Bighorn National Battlefield Monument. The last two videos are videos I took with my GoPro Hero 2 HD video camera attached to my Harley Davidson Electra Glide Ultra Classic on the handlebars.
You can actually ride through the Little Bighorn Battlefield with me on my Harley.
This year the Laughlin River run was held on April 23 through April 27, 2014, in Laughlin Nevada. I have been to this rally so many times, I don’t remember the exact number of times I have been there.
I love going to the Laughlin River run, because starting in April, this rally marks the beginning of the official motorcycle rally season each year.
It’s not a big rally compared to Sturgis or Daytona Biker Week, but it is a decent size rally. There’s nothing like going to a place like Laughlin, Nevada with tens of thousands of other bikers, running around, and having a good time.
This year I prepaid for a camping space at the Riverside RV resort, in Laughlin Nevada, which is part of the Riverside casino and directly across the street. Last year I stayed in an RV Park in Bullhead City, Arizona.
My plan this year was to take my 35 foot class A motorhome, hook up my motorcycle trailer, put my Harley-Davidson in the trailer, and drive to Laughlin and campout for the rally. That is exactly what I did. Although my plan was to leave on April 23, 2014, I ended up leaving on April 24, 2014.
The ride to Laughlin in my motorhome was uneventful. Because I left late, I ended up getting to Laughlin in the late afternoon of April 24, 2014. I set up my camp, got the motorcycle out, and took a ride around town.
As usual, there was excitement in the air. There is nothing like the very beginning of a motorcycle rally, especially when the motorcycle rally is the first one of the year. There were thousands of bikers from all the Western states present. Although most of the bikers were from California, there are many from a lot of other states.
This year I knew that some of my friends were to be at the rally, and I looked forward to meeting them there.
As usual, there were motorcycle vendors at every casino on the Laughlin strip, and there were biker bars set up and down the strip as well. The most famous one was the Hogs and Heifers.
There were bands playing, girls dancing, bikers walking up and down the street, and your ubiquitous thousands of bikers riding up and down the street. Another great time.
After riding around a bit, I found a place to park motorcycle, and proceeded to check out some of the bands up and down the strip. Since it was, late, I figured I would wait until the next day to call my friends.
The next day I hooked up with my friends, and spent my time running all over the place. We rode the Oatman, Arizona, and basically did the grand tour.
On Saturday night, we had front row seats to a band called Great White.
Overall the Laughlin motorcycle rally to be quite frank is the same every year. It is truly exciting and inspiring, to see so many motorcycles all in the same place. It’s excellent running down the road with hundreds, and thousands of other motorcyclists.
As a biker lawyer, and motorcycle accident lawyer, I have noticed over the last few years that a certain so-called association of motorcycle lawyers’ organization has ads, and banners plastered all over the motorcycle rallies. I’m not going to mention them by name, but I’m sure everybody who has been to the rallies knows who I am talking about.
It really makes me sick to my stomach seeing other so-called motorcycle lawyers trying to drum up business at a place where everybody’s having a good time.
I talked to this so-called association of lawyers a few years back. They told me if I paid a yearly fee I too could be one of their so-called (lion lawyers). The name of the animal has been changed to protect it J
I do not need to plaster banners and advertisements all over motorcycle rallies to prove that I am a real biker lawyer and motorcycle accident attorney. You can read this blog and see for yourself I am the real deal.
I know that the rally organizers are just collecting cash from these people so I am sure we will continue to see these advertisements all over the rallies. However, if you want a real biker lawyer, or a real motorcycle accident attorney who is an expert in the field, and rides like you do, give me a call.
I just had to mention this phenomenon, because it makes me sick to my stomach.
On the last day of the rally my friends took off on Sunday, and I had an itch to ride some more. I rode to Oatman, Arizona again, took the Arizona scenic highway to Lake Havasu City, and I rode the back route to Laughlin.
Sunday night at the rally, it was all basically over. I went to the Riverside casino and the remnants of the people that were left were pathetic. I may re-think my practice of staying extra days at motorcycle rallies, after the rallies are over.
I left for home on Monday, April 20, 2014.
As usual, I had a fantastic time at the Laughlin 2014 motorcycle rally. I am sure I will see you all again there next year.
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
The Sturgis 2013 motorcycle rally was a blast. I left for the rally on August 1, 2013, got there on August 2, 2013, and stayed until August 11, 2013. When I get home I will write an extensive article about the rally, plus I will post videos and many pictures.
On August 11, 2013, I departed Sturgis for Hardin, Montana and The Little Bighorn National Battlefield Memorial. I spent the entire day of August 12, 2013 touring, photographing, and videotaping the extensive battlefield on foot and on my Harley Davidson Electra Glide. When I get home I will write an extensive article about that as well.
Today on August 13, 2013, I departed Hardin, Montana for Cody, Wyoming where I now find myself camped and ready to ride Yellowstone and the Bighorn National Forest starting tomorrow. As usual I will get some good pictures and video and write a separate article about that when I return as well. I enjoyed Greybull and Cody Wyoming so much from last year that I had to return this year to do it again.
Also look for an upcoming review of the Biker Bar Strapless Towing system.
As part of my thousands of miles of travel each year to various motorcycle rallies all over the nation, I have come to the conclusion that for motorcycle rallies of great distance up to and including 1000 miles or more each way, it is not practical to ride my motorcycle to every event.
I used to be one of those hard core bikers who laughed at “the trailer queens” trailering their motorcycles to rallies. Hell I was so hardcore that I only put on a Windscreen on my motorcycles in the past 10 years.
I remember the good old days of doing 90mph in the deserts of Arizona with the temperature at 120, no helmet on, no windscreen on, holding on for dear life. I have ridden with hundreds and probably thousands of people over the years, who can attest to this.
Well at this point in my life, especially since I acquired a Class A Motorhome, I have decided to join the ranks of those who go for comfort and fun when traveling to motorcycle rallies that are a long distance away.
I have come to the conclusion that many people tow their motorcycles for one reason or another, and it is okay. You will notice many bikers and motorcyclists at the rallies with their RV’s.
I have decided that my firm will also have booths at the rallies. However, instead of being a marketing outfit, we are the real deal. We will prove it at our booth. Let’s see the other guys do that. Anyway……..
Along these lines, I have acquired a 6 foot wide, by 12 foot long, by 7 foot high, brand new enclosed cargo trailer from Carry-All.
My plan is to customize it to not only trailer my motorcycle to events behind my RV, but to make it in to a bad ass trailer that will carry my law firm booth stuff, for when we start appearing at events next year.
You can see the before pictures here in this article.
The phase 1 plan is to surface sand the floor, add a couple of coats of urethane to weather proof the floor, install a 2 by 10 strip of diamond plate metal in the middle for motorcycle traction, install a Biker Bar strapless motorcycle fastening system in the middle, along with a front wheel chock, and to install a wireless camera in the back of the trailer, since with my 35 foot RV, I won’t be able to see squat behind me at 50 feet away. A wireless receiver will also have to be powered and hooked up to my camera monitor in the RV which already has 3 cameras attached to it.
The phase 2 plan is to add a few cabinets, racks, and storage items within the trailer for all my motorcycle cleaning stuff, extra oil, helmets, and motorcycle gear. I am also going to acquire a spare tire.
The phase 3 plan will begin on July 23, 2013, with Monster Graphics of Huntington Beach wrapping the entire trailer with a custom Vinyl advertisement for my law firm. I will unveil it on here first. I will give you a little hint, there are some hot babes on it!
The trailer will be ready for its first big road trip on July 30, 2013, when I travel 1500 miles to Sturgis one way.
I will review all the items being installed into the trailer including the trailer itself in future articles.
I hope my journey helps you to acquire and customize your own motorcycle trailer.
One curious note about the customization so far, the shop that is doing the work is so worried that the Biker Bar strapless trailering system will not work, they made me sign a waiver in case any damage happens to the motorcycle while using the Biker Bar strapless motorcycle trailering system.
I am going to do a full write up on the Biker Bar strapless system, once I have a chance to test it out, but I have all confidence it will work as promised. If I see any reason for concern, I will reinforce the trailer floor. The instructions say for a 3/4″ wood floor, it is all that is necessary.
I am going to have 3/4″, plus diamond plate. Hell, worst case scenario, I will use straps as well. The trailer has 4 recessed D-Rings for strapping if necessary.
You see I have never trailered any of my bikes ever, but when I planned my epic around the country motorhome trip, I needed a trailer so I could bring my motorcycle along.
I researched all different types of trailers. I looked at the Motorcycle Trailer in a Bag, the Kendon Trailers, Enclosed Trailers, and every type of trailer you can possibly imagine. I put a lot of time into finding the right trailer, at the right price.
I was almost set to pull the trigger on a used Motorcycle Trailer in a Bag, when I found the Trinity 3, from theusatrailerstore.com .
I contacted them through their website, they contacted me right back. The head guy gave me his phone number and I gave him a call. As it turns out, this company if located back east in the South, but they had a local distribution center right here in Southern California.
They offered me a brand new Trinity 3 for around $1,375, plus another $75 for a chrome spare tire. After all was said and done, this trailer looked a lot more beefier and safer for my new Electra Glide Ultra Classic than the Motorcycle in a bag, I told him I would come the next day to pick up the trailer.
At this time my motorhome was in the shop getting customized and I had nothing to pull the trailer with, so I rented a pickup truck for $75 plus tax so I could go pick up the trailer and pull it home.
When I went to pick up the trailer, it was literally brand new and just assembled at the distribution center. It was beautiful. To my surprise, the trailer folded up and could be stored upright like a Kendon, but it did not have the casters like the Kendon. This was ok with me since I was saving at least $2,000 right off the bat by getting this trailer.
This trailer was rated at 2,000 pounds, whereas the single Kendon was only rated at 1,000 pounds. My Electra Glide Ultra Classic is almost 1,000 pounds without rider or passenger.
This trailer also came with 3 Wheel Chocks. The owner even offered and shipped to me 3 lowered wheel chocks to accommodate the low fender on my Electra Glide.
The manufacturer says that you can fit 3 small bikes, 2 medium bikes, or 1 bagger on the trailer at the same time. All I cared about was my Electra Glide.
Another issue I had was that on my trip I would need to load and unload my motorcycle from the trailer by myself, and I wanted to be able to ride my motorcycle up onto the trailer, since it was going to be only me, and my now ex on the trip, and I knew she was not going to be able help me getting it on and off.
Like Kendon, the Trinity trailer comes with its own ramp that is secured to the bottom of the folding part of the trailer by wingnuts. However in looking at it, I knew I would need a larger ramp just to make sure I could load and unload my motorcycle onto the trailer.
The owner of theusatrailerstore.com told me that I should take off the rubber caps from the wheel axels and lube them every 5,000 miles, however, in extreme heat, I should lube them every 3,000 miles.
He showed me how to hook up the trailer and the safety cables, and the electrical and I was off.
I learned on my own that when backing up with a trailer if your trailer is going left you need to turn left to straighten it and visa versa. I learned that the speed limit in California for persons hauling trailers is 55.
The owner of theusatrailerstore.com told me to keep my speed down as much as possible.
When I first got home with the trailer, I backed it up my driveway, unhooked it, found a space for it in the garage, then lifted it so that it was upright and not taking up too much space in my garage. When the lowered wheel chocks arrived, I installed them by unbolting the original ones, and bolting on the new ones.
When it was time for my trip on July 16, 2012, I hooked up my beefy ramp to my new trailer and rode my motorcycle up onto the trailer. When my front tire engaged the wheel chock, the motorcycle was locked in place. I was now able to get off and strap my motorcycle down.
I did my research before the trip so I knew exactly what to do. I purchased some Kuryakyn tie down brackets and installed them onto my front forks where the front fairing mounts to the forks. They are custom made for Electra Glides and give you place on each side to strap you bike down with.
I strapped the back two straps onto each hard luggage bag guard.
I had previously purchased the most expensive and heavy duty straps I could find, hell I was driving around the country, not just across country, so I only wanted the best. I got the 440 lb. 2” wide by 6’ long Ratchet with snap hook kit. The kit also came with soft covers and soft loop straps. I paid around $100 for the whole kit which came in its own plastic case.
The first few times I strapped the motorcycle on and off of the trailer it took a while, but after my almost 2 month trip I became a pro and could do it real fast.
I had one major snafu in New Orleans when I was putting the motorcycle on the trailer. I was on a wet lawn, I had basic thongs on which become real slippery when wet. When I went to put the motorcycle on the trailer my thongs slipped and I dropped the bike halfway on the trailer and the ramp.
Thank god the bike did not fall off of the trailer or there would have been some real damage. After getting the motorcycle upright, I was shaken, but shocked to find literally no damage whatsoever on the motorcycle, the engine and luggage guards did their job.
The next few times putting the motorcycle on the trailers I was much more cautious.
The trailer did exactly what it was supposed to do with no problems whatsoever for over 8,600 miles on the trip. The tires held up, the trailer help up, no problem whatsoever.
The only real issues I had was because Camping World installed my new infrared back camera on the RV behind the stock Plexiglas housing, I became blind at night because the infrared reflected off of the Plexiglas.
This became a major problem on a couple of areas on the trip because there was no way to see my small trailer at night without the camera behind a 35 ft. motorhome. My ex and I had walkie talkies and did our best when we had to.
I used the trailer on a few other major trips to the Las Vegas Bikerfest, the Laughlin River Run, etc. The trailer gave me no problems whatsoever, and was solid.
I give the Trinity 3 trailer and solid 10 out of 10 and highly recommend it to anyone who has a need to tow up to three motorcycles, and has limited space. The trailer folds and can be stored upright so it can be put into a small place in the garage.
Let it be known that I was not compensated, comped or paid anything for my review of this trailer.
POSTSCRIPT – I recently sold my Trinity 3 trailer for $1250, because I decided to get an enclosed trailer for the upcoming Sturgis Motorcycle rally. So in the end I basically paid $200 for my trailer and got around 10,000 miles out of her.
I also sold my beefy motorcycle ramp for $150 since my new enclosed trailer has a ramp door on the back and I did not need it.
I attended the Laughlin River Run 2013 this year as I do most years. The Laughlin River Run is billed as the largest motorcycle and biker rally on the west coast.
This year’s motorcycle rally was different than most past years rallies because the turnout appeared to be smaller than past years rallies, motorcycle club patches and soft cuts were not allowed anywhere near the strip, and there were a gaggle of what I call fake biker lawyers with booths set up at the event just waiting and hoping for those in attendance to refer their motorcycle accident cases to them.
I had for the most part a great time at the event. This was the second major motorcycle rally I have attended in many years, where I drove my motorhome to the motorcycle rally and trailered my motorcycle behind on a motorcycle trailer.
In the past when I rode to motorcycle rallies like this, I basically just rode my motorcycle to the event.
I will tell you that I have learned a valuable lesson in why it is better to take an RV and trailer the motorcycle to major motorcycle rallies. I no longer have to pay $200 a night for hotel rooms and hotels that just wait to poach money off of bikers, I put more miles on my motorcycle at the event than I ever have in the past, and there is much more fun happening at the RV parks than the hotels! I no longer have to worry about squeezing a weeks’ worth of toiletries and clothes onto my motorcycle; it all goes into my RV now.
This year I arrived at my RV Park in Bullhead City, AZ on May 24th, 2013 and proceeded to set up camp. I put up my Star Spangled Banner, California Republic, and POW/MIA flag above my RV, took the motorcycle off of the trailer, unrolled the awning, and we were ready to rock and roll.
The first thing I saw when I rode my motorcycle to the strip which was just across the river from Laughlin, NV, was an electronic sign stating that no this was a no MC Colors event, soft cuts not allowed, and bait motorcycles were being used to catch thieves.
I do not mind going after motorcycle thieves but I certainly did not like the fact that a major event such as this managed to ban all motorcycle patches from the strip. I think it is a violation of the 1st Amendment right to Freedom of Speech.
Notwithstanding the affront to motorcycle club members, this year’s event was a great time. There were plenty of fine looking ladies all over. Obviously there were guys for all the gals as well. There was the usual full line up of good bands and plenty of booze all over the place.
Those that know me know that I do not drink alcohol or use drugs. I would rather ride than sit around watching a bunch of bikers get shit faced at the bar.
Ride is exactly what I did throughout the entire event. I put on almost 1000 miles during the 6 days I ended up staying in Laughlin/Bullhead City. I found a road that is off the beaten track near Oatman, AZ called the scenic byway. My companion and I literally owned this road on Sunday. You are basically in the middle of the desert with no contact to the outside world for many miles. It was a great and hot ride.
During the ride in the desert I kept thinking I hope nothing happens to my motorcycle because here I would be up shit’s creek without a paddle. I opted to take a more populated route back to the RV on the way home since it was getting dark.
I managed to win over $70 dollars as well on this trip where ordinarily I always lose at the casinos.
On a down note one of my friends was arrested on Friday night /Saturday morning for Disorderly Conduct and another charge. They were transported from Bullhead City to Kingman, AZ to the county jail there. There was a weekend judge on duty. Suffice is to say I got almost no sleep on Friday night / Saturday morning, and I had to go bail them out on Saturday afternoon and give them a ride back to Bullhead City. Saturday night was spend crashed out in my RV recovering from helping my friend out.
Aside from bailing my friend out and losing Saturday night, I had a good time this year at the Laughlin River Run Motorcycle and Biker Rally. I will be going to many rallies this summer including Sturgis, Las Vegas, and Palm Springs.
Here it is March 13, 2013, and it has been a while since I posted my last article here on the Biker Law Blog.
I have moved to Huntington Beach, and my new law firm “The Moy & Fernandez Law Group,” is fully operational.
Our phone number and fax number are the same, 800-816-1529, but we have consolidated all our California pre-litigation operations into one location in Irvine, California.
So whether your case originates in San Francisco, Eureka, Redding, Sacramento, or San Diego, the pre-litigation will be handled by our competent staff in the Irvine office, while our field staff continues to come to you anywhere in the nation.
We handle the entire State of California. We welcome all of our new and existing clients to the new law firm. We look forward to kicking ass for you on your cases.
My partner Lawrence A. Moy, who has been a friend and brother since 2002 has merged his firm with mine to create a premier California Personal Injury Law firm. Together we have handled thousands of cases, and settled millions of dollars for our clients. We have many years of combined experience.
I feel sorry for the poor bastards who oppose us on cases, I give no quarter. Some lawyers say they will fight for you, we will kick ass for you.
I think we have what most would call one of the most high tech law firms in the nation. The technology we have employed at our firm is mind blowing.
I am a Southern California native, but I have lived in many places during my life. I would say that the move to Orange County for me will be permanent, in that I cannot see living anywhere else.
I love Huntington Beach. I have taken up walking on the pier each night around sunset, the people are great, the lifestyle is fantastic, and the motorcycle riding is good as well.
When I was younger, I used to surf. As a matter of fact, as a teenager I lived at the beach. I learned to surf at Topanga, my home beach was Zuma. Back then, the wave break was much different at Zuma and Point Dume, then it is now.
Believe it or not, I just bought a brand new 9’ Greco Longboard surfboard. It will be delivered this Friday. I got a new full wetsuit to go along with it. Hell, at 49 who says you are too old to start surfing again. I figure a longboard, will help me to ease back into it, and on those days with a small surf, I will be catching waves while the guys on short boards will be watching me ride. I figure if I start surfing each morning at 5am, I can still get to the office easily by 9am.
I wonder if they make a surfboard rack for a Harley Davidson. Once I get used to surfing again, I will have a custom Harley Davidson themed surfboard made for me.
So there it is. As you can imagine, I am swamped with work right now. As I type this article, I have spent the last 4 days out of 5 days in Court. I am still at the office catching up. Nonetheless I wanted to let you all know what is going on.
Looking forward to the Laughlin Biker Rally coming up next month. This will first year I take “Bessie,” my motorhome, (the same one I rode around the country with) to a major motorcycle rally this year.
Yesterday, Sunday, January 13, 2013, I rode my motorcycle from Palmdale, CA to Huntington Beach, CA as the first part of my move to Huntington Beach, CA.
Since I am moving this Sunday, January 20, 2013 to Huntington Beach a distance of approximately 100 miles, and I have to drive my car on the day of the move, I had to ride my motorcycle to Huntington Beach in advance of the move because I would not be able to do it on moving day.
It has been freezing cold these past few days; there is some sort of artic cold front that has been coming through. Before daylight on January 13, 2013, temperatures were about 17 degrees where I live, and it supposedly felt like 3 degrees with the wind. Imagine how cold it would have been on the motorcycle.
I decided to not ride in the morning, but to wait until midafternoon to do the ride. It was still freezing cold, at least for a southern California guy like me.
When I got on the motorcycle, it was in the 40’s at my home, but quickly got down to the 30’s in Acton and Agua Dulce.
It was a great ride, but a freezing ride. My hands and feet quickly went almost numb. There was a very real danger of hypothermia.
While riding my Harley Davidson Electra Glide on the 405 freeway south, past the Los Angeles International Airport, at around 70 miles per hour in the Diamond Lane, the car in front of me suddenly kicked up what appeared to be the remains of a hot tub or some sort of fiberglass tub.
I quickly grabbed my front brake, realized I was going too fast to avoid it, or to swerve away from it (there was no time), so I accelerated through it and held on tight.
The debris hit my motorcycle hard on the front fairing and the lower fairing which is attached to the right engine guard. Although traffic was going fast, there were a lot of cars around.
I shook my head in utter disbelief. I have been riding on the street on motorcycles since the age of 16 and I have never hit road debris which was this bad, ever.
As I type this I am having flashbacks of the incident. I realize now that I was riding too close to the car in front of me, violating one of my own rules. Had I kept a safer distance from the car in front of me, I would have had more time to react to the debris.
I was damm lucky that my front tire did not roll up on the debris and get stuck on it, which would have caused me to crash for sure. As a matter of fact there are many scenarios with the large amount of debris that was kicked up in front of me which could have caused me to crash. Had I locked my brakes up, or swerved to avoid it, I would have surely crashed.
Luckily, I was able to power through it.
Again, keep a safe distance from the car in front of you while riding your motorcycle, because on a motorcycle there are no second chances.
Although I am writing this article on December 19, 2012, I actually returned home from my epic around the nation RV trip on September 6, 2012. Being gone almost two months, driving approximately 8600 miles not including the hundreds of miles I rode on the motorcycle while on the trip, almost going over a cliff when we lost the brakes in the RV in Wyoming, etc., required a lot of my time when I got home. It was all worth it. This is the final article I will write about my epic trip. Later I will post pictures and videos from the trip.
When we left off, Liz and I were dry camped in Greybull, Wyoming waiting for the brakes to be fixed on my motorhome. My front bumper was destroyed in the accident, and the back bumper was cracked in two places when the trailer fishtailed into it.
The guys at the shop where we were camped out and who repaired the brakes on my RV were amongst the most reputable and nicest people I have ever dealt with. They could have totally screwed me and told me that I needed a $3,000 brake repair. Instead they told me that my rotors were good, that the pads were totally gone, and the fluid had completely boiled out of the system due to overheating, but that there were no leaks. The total repair bill was $600.00. Another interesting thing about being dry camped at the repair shop in Greybull was that our cell phone service did not work at all, nor did my internet Wi-Fi. We were basically totally out of touch with civilization while we were there.
The total time we were in Greybull Wyoming was approximately 2 nights and 3 days. It was a very small town full of great people. It is the kind of town where I could see myself setting up a cattle ranch someday.
We had a choice to make; should we just count our blessings and drive our damaged RV home or should we continue north to Cody, Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park? There really was no question, we had come this far and we were not turning around now; Cody, Wyoming would be our next stop on the way to Yellowstone.
We left Greybull, WY for Cody, WY in the afternoon. It was a cloudy day. The total drive from Greybull to Cody was around 54 miles. It was really good to be back on the road in our motorhome. You must understand, this was essentially our last week of vacation, and after the accident we had no clue whether we would have to leave our RV and all of our possessions in Greybull and rent a car to get home, or what would happen. We were geared up for a two month trip and you can carry lots of stuff in and underneath a Class A motorhome. Had the RV not been drivable there would have been no way to carry everything home in a rental car or even a rental van.
Being back on the road at this point felt fantastic.
When we got to Cody the first thing we did was go to Wal-Mart and get a throwaway cell phone that worked in the area because our carrier did not work in Wyoming. We called our relatives and I checked in with my office to let them know what had happened. Afterwards we stopped and got some Chinese buffet food.
Turns out Cody is a really cool western town, the gateway to Yellowstone. I really fell in love with Wyoming and its people.
We found a really cool RV park and camped out for the night with the intent of riding my Harley Davidson Electra Glide to Yellowstone in the morning.
In the morning we woke up and there were ominous clouds in the sky but it did not look like it was going to rain.
As soon as we got on the road just north of Cody, the clouds got much worse and the sky opened up. I was only wearing a soft flannel jacket, Liz had on a leather jacket, we both had jeans on, and of course, no rain gear. Plus it was damm cold. We decided that we were not going to stop now, Yellowstone, here we come.
It literally rained during the entire ride to Yellowstone from Cody, it was cold and it was miserable, but it was also one of the most beautiful rides I have ever taken. The grand mountains, the rocks, the sites all were too much to take in on one ride; however, I tried the best I could.
This is one ride that everyone must take at least once in their lives.
When we got to the gate of Yellowstone, I got off the motorcycle, paid the entrance fee, got back on, and rode into the park. It was very cold at this point, and we were soaking wet from head to toes, but nothing was going to stop us.
Yellowstone is much bigger than I expected, plus it is at a very high elevation. The riding in this park was excellent. The sites were breathtaking.
I am sure the ride in Yellowstone would have been much better if we were not soaking wet and freezing cold but hey, you cannot have everything.
While riding in the park there were several places where Buffalo roamed, literally, right on the road. All the cars stopped to observe. Hell they walked right next to us. On a motorcycle it is a bit different having huge Buffalo walking in front of you and next to you, than if you are in a car. Any one of these huge animals could have taken us out.
We rode the loop to one of the boiling water sites. Yellowstone itself sits atop the largest Caldera (volcano) in the world. If the volcano underneath it ever erupted it would take out much of our nation.
Yellowstone was a great ride. I will definitely go back to Cody, WY and Yellowstone soon.
The ride back to Cody was a cold and cloudy ride. The rain had stopped, but it was still cloudy. When we got near Cody it got dark and a bit warmer. We decided to cruise the main drag in Cody and find a place to eat, we chose an Italian place and had a good meal. After dinner we went back to the RV because we knew we would have a long ride the next day.
Upon waking up the next day, I put the motorcycle on the trailer and strapped her on, struck camp, and we were off.
After a month and a half, we were finally heading south towards our home in Southern California.
When we left Cody, we were not sure where we would spend the night. Usually on the trip we would look for RV resorts in several of the books we had with us or the GPS. We really were not sure how far we would drive.
I was nervous due to the fact that we had lost the brakes in the mountains, our RV was damaged, and I did not want a repeat performance of losing the brakes.
Sure enough we ended up driving through some major mountains on the ride south out of Wyoming. Let me tell you, it was a beautiful drive. The mountains were awesome. When we hit the Continental Divide, the mountains were awe inspiring.
After the Continental Divide, southern Wyoming turned out to be mostly a desert type of environment. It was a stark contrast to northern Wyoming.
It was basically open road with small towns sprinkled in vast distances.
We finally hit Utah in the late afternoon and continued driving south. We ended up in ski country by nightfall. Unfortunately, it became real dark, and we could not find any RV resorts anywhere nearby on any of our resources. We decided to try to find a Wal-Mart where we could park and dry camp for the evening.
We were both exhausted and very tired by this point. Hell I had been driving all day and well into the night. We had no luck finding any place to camp for the night so we kept on driving.
We finally found a Wal-Mart in Salt Lake City, UT to camp in for the night. When we got there our generator would not start and I had no clue why. We had to rough it for the night without TV, just on our battery power and internal water supply. I was so tired that I did not really care. We fell asleep almost immediately.
The next morning we stopped at a Denny’s for breakfast, and got on the road with our destination being Las Vegas, NV. This would be the last major stop before home.
The ride from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas was an excellent ride as well. I had no clue how cool the mountains north of Las Vegas were because I had never traveled this route before.
We found a great RV resort a block from the Las Vegas strip, but a few miles south of the main casinos on the strip. The normal rate there was $60-$80 a day, with my RV membership, we paid less than $30 per day.
We must have looked like ragamuffins when we pulled in. My RV was coated with bugs from an over 8,000 mile trip at this point, the front bumper was basically gone from our accident, the back bumper was cracked, and everything was dirty. All of the other RV’s looked new and pristine in the park. No problem, hell thinking about how far we had come was a mind trip in of itself.
The RV resort in Las Vegas was off the hook, every amenity you could possibly want. However, this was Las Vegas. We waxed the motorcycle to clean her up, got her off of the trailer and took off into town for a great evening. By this time Liz had become adept at helping me was the motorcycle, it was actually nice to have her help.
Our plan was to stay in Las Vegas for two nights, then head home.
The next day Liz and I rode to Hoover Dam. This was her first time there. It was as usual hotter than hell in Las Vegas and Boulder City. But it was OK.
Both Liz and I at this point did not want to go home. We both wanted to stay on the road forever. For both of us, going home would mean going back to work and responsibility. This had been the best and longest vacation of both of our lives, a trip that maybe less than 1% of all Americans would ever get to make.
The fact that we would head home the next day kind of made us both sad and excited. I must admit that I kind of missed just being in a house without having to drive!
On our last night in Las Vegas after the ride to Hoover Dam we had another good time. We both lost money in the casinos, and then we headed back to the RV Park knowing we were going home the next day.
The last day of our trip saw us waking up with a mission, to get home. I put the motorcycle on the trailer for the last time on this trip, strapped her up, struck camp, and we were off again.
I could tell Liz was not happy about having to go home, but since her aunt was house and dog sitting for us, and we were about 3 weeks over the time we were supposed to be gone, she knew we had to go home.
The ride home was a decent trip. Compared to the 8600 miles we had driven, the ride from Las Vegas to our home in Acton was nothing. A little 200 mile or so jaunt compared to where we had driven on the trip.
When we got home on the evening of September 6, 2012, and I walked in my home, I was shocked at how big it seemed compared to the RV which was our home for the last approx. two months. It took me a while to get used to it.
The epic two month 8600 mile trip we took around the circumference of the United States was probably a trip that can never really be repeated although I have every intention of doing it again. The gas alone was almost $10,000 for the RV.
The memories Liz and I shared during the trip will last for a lifetime. It was that kind of a trip, something you could write a book about.
Here it is December 20, 2012, and in a way I am still recovering from the trip.
Two weeks later Liz and I took the RV back to Las Vegas for the Las Vegas Bikerfest and had a great time.
** This article was written on August 30, 2012, 2012, but it is being published on December 18, 2012. There will be one final article to be published soon about the rest of my epic vacation. There will also be a post of many videos from the vacation. Again, this article was written on August 30, 2012.
First off, before I get started, let me follow-up with my status on August 27, 2012.
Liz and I toured all over the Black Hills of South Dakota. We visited Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial, Sturgis, and Rapid City. We had a good time in South Dakota especially on the motorcycle. The Black Hills offer some great riding in what I consider to be intermediate twisties. I think the twisties we have where I live in the Angeles National Forest or in some places in the Santa Monica Mountains are much more difficult to ride than the Black Hills.
All in All though, the Black Hills are beautiful and I will be back next year.
We left South Dakota on August 29, 2012 for Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming.
When we reached the mountains off of US 14, I knew we were in for some exciting views. These are the steepest mountains I have taken my RV on since getting the RV. We went up to an altitude of 8,900 feet.
On the downside of the mountain, there was a sign showing a truck on a downgrade stating that it was for the next 17 miles. Another sign stated for trucks to switch into lower gears. I shifted into 2nd gear.
The downgrade was extreme. I pumped my brakes rather just holding them down. I cannot describe what it is like to try to slow down a very large 35’ RV with an Electra Glide and trailer in tow, on declines such as the one we were on. It was scary.
On the way down, we both heard a noise that we could not identify. Later on, I felt the brakes get a bit mushy but they still worked. We came to a visitor’s area where there were waterfalls and a viewing area. I told Liz that I was going to stop to check out the brakes.
It was around 6-6:30pm or so and starting to get a bit dark in the mountains. Since the sun was going down Liz did not want to stop or possible or get stuck in this desolate place. I told her we had to stop. I got the rig slowed down and turned right into the area, I downshifted to 1st gear to slow down more without using the brakes, when I pushed down on the brakes to stop, the pedal went to the floor and to my horror were gone. We were not slowing down and we were not stopping.
In my 49 years heretofore, I have driven or ridden many cars, trucks, motorcycles, you name it, nothing that I have driven or ridden has lost all brake power before, nothing.
Here I was heading for a sheer cliff straight ahead, literally a sheer cliff, and I had no brakes. I yelled to Liz that we had no brakes. I tried shifting the rig into park; it just made a click click sound but did not slow down.
I told Liz that we were going to crash.
I intentionally steered the rig sharply to the left so that we would hit the side of the road which were rocks rather than go off of the cliff. I could not believe that when I made the sharp turn to the left that we did not tip over on our side.
I told Liz to brace herself. Literally from the time I realized I had no brakes until the time we crashed was just a few seconds.
I noticed a white thing where we were headed, I steered to avoid it.
We jumped up onto a curb, crashed through a wood fence, and by the grace of god were finally stopped by two beefy barriers that the National Park Service has planted along the sides of the road.
After the initial impact we kept going until we hit these barriers. We did not stop right away.
After the impact we just sat there. I was freaked out about the damage to the rig, Liz said “Norman don’t worry, we are alive.”
Let me tell you, had I steered wrong or stayed on the road that day, I have no doubt we would no longer be here on this earth. What if I would have lost the brakes on the road? I would have gone 35-40 mph or faster right over the edge. If anyone has ridden the US 14 in Wyoming, you know what I mean.
Two days ago I lost my brakes on a severe downgrade on US 14 in the Big Horn National Forest in Wyoming. I had to intentionally crash my RV in order to get the rig stopped.
Thanks to the fine people of Greybull, Wyoming, we were towed off of the mountain into a KOA RV Park last night, and the same guy came this morning to pick up the rig to repair the brakes. The parts won’t be in until tomorrow, so the repair guy is allowing us to bunk down in the RV on his property.
I have fallen in love with Greybull, Wyoming and so has Liz. The town has about 1100 people who all seem to know each other. Went to dinner tonight and ended up meeting some of the town folk. I was invited to attend a shooting event on a private ranch. The people here leave their keys in the car, and will bend over backwards to help you.
I rode up to the crash site twice today, from Greybull, Wyoming east on US 14 up into Big Horn Forest, once by myself, once with Liz. This ride is the most beautiful and awe inspiring ride I’ve ever taken in my life. No words can describe the wide vistas, the ancient canyons, the trees, and the waterfalls. It was as if I was in the most beautiful place on earth on my Harley.
Getting back to the accident; had I not turned the way I did Liz and I would not be here. There was a sheer cliff in front of us when I lost the brakes. It was a scary experience. The RV sustained damage to the lower front where it hit, and the back where the trailer fish tailed. We are not injured. I was told that many RV’ers lose their brakes up here every month; live and learn. I lost my lower lights in the front and some fiberglass. It can be repaired.
If the parts come in tomorrow and the RV is otherwise safe to drive we will be heading to Cody, Wyoming, where I will set up camp. Saturday we will ride the Harley through Yellowstone from the east entrance. Until then….
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