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Monday, July 2, 2012

T-25 and Counting: Sturgis 2012!

So it's all over, almost. All the preparation, planning, and most of the work on the bike. Hell, I even BOUGHT a bike for my first-ever ride to Sturgis, South Dakota, for the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

It's safe to say I've spent literally days staring at maps, reading online accounts of others' Sturgis experiences, talking to my friend Milt about tips on things to see and places to go, talking some more about it with Angel and Jim, and a little over three weeks from now I'm rolling to see it for myself.

And if you're reading this, I suspect I don't have to explain WHY I'm going to Sturgis, except to say I've never been, and I don't want to be put into the box without saying "I went to Sturgis", and I want to follow that with, "...and I rode."

When this ride was first suggested, my Softail Custom was my ride of choice, but as comfortable as that bike is, it also isn't really designed for the long haul. I've got all the detachable accessories, but I don't much care for the looks with all the crap on there, and it's downright scary to ride near a semi with that fucking windshield. It does some serious shimmying until you get around 'em. I struggled with that shake, rattle, and roll all the way to and from New Orleans in 2010, and wasn't all that eager to roll the dice again.

But I went ahead and bought a nice new Saddlemen touring bag, and some other new odds and ends to clean up the look and maybe take the shakes out of it a little. It was either ride the Softail or I could ride the Joker! (Yeah, right! The trip from Alexandria to Morgantown, WV, on the Joker damn near crippled me!)

My 2008 105th Anniversary Softail Custom - Set up for a long ride back in 2010

And then, when I least expected it, the right deal came along on a '99 Road King. Comfy, lots of storage, and with the True-Track frame brace I installed, it's very well behaved around trucks, and anywhere else for that matter. And yes, with the fairing and soft seat, plus a few tunes piped wirelessly to my headset, it'll make the ride a LOT more comfortable, even in the rain. Big Blue is just perfect for the ride.

1999 Road King aka Big Blue

All the map-staring and calendar tweaking have, so far, resulted in the route on this map, below. Every road and stop is subject to change due to weather, roadside attractions, and anything else that might come up. I'm sorta making a bee-line for Sturgis, but with one lazy day of riding set aside for a tour of the Badlands just before getting into Sturgis the afternoon of August 4th. I want to get at least one scenic ride in as a "reward" for pushing it along some of those straight-line, boring roads between Alexandria, Virginia and Sturgis. The Badlands run seems like a kick-ass way to start.

4,068 miles, including taking the "long way home"

So there's still a few last minute details to take care of:

1) I want to get the oil changed in the Road King, and have it checked out one last time in case I missed something. I'll get the boys at Patriot Harley Davidson, Fairfax, to look it over for me. 

2) And I need to get a few provisions that friends will haul up there for me. I don't want to carry any more than I have to, and since John, Bev, Linda, and Charlie are going up with a trailer, they've kindly agreed to haul one more package.

3) And I need to see if another Bro, Sol, is going to be riding with me or if he's riding on a different schedule and/or route. We'll do whatever's comfortable and fun, either together or separately.

I think that's about it. 

I'm ready right-f'n-now and can't wait. I'm leaving for work July 27th with a loaded bike, and rolling out at 1PM sharp, heading west. By sundown that night, I want a couple hundred miles between me and Washington, DC, and from that point on, life will be good.

Gonna do a little blogging to and from, of course, and maybe even while in Sturgis. Stay tuned for updates. I'll need to do something to relax my eyeballs 'cause I hear they are going to be scorched! Yippppeeee!


PS - No John, I didn't forget the Corn Starch. Got the economy size....LOL