Living in The Black Hills 2010 wk 1

Posted: August 23, 2010 in Helping Hands Events, NEW FRIENDS, TRAVEL / Gatherings

Black hills 2010


Starting on the second Sunday weekend every year my family camps together. 2010 was our 47th anniversary. This year we started the weekend in tragedy. As we all sat together my aunt Sharron got a call from her son’s best friend. Her son Bryan Van Gilder had been rushed to the hospital because he stopped breathing in his sleep around 11p.

We all hoped for the best but when Bryan’s friend Mathew arrived at the hospital the paramedics informed him that they could not revive my cousin.

He was a healthy active man but he had been working too many hours for several years and he was having wife issues so his heart was too stressed out.

RIP Bryan Van Gilder 2010

Our family all made arrangements for services the following wed/TR and in addition to the 30+ at the reunion, over 40 more found their way to Lincoln.


This put my arrival at Sturgis back to Friday the 13th. 

On 8/12 I arrived in GI to pack and switch from the van to the bike. My starting mileage was 33500 when I hit the road to Valentine at 8:30a. I had perfect riding conditions with cloud cover and less than 80 degree temps. It took me until 1:30 to make it to Thedford. Luckily I filled up because 15 miles out of town I needed to transfer a liter into Keith Sory’s tank so he and his lady could get out of the sun.

In Valentine I saw a girl wearing a ghost busters shirt while getting gas and I wanted to meet her but when I turned around, she was gone. After I was done getting my sub and started to head out of town I saw her again walking her dog. I decided it was fate that I introduce myself and make a new friend. Her name was Augusta Schubert and she was going to Columbus College. Mileage in Valentine was 33740.


I had just passed Wounded Knee when there was an ambulance and several patrol vehicles blocking the road. Several rescue workers were waiting around a crash site looking for possible body parts. A car had swerved off the road with no shoulder, flipped on a hill and then came to a crashing stop against a bigger hill. The ambulance was not going anywhere so it was likely a fatal crash.

My next stop was Martin SD. I was saddened to see the pow wow grounds were being neglected and it was obvious the pow wow was canceled.      


I said some prayers and buried an offering of buffalo hair before taking a few picts. As I was leaving I met Pine Ridge resident Spencer. He explained to me that the tribal council decided not to pay contestants or others involved this year so there would be no pow wow gathering.

He was also able to tell me 8/19 there would be my favorite gathering at beer creek 7 miles north of Martin. Rosebud’s pow wow is the last weekend of August.

While I was getting 2.5gal for $7.50 this nice lady complimented my dad’s USA jacket and then told me Kentucky headhunters and confederate railroad were play 15 miles north at prairie wind casino. The road was bumpy dirt in several spots and it was challenging to avoid whipping out in the dark.


 Once I arrived the Headhunters were on their last set and then a youth suicide prevention group performed some skits. (sweet grass?) The closing act was Confederate Railroad. I wandered around the casino until 1ish and then picked a dark corner of the parking lot to set up my tarp. I strap one side of the tarp to the bike and then make a triangle using my pack for tension.


8/14 Saturday

Started the day bundled up in cold cloudy weather. Luckily it was only 40 miles to breakfast in Hot Springs. It started to rain just as I pulled up to Al’s dinner so I took my time eating. The food was priced lower than average but the food was great and in large portions. I spent $6.

It was raining on me through Custer State park so I turned west into the hills where the clouds were clearing. Usually I will go east to Mt. Rushmore instead. I was glad I went west because it led me to the Needles highway and the cathedral tour monument which has beautiful hiking trails. There was a $10 bike use fee or $15 car but it is worth it.

At 3pm I arrived at Deadwood and set up my tent. The logging road was partly paved for the first time now and half way up there was a new residential development so my hidden spot may be in jeopardy in the coming years.


Next stop Sturgis! It was 4p when I pulled in and parked on the strip. Not much had changed so I walked the vendor shops quickly and then headed to Full Throttle saloon for the night’s concert. They started charging $10 for their shows which were always popular for being free. I didn’t think Ice T was worth it so I went across the street to the Money Rock tent that hosted Rock n’ Rev with several big name shows like Guns n’ Roses.

I spent a few hours at Money’s watching a girl dance performance and talking to comedy Writer Lewis Martinez from Comedy Central, the Lopez show and Married w/ Children. He was a nice guy and spent time with me as I told him about the Pine Ridge Sweet Grass group.

I went back to Full Throttle and walked around the lot. This big native guy was hitting on a devoted girl in front of some of her friends in the parking lot and a guy blindly walloped him on the head with a beer bottle. The native dropped to his knees and the girls group rushed off. He ended up needing stitches as blood was running all down his neck.

At 11p they quit charging at Full Throttle so I got in for the second half of Ice T. These two beautiful girls were making out beside me most of the show so my attention was divided. Eyes went one way while my ears focused on the concert. The native guy had a butterfly bandage and a guy behind him didn’t know what it was so he yanked out of his hair thinking it was a prank sticker. I had to explain the ignorant guy that it was a bandage covering stitches.


After the concert I went into the side stage area and got another hour of hair band rock. I had a cute girl on both sides of me dancing but then this old cougar jumped on me from behind acting like she was drunk and needed me to balance her on the chair. She kept making moves on me trying to kiss me all the while the younger cute girls were giving me weird looks. I kept trying to get them to pull me further on the dance floor and eventually I got away.

After the show I was making progress with this hottie and then as we were walking out her boyfriend decided he wanted to give her a ride home. They were fighting and she was having fun with me but choose to go with him.

I went to the McDs and then as I was heading down the highway near 3a I noticed a gorgeous girl hitching. I recognized her as one of the girls who was making out beside me during Ice T. I asked her if she wanted a ride and as she holding back her tears she explained how none of her friends would answer their phone and her ride thought she was riding with someone else. I gave her my jacket and she jumped on back. It was a very cold night so I rubbed her legs as we went slowly into the cold canyons. About 9 minutes in she wanted to pull over and talk. We had just started talking when a guy pulled up and asked if we had seen a hiker. She shouted out that she was the hitcher and then grabbed her stuff and got in his jeep. We didn’t even switch numbers but I remember what Leslie from Deadwood looks like so hopefully I will find her again.

8/14 Sunday

Spent the morning walking Sturgis looking for vendors I could help pack. The guy that runs the swap meet named Randy White asked me to come back at 6 and then I found a man in his 70s and his wife with a broken ankle piling up tubs on the sidewalk so I asked them if they needed help.

Helping Black Horse Jewelry

John and his wife Tami (darkhorseewelry@yahoo) agreed to my offer for $10/hr. and so it began. They are great people and we shared wonderful stories while we packed their trailer. John told me how he left home at 16 and went to work in the wheat fields and how he traveled around freely like me until he got diagnosed with cancer. They have a home in Dallas and Phoenix so I will be following up with them when I am in the area.

 I went back over to the swap meet and Randy asked me to be there at 9am. It worked out just fine because I was exhausted. I saw 3 hippies walking the street as I pulled out so I stopped and asked them how they were. I offered to share my campsite and told them to meet me at Burger King so I could get them some food.

I then went to Deadwood and relaxed at the Mineral Casino. This interesting spiritual girl started talking to me about how she wants to get more involved with her Osage heritage. Then we all went to Buffalo Bills and listened to some fiddle music and hung out with a few guys from Australia. 

I finished the night listening to Chicago American Idol contestant, Paige as her group ( closed down Saloon #10.


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