August 6-7th coming soon

August 8th

Arrived in Newcastle WY from Colorado Springs.

While eating a great valued plate sized pancake breakfast at Donna’s, I was joined in conversation by a nice gent from MA. After eating, my new friend picked up the tab for my birthday. As I stood by my bike, a group surrounded me to talk about it. I explained how my dad started me on the 80s Honda 750’s ever since they came out aind how the two of us had toured the continental 48 on them. They enjoyed hearing how I rescued the bike out of the MN field and rebuilt the Red/White/Blue into the bike I was now riding in memory of my pops.

I then headed north out of Castlewood. About 15 miles out of town about half of the land was covered with nearly 6 inches of hail slush. I went almost 8 miles before most signs of the hail had disapeared. As I entered Lead, SD my engine started ticking and I knew I must be using up more oil then usual. I had just added 3/4 of a quart in Lusk this morning while talking to LA Guns. I carried on 3 more miles to Deadwood and parked on main street. The parking was completly full of bikes from end to end but I found a spot at the far end.

I went straight to Saloon 10 to see if they had started their 10:30 poker tournment yet. I was still able to get in so I played their Turbo tourney and ended in 5th place around 12:30. I could then still make it to the 1p tourney at a different casino or try to promote some Shhmokewear.

I ended up weaving some Shhmokewear in several high traffic locations of Deadwood but had to refrain from displaying too much product because the city has a no vendor policy. I noticed cops surrounding me about 20 feet away so I quickly packed up and moved on. I got some more $8 oil at the Lucas booth and also got a free registration to win a $35k custom Tin Lizzy chopper. While waiting for the 4:45 drawing, I rode up to Lead to get a sub sandwhich and picked up a tarp for the rain that was coming.

I didn’t get back in time for the drawing so I went straight to another casino to get the currrent details for their poker tournaments then headed for the Buffalo Chip to party with Sturgis.

It was $72 and there was no way to sneak in with my gear so I sucked it up and paid. The campgrounds covered a 4 square miles with 2 stages, 2 shower buildings, a food barn, and a swimming hole not including the main stage grounds which was another 2 square miles full of everything you could imagine. I rode around scouting my best options. I found the perfect spot right between the side stages and the main stage ground. There was a little corner not being used but clearly meant to be part of a reserved area. No one was around the camp next to the spot so I quickly put the bike and tent on the very edge.

The gentlemen paying for the lot pulled up in his truck just as I completed so I quickly broke the ice. Ray was a Navajo and and very friendly. I jumped at the chance to share a Native American story with him and then he welcomed me into his personal space.

After getting all my gear into the tent, I headed into the main stage grounds to party with Skynyrd. Bradley Gilbert was warming up the crowd when I walked in. I made a few quick Shhmokewear advances before it got dark and then headed up front. It was a good thing I brought a tarp because it started pouring as they setup. Everyone near me was thankful when I shared it with them.

One of the few things that could possibly make Skynyrd better would be the roar of 100 loud bikes showing their appreciation between every song and the energy of thousands of bikers dancing together. After an epic performance of Free Byrd the soaked crowd shifted over to the night club lounge to dance till 2am. I failed to make any campground friends so I wandered back to my tent and passed out.

Friday 8/9
I spent the morning exploring the campground looking to score some free food and then went and showered and shaved. I went down to the swimming beach area and set up to promote some shhmokewear. One person after another came up and talked to me. Before I knew it, 5pm had rolled around and I had sold 10 bracelets and it was time to get in the filming crowd for CMT’s Sturgis show during a beer belly contest. As that came to a conclusion, a massive storm front was moving in. I had planned on promoting on main street in Sturgis all day but with the storm coming fast I wasn’t even going to have enough time to relocate my tent.

It wasn’t long before the storm hit. I was ready and standing by the bikini beach stage so I could take cover. The wind blew really hard and then marble hail followed. Everyone nearby was racing for a spot under the stage.

After the storm blew over I went to my tent and made an RTE meal while listening to the music of the Doors’ Robbie Krieger.  Then it was time to find my way to the stage for Sublime. I found a way in and enjoyed the show then went past some new Shhmokewear customers camp and then to the music aat the watering oasis to chill until 2ish.

Sat 8/10
Some young inconsiderate staff members ran their generator all night long with no silencer casing so adding that noise to the constant bike thunder made it a rough nights sleep. I needed a reset so I took my breakfast down to the watering hole right away.

I was soon joined by 3 bikini models who were doing their calendar shots and some Discovery channel filming. Some of the BC staff came over to make it look like there was more of partying in the background. I mde some new friends like Meagan, Zack and Greg who were running the karaoke and sound systems. Meagan and her mom were active in teaching and performing arts around Lower Bruelle reservation near Mitchell SD.

A few minutes went by and then a man resembling a 50 yearold version of me appeared. He started a yoga routine similar to mine while conversing about his 6 years as a Hare Krishna devotee in HI, Phily and San Diego.  Greg Bechtol met his wife at temple and then had children growing up in the yogi life. He mentioned how inspired he was by “the way home” autobiography of Swami ????  I was currently reading the same book and structuring my own version of it so we talked about how our journeys compared for a few minutes. Greg then went back to his camp to get a flyer and another monk traveling Sturgis with him. His friend was still mastering English so we didn’t talk a lot but just being in the company of other devoted yogi’s was a great way to close out my stay at Buffalo Chip.

A few minutes later some of my new friends joined us for a swim. I was also able to charge my phones while tanning and working on a custom ordered bracelet pipe. After lunch I said my good byes and packed up camp. I was off to downtown main street Sturgis and the heart of the rally.

While I was strolling around looking for mud flaps and seat rests with my KXL protest shirt on, a film crew came up to me because of my patriotic jacket and wanted some promo shots with their models. I then had them then take some shots for me with my shirt and their model to put in the next Helping Hands comic issue.

It was starting to get dark so I cruised over to my friends Randy and Shirley who own the Swap Meet property. We talked briefly as they were closing up and then he told me there was an empty lot a block over to put up my tent. When I pulled up to the lot, it was just what I hoped for. It was mostly cushy grass away from the noise. There were two other tents and an RV to keep the attention away from me and to detir anyone from raiding my tent.

After I was all set up, I headed back to the concerts on main street. I went from a country group to a hard rock group to a Joan Jett all girl group. All of the bands had girl lead vocalists too. I eventually made it to the Easy Riders club on the end of the strip where there was a blue grass group on one side and a night club with tons of mostly naked beautiful college girls dancing. You know where I ended up for the rest of the night. I found a stool near the dance floor and kicked back. After a short while, some tatoo artists from a reality show sat at the tables around me, including their super hot leading role model. She was very friendly and let people get a picture with them. I just took a couple of her dancing by me.

As I made it back to main street, I grabbed a $3 hot dog and got to my bike right at the 2am street parking curfew. As I was finishing my dog, a guy grabs my bike and wheels it over to his tow truck. I stepped in front of him just before the ramp and several other bikers surrounded him and the ticket cop. A few words about how much I had to drink were exchanged and then they stepped away from my bike so I could ride off and avoid a $250 tow fee!

Sunday 8/11
For the first time in 4 nights I was able to sleep with a bit of peace. There were still a few bikes roaring but I slept straight through. I left my tent up and went to stroll the vendors one last time then hit the $10 Gypsy Sideshack buffet while watching some NFL and charging my phone. As I was getting ready to ride over to the grocery and dollar stores for supplies, a guy from Portland roled up and wanted to talk about my bike. He had just closed his car dealership and was dealing with a sick wife so he rode to Sturgis to reset his stress.

I then went to Randy’s swap meet to look for my mud flaps and seat back. They didn’t have any so I bought a RWB Eagle vest extendor so I could help them out somehow. Shirley came over and started crying when I gave her a hug because she spent most of the spring providing hospice for dad in Texas and then her Uncle had passed away that morning. She also was still suffering from a bad business partner who she had been trying to part with the past 2 years and the city sales tax officers.

City tax officials had been going around entraping business owners by asking for receipts and citing any discounted sales even if they were properly taxed. Randy was forced to spend a night in jail and pay a $1800 bond and a $500 ticket. For the small vendors paying $4000+ for a booth in addition to a $700 permit and sales tax it was the last straw. The city is trying to use these dirty tactics to terminate long term contracts in certain locations in order to open them up for bigger corporate operations.

Randy and Shirley got too busy to talk so I went back over to my camp and loaded up then returned to get a picture and talk about visiting their farm in southwest Kansas on my way to CO Springs in late Sept. After saying goodbye, I stopped into McD’s to use the wifi and get my email caught up while enjoying a Sunday. Then I hit Subway to get sandwiches for a couple meals in the woods.

Once in Deadwood, I stopped at the casinos to verify the current poker tournament times and then went up to my favorite camp spot in Bullock/Rosevelt Castle. After getting set up I went back down and had an hour to play Black Jack at the Lodge. I took my $6 winnings over to Cadilac Jacks for the $23 seven pm poker tournament where I was dealt pocket Kings two hands in a row and lost all the chips before the second level ended.

I sat around waiting for my phone to charge awhile and used the wifi to check facebook then headed over to check out the new Grand Casino.  It was built with the same foundation and structure as the original wood saw mill building. It also has the river running under it that powered the saws and now charges electric turbine generators. It is interesting to see how the streets were built over the top of the river for several blocks. Inside the casino were some nice giveaway bikes and a biker painting exibit. The sports lounge had more football to watch and on another screen was a show featuring the top 50 Sportcenter commercials which is my favorite ad campaign. I plugged my phone in and watched some while charging then it was off to some live music at Saloon No. 10.

I was immediately approached by a nice older lady and reminded I was as handsome as the guy on “One Tree Hill”. I had never watched it but now I guess I have to look at some mug shots of the actors to see if I really do look similar to him. The nice lady continued to make advances at me so I often moved around the saloon. I bumped into the owners of the Full Throttle franchise, Michael and Rachael, and we talked about setting their next party up with Shhmokewear gift bags and then took some pictures together. I avoided the temptation to play black jack until close and instead left with the Full Throttle crew to walk around a bit. Not much else was going on so I headed up to camp.

Monday 8/12
Ahh. My first solid night of peace and quite. I was frustrated that the low cloud cover blocked my view of the meteor shower but I fell a sleep pretty quick anyway with the top of the tent open under the few stars I did get to enjoy. Some times a turkey or chipmunk, owl, eagle, deer or bear will wake me up but not this night.

I needed a nature day after all this excitement so I started with a hike down the rarely explored side of the mountain facing Deadwood while enjoying my apple, grapes, bananna and granola bar for breakfast. I went about 800ft. down and then back up and then went over to hike to Mt. Rosevelt/Bullock Castle. There were two nice elder local laddies having a picnic so I approached them for my morning conversation about the history of the castle and then another group offered me some water when I asked if I could trade a granola bar. I rode the bike up to the top and discovered the preservation of the peace tower was complete and they added a metal roof. I sat up there several hours while writing and eating then left my mark facing Spearfish and hiked down to the lookout dock for some nice private tanning of my cheeks.

At 6pm, I went back to camp to change gear and head into town. I stopped at the Lodge and another awesome Red White Blue bike parked beside mine so I got a quick picture then went in to play some black jack. From there it was off to Cadilac Jacks for their 7pm tourney. I had a good run before finally getting knocked out in 7th place. It was 11 by the time I got done replying to emails so I skipped downtown and went back up the mountain.

Tuesday 8/13
I started the day off with a nice 2 hour all natural yoga set at the tower before the first group of hikers showed up. I then went back to writing and tanning between visitors. Around 1pm a storm front started moving in and before I could get packed up the rain was already falling. I went back to the tower to stay dry just in time as quarter sized hail began to fall. As each ball fell it shreeked through the trees and exploded against the bark making a loud gunshot like noise. As the hail banged the steel roof and the thunder boomed I had to plug my ears as if I was in front of a concert speaker. After about 30 minutes the rain stopped long enough for me to run to the other side of the peak in my sandles to make sure the bike wasn’t blown down the cliff. I could see another wave rapidly blowing in from the south so I ran back to the tower. When I got back there was an adventurous couple in their 60s climbing the steep 14 inch high steps. The lady had a caine and bad knee but she tackled the beast as I watched in awe. As if the hike wasnt enough of a challenge. It was no suprise when they told me they lived in a sustainable cabin in the wild and he was a logger and trucker.
They continued on to make it back to their vehicle before the bucket of rain fell again. Pea sized hail forced me back into the shelter and this time the wind and lightning were going full force like a twister was forming. I began taking off my metal items and prayed I would not be struck sitting next to the lightning rod stair case rails attached to the roof. I had to remove my hat and shirt containing metal buttons and wrapped up in the tarp to stay warm as the rain and hail blew in through the window openings above me. As it calmed down I went to the top to scout the surrounding. I began cursing and pleading with the storm to move on so I could go get my warmer clothes and head into town.  A voice from the stairs below responded “keep praying”. I was completely caught off guard, not expecting anyone else to attemp the hike in this storm.
It was two more hard core bikers out looking to challenge their riding skills. They had just riden in the storm, up the muddy back road which I don’t even attempt in perfect conditions so they had my salute immediately. Mark and Gary were two of the few remaining bikers still camping among the hills after the rally. They were taking their time returning to the Minneapolis area. We shared a joint and stories about riding the storms out before the rain stopped to let us down the mountain. I went and put on my warm clothes and boots and then rode with them over to lead to get some PB&J. I gave them directions to Hippy Hole/Devils Bath and then we parted ways.
I headed over to the 7pm tourney and struck out again but got my phone charged for another day of writing then I went over to the 10 and lost at Black Jack. After getting my Sturgis journal caught up, I headed back up to the tent.

Wed 8/14
I started the day with a great uninterupted rock lifting and pushup workout on the lookout deck and then headed down to Cadilac Jacks for the 1pm $23 tourney. I got the further in this tournament then any other so far. I got knocked out in 5th and then the remaining players split $1000 four ways. It was 4pm by the time 8 got caught up on email and the weather was nice so I went for a ride through Spearfish Canyon over to Hippi Hole (Devils Bath) and then around Spearfish and back up to the Lodge in time for the main event tournament. Wednessday at 6:30 the Lodge has a $54 buy-in, 200% added, unlimited add-on event where the deep pocket retired boys put in around $6000 extra into the pot. This night, the pot was $9700 with a 40 player cap and they pay the top 10. That gives players a 1 in 4 shot at making as much as nearly $3500 for first place on a $54 minimum investment. I rolled my first table, winning about every 4 hands. By the time we split the table at the end of the add-on rounds, I was the tournament leader with 25,000 in chips while the table average was only 5k but then the thick wallets opened up and the old timmers loaded up $500 cash for 50,000 each in chips. I didn’t have that kind of money to invest so I was going to have to earn my spot at the final table. I almost made it before going 16k all-in with Ace diamonds & Queen hearts and lost to an Ace King kicker for about a 55k pot which would have gotten me to the money. Instead, I was sent packing empty handed in 15th place. I was too bummed to go to the 10 for music now so I went back to camp and called it a night.

Thursday 8/15
I packed up camp and headed to the 10 for the early $10 tournament. Two of the finalists from the big tournament were there and just getting started. I again had a bad run and was knocked out early. I headed over to the park for breakfast and writing and then went to Cadilac Jacks 1pm tournament for my final chance at making some money before heading to my camp on the lake in the middle of no where. I once again found myself on a roll and near the lead deep into the final table and just as I was about to finish in the money this young kid made a top notch play. He limps in for 1600 and two more call when it comes around to me so I push a massive 16000 with Ace Jack and the kid insta calls representing a strong pair. We see the rainbow 2,4,5 flop and he puts me all in and I fold to try to recover with only 2500 left in chips. The only time a player would do that would be with a high pair. If I would of just played it safe, I would have won enough to cover my whole trip and previous event entriees which ended up being $400. Frustrated, I sent a message to Heather that I would be ready to leave the hills and meet her at Ft. Robinson for dinner the next day and then turned the bike for my next favorite camp spot at Jenny Gulch along Silver City road.

I stopped at lake Raboix to pick some shrooms and then met two cool random travelors. They had met at Glacier years back and scheduled a reunion rendevue at Raboix. One came from Idaho and the other from Lacross WI. We shared stories and then I signed their travel journals before heading off for Jenny. I couldn’t remember exactly how to get to the cliff diving spot but I remembered the turn was by an ATV rental and fishing campground so I just kept riding until I saw a good posibility. I wasn’t even sure of the name but I saw a road sign for Jenny Gulch and I remebered a story from the very first time I tried to find it. Several years back I took that road for 2 hours to discover it turned into a logging road and then eventually was gated off through a field road on private land. It reminded me that I was in deed looking for the next crossing to get on that same road a few miles further ahead.

I arrived about 5 and had a good hour and a half to tan then put the hammock on a cliff about 40 feet above the water and then got dinner ready. There was no phone signal so there were no distractions to keep me from writing as the sun set and the half moon took control of the sky reflecting over the towereing pine tree shadows in the lake.

Friday 16th
I slept great in the hammock after encountering only one single mosquito. I don’t think having the tarp over top of me even mattered. Every time I pulled it back to watch the moon and stars there were no distractions other then a squaky eagle. It was so relaxing that I couldn’t convince myself to do any writing. The morning started out with and hour of rock and shroom collecting and then as I was about to get a nice morning bath in, this miny van parked and 7 noisy kids jumped out. They were soon followed by 3 more vehicles and my nice private spot 30 miles from no where was suddenly compromised. I thought most kids were in school by now? I rerouted back to my hammock to get some writing done and waited for the sun to shine a new hidden spot out of the childrens view.

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