He rode a 1966 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead and loved to ride to get away. Once when riding through the countryside, he commented that “The police are really friendly around here; they are all waving at me.” Later he learned they wanted him to stop because he had no helmet on.
And speaking of getting away.
It’s about time to load up for the long haul and head east where the thunderclouds hover over grain bins on soybean fields. I’m talking about the Black Hills Motor Classic, which most of us just call Sturgis. And the jester himself is playing at the Buffalo Chip on August 10th!
Getting on the “Road to Sturgis” reminds me of that video game by the same name which Harley-Davidson released in 1989. The game is about a biker who’s trying to get to Sturgis for the annual biker event, unfortunately it’s only days away and you are on the other side of the country. You’re main objective is to get to Sturgis within days, but to gather enough fame to become legendary as the ultimate biker. You start off the ride determining wealth, charisma, riding ability, mechanical ability and brawler skills…in case you need to work as a bouncer along the way. After selecting your stats you begin outside a local bike shop where you can spend some of your money to upgrade your bike. Sound familiar?! Things like brakes, springs and even whole engines can be upgraded but every Harley has to be unique and you have to make it look different. You’ll also want to buy some extra sturdy clothes because being on the road on a motorcycle is not easy.
Unlike the real world, the riding sequences had very little scenery and were quite lame. The game suffered from a very limited appeal and these days it’s a challenge to find much of any information about it. The game did have something that made people want to come back, probably the idea of riding alone on a motorcycle from coast-to-coast is something that appeals to a lot of us.
The Sturgis rally was started in 1938 by the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club as an event for Harley riders and their families. Until he died the founder of the club, J.C. “Pappy” Hoel, would oversee everything, right as rain. This year it’s the 70th Anniversary and no place in western S.D. will escape the roar and hum of the motorcycle engines.
If you’ve got a few extra bucks on you and can get your scoot to I-90 and exit 32 you’ll be in for a real treat.
Photos courtesy of H-D.