Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Back To Sturgis, SD

The last time I was in Rapid City, SD was in August 1995. We had the T-shirts to prove it; they are all worn, faded or lost by now. My favourite Rapid City story is from the kids. We were traveling across the continent, headed home from New York, via Boston, Toronto, and Chicago, six of us in our minivan, towing our tent trailer. We stopped in Rapid City and found a local campground. We spent the night. In the morning Katie and Ricky went to the playground, returning a few minutes later to ask "Why is there a naked man in the playground?" That's when I realized we had arrived in South Dakota in the middle of the Black Hills Rally, an annual gathering of motorcycle riders, mostly Hells Angels, but plenty of others too.

The annual Black Hills Rally fills the town of Sturgis, SD with tens of thousands of bikes and riders for most of August. Officially the rally is the first week of August. In reality it is a summer long bacchanal that seems to start earlier and earlier each year. This year, for the month of August, Sturgis is expecting some 1.5 million visitors there to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the rally. Katherine and I both got T-shirts; we won't be back in August.

I once rode a motorcycle, back in the days when I would stand up and walk. I actually had a bike before I had children. Then times changed and so did I. Shortly before I was diagnosed with ALS, I finally managed to acquire another motorcycle. Unfortunately I was only able to ride it a couple of times before my legs became so weak that I could no longer hold it up. I am amazed I even got those rides in, as my diagnosis followed shortly after, and the wheelchair shortly after that.

My life is kind of like this road trip, filled with unexpected changes, long stretches of sameness, sudden moments of excitement. Coming into Sturgis brought back wonderful memories of travleing with my kids, camping in our tent trailer, singing our made-up songs as we rolled along the highways of North America. I have always loved a good road trip. Even this enforced trip is fun. Yesterday we rolled across North and South Dakota. Today we will visit Devil's Tower, the mountain from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Tomorrow, Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse. Then? Who knows?


  1. Ah Road trips I love them too. Wish we could take one now.

  2. What a great memory you had with your kids and traveling. Thank you for sharing your journey with us as you travel across the USA.