Riding to Sturgis Diary 2016 – Part 5

Well, Sturgis is in the books for another year. I had a helluva good time, met some old friends that I hadn’t seen in years, made some new ones that I probably won’t see for a few more, and now am taking the scenic route back from South Dakota to Georgia.

What do I think about the 76th Anniversary of Sturgis in 2016? The word around town was that the numbers were way down from last year, which is really no surprise – everybody loves a “75th” anniversary, “76” is sort of just another year. Personally, I liked that the traffic, as bad as it was, was better than I expected.

What was it like?

Well, that’s kinda hard to describe. If you’ve ever been to a concert like The Grateful Dead, you know that it is a whole lot different from, say, Barry Manilow. You get immersed in Sturgis – the people you meet all speak “motorcycle” and are as comfortable discussing cam grinds as they are discussing helmet legislation in the Provinces. Of course there are bad apples in every crowd. I saw enough dummies doing silly crap to keep me busy ranting for a year.

But overall, there were some great concerts and some beautiful bikes. The fact that most of them showed up on trailers isn’t important, what is important is that so many folks turned out to share our love of all things on two wheels.

Could I get nitpicky? You all know that I can, but the fact of the matter is that even if you just came to Sturgis to look at cool bikes and kick up your heels a little, maybe blow off some steam and get away from the corporate crunch, it was a great time. Will I be back? Of course. I know I must be getting old, because I’ve ridden through the Black Hills many times over the years, and as much of an experience as it is, I know there are just as good places on the East Coast – and in your neck of the woods, too.

Honestly, next time I go, I may just fly there, rent a car, and enjoy the whole scene without trying to figure out all the logistics of how to get me, a bike, and some clean underwear all the way across the country. In reality, I actually spent very little time on my bike for the last week. Sure, running around back and forth, but really, I’ve driven less than 200 miles all week. So while it is a cool “bucket list” thing to tell all the posers at the rally that I drove a heavily modified Sportster 1800 miles to come to Sturgis, in the end, I don’t need to impress anybody. I’ll save that for the wannabes in their barhoppers that trailered the whole way.

Personally, I’ve got enough of an iron butt to last for three years as of right now.

The bottom line is that Sturgis any year is a great time and THE place to go at least once if you are a real fan of two wheels. I’ve seen some bikes this week that are truly works of art, I’ve seen some that have been built with every material known to man, and others that were built to run as comfortably as anything ever designed. All in all, it was an amazing time and YOU need to be there next year.

Now I gotta go and drive home.

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