Speed-King Steve Makes the Mandatory Road Trip to Motorcycle Mecca
The road was calling our names and we needed to respond. I hit up Dylan—@woefoto on Instagram—and said, “Hey—let’s ride to Sturgis.” At that point, we had roughly two weeks to pack and make plans.
Those loose plans included being at The Buffalo Chip within three days of our scheduled departure—just in time for the w FXR Show hosted by Joe Milke. Dylan was on his 1990 FXR and I was riding my recently finished 2018 Road Glide. This trip would find every nut and bolt I forgot to use Loc-Tite on and break in the fresh 131-inch S&S motor we built for it.
Of course, we changed plans the evening before our scheduled departure and hit the road right after work. We met up at a gas station in Riverside, CA, at 8:30 p.m. and ripped towards St. George, UT, the fastest way we knew how: full throttle. Early the next morning we pulled into a random hotel around 3:30 a.m. in St. George, UT. After grabbing three hours of sleep, we woke up around 8:30 a.m. packed our bikes, grabbed some granola bars at the continental breakfast, and headed northeast for another 100 miles of freedom.
After turning and burning through a couple of gas stops we rode through Provo, UT, and onto Highway 189 to dunk our junk in the Provo River. After the swim, we made our way to Lyman, WY, where we’d rented a cabin for an evening at the local KOA. Refreshed and relaxed, we cruised into town to check out Lyman nightlife—not hard to do in a town of 2,500. After a couple drinks the bartender at the local watering hole told us about a Mexican restaurant outside of town—never a safe bet anywhere but California. We jumped on the bikes and cruised past a few buffalo ranches and pulled up to Fiesta Guadalajara in Urie, WY. This place did not disappoint. We’ll stop here every time we cross the Wyoming/Utah border. After finishing our dinner and a six-pack, we collapsed in our KOA cabin for a good night’s rest.
WRENCH FIRST, RIDE LATER
After a little preventative bike maintenance the following morning, we headed off to our final destination: Lead, SD. Lead is a little ski resort town south of Deadwood and is a wonderful place to stay during the rally. After our second gas stop the sky darkened to signal impending rain. As we rode in the dry, protective eye of the storm, everything around us looked pitch black and soaking wet. Just as I’d convinced myself we’d dodged a bullet, GPS pointed us toward a black wall that looked like a scene straight out of “Stranger Things.” For the next hour we soldiered on in a torrential downpour. After finally having had enough, we pulled over to suit up for Mother Nature. Just as we fastened the last button on our rain gear, the skies parted and the rain stopped. Hey—I never said we were smart. After arriving in Lead that evening we Googled DIY carwashes and soaked up some hot coffee to take the chill off the day we’d just endured.
This being our maiden voyage to the grandaddy of all motorcycle rallies, we got up early and headed downtown for our first taste of Sturgis. If you’ve ever wondered what a midlife crisis looks like, go to Sturgis. The trailer to motorcycle ratio is 8:1, so I’m not sure why so many bikers equip their steel horses with highway pegs—do they intend to clock miles, or are they auditioning for a spread eagle scene on the the Brazzers casting couch? Once we figured how to navigate the crowds and learned that the whole town is a speed trap, we met some cool people and had a great time.
THE RIDE HOME
After three nights at the rally, it was time to get back on the road. We had six days ‘til we needed to be home, so we decided to head west and figure it out from there. Neither of us had ever been to Yellowstone, so we decided to ride to to Cody, WY, with a stop at Devil’s Tower along the way. That day was full of 80mph highways, gravel farm roads, and beautiful scenery the whole way. We hit Cody in the evening and walked into town for a drink at the local saloon. The following morning we geared up and rode through Yellowstone. I’m a big advocate for wearing helmets, but on this occasion I felt it would be okay to do the National Park without one, so I threw on my hat on and rode the next four hours without sunscreen… bad idea! After cruising through the park we threw on our helmets and jammed down to Twin Falls, ID, where the bar food was terrible and the rooms even worse! Sometimes that’s life on the road.
The next few days found us in Elko, NV, jamming down Highway 395 from Carson City, then finally back into So Cal. I was ready to be home, but at the same time there was a bit of sadness. The non-stop wind in your ear, the laughter, the roadside repairs, and the general chaos of a road trip are addictive. This whole motorcycle thing comes with a lot of stigmas and egos, but at the end of the day my friends at Biltwell probably say it best: Ride Motorcycles, Have Fun. I cannot wait for my next two-wheeled adventure.