Tuesday, August 5, 2014

2014 Sturgis, SD, Day 3, August 3

US ALT 14 south dakota
US ALT 14 connects Sturgis with Deadwood
While one can spend all day in Sturgis and hop from one campground to the next, standing in a crowd all day long under the heat of the afternoon doesn't really interest me.

I want to take the bike out and hit the Black Hills. I guess I don't mind the crowds and craziness at night, as long as I can enjoy the riding all day. But Sash and I are also here for work, we actually have sponsors paying us to produce media for them, which takes up a good deal of our time here. So, it's a welcomed respite of relaxation to hit the country.

Having removed the trunk from Blackbird, she was a few pounds leaner for some fun in the curves.

US ALT 14 connects Sturgis to Deadwood, the famed gambling town where the likes of Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, and Wyatt Earp cut their teeth and cemented their legacies.

The path follows the twists and curves of Black Butte Creek, sneaking past rising cliffs and groves of evergreen pine. Then it catches Two Bit Creek, and throws you back into more 25-30 MPH curves where you can sink into your seat and feel the centrifugal force pull you down as you crank on the gas and high tail it out like a cardshark from a poker table.

And I could tell Blackbird was ready for the stuff.

After some 2,500 miles of Interstate, she kept leaping at the slightest touch of her throttle. She was like a lioness targeting Harley riders and chomping at the bit to chew 'em up and spit 'em out. But she responded with grace and purred like a fine-tuned piece of machinery weaving in and out of $30,000 Road Kings and $40,000 Ultra Classics, and doing it while taking only light sips of fuel.

It's times like these that I get to appreciate what a sport touring bike has to offer. It'll tackle the road with the agility of a cheetah, let you pack on the pounds of luggage like a mule, and go long distances between stops like a camel.

So after laying dozens of Harleys to waste, I ended up in the tiny hamlet of Rochford, which itself was slammed with bikers for its meager little drinking establishment. I kept going, but ended up down the wrong road.

I found myself on S Rochford Road (letters B, C and D in the map), which is all hard pack gravel. I stopped to look at the map on my phone.  A local stopped to help me, and advised I could keep going, take one important turn, and get to my ultimate destination, Hill City. So, I took the road and gave it a shot.

If the Honda ST1300 does something lousy, it's handling surfaces other than pavement. Any speed over 30 MPH in a curve, and it slides too easily with its smooth sport tires.

By the time I got to Hill City, I found a new brewery called Sick-n-Twisted Brewing. It's actually a part of Naked Winery. Pretty good beer there though, and the chef made me a burger to my liking, with plenty of chiles and hot stuff.

The ride back into Sturgis was along US-385, a little more straight, but still offers some good curves.

Later in the evening, Sash and I met Troy and Ang, the couple who produces "Ride Stop N Go", a guide to great places to take your motorcycle. Sash and Ang had actually followed each other on social media for some time, and it was by coincidence they were staying at Sturgis RV Park as we were, and just a few cabins down from us. So, we hit the town with them and got to chat for awhile.

Wooden bridge over North
Fork Rapid Creek
S. Rochford Road is hard pack
gravel
Cattle watching me as I ride
past them
A pretty scene at Mercedes
Gulch, S. Rochford Road
Naked Winery, Sick-N-Twisted
Brewing, Hill City
US-385 northbound, is full of
bikers
Sick-N-Twisted brewing makes
pretty good beer and burgers
Dinner at The Knuckle Saloon,
Sturgis
And it comes with saddlebags
for long road trips
Sash and Ang striking a pose in
Sturgis
This police officer asked for his
photo with Sash
Little Red Hiding Hood, you
sure are looking good

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the stories and pics. Sturgis is on my list to do for sure.

    ReplyDelete

About Steve

San Diego, CA-based motorcycle rider who likes long road trips, old rustic bars, craft beer, and tough women. Can often be found where there's free Wi-Fi, writing about the mysteries of life. (Read more...)