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.
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.