Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sturgis 2011.

When does Sturgis start.??? Well, this year the official dates were August 6- 14th but my Sturgis always starts when I leave the house.  Little did I know that when I left my house on the 26st of July headed for Mountainfest in West Virginia I had actually started my Sturgis trip.
I arrived in Morgantown, West Virginia at dusk on my second day of tooling around the backroads of Kentucky and WV. I looked at two campgrounds but thought I would continue searching. I found a lovely little spot behind the Pilot Truck stop. I set up my pop up camper trailer and settled in for the night. Working with Cycle Source Magazine does have it's benefits. The next morning I found the Chateau that we would stay in while in Morgantown. Thats when I found out that I could have been in a feather bed last night instead of an air mattress at a truck stop. Such is life. We had a great time at Mountainfest. A great time to me is catching up with people that I have met before and finding new people to build lasting relationships with.  The WV. crew treated us better than family and the laughs and drinks lasted till the early morning hours. We had a super Bike Show and I had the time to catch up with some other friends. I am always amazed when I get to meet the people that I have met threw association on facebook. After the rally was over and we were loading out Chris Callen made the comment that it would sure help him if I would come to his house in Pittsburgh to help get ready for Sturgis. I think he said this with no expectation of that happening. I called my loving wife and explained the upside of this plan. number one in my mind was the 24 hrs of riding that I would be saving. I have the most understanding wife any man has ever known. Next stop, Pittsburgh.  I rode north with Rob Keller and his wife and Kieth. That night we had the pleasure of having dinner with John Rogue. This man is considered a freedom fighter for our industry and in 2005 he was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame for his work. A man deserving of all respect. The next couple of days Chris and I worked on issues related to the magazine. We were also able to design a new t-shirt for me. I was suprised with the amount of work we had accomplished.
This is when I have to share the biggest part of my life during this time. The last day of Mountainfest was the last day of my 10 month addiction to Morphine. A prescribed medication to manage pain after my motorcycle crash and the surgery to repair my shoulder. I have never known addiction and I have never gone threw the related detox.  The last two days at Chris's house were physically the hardest time of my life. You could have hit me with a taser and it would have been gentler than the full body convulsions I was experiencing.  Part of my reasoning for not going home to Tennessee was to avoid the chance of getting more Morphine. On day four of detox I left Chris's house headed to Ainsworth, Iowa to help Papa Clutch prepare for his annual pre Sturgis Party.
 Pittsburgh to Ainsworth is not that long of a road but the turmoil that my body was in made it the roughest road of my life.  I arrived to find almost all of the preparations already done. I was pleased to spend some quality time with some dear friends.  I often refer to these people as some of the greatest people on planet earth. I don't say this halfheartedly. People like Tim and Dana. Roadside Marty. Jeff Cochran and Wes Hackett. These people are truly golden in my book.  We had a great pre party at the local Casino. Right up until I was informed that I was scaring the staff at the casino. I'm still not sure what that was all about. So back to our suite for more story telling and belly laughing until early morning. Chris pulled in that night and we started about the business of fixing the broken and bent tow hitch on the RV. As usual, our party was with wrenches and cutting torch in hand. My pain level and lack of sleep had finally got the best of me and I had set about to get wasted enough to pass out. This was a great plan until I found out that Chris wanted to leave as soon as the tow hitch was fixed. at 2am we were hitting the road. Sturgis bound.

After an uncomfortable amount of hours at 52 mph because of an over heating RV engine and the temp. gauge buzzer sounding in my head. We pulled into the Buffalo Chip with only enough time to unload the bikes and blaze to the Broken Spoke for the staging of the annual Michael Lichter ride.  This is one of the must do rides in my life. Its not the road or even the motorcycles that excites me. This is a meeting point for most of the people that I know. Some that I only get to see once or twice a year. Sasha Mullens lives 60 miles from my house but I see her once a year and we ride threw Vanocker canyon together and then talk about how we should really get together more often. The ride turned into a mad weather event.. Hail the size of golf balls came down for 10 minutes. As people ran for cover and to cover their bikes, I found myself under the safe cover of a mid 1800's stagecoach..  More of this story, later.

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