Sunday, September 5

Am I the only one who’s never heard of Sturgis?

The first (or was it the second?) week in August, my friends Amanda and Jeff were in Aberdeen, SD for work. Amanda has always wanted to see Mount Rushmore, so even though Aberdeen is a six-hour drive from Rapid City, she and Jeff were planning to make the drive over the weekend. They invited me to meet up with them, so I took a Saturday morning flight to Rapid City.

Jeff and Amanda picked me up from the airport and our adventure began. What I didn’t realize is that our vacation coincided with Sturgis – only the nation’s largest motorcycle rally. When my brother, Roger, heard that I was going, he was so jealous:
Roger: “You’re going to Sturgis?”
Me: “Um, no, we’re going to Rapid City.” (thinking “what is he talking about?”)
Roger: “Yeah, but for Sturgis?”
Me: “No, we’re going to Mount Rushmore and stuff.” (thinking “why else would you go to South Dakota?”)
Seriously, I have never seen so many bikers in my life. Pictures can’t even do it justice. Everywhere we went there were bikers – bikes in the parking lot, bikes on the road, and bikers at the tourist attractions. We heard on the radio that they were expecting some ridiculous number of people… like 800,000. Which doubled the population of the entire state. Crazy.

Anyway, we went from the airport to the Badlands, which was an amazing sight.

From there we went to our hotel in Deadwood… a hotel filled with, yup, you guessed it, bikers.

On Sunday, we drove to Mount Rushmore. I especially liked the sign that read, “North by Northwest was filmed here.” I kept thinking – well, duh. If you’ve seen “North by Northwest” that was a given. If you haven’t, then the sign would mean nothing to you. Mount Rushmore was quite impressive – and big! On the airplane to Rapid City, the pilot had announced at one point that you could see Mount Rushmore out of the left-side of the plane. I was, of course, on the right side. Well, the lady sitting in front of me and to the left looked out her window and said, “I expected it to be bigger. It’s pretty small.” Ah, I chuckled, but refrained from comment. The gentleman in front of me didn’t: “Well, you ARE in an airplane. It’s much bigger when you’re on the ground.” Silly lady.

What did we do on Monday? We ate breakfast at Perkin’s (which we did every morning) along with dozens and dozens of bikers. Then we went to the Deadwood cemetery where Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane are buried. I loved it. Then we drove to Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. That was also quite impressive. And, yes, each stop was FILLED with bikers. Then Amanda dropped Jeff and I off at the airport – she had to go back to Aberdeen.

Super short weekend, but packed with fun.