The trip to Sturgis has blossomed into a group event.
The introspective one-man journey element will lose it’s purity, but it will be traded for the rich diversity of a group trip. This will be something of a gypsy tale, two couples journeying with a temporary movable home via motorcycle and a rented RV from Cruise America a thousand miles or so north, stopping along the way to take in some of the greatest natural wonders our nation can offer. I’m hoping the RV is all that the rental company promises it to be, as our use of it will be well chronicled in the subsequent journals of our adventure. We debated long and hard about whether to rent one or buy a used one and then sell it after the trip.
I visited the Cruise America affiliate rental place, North Dallas RV a week ago to check out one of the units. While it wasn’t as pristine and new as what’s featured on their web site it was certainly serviceable and contained all the features advertised, just a bit worn as you would expect a rental unit to be. Despite a few minor permanent stains here and there everything appeared and smelled quite clean. The rental headquarters itself was not impressive, with an eclectic assortment of trailers, RVs, trucks, and other large equipment parked in a poorly landscaped gravel lot with caretakers shuttling items around in the late June heat next to a noisy interstate highway.
I showed up unannounced, and the fellow who gave me a friendly immediate tour of one of their standard RV units was knowledgeable and very polite, as was the friendly gal in the front office. While I didn’t tour the facilities behind the office, it was obvious that the outfit had a very large shop equipped for the care and maintenance of it’s inventory.
As long as the equipment is dependable and clean I care not where it hails from. And I’ll have an excellent mechanic along for the trip, besides.
My brother Mike and sister-in-law Shelby will accompany Robin and I. Robin stated early after I announced my trip to South Dakota that there was no way in hell she was going to let her man make that journey alone. Not because she doesn’t trust me amongst the debauchery and sin of the Sturgis Bike Rally, she knows I dislike crowds and noise and would practically just “pass through” long enough to say I’d been there.
Robin knows that I am the sort of character who would survive a journey like this best when I am accompanied by someone to render first aid and call 911.
Highwaymen, thieves and robbers I can handle. A lifetime of proficiency and training with firearms and hand-to-hand combat, along with the fact that old age and treachery beat youth and training ensures that I can deal with threat from human or beast.
It’s myself that I need protection from.
I am accident and stupidity prone. The stupidity is compounded by the fact that I am impatient. I once suffered broken ribs and a fractured shoulder because I wouldn’t take time to change out of my slick dress shoes before ascending a slippery ladder into the shop loft.
Another time I made a trip to the ER with a two foot piece of red oak sticking out of my forearm because I din’t take time to stop the table saw and walk across the garage for a push stick and instead opted for a jagged piece of oak lying within reached that subsequently got caught and kicked back by the blade.
And of course there is the classic episode of my helicopter ambulance flight due to my watching a plane landing while riding my motorcycle home from work one November evening.
I will still attempt the “iron butt” feat of riding all the way to Sturgis and back. If the weather collapses I may trailer the bike long enough to get past some heavy rain, but that is the only case where I intend to dismount for anything other than sleep, eating or sight-seeing on a walk or hike.
It will be nice to have a water-tight roof over my head at night and the company of loved ones, as well as the security of tools, weapons, and a trailer for the possibility of mechanical problems with either of the bikes that cannot be fixed on the road. Not likely, considering the engineering and maintenance that has gone into both our rides, but nice to have options just in case.
I will have the Contour video camera mounted and capturing video, and between the DSLR and the very capable high res photo and video cam on my HTC Thunderbolt Android phone I expect to have plenty of auditory and visual media to supplement my writings of this journey.
With Mike coming along there will be humor and tom-foolery aplenty, he is just as capable as I, and with Robin and Shelby there to oversee us we should be stopped short of doing anything that would get either of us thrown in jail.
The countdown to launch is 33 days.