It must have been 8am when I finally got out of my tent. I was once again covered in glitter but now my face was sticky too. Whip cream body shots are fun but dont forget your wet wipes. I dont doubt that those sweet sweet girls at One Eyed Jacks will be able to buy another semester at law school before the week is out. Mark and I must have at least paid for their text books. I was the only one awake in the camp. I could hear Patrick snoring thru his tent like a whale with sleep apnea. His wife Lora must either be a Saint or she's deaf in one ear. I didnt exactly have to be quiet as I stumbled around the campsite trying to collect my wits. I slowly grabbed my shower stuff and made my way across the tent and RV city that we were staying in. It must have been a half mile walk just to get to the shower room, so by the time I got there I was not impressed to see the 15 person line waiting to use the showers. I must have stood there for what seemed like an hour waiting for my turn to rinse the sticky off me.
By the time I cleaned up and got through with the half mile walk to camp everyone was up. Patrick and Lora were being the domestic couple and cooking all of us breakfast. Marc must have had something to prove because he was out on a jog. I didnt believe it when they told me but he does crazy stuff like that all the time. Personally I either party or hustle and mixing the two only leads to complete equipment failure. I started to pack up quietly so that they wouldn't notice that I wanted to leave Sturgis. All evening and even that morning I had a crazy feeling that if I didn't just wake up and leave I wouldnt leave for another 6 days and my mission north would completely fall by the wayside. Last night's shenanigans were my kind of fun but I didn't want to lose sight of what I was really after. I broke the news gently to the crew and just as predicted they tried to get me to stay one more night. Tempting as that was I had to go north and I wanted to go sooner rather then later. The distance I need to cover doesn't seem to getting any smaller no matter how many hours I ride. Alaska is just sooo damn far away.
So I packed and they guys put their biker costumes on. We wanted to get a picture in front of a giant rock mountain before we set off into town. We all wanted real food and to do a little bit of riding together before they started boozing again and I took off towards Montana.
Pictures were taken and we set off into Sturgis to get to the other side of town. I like motorcycles, I like motorcycle rallies, but I don't like riding motorcycles in motorcycle rallies. It's sheer madness. Sturgis has 2 streets which they try and cram one hundred thousand bikes into it. It took about an hour just to get to the other side of town. It's like being in a parade which makes a lot of noise but no one is actually throwing any beads or candy. There I was on a giant bike trying to squeeze through the traffic wearing a full face helmet, shorts and riding boots. Yep, I enjoy looking like a moto-traveling hobo.
Finally, when we got out of town and actually out of 1st gear it started to rain. Some guy and his wife wrecked their bike in the rain just barely a minute before we got to them. They were both beat up pretty bad. I could tell he wasn't wearing a helmet because his head was missing skin everywhere. Needless to say we all slowed down on our way to Deadwood after seeing that reality check. We had a giant greasy lunch at a Casino in Deadwood which was just what the doctor had order. I still needed to get myself to Billings and the crew needed to find Mt. Rushmore or Walmart or wherever they were going.
We reluctantly said our goodbyes. This crew was going to have a blast over the next couple of days and I was actually sad not to be staying with them. I was on my way to Billings to see my buddy Kendall. Kendall and I met at FIU (FIU was my first attempt at college in 1999) but we hadnt seen eachother in about 12 years. We've kept in touch here and there but he's one of those great friends that doesn't need a phone call every weekened just to ensure that we're still friends. When we do catch up, we quickly talk about the highlights and then move on to goofing off like the kids we were when we met in the dorms.
The ride to Billings took about 6 hours. I took all back roads and ended up going through some fantastic countryside. I'm sure I've already mentioned it but the backroads in this country are the most scenic roads I've ever been down and I've been fortunate enough to have seen a lot of countries while traveling with my family or work. I saw endless prairies, mountain passes and beautiful old growth forests. I saw horses running wild on thousand acre ranches like they used to do hundreds of years ago in the exact same spot during the Wild West days. I saw some deer chasing each other up rocky outcroppings without a concern in the world about tumbling down the side. This trip I'm on can only be described as epic and I'm not too sure that word actually does it justice. I've woken up and fallen asleep in totally different places geographically and psychologically. It's been amazing to just get up and ride as far as I can possible go each day and worry about nothing but what direction I'm headed and what kind of tunes I'm listening to in my helmet.
I arrived at Kendall's place just after 6pm. His wife was still at work at the hospital so we were able to quickly catch up on what's been going on in our lives. He knew the highlights about me already and I knew his highlights too so we were able to cut right into my Sturgis stories and of course I spent some time showing him the pictures and the videos. Kendal is an avid outdoorsman and he takes full advantage of the fishing and hunting that Montana has to offer. His dog Duke goes with him on most of his fishing trips and his new pup is already being shown the ropes on how to be a proper bird dog.
We had a big cookout on the back porch with his wife, her girlfriend Rachel from up the street and some of Kendall's work buddies even came by for a drink. We chatted late into the night about work and motorcycles, Sturgis and ultimate frisbee. It was a complete contrast to my last night on the road but in no way at all was it less entertaining. I enjoyed being back in Montana hanging out with my old friend and meeting the cast of characters he associated with. After a few hours the beers were all gone and the bottle of bourbon I brought with me had run dry as well. We decided to call it a night. Kendall had some fishing to do in the morning for "work" and I had to get myself as close as I could get to Canada for tomorrow's border crossing.