I travelled to Sturgis, South Dakota for the first time in 1997. Yep, and that was on the 'new' Sportster that I had bought in 1996. Many people thought I was nuts for riding a Sportster all the way to Sturgis from Oregon, but it was suppose to be an adventure right? And that it was.
I rode with 3 other friends, two of which had Harley Softails and one of them (like me) was nuts enough to ride a Sportster also. He only had a Peanut Tank though so we had to stop alot for gas. Not a problem because we got to meet alot of people along the way and thats what it was all about. I was actually pretty closed-up to talk much with folks on the road, but this trip regained my faith in human kind and it was exactly what I needed.
We rode the Lewis and Clark Trail Highway (Highway 12) through 3 States before entering into Northern Wyoming and it was a dream come true for me. We rode the Columbia River Gorge scenic byway along the Oregon/Washington Border along Highway 84 before getting to 12 and then headed off into Washignton's wheat lands and corn fields which is all you see forever out there. Then into Idaho at Clarkston and Lewiston and up into the Clear Water River Canyon. This is where we entered into the most beautiful mountain road riding I've seen in years. Up over Lolo Pass into Montana and you see some real beauty along the way. There's not much gas between points, so beware of your mileage in these parts.
Riding across Montana is like going through every topography you could imagine, we ran mountains that were 12,000+ feet in elevation and we ran through some plains that must have been below sea level. We found people in the smallest of towns that were ready to take us in and 'adopt' us as their own, feed us, fill us with drink, fill our tanks, and send us on our way. It was a pleasure meeting many of these folks in Montana. One of the greatest places we visited is Martinsdale, Montana.
It's right about midpoint of the state within the Crazy Mountain Range, which is what the Native Americans named them because they say they saw ghosts there. The Crazy Mountain Inn is a place right out of the old west and the Innkeepers there are the greatest. We make it a point to visit there every once in awhile to see what's going on. The town town has a bar, a church, an auto repair shop and a fishing hole, what more could you ever need?
We made it finally to Sturgis in 3 days at about 500-600 miles per day and stayed at the Bear Butte Creek Campground. Nice place with 3 bars, live bands, dance floors and an early morning cannon shot to get everyone riled up first thing every day. All we kept hearing was "MORE POWDER" from the crowd after they shot it off. We spent 3 days there running through all the local sites and towns and then hit the road back taking a more southern route through Wyoming this time due to the northern route through Yellowstone being closed for road repairs.
We made it back in 3 days, the last day being a total of 688 miles for me from Arco, Idaho and it was a jaunt.
Great ride guys!!!