Sturgis Biker Rally 2018 – Journal
Sturgis Biker Rally 2018 – Journal.
7 August 2018
..Not Larry and I took Vern the Van to the car doctor. There has been a situation with Vern dripping oil from the cover on the rear-differential. The problem was that we needed someone to get the rounded-off fill-plug out of the rear-end (…that sounds like a perversion). It took four different places to find someone who would work on it, but someone finally took on the job. That cost $45 to get to plug out of the differential and replaced. Then the mechanic talked me into replacing the seal in the rear-end…everyone is looking for work. So, the bill came to $200 instead.
The mechanic also told me there is a lot of wear in the differential and advised us to not take Vern from Winnipeg to Sturgis. He said, “There is a lot of play in that differential.” I responded, “Yes, the van has over 500,000 kms on it. There is going to be some wear.”
But, then after we pulled out of his shop, it made me nervous thinking about the mechanic’s non-Sturgis advice. So, I called Fatty because I knew he would give me confidence. I came to the conclusion that if Vern had not been leaking oil, I would have never thought to have anyone look at the rear-end and none would be the wiser. Fatty said, “Yeah, it has probably been wore like that for five years. Now the real question is, ‘What would Milson do?’” I told Fatty, “Dad would just get in and go,” so I got off the phone and Not Larry and I headed for the US border in Vern.
Off to the Sturgis Biker Rally!
On the drive, Not Larry said, “Vern is like an old couch. He is pretty bouncy, and there are butt groves in him. But he is comfortable.” That is just about right!
We crossed into the US, headed through Grand Forks, Fargo and then stopped in a rest-area not far from Jamestown in North Dakota. The rest-areas in the US are so nice. Not Larry and I got cleaned up in one and then climbed into the back of Vern. It was cozy where we slept and we had toilet access, something much more necessary when traveling with a lady! The rest-area made everyone comfortable. Even Vern probably enjoyed the rest.
We woke up at 08:00. Not Larry went to the rest-area bathroom and when she came back she was touchy. So, we had a quiet session together by not-resting in the parking lot of the rest-area. Then she got behind the wheel of Vern and headed towards Bismark while I stayed in bed and slept. That is nice…making miles while sleeping because of a relationship! Vern, Not Larry and I headed towards Sturgis, South Dakota. Later, as I was driving, we climbed a big hill and I rubbed Vern’s dash, telling him that he was doing great. Not Larry looked at me and said, “You barely treat me like that…” That is funny…
We stopped for a photo when we crossed into South Dakota. It is Not Larry’s first time in the state. South Dakota looks a lot like Big Beaver, Saskatchewan, and the Big Muddy Valley.
Not Larry said to me, “I feel like we just drove around your farm for a day and ended up in Sturgis.”
It is really kind of like that in appearance…
We walked across the highway to Full Throttle and got in for $15 each. We did not know what was inside, but there was Steel Panther on the stage! Freaking awesome! For $15. And not only that but we walked into the VIP section and ended up right in front of the stage where we drank beer, danced, laughed, and got drunk to Steel Panther. That band sure puts on a good show. They called a bunch of women from the crowd up to the stage to dance with them.
I wanted Not Larry to go up to dance but she did not feel like she was dressed for the part as most of the Sturgis Biker Rally girls on stage were scantly clad…
I was somewhere between and ‘Hey, this is alright!’ and ‘Whoa, I wish that a few of these women had on more clothes…’
Once Steel Panther finished, we caught a Kiss cover band. Not Larry and I painted each other’s faces with fake-Gene Simmons’ fake-blood and some biker referred to me as ‘Cowboy’ when I was ordering beer. It seemed like Not Larry and I were the only two people not wearing black or leather.
Not Larry and I had some pretty obvious and squeaky firkytoodle and progression in Vern just before lunch. People walking past to the toilets and the showers could not have missed what was going on there, and plenty of people would have walked past. However, they probably just thought we were typical dirty bikers. We were exactly that just a couple of months ago! Now we are vaners…at a biker rally.
Pat from the Dragpipe Saloon was having a free luau, so we lined up for a really great lunch and met some nice people. Everyone at the Sturgis Bike Rally is so polite. If Not Larry and I arrive in a place and there is only one bar stool, someone will get up from their own stool to make room so that the both her and I can sit together. It has happened time and time again since we arrived.
We headed into the town of Sturgis after lunch. The Sturgis Biker Rally is pretty cool. No one is wearing helmet on a bike…anywhere. The plastic porta-potties are clean. Not Larry said it seemed peculiar this morning when she was in the shower and all the rough biker chicks who had been sleeping in tents, were in the shower room with hair-straighteners and make-up, making themselves pretty. Hair-straighteners and Harley’s is a very contrasting image to me. That actually sounds like a female biker band album name…
In the actual town of Sturgis it is incredibly busy. There are more leather shops than you could even expect, and if you have thought about Sturgis for a moment, you have probably considered that there would be plenty of leather kiosks. Well, I can say with certainty that there are even more than you have even considered. The Sturgis Bike Rally is all about music and there are bands in every bar and on stages on ever street. If you love leather and music as well as propaganda for god and guns, the Sturgis Biker Rally will cover a lot of ground for you!
We found a man named ‘Badger’ Bob who runs a shop called Howling Helmets. Bob makes crazy things out of fur, and that includes helmets. He had helmets with rabbits on them or with foxes on them. Some of the helmets are designed with multiple animals, like a jackalope. Some helmets have huge ram horns or bull horns. Some have an animal like a fox taxidermied to them. The helmets are incredible and very creative. There was a bear hide hanging up for $175 that I wanted to buy but them we noticed that he had coyote skin caps with the whole coyote hanging down the back, tail-inclusive, for $200. I had to have one and it was so hot putting it on, but it is the most elaborate fur hat I have ever seen in my life. And Not Larry was determined to make dang sure I bought one for myself!
Most of the afternoon was spent shopping around and looking at the amazing leather-work. Then, in the evening we went to the Loud American bar to watch a band called Dirty Word. The guitar player in the band is a guy named Brady Paulson. I had never met him before but when I was in university in Regina, his brother Benny stayed at my place with Clair and Rhett Fitzpatrick’s who were all were rodeoing at Agribition. I remembered having a party at my house, where his brother played guitar and sang all night. Clair wrote to tell me that his old bandmate, Brady, was playing at the Sturgis Biker Rally, so Not Larry and I went to track him down and meet him. It was a great thing that Clair had told me about his friend, not only because it was great to meet him, but because it brought us to the best band we got to hear in Sturgis. It was actually more fun to watch Dirty Word than it was to Steel Panther.
I was wearing my gray Mexican cowboy shirt and a cowboy hat. Women were telling Not Larry how cute I was all through the night, saying I looked just like, “Woody, the doll.” It was nice to hear that I am usually the one recieveing compliments about Not Larry. A woman even asked Not Larry if she could get a photograph with me as the band was playing. Then, sometime early in Brady’s band’s two-hour set, suddenly a woman was standing directly in front of me. I looked up at her and it was Regina Kossatz from Bengough! I knew she was down there, but there are thousands of people around and it was hard to find a way to meet up. I jumped from my chair and picked her up. It was so great to see her. She told me, “I just came in to use the bathroom. I saw you and thought to myself, ‘I know that profile.’” Her husband Bill came to find us a moment later.
Regina and Bill stayed with us for the rest of Brady’s set and partied with us. It was a blast as we were dancing and having so much fun. Regina met Not Larry and told her that she loves what we are doing. She said that she really enjoys following along and likes the posts where Not Larry is mad at me for something. Regina was the pretty librarian at my elementary school, and it was really nice for me to have her meet Not Larry. I could see how much she was enjoying Not Larry and I as we drank beer, smoked cigars, danced and screamed song lyrics at each other that the band was playing like “You Oughta Know.” I could see Regina laughing and taking videos of us!
Brady’s band was the headliner. We danced hard in front of the stage, rocking out for him. I went to get him after the show and brought him to meet my friends. Bill and Regina decided to head off, so Not Larry and I took Brady out for a beer in another bar that was quieter as I did not want him to have to yell to talk to us as his singing voice is starting to strain as that was their seventh show in seven nights and they have two shows left. We hung out, snorted sniffing-snuff and chatted about life and about the Fitzpatrick’s. He was such a cool guy to meet.
When all of the bars closed and Brady headed home, Not Larry and I went to Vern, where we had parked on the street in a residential area, and made it shake!
It was hot when Not Larry and I woke up in Vern at about 09:00. We needed the toilet as the porta-potty that we have inside of Vern would not do for the job we both deemed necessary. We were in a panic to get to a toilet! After we were able to calm down, we went back to see Badger Bob as Not Larry had decided she needed a coyote winter hat as well. Now, we have matching hats, and she was unsure about that, but when you can find something like a full coyote hat for $200, you need to take advantage of the situation. When we saw the same hats in the Yukon they were $1,200. Those hats will drive us nuts this winter because we will not be able to keep people from touching them and asking to wear them, but there is just no cooler hat on the planet that I have ever seen. Not Larry put hers on top of her cowboy hat to wear as she walked around after. Essentially, she had a cowboy hat and a full coyote hanging off of her head. She looked awesome. However, Sturgis is so bizarre and things are so crazy that it hardly attracted attention.
We got in Vern and started heading north. There are bikes everywhere. Not Larry said, “They are like ants. They are just everywhere. On every corner. On every road.” There are bikes on the other side of every hill, everywhere you drive in South Dakota right now. There is a constant roar in your ears as a bike or a gang of bikes rip past. I sure am glad we came down to the Sturgis Biker rally. I would like to do ten days of it like so many take the time for. It is a freaking blast! Go and do it next year!