Editor’s Note:What appears below is a guest blog post from veteran biker Jeff Maddox, who regularly holds court over at the JMAdog blog.
Sturgis 2012 – wow, what a trip to make and memories to share! Coming home from this amazing rally, I had time to reflect on exactly the randomness of it all. Heading to Sturgis, as usual, there is excitement and anticipation of a long ride mixed with a few butterflies of what might happen along the way. I love the ride there and back as you meet so many people heading in the same direction and all of us are all going to share our love of motorcycles and everything that the Sturgis Rally represents. If you have been, I think you know what I mean. There are only a few places on earth where this happens at this scale. The closer you get, the more you can feel the energy.
One thing I notice when traveling, you begin to meet up with the same people when stopping for gas and food. At first there is small talk or a simple nod of the head. Averaging in the stops needed for a gas fill-up or giving the rear end a break, you start to become familiar with the folks at each stop. This is a good thing as I believe you can’t have too many friends. On a road trip like this we all kind of look out for each other.
There is also randomness involved in rides like this. Not necessarily being able to calculate the miles per gallon – I get that. Here is an example of the randomness I refer to. Upon arriving in Sturgis, we went to park on Main Street in the sea of motorcycles, and of all the places to pick, we land right next to some people we know – face to face. After a handshake and a few exchanges about the trip and the rally, we head in different directions. Here we are, intermixed with thousands of people, thousands of motorcycles and we park next to friends.
In 2007, we camped next to some guys from Russia. Yes, Russia. Four guys, one motorcycle and a van. One had recently moved to the United States and he owned the bike and van. The others flew over to join him in attending the rally. They were waiting for one friend to land in California who was renting a bike to ride to South Dakota. Now, I think it’s a big adventure for me to ride to Sturgis and I live about 750 miles from there. Can you imagine what it would be like to travel that far and have to take turns riding a motorcycle? That’s an adventure! But every year since then, I have seen these guys and in the last 15 rallies they haven’t missed a one. Is it randomness running into these guys every year? I’m not sure, but it is definitely fun!
On one particular day while eating a hamburger downtown, a couple sat down at our table to join us. They were a very nice couple from Minnesota and we thoroughly enjoyed the conversation. They were sharing a hot dog wrapped with bacon and of course I love bacon! When finished, we shook hands and I made the comment “I guess we’ll see you tomorrow!” Guess what? We did! Random? Probably…
As we sit here thinking about the trip and making plans for the next one, I can’t help but wonder are the people who crossed my path thinking the same thing? Are they asking themselves “who were those amazing people we met from the small town in Kansas and will we ever see them again?” I doubt it. But in the end I do hope I see them again. The destination is one thing, but it’s the people that make each ride unique. So in your travels take the time to have a hot dog wrapped in bacon with your new friends. In my case the odds of seeing them again are pretty good!