Friday, August 8, 2008

Buy A Yacht With A Flag Sayin' Chillin' The Most

Danielle and I left the Badlands and headed to Mt. Rushmore. The mountain itself and the faces on it are smaller than we thought they would be. What impressed us more than the landmark was the number of Harley Davidsons in the area. Every parking spot in the town was taken up by bikes and the roads were congested with them.

Through reading t-shirts and asking questions we realized we had accidentally arrived at the beginning of the Sturgis bike rally (the second biggest bike rally in the country). We’d only planned on staying in Keystone (the town Rushmore is in) for an hour or so, but we changed our plans and decided to spend the night in town. After checking out four or five motels we found a room for $100. All the prices were jacked up for the rally.

I bought an American flag bandanna and we went out to experience bikers after dark. Things weren’t as raucous as we’d hoped and we went back to our room relatively early.

The next day we went horseback riding in the Black Hills. It was my first time on a horse, which made our guide kinda nervous, but things went well. Cory the Cowboy told me the horse would sense I didn’t know what I was doing, and Cory was right. My horse wandered off the path to eat grass every chance he got. Felon, my horse, was trained by prisoners—I didn’t really feel comfortable kicking him.

Cory told us all about Sturgis. He’d only been once, but he knew all about it. Celebrities like Hulk Hogan, Kid Rock, the OC chopper guys, and Hue Heffner often show up. Cory also told us that women like to ride their bikes topless at Sturgis.

We didn’t realize it initially, but the Sturgis rally is actually in a town called Sturgis. The excess bikes end up in Keystone and Deadwood and the surrounding area. After talking with Cory, Danielle and I decided we had to go to the epicenter of Sturgis.

On the way to Sturgis we gambled a few bucks in Deadwood and visited the grave of Wild Bill Hickock.

That night (still wearing my American flag bandanna) we headed to Sturgis to see what 250,000 bikers are like after dark. Danielle bought a shirt with skulls on it and we fit right in with everyone else. My minivan looked a little funny parked amongst a sea of bikes, but no one said anything. And we actually saw a good number of bikers wearing fanny packs, but most of them were Harley Davidson brand fanny packs and didn’t have twin water bottles tucked into them.

We went to a concert where Rachael Stacy (an E.G. Dailey Better Off Dead lookalike) was performing. People danced in the sand in front of the stage. Most of the dancers were middle-aged women wearing leather chaps with thongs underneath. I couldn’t help wondering how many kids each of them had at home.

We only saw one topless woman riding a bike. Thanks a lot, Cory.

The next day we drove to my reading in Bismarck. Ann Mayher, the head of the friends of the library, set everything up. She and her husband took us to a reproduction of Colonel Custer’s house before the reading. The tour guide (who was in character for the Custer era) asked if any of us played the piano. Danielle nudged me and I raised my hand. He asked me to play something. I banged out the first few measures of Norwegian Concerto, but the piano was incredibly out of tune and it sounded like garbage. The guide then picked up a well-tuned violin and played a few tunes. It was a rotten trick.

The reading went well. 15 people showed up and I sold nine books—not a huge crowd, but I think it’s the best ratio of people to sales that I’ve had all tour (other than the release party composed of friends and family).

I have a reading at Darling Hall in Milwaukee tonight and I have to go help set up so I’m gonna cut this kinda short.


liljames said...

Nice picture. Your noble spirit embiggens the smallest man.

Gina said...

Perfectly cromulent word.