Sturgis is only a few miles from Deadwood but light years apart. We come so the h-g can check out the motorcycle museum (which ranks 6.5/10 on the interest-ometer for me) but I do like the antique bikes.
|50th anniversary bike built for the museum, complete with gold plating|
|The Fat Boys and Softails converging on Sturgis are not just Harley Davidsons. If you have a passion for big bellied boys wearing bandanas over their long grey hair, then this is the place for you. We're here in June when the year round population is 6741. In August, the 10 day jamboree that is the Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally (held since 1938), sees numbers as high as 700,000 descend on the town.|
|Sturgis in August|
Driving the roads through the Black Hills of South Dakota it's easy to see the attraction for motorcyclists. Beautiful scenery is probably second on their list considerations after great roads with tight corners, multiple tunnels, and climbs and descents that make your ears pop.
|The famous pigtail corners turning over themselves|
Among the drives we take (in our rental car) over our days in Rapid City we love the Iron Mountain road, famous for its pigtail corners that turn over or under themselves, and the Needles Highway with its tight tunnels and sky piercing scenery.
|Eye of the Needle tunnel|
And best of all for me, the Wildlife Loop where we get what we came for - the range where the wild buffalo roam! As it's Spring there are calves jumping around just like regular baby animals. The cuteness quotient exceeds kitten videos.
|Not quite as cute|
Black Hills is the direct translation of Paha Sapa, the name given to the hills by the native Lakota tribe. The Ponderosa pines that cover the hills look black from a distance but up close are, of course, green. Considerable controversy continues to surround the US Government appropriation of the territory in 1877 and the Lakota have filed suit against the Government. Of course it was the discovery of gold in them thar hills that sparked settlement in direct contravention of the Laramie Treaty. As with most of the world, white guys with guns trump (pun appropriate and intended) brown people with bows and arrows/didgeridoos/taiaha/wide smiles.
All that set aside, as a tourist the Black Hills are not exactly on the main trunk line. Most people would come for Mt Rushmore which, it must be said, is stunning. But really the beauty is in the hills themselves.
And hey! You bandana wearers. Get a haircut and for God's sake buy a helmet.