On my way to Sturgis I picked up a nail in my tire on I90 riding from Mitchell, SD after the Klock Werks Pre-Sturgis Party. Steve and I had opted to ride from Mitchell with Kevin Bean're the morning after the party, having Steve leading the ride. Kevin followed me and we both goofed around a bit along the way. I passed the time taking in the scenery, shooting photos of packs of riders heading to the Rally, and making a few dirty gestures with Kevin, both of us laughing most of the way. Steve is a pretty focused and serious rider, so it was fun to have another joker to goof off with.
But things became serious quickly when my bike started to wobble.
Since Steve was leading, he didn't notice until we had moved into the right lane. My entire ride became unresponsive and unpredictable and I feared pushing too hard into the shoulder, opting to ease it as gently as possible.
In the mirror, I saw the large, orange semi heading towards me, so I leaned my fully-loaded V Star over as quickly and gently as I could without losing control.
The Sturgis Buffalo Chip from folks waiting on him to arrive. With a call to AAA, a tow truck came 2 1/2 hours later. Steve loaded my bike on the truck and I sent him ahead to check into our cabin at the Sturgis RV Park.
I arrived at Rosco's Motorcycle & ATV in Rapid City about an hour later. Now nearly 4 hours behind schedule I was grumpy, tired and hungry. The guys at Rosco's not only fixed my tire in a flash, they tightened my clutch lever and front brake, lubed up a number of items, tightened some loose nuts, and lubed my sticky back brake lever and kickstand.
I really appreciated the kind service and exceptional generosity.
This all resulted into me riding from Rapid City and arriving to Sturgis on my own. There was something magical about the moment, riding my own motorcycle, overcoming adversities, and reaching the Rally of the Pilgrims at the Motorcycle Mecca on my own two wheels.
The Rally was unsettling, amazing, boisterous, exciting, dramatic and exhausting. I'm glad I attended for many, many reason. For now, I'm glad it's over. It became overwhelming as time wore on. The quiet of our hotel in Spearfish is refreshing and peaceful.
Now I know why they only have it once a year.