Day 27 (Sturgis)

Miles Traveled: 291                                                                                                             Location: Custer, South Dakota

Least we forget: Don’t know why but the little 15 year old girl with a one year old has been with me most of the day. You can certainly argue the rightness or wrongness of the situation. The reality is that they are invisible for the most part because they don’t vote and because they don’t vote our elected officials at all echelons of government ignore them. These are the officials and executives that set the agendas and the budgets  for law enforcement, schools and social services. they are invisible until they come to the attention of social services or courts because of some missteps. These are normally drug related because they don’t have the skills or help to deal with the despondency and depression associated with being a teen age mother that has a 6th grade education for the most part and is the only caregiver for her child or children. This will as often as not lead to some form of self-medication and eventually run in with the law and as often as not prison for an average sentence of maybe 5 years at a cost of about $144,000 to the tax payer. However, lost in the shuffle is the baby that ends up be shuffled around through family or friends or shuffled around from one foster caregiver to another. All of which has a disastrous impact on the kid. This is not an easy problem to solve but we have a choice, to work on it or pay the bill down the road. This is a reality and someone needs to step up to the plate which at this stage of the game is being totally ignored.

The Gray Ghost gets a face lift:  Have been chasing around the northwest trying to get a fairing for the one broken in the accident in Seattle. Everyone kept telling us that there will be one in Sturges as all the vendors will be there with truckloads of parts. That is just what happened and I know why. There are motorcycle riders that come into biggest motorcycle rally in the world from all over the country and they ride. Accidents happen and motor cycles need work on them after traveling thousands of miles. Mine was not exception. There are still some parts to come in but got a new fairing as well as a windshield that was taller and better built than the old one. Well, the gray ghost has new tires and fairing is off to the races. She corners better and is so much more stable when hitting the high and totally unpredictable at times. Almost lost it a couple of times coming across the plains of Montana at highway speeds.

First impressions of Sturgest: Never in my life have I seen so many motorcycles much less seeing them converge at one point that is a town who only has a main street that is maybe a half a mile long. It seemed to me as if Jack Daniels bought every piece of wall space available to advertise and there was no shortage of women with the advertisement. Got to say it triggered a lot of memories but one in particular. For too many years I was a member of the Fleet Marine Force in the Pacific. 18 months of that time I was with Marine Barracks in Sasebo, Japan which is or was in the early 60’s a home port of sorts. Marine Barracks duty is a cross between guard and MP duty on a navy base. Well, when the fleet comes in, it is Katy bar the door. There is an electricity in the air of party time. However, as wild as the times may get, there is an underlying confidence that things really will not get out of hand because there is an internal rank structure that sort of keeps things in control. All of it is very clear because fleet sailors and marines are or were in uniforms. Well, I must have seen at least 1,000 riders converging on the town two days ahead of bike week. If I was to describe them, my overall evaluation would be the bikes were ridden by guys with an attitude and my sense was that they had the ability to get nasty. Then there were the women that rode with them were bodacious and knew they were bodacious and wanted everyone to know that there bodacious. Then there was something I have never seen and that was women with bikes that not only had attitude but were bodacious. To me, this had all the elements of a party without control. Did not see a cop in the town. Am so glad that I am camped out 70 miles from this party.

Wild and wooly weather in the wild and wooly west:  This morning we left Wyoming in shirt sleeves and could have done without them. Then about an hour out it got too but too cold and we stopped for our jackets. Then another couple of hours and we were back in shirt sleeves. We left Sturgis about 1500 in shirt sleeves within 30 minutes stopped to put on our jackets because it looked like big time rain. Now, this is big sky country and I mean big but big sky country. There was this big rain cloud developing but around the edges it was hot day time as usual. Could not get a camera shot of the cloud because of its size so had to settle with one shot of the edges. Well, fate would have it that we were headed into the base of the cloud if you will and it did rain. Yep, we got wet.

Lakes in the sky: Riding through Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota is like riding on the top of the earth. The vistas are mystical and enthralling. The lakes are the deepest and richest blue I have ever known. They appear at the strangest and most unexpected points. All too often I don’t have time to get my camera out of the pocket to snap a shot. However, this one I did and you will have to double click on the photo to get a sense of the beauty which no camera can catch.

Well, it is closing on midnight and this kid is ready for the sleeping bag. Know I wish each and everyone well.

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