Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Vision Quest / Epic Sturgis Loop 2012

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Travelogue. Epic Sturgis Loop 2012, aka Vision Quest. Mission: To boldly go where the free spirit and warrior heart of my steely steed will take me. From Alexandria west on Route 50 via KC to Alamosa, then north via Rocky Mtn Nat'l Park and Denver to Sturgis, then back east to Alexandria via Madison, Milwaukee, South Bend, and Cleveland. Avoid highways and tolls.
Home / Start (Day 0): A trip of 14 days and 5K miles begins with the first throttle roll…
Day 1: Ended at the border of WV, OH, and KY. It took all day to wind my way through WV.
Day 2: Tied one end of my hammock off on the luggage rack and camped on the lawn of the Econo Lodge. That's my version of "Super" Econo Lodge! 
Day 3: Spent the day riding in and around Kansas City with Joy.
Day 4-6: Ride across Kansas was an opressively hot, windy, dusty, and smelly challenge. The 110 deg temps were rough enough, but the traffic, feedlots, and rendering works really cured me of my fascination with Route 50. Rested up at Mom & Dad’s in Alamosa for a couple nights. Celebrated my one year remission anniversary by hitting 20K miles on my bike! Rumor has it that Hagen Daz ice cream may also have been involved.
Day 7: Beautiful ride up 285 to Littleton, where I enjoyed the Blue Star Blues Fest featuring Tab Benoit. Visited Jane and met new friends Jeff and Patty.
Day 8 (Loveland): Lunch with Uncle Bob and Aunt Linda (Mom's side) and Cousin Brian (Dad's side).
Day 8-10: Camped 3 nights at the Broken Spoke near Bear Butte just outside of Sturgis. Rode to Devil's Tower, up Spearfish Canyon, on the Needles Highway to Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse monument. Saw high school friends Jeff and Pam, new biker buddy Warren, and Big Bike Productions honcho Keith.
Day 11: Made it to Sioux Falls after a hot and windy day across SD. Oddly, I suffered more heat- and wind-related damage riding east in SD than I did riding west in KS. Applied sunscreen and lip balm at every stop and still got roasted. Opted for a hotel in Sioux Falls, but failed to notice all the construction equipment staged nearby. Woke up to the familiar sound of a pile driving hammer.
Day 12: Made it through Madison to Lake Mills for a very enjoyable evening with BeerPal friends PfoxyJohn. HeyBeerMan, and Slim_Jim. John's sister Diane introduced me to Margot.
Day 13 (Milwaukee): Home of the Harley-Davidson Museum. Next year 2013 marks 110 years of continuous Motor Company production. I am already planning to attend both anniversary parties!
Day 13 (Chicago) Visited Kate and took the time to reacquaint myself with the Magnificent Mile.
Day 13 (South Bend) Visited Notre Dame in the rain.
Day 13: Stopped for rest well short of the goal (Cleveland). The rain slowed and disoriented me. Decided to  bite the bullet and take the highways and toll roads the rest of the way home.
Home / End (Day 14): Covered 16 states and 5004.2 miles in 2 weeks, and boy, is my throttle hand tired!