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Bandit’s Ride Back from 2016 Sturgis, 76th Edition

Bandit’s Ride Back from 2016 Sturgis, 76th Edition

Bandit's Ride 2016 Sturgis - Our man Bandit heads to Sturgis each year to get a good 2-wheel ride in and meet up with his Hamster buddies. Rumors abound. They are all millionaires ... they all own helicopters (for Mount Rushmore flybys) ... they use $100 bills to scrape the bugs from their leathers --- I know this is a blatant lie, Bandit uses a $20.
    Bandit sent this over, so I posted up on the website for your entertainment. He sent of the story and a few select pictures. - Dr. Tequila
Sturgis this year was a blur of neon, activities, and traffic. According to the experts, numbers were significantly down from last year as expected, but it was still a flurry of activities, events, entertainment, new model launches, girls, bands, you name it. Sturgis became the biker’s Disneyland--the showcase of the V-Twin industry and the focal point for some of the best riding in the world.
    Oh... Have you ever seen the Hamster parade? The Hamster Parade down Main Street in Sturgis, South Dakota, stops all activity. For a moment, T-shirt vendors relax, conversations cease and scantily clad ladies turn their attention from the sidewalk to the titillating sight of 100 custom American motorcycles-each piloted by a yellow-shirted member of the mythical Hamsters Motorcycle Club... Rodents in yellow! - Dr. Tequila
I’ve been involved in the Black Hills Rally since about 1979 when I sent Michael Lichter to cover it for Easyriders. According to some, 12,000 partied around the area and in City Park and lit the Porto-Potties on fire in the middle of the night. Imagine the smell. The next year they closed the park, but 24,000 hauled ass to South Dakota to check the action. DEADWOOD, BABY! - A couple of years ago, I discovered my private Nirvana for the Sturgis event, Deadwood. A brother moved into the mining town 20 years ago to build a lodge for the notorious Hamsters in Spearfish and never left. This year, we rolled to Deadwood, set up camp, and made a quick list of activities we could hit in a couple of days, then cut a dusty trail for the coast. We clamored through one party Saturday night. The next morning, we jammed to the Chip for Mariyln Stemps' Flying Piston's Builder Breakfast and then FXR Show, expanded to accept Dynas. The Flying Piston is an organization that produces charitable events to assist in raising awareness and funds for non-profits and individuals in the biker community. Their most recent project includes American craftsman showcasing their talents combined with a silent auction to build awareness for the charity. They work with our sponsors to integrate their participation with cause marketing... We rolled downtown to 2Wheelers, and I found a patch sewing machine, where I had my 5-Ball racing patch sewn on my 5-Ball Pit Crew Vest. The plans called for making the Michael Lichter exhibit party in the early evening. We had to wait six hours in the blazing sun. We gave in and rolled back to Deadwood, drank whiskey and then the hail came, and Roland rode off the stage. We called it a night. Bandit's Ride 2016 Sturgis A classic Hamster FXR Low & Sleek The next day was all Hamsters, with mandatory meetings, drinks and the silent auction, which raised $285,000 for the Rapid City Children’s Hospital. It’s too bad a chunk can’t go to the motorcycle industry, a Hamster retirement fund, or whiskey. I’m kidding; some definitely goes to whiskey. The next morning, we cut a dusty trail. This chapter will contain a couple of sidebars, one from our Deadwood host, one the most talented individuals I’ve ever met. When it comes to buildings, Adrian, who was once a male model in Europe can do and created anything. Don’t ask me. He’s just another grubby biker now meandering from one building project to another with an ever-present beer in one hand and a cigar in the other. THE OUTLAW ADRIAN SIDEBAR:
    So, two dudes walk into a bar, actually they rolled up to my house on Lincoln Street in Deadwood, which leads directly to Wild Bill’s graveyard, boot hill at the top of the slanted cobblestone lane. It’s rally 2016. One was on a ’14 Indian looking like a hot rat/rod a painter was given to ply his craft on. Flat silver rubbed down to the primer at normal wear and tear spots on the sheet metal and tank, orange 5-Ball racing logos against flat black fishtail capped pipes, no fairing but a black Bandit’s Bedroll strapped over the nacelle to take its place and keep the bugs, wind and rain pushing over Bandit. “Mike, how was the ride?” I asked. “Great! We tore up the tarmac but for all the roadwork stretches where it turned to oil and gravel. Not sure if the front and bottom of my ride is black anymore.” I’m thinking Bandit’s bike could only get more patina from that shit. Before the big dude got off his Indian, I squeezed my thumb and fingers around his neck and collarbone. “You’re in my digs, behave yourself.” I had to do that. He’s about 6’6” and good 5 inches taller than me. I met him at one of the early Love Rides from Glendale, California to the Easyriders Ranch. He did the same to me back in ’89. “Behave yourself, Adrian,” he said. At the time I rode a 100-point ’59 Panhead with red primer showing through the original tank paint at all the normal wear and tear places. It was the real deal. We’ve been bros ever since. A brother mentioned the code at a sunbaked party,“I can’t stand Sturgis, but the ride out is everything." The ride, yes the ride. As we pulled out onto the turn of the century street leading to downtown Deadwood I had 1430 miles on my trip gauge. I scrambled through various conversations with guys I only see a couple of times a year in Sturgis or at the V-Twin Expo in Cincinnati in February, my two mandatory runs. At one time I hit events almost every other weekend.
bandit-my-travel-luggage-consisted-of-one-bandits-bedroll-a-viking-tank-bag-and-for-hot-days-i-had-a-ballistic-nylon-5-ball-leather-pit-crew-vest-perfect My travel luggage consisted of one Bandit's Bedroll, a Viking tank bag, and for hot days I had a ballistic nylon 5-Ball Leather Pit Crew vest. Perfect! I MET THE LAW & I WON - These are some of the best roads winding along creeks and through green valleys, except just outside of Ten Sheep I jammed to pass a slow moving RV. As I rounded the curve at 90 mph I came face to face with the law. He was coming the other direction and immediately lit up his shit. I didn’t blink but pulled over as soon as I could. Mike kept riding for a half mile, and then he ducked under a tree with his street glide and watched the action. I thought I had a broken line clearance during my high-speed maneuver on the Indian. “You can’t pass on a bridge,” the short fireplug cop said briskly. “I thought I had a broken line,” I mutter, but his demeanor immediately changed. He didn’t want to debate the issue, or I was going to feel his jurisdictional pain with a citation. “Mums the word,” I thought. “I just wanted to warn you,” the cop said and took my documents, which I didn’t have much. I bought the bike in South Carolina, but had no SC registration or papers. I held a wadded, funky trip pass for California, which I tried to explain to the officer. He looked at me as if I was nuts, or California was nuts. He had it right on both accounts. He ran my papers through a multitude of terrorist watch data banks and cut me loose. Bob McKay said in the saloon, “You’ll never hit a deer twice.” I thought about that statement all the way home. Fortunately, I made it. It must be true. We jumped on the 90 and rolled east toward Wyoming and Buffalo, where we would dive off the interstate and start our trek to Worland on the old Ten Sheep Highway. Bandit's Ride 2016 Sturgis We rolled into a narrow canyon with curvy roads and slow switchbacks. At one almost 220 degree hairpin curve, a deer ran in front of Mike. His ABS system took him from 35 mph to zip in no time without loss of control. The doe escaped, while Mike’s heart attempted to depart his chest and the Street Glide’s loosey-goosey rear steer caused his eyes to blow up like a man with his finger in a 220-volt socket. We actually took the road where I hit a deer in 2011 on a Buell and ended up in the hospital for four days. I tried to angle on the spot where it happened. Blistering hot in Woreland in the Big Horn Basin, a farming town where my Wyoming girl runs a hair salon. I strolled into her tidy salon and demanded service while eyeing the massage table. I could have disrobed and crawled on that puppy for a week. The smiling staff recommended a yellow building diner for a healthy lunch, Goodies. We drove up and down Highway 433 junction several times before spotting the pastel yellow and sheik gray building with the name embossed in concrete. It was impossible to read in the noonday sun, but we found it. A stark little joint with a lack of country-style furnishings, someone was trying to be hip and minimalist, but the menu was amazing and I had a wild salad, but only ate half of it. It’s all about portions. Worland is a hub for business in the Big Horn Basin. Agriculture and oil/ gas drilling supplement the economy of Worland. Sugar beets are the top agricultural product of the area. Top employers in Worland include Admiral Beverage, Wyoming Sugar Company, Crown Cork & Seal, and Miller Coors. We packed up and cut a dusty trail out of town alongside the winding Big Horn River toward Thermopolis. This route was very similar to last years home trek, except I took a detour to Sun Valley, Idaho to reach the Hamster clan heading into the Badlands. I love the winding road along the Big Horn to the Boysen Reservoir. Bandit's Ride 2016 Sturgis The Viking tank bag was amazing. It held my maps and notes, so I could see them. Inside, it held my camera, trail mix stash, ditty bag, bullshit rainsuit, and miscellaneous trinkets. The Viking tank bag was amazing. It held my maps and notes, so I could see them. Inside, it held my camera, trail mix stash, ditty bag, bullshit Boysen Reservoir is a reservoir formed by Boysen Dam, an earth-fill dam on the Wind River in the central part of Wyoming. It is near the town of Shoshoni in Fremont County. The dam was constructed between 1947 and 1952 at the mouth of Wind River Canyon, just upstream from a previous dam that had been built by Asmus Boysen in 1908 on land he had leased from the Shoshone and Arapaho tribes. The dam and much of the reservoir are physically located on the Wind River Indian Reservation. As a result of construction of the dam, a major railroad track that connected Billings, Montana with Casper, Wyoming would be flooded. A new track would be laid. This new track starts near the new dam where an 11/3-mile tunnel carries the tracks under the dam, under parts of the lake and around the edges of the reservoir. Our destination for the night was planned to be in Dubois, since last year, I stopped at the Roomers Motel in Riverton. I wish I had kept rolling to Dubois, sort of a small mountain town leading into the Rocky Mountains and Jackson Hole. It worked out perfectly. The weather couldn’t have been better and we wove through the hillsides into Dubois. Mike complained that the Street Glide seat was too low, the floorboards were too high, but the bars were just right, the controls were perfect, and the cruise control worked like a champ. We almost peeled through the log cabin era town and then quickly pulled onto a gravel road leading to a dozen log cabins facing a grassy park and the main drag. The sun set as we entered the log cabin office and looked at all the touristy shit on the walls. The woman behind the counter talked her husband out of his coal mine job for the crisp air of Dubois. “I wanted us to buy a B&B,” she said grinning from ear to ear. Maybe it was the wine. “But we didn’t have the down payment, so we got this job.” Her husband, a tall drink of water, also held a tall drink of something and grinned. "In Dubois (we say “Dew-boys”), you feel like you’re wonderfully in the middle of nowhere." I looked through a cabin window behind the log counter and saw the small dilapidated manager’s residence surrounded by a junkyard of washers and dryers. Something seemed odd, but we paid for a cabin and asked for dinner recommendations. Dinner was terrific. The waitress wasn’t bad and on the way back we roamed through a couple of galleries, including Gary J. Keimig’s western art, and I found a old western painting of a cowpoke who was the spitting image of Micah McCloskey, a member of the Uglies MC and a bike builder, Bonneville racer and a member of the Easyriders Streamliner team when we held the motorcycle record at 321 mph for 16 years. After the run home, I ordered the painting and had it shipped to Micah’s home. By the time we reached our cabin two guests were passed out on the wooden bench in front of their cabin, and the management was long gone. We were beginning to run through long stretches of gravel roads, which Mike wasn’t enjoying. Handling issues were enhanced on oiled roads sporting coats of gravel, the poor man’s road repair. It’s a wonder the EPA hadn’t force them to use anything but a petroleum product. My shifter began to stick with in the constant dust, and I heard a chirping sound from somewhere, but I kept rolling. Our plan the next morning called for waiting out the morning chill then cutting a really dusty trail toward Jackson Hole for breakfast. Mike, fed up with handling issues wanted to find Jackson Hole Harley-Davidson for service help. Roaming through the green hillsides, we spotted two dead dear and numerous deer warning signs. Four-legged treachery afoot, we blasted into Jackson Hole and found the dealership sans a service department. Covered in dust, the girl at the counter asked me if I needed anything. “Not a thing,” I said, “an Indian is chasing me across the country. Where’s a good breakfast joint?” She smiled, not understanding what I said about the Indian, and pointed us in the direction of an excellent, massive, breakfast joint in a hotel complex on highway leading us out of town. Next stop Idaho. Mike discussed the next dealership. The handling issues intensified and the gravel on the roads increased. We followed a magnificent meandering broad curved road along the Snake River past the Palisades Reservoir into Swan Valley and toward another Harley dealer in Idaho Falls, where we would snatch the dreaded 15 Interstate toward Twin Falls. As we rolled onto the 15, Mike indicated to keep going SW on the interstate toward Twin Falls and highway 93 into Nevada. What is it about interstates? Suddenly you’re flying along at 80 plus mph. My beanie helmet rattled, and I wished I had donned earplugs. The Indian didn’t bat an eye. If I put my gloved hand on the tank, I felt no vibration, but I was faced with passing one truck after another. I have another bullshit road code. The fast lane is for passing, so I pass a truck and pull over for the speeding bastards. But then another truck shows up. There are two positive aspects to my maneuvers. One, it prevents boredom. I’m constantly changing lanes. Two, it keeps me from holding up traffic or speeding close to a ticket by increasing my speed to stay way out from of the speeders in the fast lane. There was a time when no one passed me. I was brutal. Bandit's Ride 2016 Sturgis A redhead always keeps me moving... I like to drop into the number two lane, set the cruise control or throttle for just slightly over the speed limit and putt, but that’s not the case anymore, there’s always another truck. This is why I like small highways. I like to enjoy the scenery and not be constantly focused on the next truck and my buffeting helmet. We sliced through 161 miles of interstate to reach 93 south, basically to the dreaded Wells, Nevada another town crumbling to dust. I remember rolling into a Wells truck stop last year on fumes. I was seriously low on fuel and didn’t know how large the Indian reserve was. I’ve had petcock bikes with a reserve capable of less than 10 miles. Had me sitting tightly on the edge of my seat. bandit-the-only-indian-issue-i-had-was-a-sorta-loose-head-shield-clamp-i-tightened-it-im-going-to-write-to-the-president-of-the-company-and-give-him-what-forThe only Indian issue I had was a sorta loose head shield clamp. I tightened it. I'm going to write to the president of the company and give him what for... The frugal Mike immediately pointed out the Number 6 motel for $54.00. “We’ve got to do better,” I said and we crossed the tracks and road construction, meandering through another town on the brink of extinction. Most businesses were closed and the faded dilapidated buildings turned to the color of cigarette ash. We found one open motel, but it smelled of crack addicts and addicted whores. I like prostitution and support it, but the connection to drugs is all wrong, hurtful, lacks progress, and is dangerous on several levels. We ended up at the dive Number 6 with a handful of other riders, including one trike rider. The room held two Queen beds, but no other space. Hell, I couldn’t get out of my bed without stepping on his. We ate dinner at the metallic truck stop, which wasn’t bad at all. Just 381 miles ahead to peel through to reach Vegas and our brother, Joe Zanelli at Rocky’s Restaurant on Maryland Blvd. The next morning, we rolled due south on 93 into Nevada toward Ely for Breakfast and gas. There was a cool Mexican joint in the center of town we frequented on our way to Wendover and Bonneville. They were closed, so we grabbed fast-food egg breakfast and peeled toward the Great Basin. We were rolling along enjoying the Ruby Mountains west of us, when a rider blew by us on a BMW as if we were parked. His bike was so smooth and quiet, it startled us. But we caught up with him at the next stopped construction zone. He was in trouble. He had slipped to the front of the line to check the status and they didn’t like that. Hell, I use to do it all the time and no one bothered. He came back and started to tell us the story. He flipped up his full-face darkened faceplate and started to talk to Mike. Suddenly the gray-bearded biker in a full black rain suit looked familiar. “Bill Reed,” I said. “Keith Ball,” Bill said. Bill was a Satan Slave in the ‘60s until they became Hells Angels in the mid ‘70s. He’ll never admit it, but he should be an icon. Finally, road construction let us through, but unlike all the crews before them, these over-weight broads holding stop signs sneered at us as we passed. Cops were lined up at the other end and pulled us over. They were after Bill. Another 20 miles closer to Ely and he peeled past us and waved. But we kept running into Bill in Ely, then in the Great Basin along the White River, past the Schell Creek Range, the rolling Egan Range, the Delamar Mountains into Alamo at a gas stop. It was hotter than a firecracker when we saw “Wild Bill from over the hill, never worked and never will,” for the last time. The greenery slipped behind us as we rolled into the Sheep Range and met with the Interstate freeway 15 once more and dropped into Vegas. At over 110 degrees, we pulled into the South Point casino hotel parking lot and grabbed a room, the coldest beer in the house and a magnificent dinner with Joe. The next day was like so many runs before, over one long desert pass after another leading into Los Angeles. We stopped in Victorville for gas and the first pancake breakfast I attempted during the run at Richie’s. It wasn’t bad, but they weren’t terrific either. At least when the plate arrived they were hot. Mike grabbed Highway 14 toward the San Fernando Valley, while I stayed on the 15 to the 210 into LA. bandit-5 Bandit's Ride 2016 Sturgis - My brother was right. The ride is everything. The cool sea air felt damn good as I escaped freeways to come to rest in the Port of Los Angeles.


Dr. Jack Tequila has two passions, motorcycles and tequila. He resides on a sailboat in the port city Wilmington, NC.From time to time, Dr. Jack will throw a few tidbits and observations our way.

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