June 7th: Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, WIND, motorcycles, rain,
It rained all night. It was raining when
I awoke. It was raining as I headed onto the freeway. It rained
harder once I was on the freeway. I thought to myself: "Damn,
it's coming down." Then it rained harder.
The wind was blowing all night. It was blowing
when I awoke. It was blowing as I headed onto the freeway.
I thought to myself: "Damn, it's windy." Then it blew so hard
I thought my little car would be discovered in a tree somewhere in Texas.
my long drive yesterday, I needed to cover just 141 miles to reach Rapid
City today. With no reason to hurry, I thought I'd drive through
the towns of Sundance and Sturgis
on the way.
I had the odd idea the Sundance Film Festival
was in Sundance (as the Cannes Film Festival is in Cannes and the San Francisco
Jazz Festival in San Francisco). As I drove through Sundance (in
the rain), I said to myself: "If they show movies here, they must use the
local gymnasium." There are no theatres in Sundance because there
is no festival in Sundance. The festival is in Utah - which is good,
because the rain would short out the projectors in Sundance.
year, 500,000 (yes, five hundred thousand) motorcyclists descend on the
town of Sturgis, South Dakota. This annual event leaves the town
a leather-queen's wet dream: leather stores, motorcycle shops, questionable
one with a dungeon), cheap food, sleazy image. Sturgis is Folsom
Street Fair without the questionable South of Market yuppies to complain
someone pissed on their BMW.
It was raining (see above) as I drove into Sturgis.
I located a diner where I'd be least likely to be beaten with a drive chain
and dragged behind a muffler-less chopper. (Actually, the people
of Sturgis are pretty nice and my waitress looked a fair bit like KD Lang.
That KD Lang has become a biker bitch in South Dakota might explain why
she hasn't produced any decent albums in recent memory...)
visiting the Sturgis
Motorcycle Museum (complete with bikes
dating back to the 1920s), I wandered over to the Harley
Davidson Dealership. I suppose there are all sorts of ways to
get attention in Sturgis, but it seems the best way to get attention at
the Harley dealership is to show up in a MINI. For twenty minutes
I gave the MINI sales speech to road hardened Harley riders who stared
through the windshield and inquired whether I might consider trading it
for a motorcycle. Some of the bikes offered in trade were tempting
but as the sky opened up once more, I renewed my appreciation of this little
(Picture a three hundred pound, six-foot-something,
Harley rider in leather and untrimmed beard asking where he might get a
MINI. Now picture him using it for grocery shopping. Such a
scene was suggested today in Sturgis.)
I am in Rapid City, South Dakota, with three new Harley-Davidson shirts
in my luggage. The clouds have begun to separate and I can see blue sky
over the hills. Tonight I will wander forth to see what nightlife
exists here. If you don't hear from me again, refer to the paragraph
above about the muffler-less chopper.
Tomorrow...1880s Railroad, Mount Rushmore (I'm
not kidding when I tell you the Republicans are attempting to add a face
to the mountain. Can you guess who?) and maybe a big cave...