Cool Bike Rides

Sturgis - Day 3 On

A multi-part series chronicling our Sturgis Bike Week experience! 

By: Ian Creswell

That's me at The Dungeon. See if you can find me if you make it there!
Christine enjoying a shake at Mustang Sally's in Deadwood!

This is the last of a multi-part series on our trip to Sturgis Bike Week. If the four different bike week locations I’ve been to, this is my favorite so far.

Well after the prior day’s exploits (154 or so miles in the saddle), the rest of the group was a little weary and didn’t want to log a ton of miles. We decided to head up to Deadwood to check out this historic little town.

Deadwood was established in 1876 during the Black Hills gold rush. Around 1875 a fellow named John B. Pearson found gold in a narrow canyon. The canyon was lined with a bunch of dead trees so it was nicknamed Deadwood Gulch. The name stuck and the history of Deadwood started.

This small mining town was host to some names you would recognize like old west legend Wild Bill Hickock. In fact Wild Bill died in this little town in 1876. A man known for never putting his back to the door did so, and was shot from behind while playing poker. Did you know that’s where the term Dead Man’s Hand comes from? The story has it that he had two pairs, aces and eights, the Dead Man’s Hand!

While Deadwood was a run down mess as recently as the 80’s, the 90’s brought a new era and revived this sleepy little town. Local business owners lobbied to legalize gambling and in 1989, were successful in getting  this through. The 90’s brought new growth to the town and it has become a great place to visit once again.

We got to walk the streets folks like Wild Bill and Calamity Jane once walked. It was really cool and they sure to play it all up for the folks in town. We wandered through downtown, getting our pictures done in a casket, picking up some trinkets to bring home (I love my shot glasses), and then had lunch at Mustang Sally’s. While there, I started pushing the group to make a run to Crazy Horse. This is something I really wanted to see and I wasn’t sure I’d ever make it back so…

Nobody wanted to log the miles. Well I can’t say nobody, Christine was in but her knee required surgery and was bugging her riding two up. I got everyone back to the campground and then TB offered to let me borrow his HD so Christine could ride my bike. We split up and off we went. The rest of the group headed into town for some fun and we set out in search of Crazy Horse.

We may have taken the ‘scenic’ route to get there but man was this cool. If you’ve not heard of this before, this is another sculpture carved into the side of a mountain. Now it’s still not a completed work but what’s done is simply amazing. I can’t get over how these folks are able to see what they want to carve and then are capable of executing it to such perfection.

Crazy Horse was a Lacota warrior that took up arms against the United States for trying to stave off the approaching white man. This is a memorial that was built in his honor. It began in 1948 on private land and progress continues today. The current sculpture is but a small part of the planned design. If it’s ever completed, it will be the second tallest at 563’ high, second only to the Statue of Unity.

When we pulled up to the parking area, you had a great view of the sculpture and it’s simply amazing. I was able to get some amazing photos with my camera. Thank GOD for the 30X optical zoom on that thing because it was like getting right up on the sculpture itself. On the property they have the Crazy Horse Memorial, a Visitor’s Center, and a really cool museum called The Indian Museum of North America and The Native American Educational and Cultural Center. There’s so much to see I’d suggest setting aside half a day just for this.

The museum is pretty amazing. They have all sorts of Native American art, artifacts, historical documents and so much more. Wandering around the place was really something else. I actually wish we’d spent a bit more time there and maybe taken the tour of the monument.

While we were there, we saw a group of military outside on the deck clearly taking a large, group tour. It was a really cool site. Visit their website for more information before you go. Just an FYI, it’s much less expensive to visit on a motorcycle than in a car. It’s only $7 per person on a bike!

After our visit to Crazy Horse, we headed on back to camp to find a little something special. Our sister-in-law, Kim, being the smart ass she is, took one of Christine’s bras off of the clothes line and hung it up on the corner of the EZ up we had set up over our picnic table. I have a beautiful picture of the sun setting behind it! See if you can find it in our photos…

We changed up and jumped on Da Bus and headed back into town. By the way, when you’re on Da Bus, they have a cooler up front and you can buy beer and other cocktails on your way into town and they are CHEAP! Just don’t buy more than you can drink because they can’t leave the bus.

Now this is where the details of what happened when start to get a little fuzzy! Once we got to town we met up with the rest of the group and started to wander downtown and did a little bar hopping along the way. There are some really fun places to visit there! The Dungeon is really cool, it’s a small, underground bar on the strip where the bartender will give you a sharpie and let you sign the wall or ceiling or anywhere else you can find space. If you go, see if you can find my signing from 2015, it’s on the ceiling somewhere! Good luck!

We started at One Eyed Jack’s for a drink. This place is a blast. It’s HUGE and has several bars spread out in multiple rooms throughout the building. The ladies and gentlemen (mostly ladies) working the bars all bring their own unique flair to the job in an attempt to draw you in. We started out in a moderately quiet corner where we enjoyed a drink or two and met some fun people. For those that know me well, I’m a boot guy! A nice pair of black boots on a woman just rocks. A couple walked in and the wife/girlfriend was sporting a really nice pair of boots. I asked her guy if I could get a picture with her and made it clear I wasn’t asking for her to take anything off. Just get me a picture with those damned boots! They laughed and Christine broke out the camera and we had some fun with it.

From there we set out and bounced around from place to place. The Dungeon, The Loud American, Busted Knuckle, EZ Rides and so many other cool places. I kept texting two of our brethren up from Colorado telling them where we were so they could meet up. All I would get was ‘OK’ and they never showed up. Finally, while at one place or another, I got a different response. I receive a picture of a beautiful bartender wearing a really sexy getup. I asked where they were and off we went!

Now it’s funny, we had multiple women with us and if you’re one yourself and haven’t been to a place like this (it’s not for everyone, just saying), you’re probably asking yourself ‘why would the girls even want to be there?’ The two girls working that back bar were just straight up entertaining, that’s why. They were fun, had great personalities, kept what clothes they did have on, well, on and just made for a great night. You aren’t successful doing this if you aren’t entertaining and they are certainly that.

Now a little reminder for you guys out there, paying big money for the body shots and all of that. These ladies are professionals and no, they aren’t interested in coming home with you! Just to be clear!

Well the rest of the week involved some short rides, more wandering downtown, and a lot of live music. Shoot, we even ran into a local couple (from Western, MA) at EZ Riders! How wild is that?

The people watching is something else. If you’re into that, you don’t need a bike, just get a room, find a bar overlooking the strip and sit all afternoon and enjoy!

My one regret from that trip, and one of the reasons I’m considering going back, was the fact that I only logged 300-400 miles on my bike our time there. Next time, and God willing there will be a next time, I’m going to log a whole lot more than that. I didn’t see Devil’s Tower, I missed Jackyl (I know, but I have to see them), and didn’t get to ride so many cool areas out there. I still haven’t seen a ram!

If you’re up for a wild time, want to see some amazing landscape on some amazing riding roads, add Sturgis to your bucket list too. If I had it to do again, I’d probably get in a few days early so I had some time to ride the region with less bodies around and then hang out for the party. Even if you don’t want to hit it during bike week, get on out there. Many of the venues will be closed but the region is rich in history and offers such a unique experience. Maybe next time I go I’ll see you there!