Black Hills RoadRun
Sept 7 - 9 2005
By Mike (Kiwi) Tomas
Coming off a pretty hectic
show I was looking forward to the Black Hills SD road run and riding with friends from all across the world. The some what unknown after math of the new Orleans hurricane was taking effect with fuel prices sky rocketing and gas stations running out of fuel that many of us really wondered what may lie ahead of us just trying to get to Sturgis. As it turned out we did not experience any fuel shortages heading west and the run up in fuel costs weren’t going to dampen anybody’s fun. 3 weeks earlier Carolyn, Ross and I were in Sturgis for the Sturgis 2005 rally with about 400,000 other motorcyclists. The AMCA Sturgis road run was quite the contrast from a few weeks earlier. It is back to a sleepy little country town. Davenport
The road run was based in Sturgis and for those not familiar with the Black Hills, it is at the western side of SD and very close to the
state line. It is very rich in Indian and American history and it is the home of Mt Rushmore and Crazy Horse monuments. The 1st AMCA road run Carolyn, Ross and I ever did (and got hooked on) was the Wyoming Black Hillsin 1997 (Ross was only 4) which was called the “Paha Sapa II”. People started arriving in the early evening on Mon 5th since it’s about an 850 mile trip from to Sturgis. A few of us planned a pre ride for Tue 6th on roads that we knew the road run was not going to be on. Our group usually consists of faster paced riders who like to ride pretty hard and cover the miles. Davenport
Our pre run group usually ends up being mostly Indian riders, most likely because the Harleys have problems keeping up. We covered about 200 miles all over the
Black Hillsincluding Custer state park where we stopped on the roadside and took some cool pictures with our bikes near a large herd of intimidating buffalo. I had just got my Kiwi bobber up and running the night before leaving for Davenportso the Black Hillsroad run was going to be a good shake down ride. The Kiwi bobber is an all new creation built around our newly designed rigid frame and leaf spring forks. We created an experimental Kiwi 88 cubic inch engine with modern aluminum rims, hubs and disc brakes. It was a great opportunity to put it through its paces for cornering clearances, handling and stopping power. The 88” engine pulls like a freight train and the only bike to out do me was a new Harley V-Rod. I was truly impressed as we had been building 84 ci engines and this was the 1st 88 ci that we had built with all of our own manufactured components.
Each day the weather was pretty much perfect. On Friday we encountered a little bit of light rain on the way to
but it only lasted for a few miles and those who did get a bit wet soon dried out. Wednesday’s route was about 100 miles while Thursday’s route was a 200 mile ride. During these 2 days we stayed within the Black Hills taking in the towns of Spearfish, Deadwood, Lead, Hill City to name a few. Interesting roads and points of interest were Devils Tower Spearfish Canyon, Needles Highway, Vanocker Canyon, Iron Mountain, Custer State park, , Mt Rushmore and Crazy Horse. Devils Tower
A few of us added about another 50 miles to Thursday’s ride making it about a 250 mile day as we wanted to cover some extra roads not on the run. We met up with 4 Aussies and a Swede along the way so we made sure we gave them the grand tour and enrichened them with some good wholesome American history (even though it was coming from a Kiwi). Both Mt Rushmore and Crazy Horse sculptures are very impressive, however after seeing them both and realizing that the 4 president’s heads fit within Crazy Horse’s head leaves one even more impressed. Wednesday and Thursday rides were mostly over pretty windy (in some cases 10-15 mph switch backs)” and hilly roads which made for a lot of awesome riding. The scenery throughout the
Black Hillsis rocky, steep hills (sometimes short while others very long), narrow and wide canyons, mines (mostly closed down), pine trees, grassy fields, streams along with many cabins and vacation spots. It’s a nice place to get away from everything and enjoy the simple things in life (except winter).
Friday’s ride was another 200 mile day which took us into
Wyomingto . The terrain was quite different from the previous day’s rides as it was gentle rolling hills with big sweeping corners however the challenge was the lack of fuel stops. While there were little ma and pa owned resorts and camp grounds along the way which also had fuel pumps, most were out of gas due to the shortage created by the Devils Tower hurricane. The instructions made clear the lunch stop was a “mandatory” gas stop. Well we figured since we filled up at Devils Tower we could make it to the after lunch gas stop however we did not figure on the Cheyenne Crossing store being out of gas. We did recall seeing a camp ground from our previous days ride about 10 miles off our route but in order to get to it we 1st had to climb over a very steep 3 mile hill (more like a mountain). No sooner had we started the climb I could see Rocky Halter start to shake his bike from side to side. I’ve ridden many miles over the years with Rocky so when I saw him shaking his bike from side to side I knew we’re in trouble. Rocky stopped dead about 1/2 mile from the top. One of the other guys went ahead to find a gas station which was about 2 miles away. The owner was kind enough to loan a gas can and once Rocky was fired back up and we were over the top of the hill we were able to coast all the way into the camp ground gas station. The owner was a good ole boy and got all pumped up when he saw 7 Indians roll in. We thought it would be a nice gesture on our part to leave him with some of our dollars (after all Rocky was paying our fuel stop and bar tab for running out of gas 1st) so we gravitated towards his cool little bar and settle into his comfy leather sofa’s, lazyboys and big screen TV. After about a 1hr we figured we better hit the road before we run out of time to get to the banquet. It was a very difficult departing. new Orleans
Each morning a nice buffet was provided which was included with our entry fee. This was a great idea as it gave us all a chance each day to sit as a group and visit with each other. The Black Hills road run would have to be one of my most favorite runs. The 1997 run would be hard to beat but this one was equally as good. I recommend spending time in the
Black Hillsjust riding around. There are plenty of roads to pick from and the scenery is fantastic.
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