STURGIS! The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally…you gotta see it to believe it!
Imagine this, Sturgis, South Dakota, a small, quiet mid-western town of 6,500 people, growing to a metropolis of party-ready bikers totaling 750,000+ in a week’s time. Unbelievable right?
The Rally, in its 75th year, was held from August 3 to August 9, 2015…and I was there. According to reports, it was the biggest and baddest gathering of motorcycle riders of all time. Best estimates are between 750,000 – 1,000,000 attendees.
During Sturgis week, I visited the legendary Black Hills and rode to several of my favorite American landmarks, including Mount Rushmore, Devils Tower, the Crazy Horse Memorial and Custer State Park.
Click on the following link if you want to quickly find out about the Top 13 Motorcycle Rides Around Sturgis…read on for a taste of my Sturgis 2015 adventure.
The Motorcycle – A Custom Bagger from Victory Motorcycles.
I rode a 2015 Victory Magnum to the rally this year. It’s the industry’s coolest, out-of-the-box custom bagger. Meaning, it comes out of the factory looking like the owner added all kinds of aftermarket accessories to it…like pullback ape hanger bars, a 21-inch front wheel, a cool looking low windshield, a great audio sound system, a powerful motor, a sleek seat and custom-designed footrests.
Just to make sure the factory Magnum would fit me perfectly for my 2,000+ mile ride to Sturgis, I rode to my local dealership in El Cajon for some advice on taking this bike on a long distance ride.
They team recommended I switch the low-cut factory windshield to the Flare Windshield from Klock Werks and that we replace the short 6-inch Ape Bars with Victory’s cool 12-inch Apes. This turned out to be an excellent recommendation which made the bike totally comfortable for my 6′ foot frame.
Photo below shows the new bars and windshield on the Magnum.
THE VICTORY MAGNUM…ROADTRIP READY. MJBphoto. Note: It was good while it lasted. Victory Motorcycles shut down operations on January 9, 2017. Click image for formal announcement. Wow! Sure caught me by surprise.
I left San Diego, California on August 1, 2015 and enjoyed heavy rain, thunder and lightning for the next three days as I explored Utah and Wyoming…challenging riding but still fun! The Magnum ran well throughout the wet weather and was a real road hugger on wet roads. The front fairing, teamed up with the Klock Werks windshield, did a fine job keeping rain away from me.
DOES MY RAIN SUIT MAKE ME LOOK FAT? My rain suit saved my ride and kept me dry throughout the roadtrip. The first 1,000 miles through downpours…my 2015 Sturgis ride was a wet one.
The map below shows the states I rode through on my way to South Dakota.
You meet all kinds of people on road trips...
THE RUSSIANS – You meet the nicest Russians on America’s roads. On a 6-month world tour, they were so excited to be attending Sturgis’s 75th Anniversary.
THE CHAPLEAU RIDERS. You meet the nicest Canadians too.
Here are the highlights of my 2015 Sturgis Ride.
Devils Tower, Wyoming
DEVILS TOWER – AMERICA’S FIRST NATIONAL MONUMENT (1906). Northeast Wyoming. Sacred monument to the Lakota and other Indian tribes from the area.
Granite Spires along Needles Highway.
The Needles Highway.
Lots of scenery to absorb on this beautiful ride…in fact, it’s one of my favorites.
Narrow, winding roads make their way up the hillsides taking you through one-lane tunnels and past huge needle-like stones.
There are overlooks along the 14-mile ride that offer spectacular visions of canyons, cliffs and buttes. Take this road to see the Black Hills area at its best.
There’s nothing like seeing this monument from the seat of your motorcycle. The faces of four American Presidents are literally carved out of the granite mountain. Mount Rushmore is only 17 miles from Rapid City, South Dakota. One can’t help but feel a strong sense of national pride at this monument. Truly an awesome feat of engineering art.
THE MOUNT RUSHMORE NATIONAL MEMORIAL.- Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln.
The Crazy Horse Memorial.
The Crazy Horse Memorial is a mountain monument under construction on privately held land in Custer County, South Dakota. It depicts Crazy Horse, an Oglala Lakota warrior, riding a horse and pointing into the distance. Click here for more info from Wikipedia.
The statue in the forefront of the photo below is literally being carved into the mountain you see in the background. Truly an amazing undertaking and a spectacular memorial to the brave Indian warrior, Crazy Horse.
CRAZY HORSE MEMORIAL. World’s Largest Carving. Black Hills, South Dakota
Custer State Park
Custer State Park is South Dakota’s largest and first state park and game preserve. It is named after Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer. The infamous Custer, along with 210 of his men, died in 1876 at the battle of Little Big Horn.
Custer State Park offers great scenery and one of the largest herds of free-roaming buffalo. The Wildlife Loop Road, about 20 miles long, had plenty of pull-off areas to take in the great scenery.
THE AMERICAN BUFFALO. In the mid 1800s, covered the American Plains numbering in the tens of millions.
The Hills Around Deadwood, South Dakota.
RIDING THE HILLS AROUND DEADWOOD, SOUTH DAKOTA.
SALOON NUMBER 10…Most famous watering hole in Deadwood, South Dakota.
Saloon #10 – This famous saloon and museum is where Wild Bill Hickock bit the dust on August 2, 1876.
The legend of this frontiersman and gunfighter, Wild Bill Hickock, is sure an interesting one. Click here to read all about it.
The Bottom Line.
My ride from San Diego, California to Sturgis, South Dakota, despite a lot of rain, thunder and lightning, was amazing. My week in Sturgis and my daily rides exploring the region were spectacular. Meeting up with old friends and meeting new ones was a bonus.
The Victory Magnum handled beautifully. This is a comfortable and sleek looking custom bagger with a powerful engine (The Freedom 106). The Victory Magnum is one good looker. I recommend you take a serious look at this motorcycle if you are considering a custom bagger. It’s the coolest, factory custom on the market today in my opinion.
Ride Safe Out There.
Thank you for reading my blog folks. – Motorcycle Marc
Note: Copyrights and Trademarks are the property of their owners. No infringement intended. All references, images, technical data and general information relating to Victory Motorcycles is the property of Polaris Industries, Inc., unless specifically noted otherwise. Always wear a approved helmet. Never ride under the influence. Motorcycle Marc’s Magnum Motorcycle provided by the Victory Motorcycle Company. Ride sponsorship provided by Indian Motorcycles of El Cajon, California. Special thanks to Nate Wek at South Dakota Public Broadcasting (SDPB) for compiling the Top 13 Rides information from the good folks at “Ultimate Motorcycle Rides“. This info was invaluable to me as I planned my daily rides around Sturgis.