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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Slow Days in Sturgis

Monday brought us sunshine and warmer weather, and this gal was hap-py! We decided to explore the town of Sturgis, and see what the excitement was all about. Apparently that excitement only happens during Rally Week. That's right, folks. The other 51 weeks of the year, it's a pretty calm town. Dead would be more accurate. No, in fact, THIS TOWN should have been named DEADWOOD. Okay, maybe I'm being too hard on the town. Let's just say that the beginning of May is NOT the time to visit Sturgis. NOTHING is happening. In fact, many things aren't even OPEN. Maybe we should tell the nice lady at the Chamber of Commerce these facts.

Yep. That was our first stop. Get information from the SOURCE, you know? Gather maps, pamphlets, etc. Talk to an "expert", get a feel for the town. This is always a plus. Go to the Visitors Center/Chamber of Commerce. It's amazing what you'll find out. Well, except yesterday.

Case in point. I wanted directions to St. Martins Chapel.



This is what I read about it on the Sturgis, SD, visitor information website.

Although simple in structure, the Chapel is a complete work of art on the inside with stained glass windows, three large murals, a lighted crucifixion scene behind the altar, ceiling paintings and sepia-tone paintings.


Sounds nice, yes? We drove there. Closed. No sign as to hours. Nothing. Locked up tighter than a drum.

She recommended Bear Butte State Park. So we drove out there.



There were a few buffalo grazing at the foot of the mountain.



There was a sign posted saying that the Education Center was CLOSED. We still paid the $6.00 entrance fee, figuring we could just drive around the park and take in the view. Yeah. The road led up to the center. That's it. Oh well, the money went for a good cause.

We could have taken the 2-mile hike up the steep mountain to the summit. The local Indians make a pilgrimage up the mountain, leaving prayer cloths tied to tree branches.









Chamber of Commerce lady also recommended we visit the Old Fort Meade Museum.



Luckily we didn't go there, and you know why? Say it all together now children. Because it was CLOSED. Yes, that's right. Although I've read conflicting dates as to when it REALLY opens, from May 15, to Memorial Day Weekend.

What we DID do was walk the four blocks of Main Street to get a feel for the town. The majority of stores were closed, but they looked like fun places. This town must be rip-roaring fun and just jumping with activity during Rally Week. In my last post I mentioned that 100,000 bikers come to town. I stand corrected. Now it's over 500,000. Can you even imagine? So all the stores that are empty fill up with temporary vendors to hawk their wares. Church basements open up to become cafeterias and feed the bikers. People's backyards become campgrounds. It must be absolutely crazy.

Here's a picture of an empty Main Street.



And one taken from the Sturgis web cam during the 2009 Rally Week.



Here are some of the crazy stores, restaurants, and images that I saw down on Main Street.



I liked the facade painted on the building of this restaurant.



We ate here for lunch. It wasn't so much as "loud" as it was a "whisper" with only 2 other paying customers besides us!



Show your friends back home exactly how crazy things are during Rally week!



Truth in advertising.



Big Al's has just about anything you could need from tattoos to boots to beer. I also like the sign Big Bertha's Biker Bar.



Another restaurant



Even their postal trucks have a connection to motorcycles!



Old bikers never die...they just lose their throttle.

10 comments:

Steven Anthony said...

well if nothing else came out of the dead town, you gave us...your fans another great post;)

always a fun time when I stop by.

Gail said...

You should write a travel guide! You are so good at this.

I know the town was empty but I was delighted with my tour. Thanks again for making me smile.

Brian Miller said...

way cool...not about the things being closed but...you did find some pretty cool stuff. would love to see buffalo in the wild...and that walk with the prayer cloths...and the paintings on the building are cool...

Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

I kept hoping I would spot Brian, whose comment in your previous post about wearing chaps with no jeans just won't leave my mind-screen. Guess he just arrives for the big biker rally. Oh well, a girl can dream.

Bossy Betty said...

Great to catch up on your adventures!

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

yes, you should write a travel guide. i will never get to visit these places, but i feel like i have been there when i read what you wrote. awesome!

great pictures, too - as always!

Kathy's Klothesline said...

I am catching up...... We always have a few bikers stopping in on thier way to Sturgis. Like you I would have to have three wheels, I can't even balance a bicycle anymore. Oh, Drew enjoyed the T-shirt on your previous post; he wants one. Like that will happen.....

becky said...

From the looks of it, the small business owners must make the bulk of their sales during rally week!

Jingle said...

amazing post!

A New England Life said...

Lose their throttle ... lol!

Nope, Sturgis is no place I would ever want to visit either. Except maybe when the rally isn't going on. Glad you showed us around! Honestly though I can't quite figure out what the draw is for all the bikers. What's so great about Sturgis?