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.
Even their postal trucks have a connection to motorcycles!
Old bikers never die...they just lose their throttle.