August 08, 2004
sights I didn't want to see
I have no idea where I am tonight. Itís somewhere in the middle of Nebraska, but I donít remember the name of the town. I was too tired to look at the sign when we drove in after thirteen hours on the road. This time, it was not Recondoís fault.
I noticed a lot of motorcycles on the road as soon as we hit Montana. Motels, restaurants and bars all had signs displayed saying ďWelcome Bikers!Ē I asked Recondo what all that was about.
ďOh, theyíre having some kind of Biker Week in Sturgis. I saw the signs on the way up here a week ago, but I thought it would be over by now.Ē It wasnít, and thatís why we had so much trouble finding a motel room that first night.
This morning, we left Billings at around 8:30 and headed for Mount Rushmore. We went by the Little Bighorn Battlefield, where Custer bit the Big One, on the way. The place resembled just another Montana cow pasture to me, but I WILL admit one thing: if Custer had NOT gotten his fool ass killed there, a lot of places would have different names today. I saw Custer Park, Custer Gulch, Custer Creek, Custer Avenue, Custer Fork and half a dozen other such places that I canít remember.
Recondo asked if I wanted to see Deadwood. Why not? It was on the way to Mount Rushmore and Iíve always liked the story of Wild Bill Hickcock. We went, and it was the biggest mistake weíve made on this trip. The place was CRAWLING WITH BIKERS. We spent a good 45 minutes just trying to get through two blocks of the town. I am not kidding when I say that I believe at least 100,000 bikers turned out for the Sturgis meet.
They were crawling all over Mount Rushmore, too. (I enjoyed seeing the sculpture, but it really wasnít as impressive as I expected it to be.) They were crawling all over The Badlands when we went there. (That is a really interesting place to see, even when it IS crawling with bikers. In her own way, Mother Nature is a better sculptor than the men who created Mount Rushmore. ) But by then, I knew the bike-fest boded ill for our chances to get a motel room tonight. I was correct.
We drove 200 miles on the back roads before we even started stopping and asking for a place to stay. Everything was booked. We drove ANOTHER 100 miles and everything was STILL booked. I didnít relish the thought of sleeping in the car, so we pressed on.
Finally, here in the middle of wherever I am in Nebraska, we found a place that had a cancellation a few hours earlier. We took the room without even asking if it was a single, a double or the Honeymoon Suite. By then, if the desk clerk had said that all she had was some hay in the manger, we would have jumped all over it.
Turns out that the room is pretty nice and thereís a liquor store right next door. And right now, I could use a drink.
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