August 1, 2003
As a result of some last-minute things I needed to do, I didn't get to hit the road for Sturgis until about 10:00am. The trip was uneventful until the day started heating up, at which time I was having some trouble with the BugWing trying to vapor lock. I stopped in Holdrege, NE, and put a longer piece of fuel line on it, thinking that would help to get the fuel line further away from the motor. It didn't. It wasn't until much later in the trip (like Monday the 11th), that I pulled the two rear side windows and got rid of that problem while on the way home from Denver. Maybe it's just breathing too much hot air when it's hot outside. I'll do some experimenting.
Anyway, it started running much better on the way to Sturgis once I hit I-90 in South Dakota and the outside temperature started cooling off late in the afternoon and early evening. Around 11:00pm I made it to the campground where I've stayed in Sturgis the past 8 years or so.
August 2-4, 2003
Since my body was still on Kansas time and Sturgis is in Mountain time, I was awake earlier than many others. That being the case, I went downtown and parked the BugWing on a side street just off Main each morning. On Sunday morning I went to church at the local Assembly of God just up the street, following which I had a sandwich with members of the congregation and others who were in town for the rally and stopped for the service as well.
I did a photo last year of nothing but my tent since the BugWing wasn't ready to go, but, this year, I got a shot of my tent site with the BugWing beside it. When I parked downtown early in the mornings the streets were pretty bare so I decided to do some shots before the crowd arrived, and after the crowd arrived. This is it sitting at the corner, and this is a shot of the same corner a little later. This is another shot of the same intersection looking one direction without people, and here is the same intersection looking the other direction. As you'll see in photos to follow, the place looks quite a bit different after people start arriving.
While sitting on the corner some photos were made of me, so I made some photos of those doing photos. At some point during one of these days, a South American TV crew did an interview of me, and I got a photo of the camera man as he did some video of me. While walking around downtown, I got a photo of the map pins are placed in to show where people have come from. The other side shows international attendance. Speaking of that, I got to meet people from Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Switzerland. I met Hans from Germany when I saw him looking at me and the BugWing, shaking his head, smiling, and saying, "People can do anything they want here."
August 5 & 6, 2003
On Sunday evening while talking to some people who were looking at the BugWing, one man named Don introduced himself and we talked for a while. During the conversation he asked if I'd consider putting the BugWing on display at his car dealership in Rapid City. I thought about it a while and got back to him by phone later to let him know I could make it on Tuesday. By 8:30 or so on Tuesday morning I was in Rapid City at Liberty VW, where I met Don (near the driver's side door), and some of his staff, along with John, a friend of mine from Rapid City (wearing the cap), who stood in also. The BugWing was in need of cleaning so it got that before it was put on display on the corner of a very busy intersection in front of Liberty VW. I got to meet and talk with some of the staff at Liberty VW during the day, and enjoyed my time there, along with the time I spent talking with some of them.
When I left Liberty VW late that afternoon, I headed for the Berry Patch campground in Rapid city and a meeting of the Brothers of the Third Wheel. Jim and Lady were conducting the meeting when I arrived, so I sat in on that and got to talk with them and a few other people after the meeting. Eventually, I headed back to my campground in Sturgis, but not before making a stop for a sandwich where I met some other interesting folks and had a long talk with some of them.
On Wednesday, John rode one of his BMW's over to Sturgis from Rapid City and parked next to the BugWing on the street. At some point later in the day, I had someone do a photo of the two of us sitting on a bench. We walked around town and I stopped at one point to go up on one of the towers to do some photos. While up there I did a series of photos showing a 360 degree view from the tower. That view can be seen by clicking on the following numbers: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, and eight. I did one shot vertically to show a bit different view of Main Street.
The Bikes and Trikes
I have a special fondness for rat bikes and for trikes, so I did some photos of some of those I saw on this trip. This rat bike is one I've seen on several occasions in Sturgis, but I finally got to meet the owner, Steve, when I saw him put some stuff in one of the bags while I sat in the shade one morning. I saw this Orange V-8 trike running around the streets and finally got to meet and talk to the owner for a while. This trike, powered by a turbine engine (?), came by with its unique whine, blowing really hot air a couple of times. I noticed he didn't go down Main Street with it. One of my personal favorites for VW powered trikes was this one, but I didn't get to meet the owner. I'd never seen it before, nor had I seen this John Deere trike before. I'm not sure what the story was on this thing made of a barrel since I didn't read what as on it, and I'm not sure of the year on this old bike I saw in the grocery store lot, but I liked it.
In addition to the bikes and trikes, I always run into many people. Over the years, I've made lasting friendships with a number of them, even though we may never see each other except on the streets in Sturgis. About 8 years ago I met Curt and Margie while we all leaned on the same trash can in front of Mr. Al's and we saw each other about 4 years in a row. After they moved from Montana to Phoenix I called them several times while on the way through, but missed them each time. I hadn't seen them in Sturgis for the past 3 years or so, but, while there this time, I heard someone say, "Rex," and looked over the BugWing to see them and their grandson, Riley. We got to talk several times and do this photo of all of us. It was good getting hooked up with them again!
During each evening while I was parked on the side street just off Main, Brian and (I forgot his name...sorry) parked beside me in their form of "transportation." Now and then, they'd respond to a call and take care of some sort of business, though, but we did get to talk some while they watched the streets. On numerous occasions, I got to talk to those who were interested in the construction of the BugWing, and, now and then, I'd drag out a photo album that shows basically the same shots found in the construction page of this site. These guys were among those who looked at the album and talked with me about the BugWing.
Two of the trikes, and two of the people I got to meet, were from Denver where I happened to be heading later in the week. As it happens, his mother grew up in the same town I'm from and I knew who she was, although not well. I hoped to see them at the Fine Line Bug-In later in the week, but they didn't make it for some reason.
"Tubby's" was right next to where I parked, and they had some really good food I got in on now and then. Three of those working in Tubby's posed for me at one point, and I think these people may have had some food from there as well. Now and then, I'd sit in the BugWing since my feet got tired from standing and walking around. At one point I got to talk to two couples for a while as they sat on a bench next to me. One question I got a lot was what kind of engine I had in the BugWing. After telling a lot of people it was a 1981 Honda GoldWing, one guy asked me and I blurted out "Rolls Royce Allison aircraft engine." That got such a good reaction from him I used it on some others, but I always corrected that by telling them the truth. I think the velocity stacks I put in the breather box threw some people who looked at the motor.
I'm not sure what day it was, but "T-Bo" from east Texas came by with his wife and we had quite a conversation. He was interested in the BugWing, but I also got to hear about some of the projects he has worked on. I need photos since I didn't quite follow all of what he had to say about his projects. They sure sounded interesting, though, and he was pretty wired up about them.
Some really enjoyable time was spent talking with Ken and Vicki who are with the Tribe of Judah. I hope to meet and talk with them again. I did the photo of them on the bench, and had one done of all three of us as well.
This narrative about this trip would not be complete without mentioning "Biker Dave." He strolled up one evening and we started talking somehow. "Biker Dave" said he rides a 16-year-old Harley with 119,000 miles on it, and he is very regular about oil changes. From the way he tells it, he has experienced about everything one man can experience in a lifetime and I believe he said he has come in first place in all racing events he's ever entered. He's been shot and stabbed repeatedly, he died and spent the night in a morgue and lived to tell about it [It could happen], but he has never been hung that I know of........yet. We talked at length one evening, and then I talked to him again briefly another time when he came by. The last time I saw him he had just finished repairing a wire in his bike that had come loose. He got it running again so he could head home. (If the "It could happen" link above is no good, here is the story).
I don't know this guy's name, but I appreciate his commitment and willingness to show it. I've seen him on a number of occasions walking the streets of Sturgis and finally got this photo one evening. His method of getting the message out is somewhat different than the approach I take, and, if he's like me, he may wonder from time to time whether anyone is paying attention or responding to it. While pondering that very thing while I was on the way home, I was reminded of this passage I printed and posted inside the BugWing as a reminder:
1 Corinthians 15
58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be firm (steadfast), immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord [always being superior, excelling, doing more than enough in the service of the Lord], knowing and being continually aware that your labor in the Lord is not futile [it is never wasted or to no purpose].
On several occasions while the BugWing was sitting on the street in Sturgis I stood near it, watched reactions, and listened to comments. I placed business cards on the seat so people could take them, and I watched as some of those who took them looked on the back side of the card, found an abbreviated version of "the message," and then tossed the card back on the seat. I found that to be sad. I'd be speculating about the reasons the cards were tossed back after some read the back side of them, but, if it's a rejection of the message found there I also understand that since I thought "the message" was a bunch of nonsense myself for many years. I only hope those who tossed those cards back onto the seat after seeing that message do an about-face some day if they didn't like what they found there. 2,300 people did get cards, though, while I was on this trip and some do respond to the message.
August 7, 2003 (the trip to Denver)
I got up, rolled up my tent, packed up, and hit the road for Denver. It was another hot day, and, somewhere out in nowhere Wyoming, I stopped for a while along the road to drink some water and cool down. While there, "Flash" from Texas and his friend came along, turned around, and stopped. "Flash" had attended the Four Corners Trike-In in Coffeyville, KS, the last weekend in June and had seen me there, so he stopped to say hi. Another guy came along on his bike and turned around, too. He had seen the BugWing in Sturgis and stopped to say hello. On Sunday the 10th I also saw him in Denver at the Bug-In, along with a friend of his.
I stopped in Lusk, Wyoming, for fuel, and then stopped at the rest area out west of town before I headed on down the road. I met some more people at the rest stop and did this photo of them before taking off again. At some other stops along the way I ran into some people who are with Bikers for Christ, but didn't get a chance to talk with them until we stopped at the same shop, West Wind Cycle, in Wheatland, Wyoming, where they were having a battery changed in one of their bikes.
When I rolled in to Wheatland I stopped at a Conoco station for fuel and then headed to Terra Grande pizza at 1557 South Street, on the corner across the street from that Conoco station. That has become a regular stop for me in that town any time I go through and they're open . I first stopped at Terra Grande pizza about 5 years ago while riding my BMW K75s from Sturgis to Winter Park, CO, on the long way home. I was thirsty and hungry when I stopped there that afternoon and asked Matt for an iced coffee that was somewhat sweet. He made a large double iced Snicker Mocha for me and I had that while I ate my Calzone. It was so good I had another one before I got back on the road that day. The second best place to find that drink is in Billings, Montana.
I couldn't stick around there long since I needed to go, but I gave Matt's mother, the owner, one of my new business cards to add to their collection of my cards on their bulletin board. She knew what I wanted so I got my large double iced Snicker Mocha and headed a few blocks down the street to West Wind Cycle. After Tom, the owner, finished with the battery for the other group, I explained to him I just wasn't running right. Tom pulled the plugs and discovered three cylinders were running rich, and one was more toward the lean side. He replaced the plugs with new ones, and, while he was doing that, I met his wife, Cindy. When he finished replacing the plugs they allowed me to do a photo of the two of them, and their dog, in front of their shop. After that, we got to talking about some of his projects. One of them was a Harley he bought and rebuilt after some guy crashed it a year or two before out on I-25 while on his way to Sturgis, and another project was his 9-man backwards trike. This machine seats eight men facing toward the rear of the trike, while the ninth steers it facing forward. I thought it was cool!! If you ever need work while in the Wheatland, Wyoming area, go to West Wind Cycle!! Tom and his wife are some of the nicest people you'll ever meet, and Tom knows bikes!!
After I got back on the road I continued down I-25 toward Denver. While in Cheyenne, Wyoming, I made another stop for fuel. While at that stop I met Tubbs and Heavy D who are with American Iron MC. We got to talk a while before I hit the road again, but not long. They passed me out on I-25 down the road a ways.
I pulled in to Denver around 9:30, but, by the time I found the Residence Inn "campground" it was about 10:30pm. My wife, Stephanie, met me there after she drove in from Kansas. Roughing it to my wife means a nice hotel, and this place was much nicer, and the room was much larger, than I expected. I had a lot more room there than inside the tent, but I still like my tent. I can stay several nights in a campground for what one night would cost in any motel.
Stephanie and I got to do some tourist-type stuff we'd wanted to do for some time, and we took Friday and Saturday to do that. One of the things we did was drive up to Georgetown where we rode the train up to Silver Plume on the Georgetown loop. Before getting on the train for our ride that day we had another couple do a photo of us with the tracks behind us. We watched the train take off with the group before us, and then I did a shot of it while we were on it crossing a bridge on the loop that is 100 feet off the ground. After the train ride we went to downtown Georgetown where me met and talked with Ron and Lucy in their store for a while before we drove back down to Denver.
August 10, 2003
Bright and early this morning I got up and headed to Bandimere Speedway for the Fine Line Bug-In. Phil, owner of Jackson Sand Cars who did some work on the construction of the BugWing, contacted me a couple of weeks ago and offered to give me some tickets to the Bug-In. I took him up on that and fired a couple of them off to one of my brothers in Winter Park. Phil and Kathryn had their trailer set up there, and a lot ofVW's of various types were on display. I entered the Special Interest category, and had someone do a photo of me with my brother, Neil, after he arrived. At one point I got up in Phil's pickup to try to get a better overview of some of the cars entered, and I did some of several photos such as this one, and this one, to show a few of the cars entered in various categories. At 3:00pm that afternoon, the awards were presented and Neil did this one of me getting mine for best in the Special Interest category. I've bought him books, sent him to school, and provided years of training in photography, but some people freeze when it comes to doing photos in front of thousands of people looking on and they forget everything they've learned about composition, holding a camera still, getting close enough to tell who is in the photo, etc <G> The Best of Show award went to this bus, and it was really nice.
August 11, 2003
It was time to head home, and that's how the day was spent. After we got out of Denver, I stopped along I-70 near Strasburg and took the windows out of the sides in the back of the BugWing. While doing that, a highway patrolman stopped to see if things were OK, and he checked out my ride. It turns out he also rides a CBR.
While cruising down I-70, straight into a wind out of the east, which is unusual, I noticed a vehicle with Tennessee plates go around me. I also noticed he was sitting at an off ramp when we go off in Burlington, and he pulled in when we stopped. We talked with him in a McDonald's and learned he's a Professor of Old Testament theology at a University. We also told him about one of the more bizarre sites in Kansas not far off I-70, and suggested a visit to it as he continued his trip. I did this photo of him before we all got back on the road.
At one of our stops in Quinter, KS, where we got gas and food, we got to meet quite a few more people, and got to talk to them. Before getting back on the road, I did this photo of one of the couples who stopped to talk. As I pulled onto the on-ramp for the final leg to Great Bend, I noticed a really neat shadow of the BugWing but couldn't get my camera out in time to get it. The shape of the body and the front wheels sticking out to the sides cast a shadow that looked somewhat like a bug of some sort crawling down the highway. I thought I'd be able to get the shot as the highway curved in places, but it never did take quite enough of a turn to get what I wanted. I finally did what I could before the sun went down completely as I drafted behind an 18-wheeler, something I had done as often as I could during the day moving into that wind from the east, but the shadow wasn't nearly as good as what I'd seen earlier. I'll have to watch for that one again. Check back here for those attempts when I'm on the road again........
August 22-24, 2003
This was the weekend for the annual Kansas State CMA rally, and also the weekend for the NHRA drag races in Great Bend. I made it to Salina on Saturday morning in time for the service that started at 9:00am, and then talked with a number of people following the service. At 1:00 in the afternoon there was a police escort for all the bikes (and two trikes), and we went to a motorcycle shop where we had bike games. Following that, there was time to eat, a service in the evening, and then I hit the road for home. I forgot my digital camera, so I have no photos to post. I don't know if it's the heat, inadequate air coming into the carburetors, or what, but I was not impressed (at least favorably), with the on-going feeling the BugWing is starving for fuel............
Normally, if not involved in a CMA activity at a rally or other event, I'd be in church on Sunday morning. However, today I went to the drag races. As I've noted elsewhere in this site, the very first NHRA drag races were held in Great Bend in 1955, and, if I'm not mistaken, this was the first NHRA drag racing event in Great Bend since that time. It was pretty impressive. I did get to talk to some people and give them "the message," though. I also did some digital photos, but nothing really impressive so I'll probably skip putting any of them in here......unless I change my mind. I make revisions in these accounts, and sometimes do it a number of times, so be sure to reload each time in order to get the latest version in the event I make changes in any page.
I have some updating to do and will get to that, but, in the meantime, a number of people have asked what the BugWing sounds like when it runs. In response to the overwhelming number of requests from people that I start it up if I'm seen somewhere in it, or for a sound file here in the web page, I've gone to great lengths to meet your need. I trusted someone else to do a photo of the BugWing with another car on a track a couple of weeks ago, but he messed up and didn't get me in the photo. However, he did get the sound. Here's what it sounds like when I'm really going through the gears. Just use your imagination to picture me ahead of the car in the photo.......