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To go to Sturgis or not to go, that is the question

October 03, 2008|By NICK RUSSELL, Williamsport

Vacation horrors? How about three in four years?

Three years ago, a dump truck ran into my house, making a huge mess requiring extensive cleanup and rebuilding. After three months of dealing with the chaos, along with the insurance claims, it was with great relief that I departed for a much-needed vacation to Sturgis, S.D.

Friends joined me as we packed up and left on our journey west. Motorcycles were strapped to the floor of the large trailer being pulled by a super-duty truck, and other pickups loaded with friends and gear followed.

All went well until we reached Albert Lea, Minn.

The super-duty ran off the road, causing the trailer to overturn in a field. The rear window shattered, sprinkling the sleeping passenger in the back seat with glass. What a frightening awakening! Fortunately, the driver, front seat passenger (me), and the glass-covered back seat passenger were not injured.

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We emerged to investigate the trailer and its contents. Clothing was scattered along the road and motorcycles, which had been "safely" secured to the floor, were now dangling from the ceiling of the overturned trailer, handlebars clanging together.

As the drivers and passengers of the pickups following us came upon the scene, there were shocked and horrified. After checking and finding that no one was hurt and there was only minor damage to the cycles, they were greatly relieved.

Once again I had to deal with insurance claims, as my truck was declared "totaled," making it necessary to locate a comparable heavy-duty to continue on with my "vacation." It was difficult to focus on having fun.

The following year, 2006, I wasn't sure if I wanted to return to Sturgis after the horror in 2005. I was still dealing with insurance claims on my house, and the rebuilding and inconveniences caused by it. However, after some consideration I decided to go, and all went well.

Then in 2007, another journey out West to Sturgis, and all went well - until I was returning home. When I got west of Des Moines, Iowa, the turbo went out in my new truck. It happened on a Saturday evening, and I couldn't find anyone to repair it until Monday. I found a motel in town, rode my motorcycle around as I awaited the repair, then continued on my way late Monday. Just a "minor" inconvenience, I told myself, after the experiences I'd had before. However, it did cost me two days of work.

Now comes 2008, and the "gang" was making plans again. This time one of the guys mounted a motor home to a semi, and pulled the trailer with the cycles. We could all ride in the motor home together. Should I go? It was sort of a last-minute decision, but I decided to join them. I needed a rest, and someone else was doing the driving!

Well, there was no air conditioning in the motor home and it was hot, but we had plenty of cold drinks in the fridge, so that wasn't so bad. Then one of the guys complained about a toothache. It didn't go away, and he was in agony. After some investigating, it was discovered that a dentist was available at a truck stop. We stopped, the tooth was extracted, and we went happily on our way again.

But wait - now the hitch pulling the trailer broke. Fortunately, it was noticed before we "lost" the trailer. So we stopped once again, and I remained sitting by the side of the road in Iowa keeping watch over the trailer while the others went to get the hitch fixed.

After that, the next to the last mishap, we finally made it to Sturgis, where one of the couples took a hot air balloon ride to Mount Rushmore, along with a parson who joined them in holy matrimony atop that famous mountain.

And when I say the next-to-the-last mishap, there was one more mishap when my motorcycle began to lose oil. I lost some time while I waited for a repair, which turned out not to be a "repair," and I was "minorly inconvenienced" one more time before I could ride into the sunset on my "Hog!"

It was a good trip - and the trip home was uneventful!

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