Thursday, August 2, 2018

Sturgis Lite...


After sending back the beautiful seat cover that didn't fit my scoot, I looked around at other options.  One of those is Corbin - they are well-known among the two-wheel world for making some very nice leather seats; upscale replacement seats for many brands.  I have had a couple Corbin seats on previous motorcycles, and they are nice.  Their main facility is in California, but they are in Sturgis with a mobile display.

What are the odds that they'd have a Vespa seat at the Sturgis Rally?  We decided to drive that way (yes, drive, as in: with the car) to take a look.

A hot one today in the Black Hills, so it was nice to be traveling in air conditioned comfort.  The Sturgis Rally "officially" starts this weekend, so we were hoping to be early enough today to get a parking place for the car and maybe walk around a bit.

Coming into Sturgis...



That image above is approaching the main intersection in town - hardly any traffic.


The booths and vendors are mostly set up.  We drove down another block, and turned left on Lazelle, heading to the lot where Corbin sets up...


It's a smaller trailer than I remember in the past.  Sitting in front of that trailer was Mike Corbin... "No, we didn't bring any Vespa seats to Sturgis.  I don't think I've ever seen a Vespa here before... but, we do sell a lot of Vespa seats.  I can get one in the works for you and tell them to put a rush on it.  It normally takes about 3 weeks, but I think we can do better than that right now."

That's the advantage of getting here before the crowds roll in - another couple days and there will be people standing in line to give Mike and crew their money.  By ordering one, you can get exactly the colors and materials you want.  The seating on these are leather, the material on the sides (where your skin doesn't touch) is a heavy gauge vinyl.  They build their seats on a seat pan that is a more solid material than the original manufacturer; unlike the stock seats, these use a more dense foam.  It takes 1,000 to 1,500 miles to "break it in," much like a saddle for a horse.  I remember my ass thinking "Whoa, that is firm!" with previous Corbin seats.

Nice to be able to see in person all the colors, textures, and stitching options.



While I checked out those options, Joan sat herself on one of their stools, made with a motorcycle seat... "That is really comfortable!"

From the Corbin display, it was off to find some lunch.  I was thinking some Rally street food, Joan was thinking: restaurant.  We made our way to the Loud American Roadhouse, a permanent restaurant/bar... unlike the many, many temporary food vendors who are only here for the Rally.  We sat ourselves at a booth on their second floor, with a view of Main Street...




Not a lot of people or activity on Main Street.  The waitress said, "This is a lot slower than I thought."  I am guessing she hasn't been through a Rally, before.  The number of people on Main Street will quadruple by tomorrow.  And then again by Saturday.  And by Sunday, it will be hard to move on the sidewalks and the streets will be 4 rows of bikes for blocks... and that will be only a very small bit of the number of people who are here.  Main Street will not be able to contain them all, and it will spill over on each side street for blocks... and that will still be just a small portion of the crowd.

With very little crowd today, it was a perfect time to walk Main Street.  In years past, I have enjoyed the massive crowds and "crazy parade" of bikes doing the slow crawl between the rows of parked bikes.  These days, I tend to be more crowd averse.

Joan wanted to pick up a T-shirt, I enjoy looking around.  There is a nice memorial to Tom Monahan who passed away in 2011; he designed the "official" Rally logo.  Early on, a group of people divided up who got to sell what with the "official" logo.  Tom was a teacher at the local high school at the time - it wasn't long before his T-shirt business (with the official logo) became a major business.


You can get a beer here for $3 - or sell them your motorcycle and be able to afford a lot of $3 beers...


A scooter!  A Honda Forza - not many scooters at the Rally (mostly Harleys), but this made me smile...


This is more of what you'll see here...


By Saturday, Main Street will be blocked off to car/truck traffic due to all the bikes.

Years ago, we used to shoot the "official Main Street Photo" - it is still a thing...


A couple street views...



Joan did go in a couple places - we each got a shirt...


Walking back up the other side of Main Street - there will be some amazing rolling creations here during this next week, from full custom choppers to total rat bikes.  I enjoy checking out the handy-work.  The amount of hand tooling in this seat was impressive...


This bike has a pet-carrier on the back...


No, I don't think Rufus would be into the noise and commotion here.


I don't get into political stuff here, but I think the demographic at the Rally would be mostly Trump supporters...


If you can't read it, the blue sign in the middle of the photo above says "Trump Shop."

As of right now, not all of the bikes are Harleys - or even motorized...


Back to the car, and heading back to Hart Ranch.  It was a fun outing.  The traffic coming northwest on I-90 between Rapid City and Sturgis is a constant line of vehicles pulling trailers - and you know there are multiple bikes in those trailers.  Plenty of bikes, too.  This is just the start, though.

We stopped to pick up a few things at Wally World in Rapid... yes, they have racks and racks of Sturgis Rally T-shirts, too.  I remember the 70s - there used to be "the T-Shirt Lady" who was the only one selling T-shirts.  A few people selling ice water or soda off their front porches.  A couple of the local churches serving breakfast when there were almost no other food vendors.  The crowd size was around 30,000 back then, and no one ever dreamed it would mushroom to over a half a million (over 700,000 three years ago for the 75th Rally).

Back then, some people rented tent space in their yards - this was before the City closed the City Park to camping and HUGE campgrounds like The Buffalo Chip sprung up all outside of City limits.  Oh, and some things haven't changed...

(backyard camping)

The Harley dealer in Rapid City (25 miles south of Sturgis) is already a city unto itself: dozens and dozens of vendors set up around the property.  This is a big deal.

It's about to get real loud all around the Hills.


2 comments:

Pat Anderson said...

Well, you know the Forza was not MINE! Unless the gent from Seattle who bought it decided to go to Sturgis of course!

Captain Jim and the Blonde said...

Couldn't be yours, Pat. You sold yours. This one appeared to have been ridden. ;-)