Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Paint it black at Sturgis 2008

Three pals and their skeletal friend out on the town in Sturgis

I dressed inappropriately for Sturgis.

I wore non-black, which definitely puts you in the minority among all comers, both men and women. Black leathers, black bandannas, black T-shirts, black motorcycles. Actually the motorcycles were much more colorful -- and more artful -- than their riders. Flashy colors and wild designs. The guy camped next to us in the Hog Heaven Campground traded in his Yamaha 650 (he brought a Yamaha to Sturgis?) for a Big Dog Mutt pro-street model. It was blazing orange with lots of polished aluminum (Big Dog's motto: "Only your jacket should be black"). Cost: $25,000. But it was a beauty. The real challenge came when he had to get the bike on his RV's rear-end bike mount built for a smaller Yamaha. The day before, he had taken his RV to a welder who had reinforced the carrier. Blake and Dan helped him and his diminutive wife roll the bike up the ramp and tie it down.

But back to the clothes. I wore my green Cheyenne Frontier Days Hawaiian shirt with palm trees interspersed with trucks and horse trailers (that's me at left above). It's an all-purpose shirt, one you can wear to luaus, rodeos and motorcycle rallies. One woman stopped and commented on the shirt, saying she had never seen anything quite like it. She wasn't wearing black but a white blouse and blue jeans. She and a friend from Rapid City were in town for a day of shopping and ogling.

The real problem with black is that it absorbs the blazing S.D. sun. The sun seemed hotter there than it does in Cheyenne, but maybe that was my imagination. Black doesn't make sense when you spend the day walking around downtown Sturgis staring at motorcycles and women wearing leather chaps over string bikinis. There was also one guy walking around in shorts and a bikini top with this written on his back: "I lost the bet." He was cooler than most of us.

Because black clothes absorb the sun and heat up your body, many bike week denizens slip into the many bars which line the streets. We had to do that several times in desperate acts of self-preservation. When it did rain later in the afternoon, I stood outside while people ran for shelter in the bars. As most Westerners know, these summer showers are quick and gusty and pack little rain. And, if you do get wet, the sun will reappear shortly to dry you out. I maybe got a dozen drops on me, just enough to lower the body heat a degree or two.

So I had no choice but to join the multitudes streaming into One-Eyed Jack's bar.

No comments: