County Line Spoke! With the exception of checking in with Jay and going on the Cycle Source Ride last year, I had never even stepped foot in the bar. I did however ride my knucklehead right through it! How could I not? You can't come to the Broken Spoke and not ride through the bar!
Before the gig was set in stone, the plan was to ride up in a pack with friends and pick up stragglers along the way and roll on in to Sturgis big! Plans are meant to be broken! Although there is nothing like runnin in a pack with your peeps, it is also a recipe for disaster when you have to be somewhere at a specific time. I had to be at the Spoke and didn't want to leave anyone broken down on the side of the road, or God forbid in an accident. The plan changed, I would ride up with just one guy. I would ride up with one BIG, FUCKING HEAVILY ARMED GUY! That should be the answer to any trouble along the way! We decided the leave late in the afternoon, a day early for the "what if" factor and thank God we did!
We made it 42 miles from the house, up up up the mountain heading towards Payson, AZ and the Mogollon Rim and we already hit rain! 45 minutes ago, I was standing on my driveway in blazing sunshine without a care in the world or a cloud in the sky. By the time we were 2 hours in to the ride, I had on my shirt, my hoodie, my leather and my rain gear. I had to put the bubble shield on my helmet, put on a second pair of gloves and dump water out of my boots, WTF? I figured we would cross the mountain in the cool night time temps, I sure was right about that, it was REALLY cool. We didn't even make it 100 miles in to New Mexico and we had to call it quits for the night. I was half crippled, exhausted, cold and had a knot in my low back that was feeling like I was being fisted by a T Rex and to top it off, my left side gas cap that really isn't a gas cap was leaking when the tank was full. Day one came to a close with us grabbing a hotel with the plan of getting up super early the next day and blasting straight on through to Sturgis! From the next morning on and having ridden through some of the most beautiful country on God's green earth, this is the last and only photo that I took the entire trip to Sturgis while standing on two feet!
We made up some serious mileage that day! The entire time the only bikes we saw on the road were going in the other direction. Packs of bikes heading the other way. Every single time I saw a pack all I could think of was that somewhere, somehow, I got off course and was going the wrong damn direction! We made it all the way through Colorado and we were not far in to Wyoming when it was time for a fuel stop. The sky ahead of us looked truly deadly! As we pulled in, each and every single pump had at least one or more bikes parked at it and everyone was putting on every bit of gear they had to face this battle ahead. I was not going to re-live the events of the last two days again. I went in to the truck stop and bought some duct tape and asked the guy behind the counter for as many plastic shopping bags that he could spare. I went back to the pump and installed my new rain boots. I looked at the big Grizzly with me and he just shook his head and asked, "ya ready for this"? We pulled on to the freeway and by the time we hit the bottom of the ramp, with all the gear I had on, it was feeling like I was being shot with rock salt from a shotgun! Within 2 miles of entering the freeway, it crawled to a dead stop. In the few minutes that it had rained, it had already caused a massive accident it was so bad. As we passed on by, there were two pick up trucks upside down and a semi jack knifed between them. What the hell was I doing? We knuckled up, face the demon and rode on and what do you know, we rode right at of it. The storm was massive but it was moving on an angle and we cut the first corner right off of it and got past it! All of a sudden, it went from 51 degrees to 94! Off to the side of the road to take off all the damn gear!
Somewhere around 90 miles or so from Dead Wood, South Dakota I stopped to gas up, piss and check my phone. As I listened to my messages, I come upon one from GTP! " Dude"! "Where the fuck are you"? I sure hope you are okay, it is horrible here in Sturgis! A massive storm just came through and CRUSHED US! Tents are down, tarps are gone and all the porta johns are laying on their sides! We were so close that I could taste it. There was no way, come hell or high water that we were not making it to the Broken Spoke Campground this night, no way, no God damned way! All we had to do was cross up and over one big ass mountain, in the dark. We just had to watch out for deer every 1/2 mile. I'm from Jersey, I know how to watch for deer, let's go! What I hadn't figured on was the temps. I thought I was just tired and cold and being a big ass Pansy! We stopped just prior to Deadwood and I said to my Grizzly Bear, "holy shit I'm cold" and he responded with "you should be, my temp reading was 47"! WTF? Is this not summer? As we rolled on in to the COUNTY LINE SPOKE, it looked like a war zone! All I could think about was getting in to my cabin, pulling off my frozen clothes and crawling in to my sleeping bag! As I rolled on up to the country store the one and only, greatest night security guard in the history of bikerdom was sitting on a rocking chair, the legendary Brother Speed and by his side, Mikey from the WALL OF DEATH! Who do I see about getting my cabin Brother Speed? "Hell if I know man" was the answer!
So here we stand, wet, frozen, exhausted from a 700+ mile ride that day and the thought of even getting back on to the bike was inconceivable! Brother Speed being the class act that he is offered me his cabin to crash in for the night but I wouldn't have it. We hung on that porch for a few, I ate a gas station cookie and it was incredible! I chugged down some water and then I swore I saw a skinny gray ghost approach and hell if I wasn't right! Coming out of the fog was GEORGE THE PAINTER! I got ya all hooked up brother, I've got a soaking wet picnic table for you to sleep on, let's go up the hill! Okay, I'll ride up the hill, how do I know where to go? "You will see a motor home that says FUCK YOUR HOA on it", that's us! Here I thought he was screwing with me, but sure as shit as I pulled up the hill, sliding in every damn direction in the mud, thinking to myself, I stayed up on two wheels the entire way and I am going to crash right here at the Spoke! Chris and GTP hooked a brother up. They set up a tent for me to crash in until I could get situated with my cabin in the morning! It looks like the decision to leave early was the right one to make!
PICKLE SICKLE kicked ass! A bit of gas in the water but no worse for the wear! For the record, even with all that biblical rain, everything stayed totally dry! I've got to admit, the THE SPOKE hooked me up man! I think I got the very best cabin on the property! Check this shit out!
Original Spoke. I have to admit that seeing the main lot of the Spoke empty without Cycle Source and the Limp Nickie Lot there poked a hole in my heart! I was so excited and pumped up to finally be hosting the Broken Spoke County Line and all the people that I cared about were going to be all off at other places, doing their own thing this year. The "Lot" was down at the Buffalo Chip and everyone else was scattered about Sturgis. The only thing that I could hope for was that at one time or another, they would find some free time and make their way over to the The Spoke!
Broken Spoke County Lineis a magical and mystical place. There is just something about the property, Bear Butte standing guard and watching down on us all, the rolling hills, hot rod lake and so much more that it just grabs you and takes hold. Don't even get me started on the pool! For the record, as of this day, I've never even so much as had my toe in the damn thing! There is just something so amazing about being at this place and watching it go from near empty to jam packed full! Many of you don't ever get to see the property "at rest" so to speak, most of us arrive well in to the rally! Take a look at how gorgeous this place truly is.
Spoke! The rally Gods were shining on the Spoke this year! All I kept hearing from all over town was that the numbers were down, it was going to be a "soft year" and people were bumming out. I was getting traffic reports that there was not even traffic downtown. NO TRAFFIC IN STURGIS? How is that even possible? I could only respond with "well, it's jammin out here at the Spoke"!
All the pieces of the Broken Spoke puzzle for the 2011 rally were coming together and fitting in to place perfectly. Things were looking great. I have to give up some mad props though, right now, before I forget to the entire American Wall of Death family! For the very first time ever, I got the chance to spend time with this incredible group of people who travel the country keeping America's first extreme sport alive and honest to its tradition! I must say this and it is really important. One night early in to the rally at around 4 am, I rode the PICKLE SICKLE over to the wall to see everyone hanging out. We began chatting and they had asked if I had seen the condition of the flat track? NOPE! Well the grass and the weeds are chest high. Well that sucks! If we can get some golf carts and stuff, we could probably flatten it down, tomorrow we'll take a look. Forever, I will remember as the words came out of my mouth, "let's ride there now"! Oh my! So let me just say this to you, NEVER, EVER, GO FLAT TRACK RACING AT 4AM IN THE MORNING WITH ANYONE WHO USES "DEATH" IN THEIR DAMN NAME!!!! Please, don't ever forget that! Let me just say that the PICKLE SICKLE had to spend some time being repaired after this night's events! All day, I did whatever it was that I could to support the Wall and each night, these maniacs came in to the bar to do whatever they could to support me!