In our community, the term "brother" gets flung around pretty loosely. It could refer to a riding partner who's been through some tough treks with you to someone you just go on weekend jaunts with, a member of your riding club, or just any other motorcyclist. But in this case, I'm talking about the real deal; actual carriers of fairly similar DNA by way of a common parent or two.
I come from a fairly large extended family. My dad's been married three times, with two kids from each. I'm my mom's oldest and my dad's fifth. My next older brother, Glenn, had a great idea for a trip, inviting all of us to join him riding back to L.A. from Sturgis on baggers. Glenn has a business that rents Harleys, and his mostly foreign clientele loves road tripping to the American Mecca that is Sturgis, spending some time at the rally, and jetting off into the sunset. The result is that there are always a slew of bikes that need to be transported back when the party is over.
That's where the brilliance of his idea kicked in. All we needed to do was fly into Sturgis-adjacent Rapid City, South Dakota, pick up our steeds for the ride home, and kill two birds with one stone by running them back quicker than they would on a truck, all while getting some brother bonding along the way.
Alas, only one other brother could get away from the grind long enough to make the trip with us, Scott, who is one step up the ladder older than Glenn. Also along was Leo. Leo works for Glenn helping to take care of logistics, and as far as I can tell, hanging out and drinking beer too. He's very good at it.
Arriving in the Black Hills via the Rapid City Airport, I am ashamed to say, was not a novel experience for me. What was novel was arriving at damn near the end of the event on a Thursday for a quick run through the fun stuff then a four-day trip home. First we had to pick up our rides. The Norwegians who had ridden the bikes the past couple of weeks to the rally and around town were dropping off the baggers at the Rapid City Best Western. Most were headed for a truck ride home, but a few like ours and a couple others were taking advantage of the remote location the bikes found themselves in and picked them up here. It's cheaper that way too.
After Glenn and Leo checked out and the bikes changed hands back at the Best Western, I decided to show my bros (and honorary bro) a few of the lesser-known sights around the Black Hills. One fun route involves taking Nemo Road and Vanocker Canyon to transit between Rapid and Sturgis. The detour adds 10 miles to an otherwise 30-mile trip, but does so via gorgeous, twisting, scenic Black Hills tarmac. Aside from the riding, we were all starving, and it was the one week of the year that Nemo Road BBQ is open off the side of Nemo Road between Nemo and US-385. It adds an additional 10 miles to the trip, but it's oh so worth it.
After some much-needed victuals, I led the crew down to Main Street Sturgis to break Scott in properly at One Eyed Jacks and the rest of Main Street. I'd go into detail, but I'm sure you've either read about it or lived it, so I'll skip the nitty gritty. The new sculptures on Main are pretty damn cool too. We headed back to Rapid after dark storm clouds threatened, but for the first of many times on this charmed trip, we dodged the rain.