by Dave Edblom
So, M.M.M. wants some lines about this year’s 1000. Hmmm…
It all started in 1951, and by 1954 I’d already been photographed on our neighbor’s 1940 Indian. At age six, I rode on Harold Smith’s Panhead Dresser. Puberty found me in my barber’s chair in Chokio, Minnesota looking at the pictures of him and his Duo-Glide standing on a pier in San Diego. He told me, “It’s the only way to travel, boy.” So, at the tender age of 13, I sold my horse and bought my first motorcycle. It was a 1964 Bridgestone 90, black with chrome tank panels. It was also mother’s day, and my mother cried.
Then came high school and a new 1967 Yamaha Catalina 250, blue and white and scary fast. On a good day it’d do the ton. By the early 1970’s it was chopper time and a tired 650 lightening was the sacrificial lamb. On the day Northeast Chopper at 18th and Central opened for business, I was there and traded lots of cash for lots of chrome parts, the latest in springers, a tall sissy and the first issue of Easy Rider magazine, which I still have to this day. Those guys were like spice merchants from India unloading the precious cargo from that brown Ford van with California plates. That whole early 1970s scooter scene was so cool from the Eides to SBF to W.A.S. to Egebergs to Howard W. Belmont to WIW and all the painters and stripers and shops in between. Several Hondas, several Harleys, lots of trips, lots of miles.
By 1985 it was my 13th year at Sturgis, and I rode a Suzuki GT380, a true reflection of my financial condition at the time. Since then times have gotten better and at this year’s running of the 1000, I had to choose from five bikes in the barn. It was an easy choice though; the 1991 FXLRC would get the call with 30K on the clock, a new Dunlop on the front, tourmaster on the tank and the back seat, three sets of pegs, a clear Harley windshield and that slouch-down-feet-out-laid-back riding position that makes it easy to listen to that motor run for hours and hours and hours.
So, it was a little after midnight, and I was pushing HARD southeast out of Rapid City headed for Wasta thinking that I’m all bad and everything. By the time I realized a bike was behind me, a K1200RS blew by doing at least a ton, so I had to catch him. Then a guy on a red and white GS caught us both. We all pulled into Wall for gas thinking that we’re all bad and everything, and there were three guys there ahead of us! We couldn’t believe it. Whipped out the card, gassed and went. This thing was getting real competitive.
I did the Isle of Man course through the Badlands by moonlight and watched out for prairie dogs and coyotes. Eddy, you’re too much. You had to know that anyone at the Badlands would have to ride it at night. After 20-some trips to Sturgis, I had ridden the Badlands many times, but never in the middle of the night. What a treat! I hit the wall at about 3:00 a.m. and started to doze after blowing by Al’s Oasis and a gas and go in Murdo. There was an all night truck stop in Kimball, South Dakota, but I barely made it. I got my second wind after a couple of cups of coffee, a Swisher and some conversation with a State trooper about the chill and dew at 3:30 a.m.
I rode on to the Corn Palace at Mitchell, where there were about six or seven of us furiously writing down the time, mileage and the words above the main entrance. It must have been a strange sight to the local drunks cruising around at that time of night. Then I raced on to Sioux Falls and the battle ship. How long is that gun barrel? 62 feet? It can’t be, but that’s what the sign said. Back on 90 to Sherburn I…hey, wait a minute. If I went 30 miles or so south, I could get a gas receipt in Esterville, Iowa. More points!
So I got to the Casey’s and there was the guy on the red and white GS. How’d he do that?
Well, the rest is history, but I have to say that in all my years of riding, this was absolutely the most fun and challenging riding I’ve ever done. After finishing second in the standard class last year, I was determined to do well again this year. But after playing catch-up to the guy on the red and white GS through three states, I didn’t think I had a chance. When the old rally master called my name and said I’d taken first overall, I about went into shock and am just now recovering. I’d like to thank Eddy James and his staff and especially all the sponsors for all their hard work and dedication to this great event. It truly is “One goddamn life threatening situation after another.”
Fear and Loathing in Woody Creek
by Donny Sheldon, Tony Marx, and Victor Wanchena
We rolled up to the Woody Creek Tavern looking like three extras from the set of The Road Warrior. The locals eyed our bug-crusted leathers as we slowly walked inside and approached the bar. Tony leaned over to the bartender and said in a low voice, “We’re looking for Hunter S. Thompson.”
“Sorry guys,” He replied in East Coast brogue. “Hunter doesn’t come in any more since the bar went no smoking.”
Twelve hundred miles in nineteen hours and no Hunter S. Thompson. We shuffled back outside dragging the over-priced tee shirts we purchased to prove we had made it to Woody Creek. We rode nineteen hours running flat out across the endless plains of Iowa and Nebraska, crossing 12,000 foot mountain passes just for a lousy tee-shirt. Donny, Tony, and I stared at each other. We knew what lay ahead. We had to repeat the trip we just made in only eighteen hours with all the fatigue and none of the determination we possessed just one day ago.
This story began the day before, as we sat at the pre-rally banquet and read the partial route sheet for the grand adventure known as the Minnesota 1000. On the first page was the checkpoint that would become our downfall: “Go to Woody Creek, Colorado and find Dr. Hunter S. Thompson.” Seized with thoughts of the glory and praise we would receive for such a ride, we all dashed off to gather our gear and met up a short while later to sign out. Because of the distance that would be traveled the rules allowed us to leave the night before the official start of the rally. We rolled out of Minneapolis a few minutes before ten.
Twelve hours later we staggered like drunks into a cafe somewhere in Colorado. Fatigue was already taking its toll. It was another seven painful hours before we descended from the Independence Pass into Woody Creek. The slow line of cars we followed through the winding mountain roads had worn our patience thin. With our journalistic hero nowhere to be found we all had but one thought–make it back.
It was 10:00 before we made it back to Denver, but now the once blue skies had turned black, as a huge line of storms loomed above us. The rained poured, and we were now cold and wet and tired. Somewhere on the lonely highway, in the confusion of the rain and lightning, with traffic swarming around us, Tony was separated from Donny and me. We continued on hoping to spot Tony along the road but with no luck. At 2:00 a.m. Donny and I realized we were sunk. There were still seven hundred miles till home and only ten hours left on the rally clock. Admitting defeat we holed up in a truck stop until dawn.
But what of Tony? After getting split from us, he forged on thinking we were ahead of him. Fighting fatigue with massive doses of caffeine Tony rolled across the prairie, but fate was not with him. He stopped to nap for a few minutes and awoke 45 minutes later; each fuel stop took longer. Thinking he remembered the way Tony careened through downtown Des Moines and lost precious time. After a Herculean effort, Tony rolled through the return checkpoint in Minneapolis at 12:15 still wearing his rain gear…only 15 minutes past the final check-in time. For the record, Tony was the only rider to try Colorado and even come close to finishing on time, so close that any one of our mistakes would have made the difference between finishing and the dreaded DNF (did not finish).