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by Dan Hartman

It’s time to report on my annual trip to the Black Hills and Sturgis, South Dakota. This year was no different. I was there the first week of August, and it was great.

The weather was warm, but not too hot — perfect for riding, and that’s what we did all over the hills. Bikes were everywhere. We stayed at Keystone at the foot of Mount Rushmore and spent each night on the boardwalk talking to people.

I sat on the boardwalk one evening with some of my friends talking to three couples from Rapid City about the M.M.M. A fellow turned to us and told us that he read the paper every month. He didn’t know any of us from Adam, but we were talking about the articles in the paper, so he piped in. I felt proud sitting there. I guess word is getting out. It makes all the work worthwhile to know the paper is finding an audience.

South Dakota still means speed. The freeway was wide open coming and going, and the formula hasn’t changed: SD + I90 = Vrrrooom. With a friend on the back, I broke in my new bike, as we headed back from Rapid City.

We stayed a night in Chamberlain along the highway then broke for home the next day after breakfast. We out ran an early morning rain and stayed ahead of the clouds coming in from the west all day. I was disappointed to see the ride come to an end when I came to the Twin Cities.

I enjoy riding with this group each year. I get to meet many different people and share good times with them. I must say a special thanks to Jim at Champlin Sinclair who is the organizer of the ride. It’s a lot of work, and I appreciate it. Jim’s really a great guy and one of the best mechanics I’ve ever met. He’s one of those local independent businessmen who never gets enough credit.

When I was in Sturgis I bought a Black Hills Rally patch for a jacket. I had no idea what I was going to do with it. It was an impulse buy. When I got home I just set it on the table. Before I started to write my column this morning, I got a call. A friend was in a motorcycle accident, and he was in the hospital unable to move his body below his chest. It was not life threatening, but he would be paralyzed because of it. I went to the hospital, and I grabbed the patch on the way out of the door. I guess I got the patch for him. I knew he didn’t get to Sturgis this year. Maybe next year. Get well, James. I know it will be a long way back. Don’t forget your friends will always be with you.

Everyone, don’t forget to RIDE SAFE AND BE FREE.

M.M.M.

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