I want to give thanks for all the riders who returned home safely from this year’s Sturgis Rally. I am especially thankful for my safe return because I ventured alone for the first time in the three times I have embarked on the long journey to Sturgis, South Dakota. Please have mercy on the unfortunate riders who did not have a safe journey and perished doing the one thing that truly made them feel free. For those of you who were injured, I pray you have a speedy recovery and that the bike is repairable. Only those who love their bikes can understand why this is important.
I also want to give thanks to my son Jeremy and his family for their hospitality during my visit in Rapid City. This alone was worth the trip and I would do it again tomorrow if this tired, old body would permit. Take care of those children, Jeremy; they are precious beyond words or worth.
It is fitting that I give special thanks to the United States of America. Her beauty is breathtaking in its grandeur and scope. I am in total awe and humbled every time I ride her grand roads into vistas that make your eyes tear and heart soar. The anticipation at every turn is unbearable because you know you will see something great and inspiring. From high mountain peaks to low grassland valleys…wildlife abounds, making the journey even better – it is all good, even the lower desert badlands have their own special kind of beauty.
There is an old saying about the ride to Sturgis, South Dakota. “Bring rain gear because it will happen!” This year, not one drop of rain fell on me the whole trip. Fitting, because I knew this would be my last trip to the rally on a motorcycle. I can guarantee you that the first two trips were not dry rides. My wife and I got slammed in 1999 and my friends and I found the same conditions in 2003. Riding in the rain is a piece of cake if you are dressed correctly. If you don’t have time to don the gear…you will be miserable and I can attest to that!
To all the young and older riders alike, if you have not made the trip to Sturgis, somehow make it happen before you run out of time. It is well worth the effort if you ride safely by staying sober and alert. Share the road and meet thousands of like-minded people on the trip. You will also find good folks along the way who live in quaint, small towns that make this country great. I thank God for living in America because nowhere else will do.