“My Pilgrimage to Sturgis” is a multi-part story chronicling my trip to the 75th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Week.
Part VI – Heading Home and Final Notes:
After three glorious days in The Black Hills, it was time to head home. As we did on the way out, we split the return trip in half, stopping at Badlands National Park on the way. The Badlands is another area I visited on my family trips as a kid, and it is probably the one area that made an impact during my childhood visits. The Badlands is a gorgeous, harsh environment, full of prairieland, and sharp, desolate desert mountains. It’s also a geologist’s paradise, full of fossils, giving a rich history of the Earth’s evolution. And contrary as it may sound, it’s also a tribute to God’s design.
We paused at many roadside stops, which provided tremendous scenic views and gave brief historical stories of the area. We walked around and climbed some of the hills in areas where tourists are welcome to explore. This is another instance where words can’t quite do justice to the experience. In a small geographic region, we transitioned from rich mountains to plains to a stark relatively desert-like environment. The Badlands are worth a full day of exploration, but if you do so, please make sure to bring plenty of water. You can spend an entire day adventuring, but you need to plan ahead.
Overall, the trip was wonderful. It was a trip down memory lane. My wife and I forged some great memories. I tested my skill and endurance as a motorcycle rider. I also learned to appreciate well-maintained roads. (The roads in Iowa SUCK compared to Minnesota and South Dakota.) I soaked in the sights and smells in a way that you can only experience on a motorcycle. I appreciated the fact that it didn’t rain at all while I was riding. I experienced wildlife that I may never see again. I was surrounded by hundreds of thousands of fellow riders seeking the same memories. I learned that I, while technically could do this type of ride on a Sportster, I would probably have enjoyed things more on a touring bike. I was reminded that life isn’t about things; it’s about relationships and experiences.