Monday, August 15, 2011

Sturgis North – Days 12 - 14

 After all of the challenges that the organizers of Sturgis North faced the event finally went off – not without hiccups and challenges but fir a first time event, many things were done REALLY well.

The venues were in my humble opinion too far apart and should have all been contained to one area but I am sure that now that the coordinators were able to actually work the venues they will change many things for next year. What looks great on paper does not always translate as well in practice!

As you road up to the top venue where the main stage for the nostalgia bands was, the planning and effort was very evident. Parking areas were created in the ditches that were simply incredible. Well packed gravel with ties, created road type parking that was well used.

The main stage was incredible as well, boasting two jumbotron screens so that people in the beer gardens and VIP area were able to take in the music and see what was happening on stage.

There was a houseboat for the VIPs to use to get a higher vantage point to view the stage as well. (Some jerk however decided to wreck that for everybody by attempting to destroy the interior of the house boat and then proceeded to fall out of it – I wished I had been there later on Thursday night when that happened, I think I would have helped to push the jerk out of the house boat!)

After talking to Quentin, Denise and Dennis, our reporters for the event, I headed to Sicamous to check in to my room.  (Denise was going to head in to Merritt on Friday morning for me, to cover the Great Canadian Bike Rally – I can’t wait for her report!)

What a place Joe Schmucks is! My cabin was big enough to throw a party in, the bathroom was enormous and the hot water in the shower was plentiful.  Ken and the staff of Joe Schmucks are so wonderful. I can’t say enough good thins about this place. The food was wonderful, the service incredible and the accommodations, what can I say! The bed was the most comfortable one of the trip to date! I slept like a baby.

Friday morning, after a great feed of Eggs Benedict which was done to perfection, I headed up to the fair grounds venue in Salmon Arm to check things out and see Chica and Roger Goldammer. I got to see Bert – Roger’s Mentor and Bert’s newest protégé, Ashley who is apprenticing to be an automotive machinist.

I took in the vendors from the fair grounds, checked in with my Shuzi partners Michelle and Dee and was gratified to see how many Rider Friendly Phone Books had been handed out.  I spent a bit of time at the B Bands stage and listened to Skard.

After talking to the vendors and checking everything out I headed back to the Custom Bike Show area and Roger, Chica, Ashley, Bert and myself decided to head up to the top venue to take in the Nazareth Concert.

We decided to take the shuttles to the main venue to take in the Nazareth Concert and have supper.  We had a blast. The last time I had seen Chica and Roger was for the Canadian Championship of Custom Bike Building and it was truly wonderful to visit with these two fabulous builders who were going to be, along with myself and Travis from Denco Cycles doing the judging for the Custom Bike Show and Biker Build Off.

Nazareth was a blast; they sang songs from their newest album and some of their oldies which is the music every rider came to hear.  There had to be a good 15K people there!
The shuttles were filled to capacity and moved people back in to Salmon Arm in an amazingly efficient manner. Each bus held about 60 people and what an efficient crew of drivers they had! When we went to leave to concert we got in line and with 200 or so people ahead of us I thought it was going to take forever to get on a bus – I was wrong, in 15 minutes we were on a bus and on our way to our bikes in Salmon Arm!

Saturday morning, I spent time in my room editing pictures and writing and then took in the burn out pits and the arrival of the Veteran’s poker run in downtown Sicamous. 
The town of Sicamous was amazing, the main street was blocked off, there were bike and vendors everywhere and people smiling, laughing and sharing stories.

The beer garden was filled and the band on stage had everyone in a toe tapping mood. The legion was very creative with their bar, using a canoe for their beer tub!
It is estimated that some 3,000 bikes were in Sicamous for the event.

I headed back in to Salmon Arm and the Fair Grounds venue to go look over custom bikes and assist with the judging process.

There were some very well done bikes and after the hard job of going over them with a fine tooth comb and deciding the winners in the 4 categories, I jumped on my bike in the pouring down rain and headed off to Sicamous and the Belt Drive Betty – Minute to Win it party that Rachel from Joe Schmucks had put together.

Even in the rain 30 riders showed up to play some games, win some prizes and have a ton of laughs and folks, I haven’t laughed that hard in a long time! Rachel, the manager of the restaurant/bar and Wendy (Mark’s wife & Co Owner) did an amazing job

At about midnight I headed back to my room to have a good sleep as the next morning I would be back in Salmon Arm to partake in the Celebrity Ride. I finally got to meet the one and only Kimmy Kruz.

All of the builders, Kimmy, Roger, Chica and myself along with a number of people who paid to go on this ride to raise money for Breast Cancer Research saddled up and off to Revelstoke we went. Graham, the ride captain and organizer had a video crew following us and I myself was filming with my Drift HD170 Cameras.

The morning was picture perfect as we headed out. We stopped in Sicamous for fuel and off we went.

It was wonderful for Chica to get a chance to do some riding and see the Canadian Rockies, this California builder kept commenting on the beauty.

When we arrived at the resort we were treated to a luncheon, ribs, salads and burgers along with pop and water were on had. Some of the local breweries were offering beer samples and many enjoyed them.  After lunch, we took a last opportunity for photos with the riders, shared hugs and parted company. The builders to head back in to Salmon Arm to find out who won and I to head to Calgary and begin the next leg of my odyssey across Canada to spread the word about motorcycle awareness.

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