Friday, 26 August 2011

Leaving Sturgis and selling the bike

Lakota Indians Class Bear Butte as the centre of the universe and is a very sacred site to them.
Fat hairy American  biker

Having travelled to the  centre of the Universe (near Sturgis) all good things must come to an end and we started our ride back to North Dakota and start my long journey home to Perth Western Australia..

Small town fair on the way home

Russ and myself at Valley city on the last time I rode the big red barge.
At the end of the trip I had to put a for sale sign on the reliable Kwaka which covered over 7500 miles in approx  6 weeks of riding without so much as a backfire. The bike did not use oil or water and pulled like a train. In that time I changed the oil twice and adjusted the cables once that was about it.
I gave her the once over for the new owner as it sold the very next day. This makes it a very cheap hire bike for the time I travelled in the states.

I wish I could of taken her home with me.
The Kawasaki Voyager 12 is a great bike for touring at a fraction of the cost of a Honda Goldwing or Harley. The only draw backs was the leg room for me (6 foot +) and no forward pegs to stretch on and the locks are not so good on the panniers.
The pluses easily out way the minor discomfort. A reasonable amount of power at 100bhp (once I loosened her up) and the handling was predictable. Great storage space and even a rack to hold a tent. When raining as long as you are going forward you can stay pretty dry except for your boots and gloves

I got the knack of the big red barge I could throw the bike it around quite easily. Even scraping the pegs through the black hills was quite good fun once you add beef up to the air suspension.  I was told the passenger seat was very comfortable and once or twice I even put the cruise control on and tried the back seat myself:-)

I must admit It was kind of sad to leave it behind. If I did this trip again I would buy another for sure. Anyhow the bike sold the next day and I am sure the new owner will cover quite a few miles as well. In fact I might even see it back in WA as a sand groper bought from me and will ride it back up to Canada and down the west coast to LA and then might ship it back to Western Australia. Good luck Luke!!

Russell dropped me off at Hector international airport in Fargo and then went and picked up the new owner of the bike from the bus depot, so I never met the new owner and Russ sent him on his way after sorting the paperwork. I have to say that with out Russells help the bike would of been abandoned or sold on consignment. A big thanks to Russ from me.

Russells more detailed version of events
I could add quite a few pages just on Bear Butte alone. The Lakota consider Paha Mahto to be the center of the universe and it is a sacred site. It is a dormant volcano and not a true butte (I attempted several times to explain to Mat how buttes were formed, but I think I bored him to no end with that bit of geological trivia). My wife's ashes are scattered there, as well as several of my Native relatives.

 Actually, our trip back from the Black Hills went very well. Mat and I took some of the lesser traveled secondary roads through some remote areas, so we went between 75-80 mph most of the way back, passing almost everything else on the road. A few groups of Harley riders tried to speed up when they saw us passing them, but my V-Twin 1500 and Mat's 4-cylinder 1200 pretty easily pulled away from them. 

We stopped at the Ben Ash Monument, which is the place where the first white gold prospectors got their first glimpse of the Black Hills. There was another Aussie who had stopped there, fresh off from attending a Sun Dance on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation. The pic Mat took of a "local fair" was taken in Faith, SD, which is probably most famous as the original home of the original Daisy Duke, Catherine Bach. In years past, some of us would meet up in Faith for their Cowboy Days celebration, camp in the City Park, go to the street dance, and drink with the cowboys before heading off to Sturgis. Some good parties and good stories resulted from those times.
 Mat got a little frustrated having to stop for gas for my V-Twin Vulcan Drifter, which did not have as much fuel capacity as Mat's Voyager (which was getting gas mileage in the 40-50 mpg range, as opposed to my 30-35 mpg), and when we got detoured into a remote area in South Dakota, I was running on fumes for a while. We made very good time on the trip back, and arrived in Valley City at about 5:30 p.m., so we stopped off for supper before going to my house. Just a couple of observations about the trip. I think Mat found it quite easy to find people to party with, maybe too easy. There was at least one day when he was too sick to ride, so Liz and I just took off by ourselves and had another predictably good time. Mat was somewhat amused and bemused by my "women problems" throughout the trip, which could probably warrant an entire blog entry just for those issues. Like I told one of them, "hey, I'm a biker--what do you expect?" I think Mat was also a little surprised that I am more conservative in my riding than he probably expected. Although we did not greatly exceed the speed limit, we were passing nearly everything else on the road, though. Especially in the Black Hills, when a sign says the speed limit is say, 15 mph, the reality is that is probably the fastest you can go around that corner. 

A few comments about the 1986 Voyager. I was a little concerned when Mat told me that was the bike he had purchased for this trip because it was 25 years old. It probably would not have been my first choice. Yet, when I saw the bike after Mat had already traveled 5,000 miles, I was rather surprised because it was in really good shape. In observing Mat riding it, it seemed to be well-handling and maneuverable. It had a lot of power, got great gas mileage, and was very reliable. It actually turned out to be a great deal for Mat

I've gone to find myself, If I get back before I arrive, Please keep me there.


  1. Looks like my last attempt at leaving a comment didn't matter I couldn't top your lawyer jokes.
    So Mat, now that you've conquered the USA, have sold the bike and are heading back down under...will you continue blogging and give us tales of travel back home? I for one would find that interesting. Really enjoyed following your blog. I imagine your family will be happy to have you back home. Good luck to you, and Cheers!

  2. Hi Larry
    I still have a couple USA blogs to go and then I might just have to do a few down under bike runs for you. In a few weeks time we have a memorial run for 2 very good mates who passed on way to early. The run is to a lake in our south west were we all met many years ago.

    Its been great being home with the family, my daughter wont let me out of her sight and every second word is daddy daddy.
    Cheers Mat

  3. Great blog, this is my first time to visit your blog and I found lots of interesting post, keep it up man,
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  4. Thanks mate, I have returned to eveyday life now and back at that four letter word
    I will blog some storied from Western Australia soon.
    cheers Mat


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