Road to Sturgis

August 4, 2017

Well I got up at 5:30 this morning and after this blog I should be up to date.

I had a great sleep overnight in Four Corners and pack up camp with a view of riding the 314klms to Hardin. I had booked a room at the Lariat Hotel on line the night before as I am finding that after a run of roughing it I need to find the comfort of a hot shower and decent bed. Thankfully today is the complete opposite of yesterday and its cool and overcast;

I only ride 12klms and arrive at Bozeman. As I am driving thru I see this old girl on the side of the road;

I continue on and call in at the Justice Centre where both the Police and Sheriffs Departments are located in the same building;

Whilst waiting to be served I strike up a conversation with a guy about my age who is a local rancher. He is there to pick up his concealed firearm permit and I ask him a few questions in relation to that. In Montana it is not illegal to walk around with a handgun on your hip as long as it is at least 75% visible. He was applying for a concealed permit primarily as he feared that there may be a tightening up of the laws.

After a short wait I meet Debra who works in the Sheriffs Department and her husband works next door for the Police. She explains the gun laws in Montana and tells me that at the time Obama was elected President she had been working for the Police Department attending to the front counter. Debra explains that at that time they went from about 5 – 10 applications for concealed firearm permits a week to more than 50 a day which caused a lot of headaches! She gives me a patch for each department and we exchange particulars.

I head off and enjoy the cooler riding conditions;

The haze that you can see in some of the photo’s is smoke that is still drifting around the State as a result of forest fires.

I decide its time to have lunch and pull into Livingston – another iconic old western town that has some interesting old buildings;

While I was eating lunch I was approached by John who runs a shuttle and charter company – he heard my Australian accent and wanted to tell me (apart from Fred leaking a bit of petrol out of his overflow) that he had family in Australia at the moment. John makes some really good suggestions re things I should go and see. I grab his business card and have now exchanged particulars.

I finish lunch and ride just around the corner to call in on the local Livingston Police Department. Here I meet Will ‘Diego’
Williams who is a very enthusiastic motor cycle rider. Will was currently on a new Indian that he had purchased at Sturgis and loves it. What I found interesting is that he is part of the ‘Roughnecks Motorcycle Club’ that is a fully patched outfit made up of law enforcement (mainly) and other emergency response agencies. He tells me that there was until recently a chapter of the club on the Gold Coast in Australia that was made up of police but they disbanded due to it all being too hard (politically incorrect). This was all news to me as I was not aware of any of this.

Will hands me his club business card;

On the back of the card is;

“Roughnecks Motorcycle Club is a 99% club! Which means, we represent the 99 percent of the population that gives a shit about society and the laws that govern the world we live in. We are not Outlaw! We are Lawmen: Respecting All & Fearing None!”

How cool is that statement! Great fella and we hope to catch up at Sturgis – either way I am sure we will keep in touch.

I get back on the road and its magnificent riding;

After about 160klms I pull in for a rest at Laurel and go and visit the local Police. I end up meeting the Chief (Rick) and Dane. They are great blokes and we have a laugh. Both have Harleys and are going to Sturgis – timing doesn’t work with Dane but I should be able to catch up with the Chief on Saturday night for dinner at Deadwood. Now both have goatee’s and when I ask the Chief how do they get away with that he replies that given he writes the policies its easy! Ha.

The building is shared with the Fire Department and I tell the guys that this would not work back home as the testosterone competition would have both agencies fighting in the hallways. Right at this moment the fire chief walks into the office and I get introduced. The chief offers me a fire department patch (not sure at this time he is serious) and I am struggling to think of a reason why I wouldn’t want it (if the boys back home got wind of it I would never live it down). The chief goes on to say how the police love sharing the building with them as even they need heroes.

So I tell the fire chief that it must be very different here because back home we just think the fire officers are the highest paid brass polishers on the planet! ha. Everyone starts laughing and it is good to know that its the same thing all over the world.

I exchange particulars with the guys and just before I leave the Police Chief tells me that I could have stayed at his campsite for which they are paying $11 a day and not the $75 that I am. Good grief! Good to know for next time as these guys go every year.

Back on Fred and I make my way to Hardin, arriving at the Laramie Hotel a lot later than planned but that is becoming the norm given how sidetracked during the day I get. On arrival I see this sweet 2012 Ultra classic sitting outside one of the rooms;

I later talk to the owner, Bill, who is 70yrs young and a retired pipeline welder who lives in Butte. Turns out Bill has done a hell of a lot of things in his life from being in the armed services to fabricating ski lifts. I compliment him on his bike and he tells me that he has to be so careful when parking/stopping as it weighs 1000 pounds and he is a little guy.

I check out Bills number plate – “5 CNTS”. Now back in Australia, CNTS has a very different meaning. I politely ask Bill about the number plate and he tells me it is short for 5 cents (given that his surname is Nicholls – as in a 5c nickel). I tell him what my Aussie interpretation is of his number plate and we have a good laugh. He promises not to have that on his bike if ever he ships it over to Australia. We exchange contact details and I hope to catch up with him down the track.

I meet the Hotel Manager, Waylon, who is a retired High School teacher that taught American History. This was very fortunate as Waylon was able to give me some great pointers for when I call in to see the site just up the road where General Custer met his end at little big horn. Again I exchange contact details with Waylon as I am certain he will be able to answer any question I may have relating to the historical things I see along the way.

Yahoo – I am now totally up to date so the blogging should be at a slower pace!


  1. Comment by Mary Ellen Stanley

    Mary Ellen Stanley Reply August 4, 2017 at 3:09 am

    You are really good at this! Sturgis! Can hardly wait to read your blogs from this event! Whoo-Hoo! Enjoy!
    Laramie Mary Ellen

    • Comment by Noel

      Noel Reply August 4, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      Sturgis……what could go wrong?

  2. Comment by Phil

    Phil Reply August 4, 2017 at 11:42 am

    Mate. I expect some new policies upon your return to the office. Jeans would be nice.

    • Comment by Noel

      Noel Reply August 4, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      I could see you on the Ultra classic mate

  3. Comment by Donna

    Donna Reply August 4, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    I had to laugh that even in Australia police officers and firefighters banter and tease in a fun rivalry but we all know when the chips are down, we are there for one another. Firefighters have had our (cops) backs and we have theirs!

    • Comment by Noel

      Noel Reply August 5, 2017 at 1:17 am

      You haven’t met my mate Jack yet…..

  4. Comment by Nath

    Nath Reply August 7, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Best yet.

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