Our good friend Mark Haldane shares his amazing Motorcycle vs. Moose experience and some of the sentiments regarding the motorcycle it happened on.

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Stories from the Road: Patti Bogan

Local riding legend Patti Bogan shares her experiences with parking lots. Don’t worry Patti, we’ll never call you by that nickname!

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Evansville, IN to Mesa, AZ – 2450 miles

Summary of the remainder of my journey…

The morning after we arrived in Evansville, IN, Sarah and I took our bikes over to Bud’s Harley-Davidson, where my friend Dawn had graciously pushed us to the front of the line. When we arrived Dawn was mopping the bathrooms and making sure the place was nice and clean from the carnage of their bike night the weekend before. Rather than sit at the dealership for a few hours, Dawn took us to grab some breakfast. We went to a local dive bar/restaurant and I had a bloody mary and Dawn got a mimosa. We chatted and enjoyed too much food. From there Dawn took us to the part of town were her super cool restored old house is on the river so Sarah and I could wander for a bit while she worked. There weren’t any thrift stores for Sarah but we found a cool coffee shop and made friends with the girlfriend of the guy making coffee, Lexie. She chatted with us and was excited to hear about motorcycling and our adventures.

Dawn met us at her house, which was only a block from the coffee shop, where Sarah and I waited on her porch swing. We got the tour and chatted about all the work she put into the place and we both strongly encouraged her to put it on Airbnb. What an amazing house. From here we headed back to the dealership. They couldn’t fix my speakers that I blew, because Harley is coming out with an upgraded replacement so they don’t have the old style in stock. Sarah needed a full service, a brake fluid flush and a rear tire. I just needed a 20K. they washed our bikes and I shopped a little. I ended up getting a pair of boots to replace my waterproof and extremely hot ones I brought. Sarah and I filled a box and Dawn mailed it home for me. From there we hauled ass heading toward Tulsa, OK to visit my sister Bonita.

We rode across Illinois and made it to Rolla, MO. Nothing too exciting but we did see a lot of cool old towns and old houses. From there we made it to Tulsa the next day and got to my sister’s house. She was still at work and Ashley needed to finish delivering her papers, so Sarah and I headed to the Harley dealership. There used to be a café attached but since the new owner bought it he has remodeled. The staff were nice and we ended up chatting to several of them for about an hour. I met the GM and then we headed to a local bar/restaurant that one of them recommended to grab a snack. It was great to visit my sister in her new home. She made us homemade curry and we got to have a sit-down dinner with her and Ashley and one of their friends stopped by.

The next morning it was pouring rain, so we had Bonnie drive us to breakfast with her, in the hopes the rain would pass. We finished our good breakfast and sure enough the rain hadn’t let up. So, like the buffalo that run through the storm to get to the other side, Sarah and I set out.


We rode through the rain for almost 100 miles. It was pretty sketchy in town, my tire kept slipping from all the grime on the road and the water. Once we were out of the city it was a lot of farm land but it was in the hills and it was all rainy and cloudy. We kept on hauling and made it to Burlington, CO. I know the path doesn’t make much sense but I had friends and family to see. So, we made it to Loveland, CO to visit my friends at Thunder Mountain Harley-Davidson. After catching up with my friend Justin, it was time for Sarah and I to split ways. Sarah suggested going to a vegan restaurant for our last meal until we reunite in AK. Of course, I loved that idea, so we headed to Crash.

After our delicious food, I was heading to Boulder and she was going to head north west toward Portland. It was harder to say goodbye to my 20+ day road partner than I expected but it was exciting to see my friend Ariel. I made it to her place pretty quick. We got to catch up and chat a bit, then we both busted out some work and I kept working while she walked her adorable dog Gulliver. He is a little skittish, but I think he deep down knew I was a dog person. We had a beer at the Gunbarrel Brewery where she works for fun (her other job is part remote online and part onsite so she works at the brewery for social time) then we headed to dinner at a place called Elemental.

I had been in contact with my friend Djonas (pronounced Yonas) from Belgium. I met him during Spenard Bike Week at the House of Harley in Anchorage. He was camping there after riding up to the north slope and was eventually making his way to the states to continue his ride toward Ushuaia, Argentina. I was there this spring and always enjoy hearing about the bikers making that long trek. We hit it off and hung out quite a bit while he was staying there. He left mid bike week and headed to Valdez and then into Canada. We have been in touch through Instagram and Facebook and we were going to be near the same places during my ride across the U.S. He was in Portland while I was heading west, so I figured we wouldn’t meet up, but he managed to make it through Wyoming and after a couple days of hard riding met me in Longmont. It was great to see him again and we got to spend the afternoon chilling and then got drinks and dinner and more drinks on the town in Longmont with Ariel.

The next day was tough to say all my goodbyes. It was so good to see Ariel after over a year since she moved down here. We used to spend a lot of time together in AK and were workout buddies. I miss her dearly. It was also great to see Djonas and I am excited to continue to follow his journey to Argentina.

He is on Instagram as americananas_88 if you want to follow his journey as well as his blog at americananas.wordpress.com.

I hit the road, and planned to get as far as I could make it and handle but about 100 miles from boulder I was going to stop and see Pat, my friend that drove up to SD for my b-day so I could see him and his kids Mary and Michael one more time before I see them next summer when they come back up to Alaska. We got coffee in a small town in the middle of all the ski resorts.

The freeway around there was pretty intense. A lot of traffic and all winding roads. When I first got on the freeway I was almost squished between two cars by a guy that refused to see me even though I was almost touching his window. Other than that, it was a pretty ride. After coffee with the Kelley’s I hauled ass. I couldn’t really find a place to stay, almost ran out of gas in Utah somewhere but saw some amazing scenery.

I definitely have to come back when I have some time in the Moab area to check out the arches and all the parks around there. I was on 191 and thought I would be through the reservation soon and saw on a search there was a Best Western in Chinle, AZ. I was chasing the sunset and pulled into the lot right at 7:30pm. I checked in and found out I was still on the reservation and it was a dry reservation. Well, no wine with dinner, but I had a traditional soup for dinner and headed back to my room. I slept pretty good and was back on the road at 7:30am.

I figured I would be off the reservation soon and find a town with gas, so I skipped filling up. As I took backroad to backroad, I started to get nervous as my gas gauge got lower and lower. When I was at about 17 miles left, I saw a sign that said I-40 16 miles.

Thank God!!! I was at “low range” when I got to Winslow, AZ to get gas. The whole day was a really beautiful ride through hills, mountains, rocks and forests. It was pretty cool all morning too, until I was about 80 miles north of Mesa and as I dropped into the valley it jumped about 20* and was HOT!! I made it to the house at 11:30am (I forgot I would gain an hour) and got to chill with Barry for a bit. I got my bike unpacked, took a nap and got my shit all packed for my flight home tomorrow!

This trip was a total of 7,736 (plus a few miles from AK that I didn’t include) so we could call it 7,770 and 26 days. This is the longest motorcycle trip I have taken to date. Pretty epic and the party in Milwaukee in the middle was epic. I will be back to work soon, but I will never forget this journey! Much love to everyone who takes the time to read my long-winded stories.

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Milwaukee to Joliet, IL (128 miles) to Evansville, IN (295 miles)

Ah, the end to the party is never fun but it is necessary and we all survived the adventures of the 115th. Sunday afternoon as we all chilled at the Airbnb, Levi and Sarah packed their bags to head to Chicago to drop off Levi at the airport so he could get back home in time for work. Rather than drive all the way back to Milwaukee, Sarah booked an Airbnb and stayed in Joliet. My plan has been pretty fluid. One day, I was going to stay in Milwaukee for an extra day with Christy, then the next I was going to ride with Sarah and Levi to the airport and Joliet. My final plan ended up being to stay in Milwaukee Sunday night then head to Joliet to met up with Sarah the next day (Labor Day). After almost a week of partying in Milwaukee, I was ready to hit the road again and get back toward my trek home.

As I got my bike loaded and said goodbye to my dad, Christy and Fred I was a little sad to be leaving the group but excited at the same time. I had a bought of a little too much heat the day before, plus almost a week walking around on my knee at all the parties I was a little rough starting out the day. I got about an hour into my ride south and hit a horrendous rain storm. There were a ton of riders out there on the highway heading south but we all were miserable in the torrential downpour. I didn’t want to pull over, because I felt like it would be pointless. I left that morning in jeans, my knee brace a t-shirt, leather jacket, half helmet and Oakley sunglasses. I was already soaked, so adding more gear would be mostly pointless…although my Oakley’s are not made for riding and were getting hard to see out of. Eventually, I came up to a toll booth “SHIT!” I forgot to input “avoid tolls” and when I stopped for that I jumped off my bike, swapped my glasses and paid the fee. As I kept going I had a couple more tolls and was quickly running low on cash…(Damn all those cash only bars at all the parties in Milwaukee).

Eventually, the rain got so bad I could not see in front of me, so I pulled under the next overpass I saw. There were about 20 bikes all pulled over and everyone waiting out the storm. I parked about half my bike still out in the rain and pulled out my rain coat. I decided I didn’t want my gloves to get wet so I left them off. One of the guys told me it was going to be at least 30 minutes to clear and that it was really bad. After about 5 minutes of sitting there and updating Sarah on where I was, I decided to be like the buffalo and run head first into the storm to get to the other side faster. I was less than 15 minutes and I was out of the worst of it and then soon after that back in the sun.

As I kept going and kept seeing toll booths, I eventually blew through a couple because I was sick of fishing out the little change I had. I stopped at one, took off my rain coat and leather jacket and swapped back to my shades. There was a large group of bikers from another country, they were all wearing full face helmets, but I think it was a group for Asia. They gave me a thumbs up and I gave one back. As I rode up to pay my toll, I realized it was “exact change only” and I had none. I had rolled up to the booth with my saddlebag open and the same nice foreign biker ran over to make sure I knew it was open, kindly shut it for me and nodded. I reopened it, dug for change then finally threw all that I had left into the bucket and rode on. I assume I will be coming home to a few tickets??

After a couple wrong turns and having to pay tolls twice, I made it to Joliet…Oh, I guess that might not have happened in my prior blogs, not sure, but my “B*&#@ in the box” only talks to me when she feels like it, so I basically don’t have navigation anymore which makes it difficult to get around at times. But hey, it makes for an adventure sometimes too.

(Sarah’s cute Airbnb in Joliet)

I finally made it to Joliet and met up with Sarah at a coffee shop called Jitters. It was great to get on the road with Sarah again. We hammered down and headed south. We had decided at the coffee shop, that although I had originally planned to head towards Tulsa, OK first, we would instead go to Evansville, IN to visit my friend Dawn Morand’s dealership, Buds Harley-Davidson. We both were due for service and better to get it done with a dealer you know and trust.

So, I called Dawn and let her know we were on our way. We rode for a bit before we hit a rain storm. We were both in short sleeves and just rode all the way through it. Right before I turned east again, it got really bad and if I hadn’t have been turning I might have had to stop from the wind and intense rain, but I could tell we would be out of it soon. We were completely drenched but the sun came out and we dried quickly. It was about 97* all day. We didn’t really hit much else for rain and the scenery isn’t too exciting in this part of the world, but we did take all back roads which was fun. Many of them country roads with no center lane and not much for traffic. As we got closer to Evansville, it was pretty flat, but there were some great old buildings to check out as we rolled through small towns.

When we got to Evansville, after stopping at the wrong hotel, we found the right one which was right down the street from the dealership. Dawn picked us up an hour after we got here, enough time to freshen up. We went to dinner with her and her husband and got a drink at a bar where despite the lack of crowd there was still some enthusiastic karaoke singers. We got a little laundry done and will be taking our bikes to the dealership at 8am to get them serviced. Sarah is already at her 10K in a year…pretty bad ass. We are over our 5K mark on this trip so a good time to get them checked out and ready for the next several thousand.

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Milwaukee 115th Anniversary…

What happens satays in Milwaukee…you should have been there. No, but in all seriousness, it was an awesome party. We did all the things we could and it was amazing and you should all start planning now for the next trip down in 5 years. Follow our Instagram and Facebook pages for other highlights from our time there.


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Rogue Riders Day 14

La Crosse, Wi to Milwaukee!!! 437 miles

WE MADE IT!!!! #milwaukeeorbust

Last night Christy and Levi showed up while I was sitting on my bike trying to get signal outside to check my emails and get some work done. It was great to have my bestie join me. We promptly discovered that the liquor stores don’t sell liquor or wine after 9pm so we opted for some spiked sparkling water. We hung out by the fire pit and talked Fred into waking back up and coming out to hang out with us for a bit. It was a lot of fun, but we eventually were told by the hotel staff that we had to go to bed…rebels.

We all got up this morning and got our stuff packed up and ready to hit the road for the final ride before the party. As we were packing Sarah ran over to a thrift shop and hardware store to try to find us some stick on letters to write on our windshields. While she was doing that, Levi and I went to get the breakfast at the hotel. When we walked in, I joked about the fact that I wasn’t wearing shoes…and sure enough they had a sign that said “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service.” I walked in and the gal stopped me and said, that I couldn’t eat without shoes.

I told her I just wanted coffee and she tried to stop me to tell me “He can get you coffee and bring it to you” in her Russian accent. I looked at her and said “No, I will get my own coffee and then I will leave. I paid for my room and I will get coffee.” I might have been a little hung over and grumpy but I also was just cracking up at the ridiculous behavior. I got my coffee and left. Levi was trying to get breakfast and leave, and she followed him around telling him he had to eat the food in the dining area and could not take it to go, so he finally snuck out with an english muffin.

Sarah got back and Fred waited for us, so it was us 3 again and Levi and Christy followed in the car, which was great so I could put all my gear in there and have a lighter bike. We agreed to just take the freeway so we could meet the group at Wisconsin Harley-Davidson so we could go to the museum as a group to get a photo. Everyone was gone except for us, so we hit the freeway and hauled some @$$ until we hit the freeway closure. It was pretty funny, the exit before the closure a car pulled over in front of us and kept waving us to exit, but I thought “Surely he isn’t signaling us and I am not gonna follow a perfect stranger…” well we should have followed him. He was trying to save us from almost an hour on the freeway trying to exit all of the vehicles.

Once we finally made the exit, we stopped for gas. Christy and Levi were behind us so they pulled into the gas station as well. We stocked up on a lot of water…a lot of water… and I got a pickle and some almonds. You have to love gas station food. And from there we followed the mass of people on this side road since the freeway was closed. Eventually we came to a spot in the road that was completely backed up. As we slowly rolled along I waved Christy forward in the car and she fed me pretzels and water through the window while I rode down the road. While I was slowly rolling along I realized my speaker or amp had blown and I had a distinct rattle and weird thump from the bass. Bummer! I guess I will have them look at that when I get my 20K in the next week. I changed my GPS settings to send us on “avoid highway” to find an alternate route and it told me to turn right on “County Road Z.” So, after sitting forever in this traffic we could have rode the shoulder and passed all the traffic to turn right on this road. Oh well, you live and learn.

The county road was great and hardly had anyone on it. We hauled @$$ as much as we could with the rough shape of the pavement and all the towns we rode through. Eventually we came back upon I-39 and I was thinking it might get us to where we were going but my GPS was still on avoid highway. By the time I got it caught up to stop avoiding highways, it had already sent me past the intersection. It was ok, because we got to ride through a beautiful small town and see a little more scenery before we got on the freeway. Actually, the whole ride on the backroads was great. Big trees, hills and curves. Can’t complain. I texted Barry while we were stuck in the traffic and told him we were going to be later than 1pm. We got on the freeway and hammered down tracking about 85 to 90 the whole way to Wisconsin H-D. When we arrived, most of our group was there but Barry and a few others were not.

While we waited for the group Sarah and I decorated our windshields so people could see where we came from Her bike said “Heard there was a party – rode from Alaska 4K+ Miles” which was great. Mine just said “Alaska to Milwaukee.” Once we got most of the group assimilated we took a photo of all of us in front of the Wisconsin HD Sign. From that point we decided to head to Veteran’s Park to check out the welcome part from HOG and HD. We parked in the grass and walked in. There has been a bit of rain so there was a lot of mud and muck to walk through.

We hung out, listened to some good music and ate some food. We checked out the Ferris wheel and did some live videos from there and it was fun.

After awhile, I asked the group if they would be ok with going to my friend Anne Marie and Tammy’s restaurant called Moxie. Everyone was down to go, so Fred, Christy, Sarah, Levi and I rode to Moxie. I was super excited to see Ann Marie and Tammy and we got to hang out with them for a bit.

They have Gloria Struck coming to the restaurant tomorrow to do a book signing. If you don’t know who she is, you should GTS. I shared it with the group, so our plan is to go tomorrow after we check out the factory.

Milwaukee Graffiti/Mural outside our Airbnb

I may not blog the next couple days if they go long and I don’t have time, but we will be in Milwaukee until the 3rd. I will continue blogging from there for sure!

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Rogue Riders Day 13

Sioux Falls, SD to La Crosse, WI 437 miles

I had a tough time sleeping last night, and was awake around 4am to watch and listen to the huge lightening and thunder storm. Although as an Alaskan I enjoy them, I was not thrilled about the idea of riding in it today. When we woke up around 8am Fred texted me to set a time and a route. He suggested we go north through a small town called Florence then over to Lake City and then down to La Crosse. It was pretty much the same route I was thinking would be good and according to the radar north was going to have less rain. We agreed to head out at 9am, and as we were getting the bikes loaded up it really started to rain.

When I was in Billings, I sent home my awesome nylon, waterproof riding pants. Total fail. So, I had my chaps on and my rain jacket over my leather jacket. I had also sent home the only thick gloves, my heated gloves home. So, I only had my thin little leather gloves that are about 16 years old! We rode through some rough rain for about 20 miles then it lightened up. I had my full face on, but the visor is tinted and kept fogging up, so I had to ride with it open. In hind sight, I should have put on my night riding glasses, but I didn’t think about it so I was getting soaked.

We made it about 100 miles and my fingers were almost completely numb. We stopped and got gas, coffee and thawed out a bit. My left glove dyed my hand black and they were so soaked I wasn’t sure I would be able to get hem on. While I was in the gas station, they had a food bar, I asked for some rubber gloves like they use for food prep. They gave me a couple of small blue gloves which are a quick fix for freezing hands and wet gloves. I was going to wear them as a liner. I asked Sarah if she wanted some but she said her gloves were ok. Then she offered me these big thick gloves that looked like trike winter weather gloves. I gratefully accepted them and put the blue latex gloves in my saddle bag for the rest of my trip.

We were all warmed up and Fred and I had all our gear on and Sarah was still sitting on her bike on her phone. I finally honked at her and got her to get a move on.

From there we headed to this cute town called Mankato.

While we were riding in there I spotted a cute coffee shop/deco store so I pulled over in a 10 minute parking spot and parked the bikes. Fred and Sarah pointed at the sign, and is said “I don’t care.” I figure we would see someone trying to give us a ticket and just explain we were from AK and move the bikes.

Of course, no one ever came to give us a ticket so we enjoyed some coffee and snacks. While we were there we decided we need to get as many pictures for the blog as possible.

Sarah put on her Spenard Bike Week hat and we had a great idea to take pictures of all of us in our black beanies doing “gangster shit.”

So we found the most “white girl” deco store background we could and took photos with fake gang signs. It was hilarious and the coffee shop patrons also thought it was funny.

The town was adorable and my GPS took us right through the old downtown. I had put “scenic” on my route preferences and to avoid highways, so it was an interesting ride with a lot of turns. From the very beginning all the way to the end the route kept taking us from one rural county road to the next often zig zagging north then east then north etc. The ride was actually really fun and pretty. We rode through some farm land, hills, rocky cliffs, rivers and lakes. It was all full of large trees and super green. After our coffee shop stop we headed south east toward Lake City. When we were about 18 miles from town I stopped at a big gas station to fill up. From there we decided just to ride straight to La Crosse and to the hotel.

The rest of the ride was equally as beautiful and fun. We were going through a lot of small towns, by the river and some lakes. The speed limit was usually 55 but the three of us were running about 75 most places and having fun passing cars. At one point I was cruising along with Sarah and Fred behind me. I saw the sheriff’s car on the right pulling across our road, but by the time I realized I was doing 75 in the 55 he was pulling out right in front of us, across our lane and heading in the opposite direction. I am not sure if he was doing this on purpose to slow us down or if he just didn’t see us. Either way, I was glad he was going the other direction as I slammed on my brakes and slowed down. He didn’t even tap his brakes and kept on going the other way. We did see several people pulled over on the way, I am just glad it wasn’t us!

This is our last night on the road before we get into Milwaukee. When we arrived at the hotel all the bikes were parked under the overhang, so we parked there as well. Apparently, there might be hail, so the hotel was kind enough to let us park under there.

I was also able to get a room on the first floor so I didn’t have to climb stairs hauling all my shit with a bum knee. After a quick shower we met most of the group in the restaurant and got some food. Tonight, my best friend Christy Revet (I have known her since I was 16 when we both worked at the House of Harley-Davidson). We have pretty much been twins ever since. Tagging along with Christy on the trip down is Levi (Sarah’s boyfriend, sales employee at the shop and cool guy that loves Harley’s). Sarah and I are both stoked to have our other halves here for the rest of the trip. (Other half for me is my best friend…just to be clear…Christy is still available I don’t want to screw up her game). They flew into Milwaukee and picked up a rental car and are heading to meet up with us in La Crosse.

Some of our ladies of Harley are getting crafty with T-shirt’s in the middle of the bar.

Tomorrow we will ride into Milwaukee and get the group to meet up at the H-D dealership before town and then we will all ride in together and go to the H-D Museum to get our group photo.

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Rogue Riders Day 12

Day 12 Spearfish, SD to Sioux Falls, SD 390miles

Going into today, I was prepared for the long boring ride on the freeway from Spearfish to Sioux Falls. I got up at 7 and jumped in the shower. Barry was already gone when we left but most of the group was still there. Barry was headed to Black Hills Harley-Davidson to get his bike checked since it had a check engine light. Sarah and I thought we would catch him there so we rode directly there. When we rolled up I went to the service entrance since I thought Barry would still be there. We had just missed him and he wasn’t gonna wait around for us! He wanted to get to Sioux Falls so he could get his 5,000 mile service done at J&L Harley-Davidson. Several more of our group showed up at Black Hills and checked out the store. One of the sales guys had been up to Alaska and had been in my shop, so he and I bullshitted for a bit.

Jim, one of the owners was there eating breakfast at the table by the coffee area. When I was 17 and Barry and I were driving to South Carolina for my first year in college we stopped and stayed at Jim’s house. He wasn’t there at the time, because it was the middle of the Sturgis Rally so he was at the Buffalo Chip. So, the one and only time I was at Sturgis for the rally I was 17 and we just drove through.

Sarah and I got back on the bikes, got some gas and hit the road. I knew that Sarah would have no interest in going to Wall Drug because she hates tourist stuff. As we were getting close to the exit she rode up next to me and pointed at the sign then I thought she shrugged and then gave a “cut throat” signal. I had no freaking clue how to interpret her wild gestures so I took the exit. We finally found a parking spot and she said, “I really didn’t want to come here” I was like “me either! Shit” so we had a good laugh and decided we needed to be better about our communication on the bikes. Since we were already there and already parked we decided to grab some food since a lot of this trip we have neglected eating enough and have been hangry by they end of the day. We ran into a bunch of our group here as well but we hit the road as soon as we finished eating.

From this point on we pretty much just rode and rode and rode. Sarah figured out how to light a cigarette on her exhaust pipe while riding 80 miles an hour…this is where I roll my eyes and face palm. We were almost to Sioux Falls but I knew Sarah had to be super low on fuel so I stopped at the next one that came up. It was a small town that basically doesn’t exist on my map and I can’t remember the name. Anyhow, as I filled up our bikes Sarah ran in and asked if there was a Thrift Store in town.

There was, so we went down main street and found the shop, but it was closed today. We turned around and headed to the dealership to catch up with Barry. They had already completed his service and he was loading it back up with his gear when we got there. We wandered through the dealership and then headed to the hotel. While we were in our room looking for a place to get dinner, I got a text from Fred Becker V (He is the General Manager of my store in Wasilla and rode his custom bagger from San Diego). He sent me some photos of him with our bikes! He made it!

He got checked into the hotel and joined Sarah and I on our adventure to a local brewery. Barry ended up joining us there so we had some food and drinks and caught up on Fred’s trip here.

We decided to head back to the hotel so I could finish this blog and we could get some drinks and not be on the bikes. We also are waiting for our friend Shynne that used to work at my dealerships. He was about 2 hours away so he is meeting us here to hang out for a bit. A few from our group are all here in the bar, so I am going to put my laptop away and be social.

(Everyone has stories to tell every night ☺️)

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Rogue Riders 2018 Days 10 & 11

Days 10 and 11 Billings, MT to Spearfish, SD 380 miles

I didn’t write a blog last night because it was my birthday so I took the day off from writing. Sarah and I wanted to check out Rob and Mariah’s coffee shop in Billings, so we got up at 7 and got all our stuff packed on the bikes. Sarah had a “secret mission” for my birthday and we had to be there between 9 and 10 so we got our bikes loaded and headed for some good coffee. Black Dog Coffee House, was adorable and the coffee was great.

We chatted about the trip, life and all the things and stuff. Just when we were finishing up Mariah walked in so we got to chat with her for awhile and she is equally as awesome as Rob and is a boss babe. She has a degree in business and they own several small businesses.

When we left the coffee shop, Sarah led so she could take me on her birthday mission. We headed east out of town for a bit then went into a neighborhood. The whole way I was thinking “it has to be bulldogs or something…yeah…definitely bulldogs…she knows how much I love them.” We turned down this dead-end road in the neighborhood and she went to the end looking for house numbers. I didn’t want to get stuck and try to turn my bike around in a tight place, so I stayed at the start of the road. As I was sitting there, this guy walked out of the house I was in front of and waved at me. So, I assumed “this must be where we are going.” I turned around and park in front of his house and Sarah joined me. After some polite introductions, Sarah explained that they were French Bulldog breeders and they wer kind enough to let us see their frenchies for my bday! We sat on his front porch and first he brought out the male, who immediately ran up to me and jumped up. I picked him up and snuggled him for a bit. Sarah seriously is the most creative thoughtful being on the planet. He brought out the female and she had just had a puppy. We thought the puppy was already gone but it was still there and so tiny and had just opened its eyes! The owner went into the house and brought out the baby. I had to contain myself from squealing…omg I have never held a baby Frenchie that small. It was a great start to my birthday!

I called Barry and he was still at the hotel doing laundry so we headed back to town to pick him up so he didn’t have to ride alone. I had originally wanted to do Beartooth, but I was worn out so we opted to do an easier route.

We took the I90 for awhile then jumped onto a side highway that was great. It was a lot of farm country but it was way better than being on the freeway.

We saw a ton of antelope and deer, and even had a deer run out in front of us. Thankfully, I saw it on the side of the road and it was a ways ahead of us so we weren’t in danger and we had already slowed down. We stopped at Deluxe Harley-Davidson, which is also female owned and operated. The dealership was really cool and the staff was great. One of the gals who runs the motorclothes department took us on a tour and we got to check out their service department. One of Rob Carpenter’s bikes was in there getting the motor rebuilt.

They also had 2 dynos side by side in a room with two garage doors. It was awesome!

We got back on the freeway and hauled ass to Spearfish. My friend Pat Kelley rode 575 miles from Colorado to meet up with us and celebrate my bday with me. Sarah and I got settled into the hotel and unloaded all our stuff.

We chatted with some of the riders and we talked about going to Deadwood, which was in the middle of their Cool August Night car show. Pat told us it was a shitshow to get into town so we opted to stay in Spearfish and get some food. Sarah and I headed up the road to main street, parked in front of a bar and walked to a restaurant up the street. We chatted and ordered food and Pat headed there to meet us. We had some food and caught up on all the things and stuff. Pat got me a card that he and his family all signed, and a great beanie that is black with white embroidery of their town. Now Sarah and I can be twinsies with her Spenard Bike Week beanie.

From there we walked over to the bar where our bikes were parked. Sarah bought a sweatshirt and I got a tank top that had their fun logo with the name “Back Porch Bar” on them. I put one of my House of Harley stickers on the mirror with all of the HA stickers.

We headed back to the hotel and got Barry and wen to the hotel bar. Eventually more of the group joined us in there so we all chatted and celebrated my birthday. After the hotel bar Sarah and I sat by the fire pit, which she got started for me and I made some phone calls to folks who had called me for my bday and I had missed.

We finally got to sleep in today, which was great. I got a phone call from my sister Meggie while I was still laying in bed which was nice to catch up with her a bit. Sarah and I got ready and found a coffee shop so I could get some work done with Si my Operations Manager since he was back from the show and we had a lot of stuff to sort out. I worked for a couple hours and Sarah got to facetime with her kids and family. She ran to Walgreens to get us some much needed qtips and looked for polaroid film. Unfortunately, there was no film in town, so she headed back to the coffee shop. I finally finished up all the work with Si and Sarah was chatting with another biker in the parking lot. He and his friend were on smaller bikes, but they had a truck they were towing them with. They were from Canada. We all chatted for a bit, then Sarah and I headed back to the hotel to drop off my laptop, grab my boots and helmet and hit the road to Mount Rushmore.

We stayed off the interstate, rode through Deadwood and made our way to Mount Rushmore. Sarah had never been, so we had to go. When we got there we both realized we were dehydrated and needed to relax a minute. Sarah got some ice cream while I got water for us. I called my bestie Christy and waited for Sarah and sat in the shade in a spot where I could see the monument. Sarah joined me and we headed over to check it out. We got some photos, did the tourist stuff then headed towards the exit.

As we were leaving we ran into a bunch of our group, including my dad. So, we hung with them and got a big group photo of all of us.

In typical “Dia style” we walked away from the group, told them we were “gonna go do some gangster shit” and got on our bikes and hit the road.

We had seen this sign for “Silver City” on the way there so we agreed we would go check it out. We were on our way there and we came up on a recent motorcycle accident. I was already a bit hungry and maybe a bit hung over and it was hard to see. Apparently after we made it through they life flighted him out of there. Say a prayer for our fellow biker when you read this, I am not sure how he turned out. We kept on heading back towards Deadwood and there it was, the sign for Silver City. It seemed so alluring and was only 5 miles away, so we turned left and headed there. The road was crazy tight, blind curves going up over a mountain and then back down the other side. I was in second gear almost the whole way…that’s how tight the curves were. As we were going around a blind corner an old truck was coming from the other direction and he was halfway over the center line. As we met in the corner I kinda freaked, and thankfully I was going slow and he moved over. We finally made it to Silver City…there is definitely no city there. We roll up the hill to enter town, past the old school house that is now a community center and at that point the road ends and it is all shit gravel. I motion and turn right on “Main Street” which is literally just houses and one B&B. I stop toward the end of the street and there is a gravel road up to the left that I think, according to my GPS, will connect to another road and we can loop back around and get the hell out of here. We head up the hill and as I approach the next street I realize “#&*$ we are in trouble” there is not street its an even rougher semi gravel semi grass path. Well clearly I am not riding down that on my big ass street glide. So, I literally stopped in the middle of the road, shut my bike off and told Sarah I was gonna need help. All day my knee had been hurting more than normal so I was worried about turning it around on a hill on gravel. Thank God Sarah is a badass. She pulled forward, backed her bike down the hill and turned around. She then got on my bike rode it up the hill and backed it up next to hers. I was pretty stressed out and hangry so I got some rice cakes out and we wandered around. There was the foundation and the remnants of an old fireplace that was made out of chunks of marble. It was actually pretty cool and probably super old.

As we chilled on our bikes, collecting ourselves and getting ready to head back out of town a car, the only other person we had seen in this town, pulled up and needed to turn down the street the bikes were parked in. Sarah, again badass, jumped up got on my bike and pulled it forward and pointed it down the hill so I would be able to just ride out of there and turn right on Main St and out. It was on a hill so she left it in gear and the car was able to turn down his street. I am not sure exactly what the problem was, maybe it was seeing the accident, maybe I was a little hung over, but I was really struggling. We agreed to just get out of town and go to Deadwood and get some food.

When we got to Deadwood we parked the bikes and walked down Main Street. The car show was over so town was pretty empty and we wandered to find food. We finally found a place in a hotel that was upstairs of the casino. It was almost 5pm so it was full of “early bird” old folks getting their dinner at 5pm. The food was atrocious. I ate enough to get rid of my “hangry” attitude and got a glass of wine to take the edge off. We headed straight back to the hotel and when we parked I immediately said, we should just go to town and I will write the blog and we can get better food. I grabbed my laptop and my coat and we headed to Main St. We parked and went to the first bar we came across. I wrote about half of the blog then I decided I should actually find better food so I did a quick search and found Kilian’s which is a gastropub on the edge of town. Thankfully, they had great food so we both got some more food in us and I was able to finish this blog. Tomorrow we are heading to Sioux Falls, SD. While I was writing the blog at the bar, Sarah called Fred Becker, my GM for my Wasilla store. He shipped his bike to California and went to the Harley Dealer Show and rode from there to meet us in Milwaukee. He answered the phone while riding, so we couldn’t hear him at all. He eventually stopped and called Sarah back and he was already ahead of us! He has been hauling ass! He is going to meet us in Sioux Falls tomorrow which will be great! We are also right behind the Harley-Davidson “Ride Home Group” that left from Washington so we are hoping to meet them on the road as well.

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Rogue Riders Day 9

Day 9 Kalispell, MT to Billings, MT 485 miles

Sarah and I got up early this morning so we could hit the road. While planning this trip Sarah got in tough with Rob Carpenter “Rob_1wheelrevolution” on Instagram. He is an amazing stunt rider that lives in Billings. When she told him, we were coming through town, he said we could stop by his place and chat. As the plans unfolded, he said he would meet up with us on a back road and do some stunts for us! So, we had to get to Billings by 5:30pm to meet up with him. I also wanted to get here early enough to stop by Beartooth Harley-Davidson and visit the owner, my friend Barry Usher who received my Rogue Rider t-shirt in the mail for me.

We left at 8am and hit the road. We were on HWY 93 for about 112 miles this morning and it was cool out and the road was curvy and hilly through the mountains. We hadn’t put a lot of layers on and it was a little cooler than we thought it would be but we kept on hauling @$$. There were tons of hills and mountains but it was still smoky and hazy so I couldn’t really see the scenery. We were on a mission to get to Billings quickly so we headed straight away. We got on interstate 90 and the speed limit was 80 so we kept hauling ass. We had to stop for gas, so we got a quick refill, used the bathroom and headed out.

At this point, we pretty much just hammered down and didn’t stop except for once more in a small town called Livingston for gas. We pretty much rode non-stop from 8:00am until 3:30pm with just two quick stops. When we got into town our first stop was Beartooth Harley-Davidson. We parked and went in and found Barry Usher and chatted with a bit. He had my Rogue Rider shirt in his office and we chatted about the ride. I asked him if someone could reset my pin code on my bike, since I didn’t know what it was set to originally. When traveling across country, it is important to know what your code is in case your fob flies out of your pocket or the battery dies in the middle of nowhere. I pulled into the service department and the guy working the counter was very nice and helpful. He pulled my bike in the back and I asked if they had a wash guy working. Barry and the service advisor both said they didn’t, so I asked if I could use their wash bay and clean it up. Next thing I know, Barry is back there cleaning my bike himself. Such a cool guy! To pay him back I went shopping and bought a couple shirts. Sarah got some super cute shorts and sandals for the warmer weather we are getting into each day. Sarah pulled her bike into the wash bay and washed it herself and Barry and I bulls&**# about business and his location. He has a well for water so they can’t offer washes all the time because the water is too slow, so it was a real treat that they took care of us and washing the 3,000+ miles of grime off.

We loaded the bikes back up and headed toward our meet up spot with Rob Carpenter (Rob 1Wheel Revolution) on a back road in an industrial area. We were early so, we turned around and headed to a brewery I saw on our way there. Of course, it is a brewery, so no wine, so I broke my years and years long stretch of no beer and got a hefeweizen that the gal said was their most popular beer. We ordered some snacks from the food truck and I drank my beer. The wind started kicking up really bad, so Rob messaged Sarah and said he was gonna wait a bit to see if it died down. We left he brewery and headed back over to the back street and waited. We took some photos with all of his awesome burnout marks and waited.

He finally messaged back and said he was going to head over to the spot and meet us there. We waited for a bit, and he finally showed up on a sweet Harley-Davidson Streetglide. It was beautiful. I have to admit I was not too familiar with him prior to this trip, but the man knows how to make a stunt bike both functional and beautiful. While he was warming up the bike and doing some burnouts, he had a fresh tire on, he blew the oil dipstick right out of the bike.

Thankfully I had a rag, so he was able to wipe it all down. His friend and photographer, Jake showed up on his R6, also a beautifully clean bike, and hung out with us while Rob stunted around. For all of you reading this, you have to watch our live video on facebook to really appreciate the private show we got on a back road in Billings,

MT. It was awesome, Rob is truly talented and a genuinely kind person. He was doing burn outs and wheelies and Sarah got to get on his bike and do a bunch of wheelies with him. It was awesome!!! I know this made her trip as she and Levi watch him on Instagram and appreciate his amazing talent. I invited Rob and Jake to join us at our Rogue Rider part at Tiny’s Tavern for dinner and they said they would join us, but Rob had to swap bikes first. So we followed them to Rob’s lovely home, so he could get something that wasn’t covered in oil.

He had a bunch of Harley’s, all beautiful and clean and customized, in his garage. His new Roadster was on the lift getting set up to be a stunt rider. Rob and Jake (who swapped to Rob’s 2018 Fat Bob same color as mine, because he couldn’t show up to a Harley party on his R6 and Rob on his Dyna) led us to Tiny’s through the backroads of Billings.

We were late, and yes I had received several messages telling me that everyone was there and the food was being served. We rolled up at about half past seven and Rob, Jake and I pulled up on the sidewalk and rode down to the bar and parked on a cement spot there by the entrance. Somehow Sarah had figured out there was more parking and parked with the rest of the bikes. I like to park on sidewalks, so I was happy with our spot.

We headed back and joined the group for some BQ dinner and conversation. Rob, Jake, Sarah and I grabbed a table and bull$*(%ed and ate. Barry asked if I wanted to make an announcement to the group, which I promptly declined but I did encourage him to get us all together for a photo.

So, eventually we all gathered up on the stage and Rob helped the waitress take our photos. My awesome dad, and all the Rogue Riders had a cake made that said “Happy Birthday” to myself and Dewey (our token Canadian) but it will also be Dianna’s bday on the 4th of September so we all got cards and a song from everyone.

It was great! I love that I have my birthday on the road every year, it makes for an exciting and less predictable adventure. Usually I am at the Harley-Davidson Dealer Show, but every 5 years I am on my way to Milwaukee. I am definitely keeping up this tradition and just finding more stuff to make it cooler every year.

From here on out it is pretty easy rides, hot but easy. We will be in Spearfish for 2 days (tomorrow is my BDay…the big 32) and my friend Pat Kelly is meeting us from Colorado.

Sarah and I are going to visit Rob’s coffee shop, Black Dog Coffee House in the morning and then she eluded to some sort of Bday surprise between 9am and 10am so I guess we are doing that and then heading east to Spearfish.

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