Three members of the Tucker E-commerce team take the scenic route to the 2018 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Each year the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally brings riders out of the woodwork to check-off a must-attend bucket list event. Some even ride to the rally, spend a wild week with fellow bikers, then turn around and ride home. For some, it’s a rite of passage to be deemed a ‘real’ biker.

For 2018, that list included a crew from our E-commerce team: Rich Halverson, Justin Giles, and Rick Lambert, who decided to take a longer, more scenic route to Sturgis from the Tucker Fort Worth, Texas headquarters through New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. A circuitous route of over 2,000 miles across vast stretches of famous roads and through national parks and the wilds of the American West.

Tucker route to Sturgis

The team’s route from Texas to Sturgis.

Day One: Decatur, TX to New Mexico

Day one included a long stretch across the plains of West Texas. Plenty of open highways and open throttle with not many thrills except to pass cattle haulers and fight through the wobbles caused by their wake. The three caught a little rain as they gassed up in Childress then stopped in Amarillo for lunch at the Big Texan Steak Ranch & Brewery, located on world-famous Route 66. Known for its 72-ounce steak challenge, anyone able to eat an entire 72-ounce steak in one hour gets it for free. Not exactly the kind of the challenge ideal for long days in the saddle, but another one of those “been there, did that” experiences that are such a fun part of motorcycle road trips.

After lunch, on the way out of Amarillo, the crew made a stop at Cadillac Ranch. If you’ve never heard of this place, it’s one of those eccentric art installations that are scattered intermittently throughout the country, this one consisting of a group of old Cadillac automobiles half buried tailfins up supposedly placed at the same angle as the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. The cars often get repainted in various colors and themes, which is something that’s encouraged by the original artists. As a result, the site has become a popular destination for travelers passing through the area.

Cadillac Ranch

Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo.

A long stretch of nothingness finished out day one on into to New Mexico. Upon entering Cimarron Canyon, the team was greeted by antelope and large groups of deer. Hunkered down for the night at the Ponderosa campsite, they set up camp, fired up the camping stove, and boiled water for a dinner of freeze-dried meals.

Cimmaron Canyon NM

Camping at Cimarron Canyon, NM.

Day Two: New Mexico to Durango, CO

On day two the crew woke up in camp and fired up breakfast (freeze-dried) and coffee, broke camp, and tried to get everything back into its place on the bikes. Off and rolling they were greeted by a brief rain shower and decided to fight through until the next gas stop, staying mostly dry as they wound up and down mountains through the ski resort towns of Angelfire and downtown Taos with its Adobe buildings and surprisingly busy streets. By late morning the skies began to turn a dark blue/black, and the mountains quickly disappeared as the three pulled into Pagosa Springs to grab lunch at Tequilas restaurant, with its deck overlooking the San Juan River.

Tequilas Restaurant Pagosa Springs, CO

Pagosa Springs, CO with a view of the San Juan River.

A quick check of the weather determined they had a small window of opportunity, so they fired out of Pagosa Springs and tried to sneak between the storms and get as far down the road as possible. They made it the 60 miles to Durango and decided to seek shelter for the night at the Doubletree Hotel Durango and wait out the crud.

Doubletree Hotel Durango

The rustic lobby of the Doubletree Hotel Durango.

Day Three: Durango, CO to Jackson Hole, WY

The crew was up early on day three to get on Highway 550 with plenty of time to stop and get pictures on one of the most famous sections of highway in the United States, the Million Dollar Highway. No one knows the truth behind the name, although one explanation is the road, “cost a million dollars per mile when it was built in 1880.” Another suggests it came from the “million dollars of gold in the rock excavated to make the highway.” Regardless of how it acquired its name, the road features mountainside twisties, switchbacks, steep grades up and down, and high-penalty-for-failure roads and curves. In other words, good times for a motorcyclist—but nothing like Texas roads!

Million Dollar Highway

The Million Dollar Highway.

After a stop for breakfast in Ouray, Colorado (which may have more Jeeps per capita than people) it was “Hammer Down!” through the high desert, with its tumbleweeds and desert shrubs as far as the eye can see, for a long and not very exciting stretch of around 650 miles to Jackson, Wyoming.

Ouray Breakfast Bistro

Late breakfast in Ouray, CO at the Breakfast Bistro.

Upon arrival, the tired yet happy crew happened upon Snake River Brewing for some good food, libations, and an outdoor firepit to sit and look at the stars. They even spotted a shooting star while checking out the constellations. Wyoming certainly lives up to its motto, “Like No Place on Earth.”

Hammer time

Hammer time!

Day Four: Jackson Hole, WY to Cody, WY

Day four encompassed the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Buffalo. A short distance but more time was needed because of the low speeds through the park, backed up gates with RVs and campers, and plenty of time to stop and see the sights.

D.O.G. Jackson Hole

Breakfast at the D.O.G. in Jackson Hole, WY.

The day was filled with more windy mountain roads and long stretches of beautiful pines as far as the eye could see followed by the effects of forest fires from years past which made the entire landscape look like 60 to 80-foot matchsticks, one eerie sight. However, new growth was taking the place of the old forest.

The day ended in Cody, Wyoming for dinner and a bed. Dinner was at a place called Granny’s, which served classic comfort foods precisely as the name would suggest. Tomorrow was the final stretch, a straight-through from Cody to Sturgis, so it was off to bed early.

Yellowstone Prismatic Lake

Pano of the Prismatic Lake in Yellowstone National Park.

Day Five: Cody, WY to Sturgis, SD

More open highway and herds of antelope on the final day’s push to Sturgis. The team spotted the Devil’s Tower in the distance but decided there was no time to stop and powered through until they arrived at their residence in Sturgis. They met with the owner, grabbed the keys, and headed down in time to help the rest of the Tucker V-Twin crew set up for the following week.

Ten Sleep Wyoming

Highway in Ten Sleep, WY (one of the best roads on the trip).

Main Street Sturgis, SD

Made it to Sturgis!

All-in-all it was a bucket list ride for the guys, five hard days in the saddle tackling some of the best motorcycle roads in America and taking in many of the sights the mountain west has to offer. The crew would like to give a big thanks to the following brands for their help on this trip by providing essential items while on the road:

Rich Halverson – Suzuki VStrom 650

Justin Giles – KTM 1190 Adventure R

Arai Defiant-X
Cardo PackTalk Bold
Speed and Strength Dogs of War Pant
RSD Duro Perforated Jacket
RSD Strand Gloves
Bikemaster USB Charger Kit
SP Connect Moto Mount Pro
Firstgear 70L Torrent Bag
Continental TKC 80 Front and TKC 70 Rear

Rick Lambert – BMW F 800 GSA

Sturgis or Bust Photo Gallery

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