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You Don't Need A Bike to Enjoy the Black Hills of SD
by D. William Roberts, Editor, The Pennsylvania Freemason

An entourage of 40 motorcycles, 1 vehicle, and 60 riders (one of which was the 11 year old son of Bro. Mark Bliler) converged on Rapid City and Sturgis, South Dakota, August 9 thru August 13, for the 2nd Ride with the Grand Master of Pennsylvania.

The Black Hills and Badlands area, which includes towns such as Deadwood (of TV fame), Spearfish, Custer and Custer State Park, is the undisputed Capitol of all 'Bike Week' Motorcycle Rallies in the world ­ some 750,000 motorcycles of all types, shapes,and sizes with an equal number of owners of all types, shapes, and sizes, who are only distinguishable by the number of tattoos' which likewisecome in all types, shapes, and sizes. It's all a part of the 'Ride Free' culture and fashions! You won't see the fashions in the pages of GQ magazine but drop in any Harley-Davidson dealer and there they are ­ Biker Fashions ­ not cheap merchandise but very expensive, well made clothing for the discriminating biker. Enough of that however.

sd2Our group thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I drove the 1,500 miles from Pittsburgh to Rapid City with Bro. Mark Bliler and his son Brandon, and trailering his Harley bike. After encountering some problems along the way with the truck, we arrived in Rapid City on Monday evening. The next day, I rode with Bro. Jim Nassif, on his purple Harley Jester bike to Devils Tower, WY, a 90 mile ride through another well known town, Sundance (where the kid got his name). After spending some time at the base of the Tower we returned to Rapid City through Aladdin (population 15) and Hulett, WY. All towns look alike, two rows of motorcycles down the center of town with another row of cycles on each side of the street ­ and the towns are eager to help the bikers empty their cash filled pockets.

sd1On Friday, the organized ride with the Grand Master 'saddled up' and rode to Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Custer State Park, Black Hills National Forest, Needles Highway and Deadwood for dinner at the Deadwood Masonic Temple, the oldest building in town. Dinner was hosted by Deadwood Lodge No. 7, and the Black Hills Scottish Rite Valley, Willie Steinlicht, 33°, Secretary. It was a day of mixed weather with sunshine, rain, hail, and more rain. But it was fun ­ I was in the truck!

As we departed Rapid City for Pittsburgh, we drove through Wall, and the Badlands with its spectacular vistas. The tourist bureau should light up some of those canyons!

The three day trip back to Pittsburgh seemed longer than the three day trip out ­ perhaps because it was over and I had a wonderful experience and understand the 'Live to Ride, Ride to Live' psyche. It probably has always been a part of me.

I can also understand another saying: you either own a Harley or wish you did! If I had it to do over, I would be one of those H.O.G. members.


RIDING WITH THE GRAND MASTER IN SOUTH DAKOTA ­ Joseph Archer, David Bagaley, Lester & Gail Bates, Pam Behling, Rob Bitz, Brandon Bliler, Mark Bliler, James Brown, John & Dawn Christ, Adam Damiani, Mario & Linda DeBlasio, William Draper, Thomas Feister, Victor & Mic Frederick, Carson Freeman, Steve & Ruthann Frey, Tom Gamon, Bill & Val Guiseppe, Dan Heddens, Rob & Nancy Heddens, Pat Hyer, Calvin & Sharon Johnson, Tom Kenerly, Tim Kucharski, Michael Myzak, James Nassif, William Nichol, Suellen Quinn, David Richards, Kevin Ricker, William Roberts, Joseph Rollo,Fred & Gwen Sattazahn, William Slater, II, George & Georgeann Smith, Andy Staiger, Cal Stevens, Ray Thompson, Gary Whitehead, Andy Weitzenkorn, James West, Mike Wolf. (Names are listed in alphabetical order.)

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