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Black Hills Badlands Medley—Day Four

Bike Show at Nishna Valley Cycles


65 miles

At Meetin’ in the Middle, the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club’s Midwestern rally, I had a leisurely breakfast, provided by the motel, and hung out talking with club members out under the porte-cochère of the motel until we all left for Nishna Valley Cycles for the bike show. Nishna had offered to host our show and had a large empty area, largely shaded by large trees on either side of the drive. By the time I got there, just a half-mile or so away, half of the bikes had shown up and been parked, and I got out my camera and started doing the job I had ridden all that way to do: get good photos of the event and something suitable for the cover shot. Pop-ups were provided in front of the dealer as well as coolers of water and soft drinks, so I stationed myself under one after the initial photo session, and helped with registration and the signing of waivers, needed for the upcoming group rides, and another one prepared to cover any Covid-19 concerns. By mid-afternoon, the owner of the dealership, Dennis, and two other VJMC club members, one a field representative and the other a fellow member of the board of directors, and I had strolled the lines of shiny, and often rare, bikes and had made our decisions on the trophy winners.

After a brief presentation, we all lined up for a group ride to Baxter Cycles, in Marne, Iowa, an old family-run British bike dealership and one of the largest in the country selling vintage British cycles. There we took a look at room filled with over seventy vintage Triumphs, BSAs, Nortons, and even a Square-Four Ariel. After we had all had a chance to thoroughly inspect the merchandise in the vintage room, we wandered out to the showroom, filled with new Royal Enfields, and the building next door, brimming with modern offerings from Triumph. My Bonnie had just turned over 100,000 miles the day before, so in the back of my mind was the consideration of when I might need a new bike, and the Tiger 900 looked to be just the bike to fit the bill. But my old bike had shown no signs of letting me down any time soon, so for now, a Tiger was just wishful thinking, but I did make a mental note to test ride one when I got home at my local dealership. While chatting away with the owner of Baxter’s in the showroom, he informed me that if I rode one, I’d find a way to buy one…we’ll see.

Next was a dinner back in Atlantic, downtown at the Downtowner Family Restaurant, where we were served a “buffet” in the manner now made common in the age of Covid, with masked and gloved servers doing the dishing for us. The food and the company were great, and we lingered over ice teas and beers for a while before returning to the motel. There we had more important motorcycle discussions gathered around the front drive-through, but not until after I had fetched a few IPAs from a neighboring liquor store, where I was also able to get a bit more cash to have on the ride, as many places, especially campgrounds, had only been taking cash. We talked well into the night until we all decided to call it a night in anticipation of another group ride, this time longer, the next day.

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