Monday, July 30, 2012


DID YOU KNOW.... that Idaho has the largest number of documented UFO sightings in the USA!

I guess I had better explain myself, I'm no nut job I just think aliens are fun and make great scary stories around a campfire. For Whatever reason I have always been fascinated by the prospect of visitors from another planet, invaders from mars and even the aliens that live next door (CONE-HEADS). One of my favorite ALIEN movies is fire in the sky, which took place in my fathers home town of Snowflake arizona and as a kid i freaked me out to visit the white mountains where Travis Walton was abducted. I love driving out on the highway at night and listening to Coast to Coast AM, I don't know why but some times its fun to think about what might actually be out there in the night sky.

As we have been preparing for the Long Ride to Sturgis I have noticed a ton of information and stories about alien encounters along the road, paranormal situations in the forest and tales of the spooky along the highway. So in todays post I just want to put out some links of the most interesting paranormal and alien related stories I have found out there on the web that are along our ride to Sturgis. Who knows maybe we will have our own encounter out there on the road.

Have some fun with this info!

Who knows..... They might be watching!

Devils Tower UFO sightings - Legends


Like the bermuda triangle but in NEVADA!

Star Nations - Native american Belief in UFO and Extra Terrestrials! - South Dakota

UFO abductions

Extra Terrestrial Highway


Haunted Places in OREGON - In my opinion the spookiest state!

Updated Schedule

Here is our updated Schedule for the trip.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Legend behind Mount St. Helens

Indian Legend of Mount St. Helens Eruption

Before Mt. St. Helens blew its top is was a beautifully symmetric rounded snow-capped mountain that stood between two powerfully jagged peaks Mt. Hood ( which Indians called Wy'east) and Mt. Adams ( which Indians called Klickitat). According to one Indian legend, the mountain was once a beautiful maiden, "Loowit".   When two sons of the Great Spirit "Sahale" fell in love with her, she could not choose between them. The two braves, Wyeast and Klickitat fought over her, burying villages and forests in the process ( hurling rocks as they erupted?). Sahale was furious. He killed the three lovers and erected a mighty mountain peak where each fell. Because Loowit was beautiful, her mountain (Mount St. Helens) was a beautiful, symmetrical cone of dazzling white. Wyeast (Mount Hood) lifts his head in pride, but Klickitat (Mount Adams) wept to see the beautiful maiden wrapped in snow, so he bends his head as he gazes on St. Helens.  This is one of many indian legends involving Mount St. Helens.

Many native american tales foretold that the jealousy between the three mountains would lead to the great eruption of Mount St. Helens causing her to be destroyed. Some say that this prediction was due to the many small eruptions and smoke that native americans could see coming from the mountain over time. 

The local Indians and early settlers in the then sparsely populated region witnessed the occasional violent outbursts of Mount St. Helens. The volcano was particularly restless in the mid-19th century, when it was intermittently active for at least a 26-year span from 1831 to 1857. Some scientists suspect that Mount St. Helens also was active sporadically during the three decades before 1831, including a major explosive eruption in 1800. Although minor steam explosions may have occurred in 1898, 1903, and 1921, the mountain gave little or no evidence of being a volcanic hazard for more than a century after 1857. Consequently, the majority of 20th-century residents and visitors thought of Mount St. Helens not as a menace, but as a serene, beautiful mountain playground teeming with wildlife and available for leisure activities throughout the year. At the base of the volcano's northern flank, Spirit Lake, with its clear, refreshing water and wooded shores, was especially popular as a recreational area for hiking, camping, fishing, swimming and boating.

The tranquility of the Mount St. Helens region was shattered in the spring of 1980, however, when the volcano stirred from its long repose, shook, swelled, and exploded back to life. The local people rediscovered that they had an active volcano in their midst, and millions of people in North America were reminded that the active--and potentially dangerous--volcanoes of the United States are not restricted to Alaska and Hawaii.

HELL HATH NO FURRY .......... 

It will be an adventure to see this area nearly 30 years after it exploded, to see how mother nature can reclaim land once destroyed. The adventure begins in just a few days!

Parts of this blog post were taken directly from

Route Change - Mt. St. Helens

After a little deliberation we have again slightly altered our route. Take a look at the route section above to see the new map, the change is that we will now be driving past MT. St. Helens and Mt. Ranier in washington. After talking it over Jeremy and I decided that neither of us had ever visited either of these two sites and that we had better take the opportunity while we had the chance. It only added about 35 miles to our track. We also have decided to cut off of the PCH at Tilamook and make a B line for portland. If we have time on day two we will go all the way to Seaside, but for now we decided to play it safe. My one regret is not getting to see Cannon beach again, but I have seen it before and so maybe on another trip I will get to visit the beach again. ( Maybe we will make good time up the coast and get to see it anyhow?)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Official Countdown to Sturgis: 7 Days

We've officially hit the 7 day mark until our departure for Sturgis. I think both Matt and I are getting pretty excited for this trip. We got the Scala's put in the helmets and linked up. The "Sick Saddles" seat for the sportster is due in today. So much stuff still to get prepared before go time. If anyone is looking for a seat, Ed Graves at Sick Saddles has been awesome to work with! He got the seat done and shipped exactly when he said he would, and I can't wait to see his work! Should be coming in on the mail truck soon. We'll be making a run to pick up a Vader mascot sometime in the next few days as promised.
   We'll be making some last minute adjustments to our route to compensate for a few things. We're planning on meeting up with 2 members from HD forums in Portland and Washington, and a few more farther down the road. Now that the departure date is firmed and the plans set, email us if you'd like to meet up with us on the road! We'll update daily as the final countdown begins....Sturgis here we come!!!

T - 7 Days until departure for Sturgis

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Darth Vader, Official Mascot of Long Ride to Sturgis 2012

Despite a bitter battle and hard campaigning by underbear Teddy Ruxpin, ultimately the people have chosen to turn to the dark side and vote for Darth Vader to be the mascot for our Long Ride to Sturgis. So without further ado, we'll post some images of our victor that you might find interesting and amusing. Congratulations on your victory Lord Vader...Hopefully you didn't cheat and use the force!

A Man with a Dream, Passion, and a Motorcycle...

The dream of Clarence "Pappy" Hoel, become the legend of the Sturgis Bike Rally. In 1936, in a small town in South Dakota, a man known as Clarence "Pappy" Hoel would start a tradition, that would grow into a legend and reach biker immortality. The Sturgis Bike Rally. It started with just 9 people and a single race, and grew into an attraction that brings hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world to visit it. For many it is a life long dream to make various rides enroute to Sturgis. Follow LRS as we make our dream ride to Sturgis, and as we dig in to the living legend of the Sturgis Bike Rally on this portion of LRS Myths, Legends, and Tales from the Road...

In 1936, Clarence "Pappy" Hoel purchased an Indian Motorcycle franchise in Sturgis, South Dakota. Hoel was the founder of the "Jackpine Gypsies" motorcycle club, and would start a tradition that would grow to attract nearly a million bikers annually. The Sturgis Rally originated as the "Black Hills Classic" with just 9 people and a single bike race. 
     Not only would the rally become a legend in the motorcycle community, but it's fame would launch the "Jackpine Gypsies" into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1997. The "Black Hills Classic" was originally envisioned to be an exhibition of racing and stunts. That wouldn't suffice for one of the greatest bike rally's ever conceived, and in 1961 the rally was expanded to include hillclimbs and motorcross races. The first ever champion of the "Black Hills Classic" was "Smiling" Johnny Speigelhoff riding none other than a Harley-Davidson

When Clarence "Pappy" Hoel started the "Black Hills Classic", I wonder if he ever imagined that it would evolve and attain legendary status in the biker community. What would eventually become what we know as the "Sturgis Bike Rally" has been held religiously every year, with the sole exception of 1942 during World War II, when gasoline rationing put a hold on this amazing event. Who knew that 74 years later, the rally would bring nearly a million people to Sturgis, South Dakota. Not only bikers come to the rally, it has grown to attract a spectrum of followers, from young to old and even draws "families". In recent years, going to Sturgis has become a badge of honor in the biker community, prompting many to buy t-shirts and patches that say "I rode mine to Sturgis". 

So now that Matt and I will be able to say we lived the dream of riding nearly 4,000 miles to Sturgis, we can look forward to our next big adventure. The journey is not so much about the destination, as it is about the journey. We'll be riding half-way across the country with just two bikes and our gear, to become a part of history by visiting the 2012 Sturgis Bike Rally. Follow us on our next adventure through history, on the next portion of LRS Myths, Legends and Tales from the Road...

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


Today was a busy day, I spent most of the afternoon working on a police car seat project at work and developing materials for a trade show.... But no amount of work related distractions could keep my mind off of the begining of our Long Ride to Sturgis. At about 3:00 this afternoon I needed a break and so I went out to wrench on the bike a little. I played with the new stereo we just had installed, the coolest part is how it streams AD2P stereo music from my phone right onto the stereo in the fairing. I am glad I will have tunes with me while on the road. I also took the passenger seat off of the road king and installed the backrest I just bought from the HD dealer here in Reno. It is soooooo comfortable to ride with a backrest. I also installed the new Highway bars we bought that have the foot rests on top, very nice to be able to stretch out a little.  On my ride home this evening I felt a renewed sense of confidence for the trip knowing that I had spent the last month checking and fixing everything that I could to get the bike ready for the trip.

I am getting anxious about my equipment preparations. I have been getting everything together slowly and now that we are less than two weeks from leaving I felt the looming need to get my kit all together in one place. I keep most of my riding gear in the garage, but my old military habits are comming out. This evening I laid everything out to check the condition and existence of my gear. For the first time in a long time I made it all the way through my checklist without having to make a list of things I still needed to get together.

Here is a list of my personal riding gear:

Wet weather gear

2x gloves - one for warm weather one for cold weather
1/2 shell helmet - and full face helmet ( I have decided to take both on this trip.)
First aid kit
Boy scout kit - survival essentials
Riding Jacket
Riding Pants
Kick Around Shoes
Camera gear ( enough stuff here for a whole other list)
Windshield cleaner - Bike cleaner
Tool Kit
Camel Back for water
Back up battery for phone and other gear
Laptop Equipment
2 pair reg clothing ( I  have found it is almost worth it just to buy new clothes on the road, rather than pack a ton around, then you come home with good memories not just dirty laundry)
1 pair sleep clothing
7 pair socks ( for a 12 day trip - yes I recycle : )
LRS hat and shirts
LRS stickers (to pass out to friends)
Sun Glasses
Sun Screen
Duck Tape
Gremlin bell
long johns
Insurance and registration information
Blue tooth helmet kit ( arrives tomorrow) 
harger Cables for electronics

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Legend of Ed Long, and the City of Rocks Stagecoach Robbery!

Along our route back from Sturgis, lies the City of Rocks National Preserve in southern Idaho, bordering near Twin Falls. While most people associate Idaho with Golden Potatoes, LRS is investigating a different kind of gold. The real kind. This area is said to be the home of multiple hidden gold caches in it's twisting canyons and rocky outcroppings. The Oregon and California trail both passed near this area, and as a result, so did multiple settlers. These settlers often found gold in these ore rich areas. And with gold, comes outlaws! Follow LRS as we dig for the truth behind these buried treasures on this section of LRS Myths, Legends and Tales from the Road...

It's estimated that nearly 100,000 people passed through this area on their way westward during the great rushes starting in 1840. These people were often prospectors and had been collecting gold and silver all along the Oregon and California Trails as they wind their way westward. While there's numerous tales of hidden treasure in the area, perhaps one of the best known, is the legend of outlaw and thief Ed Long and his golden stagecoach robbery of 1863!

    Gold was first discovered in the area in 1861. The gold rush would not only bring prospectors, but outlaws to the area. In 1863 an outlaw named Ed Long, and another crony stole almost $100,000 in gold dust as well as nuggets from a stagecoach stop in Eastern Idaho. Legend has it that the stage coach was headed from the gold camps in Pocatell and McCammon, Idaho. Long allegedly spent months learning about gold shipments, and when he finally hit the coach, he was overwhelmed at the amount of gold that he stole. Realizing that they were not equipped to run from the assured posse that would be on their trail with that amount of gold, they allegedlly ran for City of Rocks National Preserve just south of modern day Twin Falls, Idaho. They managed to bury the gold, but they didn't escape. A posse from Brigham City caught up with Long and his partner. Although Long attempted to surrender, his partner opened fire on the posse, and a gunfight ensued.

While Ed Long fell during the gunfight, his partner managed to survive. He was taken to Utah and questioned, but refused to give up the location of the gold. He was eventually expedited to Texas on a warrant, and maintained his silence until the day he died. There's no record of his gold ever being found.
     So as we trek through this history filled area on our way back westward from Sturgis, we might just strike it rich! Unfortunately, we might not be equipped to make the run with $100,000 in gold nuggets either. Whether we find a hidden treasure or not, we'll stay on the hunt for the lure of gold as we ride through Southern Idaho. Follow us next time, as we explore another LRS Myth, Legends, and Tales from the Road...

Friday, July 20, 2012

AVOID CANABALISM - Find a better way! - Jim Beckwourth

On the first day of our Long Ride to Sturgis we will pass over the Sierra Nevada Mountains at a place that has an interesting tale to tell.

As a young man my favorite memories are of driving in the mountains with my dad and brother on weekends and going hunting in the sierras near our home in Reno Nevada. 
 Often while on our adventure my dad would tell us stories of pioneers and mountain men who made discoveries along the ridges of the beautiful Sierra Nevada mountains. 

One of my favorite stories and also one of the greatest modern day ironies is the path and planning of the Route I-80 which travels from Reno to Sacramento over Donner Pass the same route used by the Donner Party.

 Let me explain.........
Donner Party
We have all heard of the Donner Party, who essentially turned into cannibals in the high sierra mountains where they were snowed in and forced to eat each-other.  Just about everyone has heard the story and there have even been movies made of this event. This event happened because they made poor decisions to follow an arduous path over the mountains at 7000 feet above sea level, they got caught in the snow. Originally the thought was that the path would be a shorter and quicker way to get to the gold rush, boy were they wrong.
Jim Beckworth, Mountain Man - Explorer
The Irony is that just a few years after the Donner group decided to eat the kids for dinner, a mountain man named Jim Beckwourth discovered a pass in the mountains just a couple of miles north of the Donner path that was 2000 feet lower, has one minor grade to walk up and contains a smooth path into the sacramento valley where it hardly ever snows and there are plenty of deer and animals in the valley to hunt. Had the Donner Party taken this route we may well have never heard of their group or their story.  Today this road is called Beckwourth pass and it is along our route on the Long Ride to Sturgis. 

an even greater irony is that our modern society built a major interstate (I-80) over the same route that the donner party took, And the Rail companies built a train along the same route, a route that caused the death of many Chinese laborers. This same route gets closed multiple times per year causing delays and accidents, when they could have built the route a few miles to the north and avoided millions upon millions of dollars in expense, maintenance and other troubles. 

Why do we always have to do things the hard way????? 

Luckily for us bikers the Highway 89 and 49 contain some of the best back country motorcycle riding in the country so I can't be too angry that there isn't a major interstate there. 

Point B is where the donners got stuck

Point D is the lowest pass in the sierras, Beckwourths pass.

Here is some information on one of my favorite mountain men - James Beckwourth.

 The following is biographical information found at (
James Pierson Beckwourth (April 6, 1798, Fredericksburg, Virginia - October 29, 1866, Denver) (a.k.a. Jim Beckworth, James P. Beckwith) was born in Virginia in 1798 to Sir Jennings Beckwith, a descendant of Irish and English nobility, and an African-American mulatto woman about whom little is known.

James Beckworth enjoyed nature and adventure, and it was not long before he set out to explore the vast expanses of what would become that which kept the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans apart.

Places still bear his name. In 1824 he was living in Missouri when he joined Gen. William Ashley's expedition to explore the Rocky Mountains. Although his activities remain largely unknown during this time Beckwourth became known as a prominent Indian fighter and guide often hired by settlers to guide wagon trains through the Sierra Nevada. He later became a horse trader supplying migrants and others, and then later conducted a horse thief operation against the Spanish with fellow Mountain Men.

The company's largest raid took place in 1840 when Beckwourth, in cooperation with Native Americans led by Ute Chief Wakara, over Cajon Pass successfully raiding nearly all the ranches from San Gabriel to San Bernadino of over 1,200 horses. Despite several battles with Spanish posses, including a gunfight against a posse of 75 men led by Governor Jose Antonio Carrillo, at Resting Springs the gang managed to escape.

Beckwourth eventually began ranching, mostly with stolen horses, until he was chased out by vigilantes in 1855. Travelling to the Colorado Territory he became a scout for the Union Army and later lived in Denver as a storekeeper. In 1864 Beckwourth returned to the mountains acting as a guide for John M. Chivington during the Sand Creek Massacre.

Later in his life, Jim recounted his astonishing life to Thomas D. Bonner, who set the book The Life and Adventures of James P. Beckwourth: Mountaineer, Scout, Pioneer and Chief of the Crow Nation to type. As notable as are the adventures, Jim's linguistic and stylistic prowess also impresses as being beyond the normal scope of reportage. The lessons of the book have currency, and much can be learned that might help us understand the role of alcohol in the US Government, how occupations effect the occupied, our historical relationship to diseases, wildlife, and the environment...among other things, including massacres and war.

Beckwourth's death came at age 69, while guiding a military column to a Crow Tribe in Montana. Complaining of severe headaches and suffering nosebleeds (most probably a severe case of hypertension), Beckworth returned to the Crow village where he died on October 29, 1866. The founder of the "Rocky Mountain News", William Byers, used the news of the death of Beckworth to publish a circulation-boosting, baseless yarn stating that the Crow had poisoned Beckworth, a falsehood that is repeated to this day.

Beckwourth Pass, California

Beckwourth Pass, named in honor of James Beckwourth, is located in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Plumas County, California. California State Route 70 crosses the Sierras at an elevation of 1,591 m (5,221 ft.), making it one of the lowest crossings of the Sierra Nevadas in California. It is also the route that the Union Pacific Railroad (former Western Pacific Railroad) used to cross the Sierra's along their Feather River route. The pass is located east of Portola, California.

In 1851, Beckwourth, following an Indian trail, discovered a low elevation pass over the Sierra Nevada mountains into California. He improved what became known as the Beckwourth Trail through Plumas, Butte and Yuba counties. In August, 1851, he led the first intact wagon train into the burgeoning Gold Rush city of Marysville, California, named after Mary Murphy, a survivor of the Donner Party in the winter of 1846-47. Beckwourth demanded payment for improving the trail, claiming he had an agreement with the city and its merchants. When the city failed to pay him, he had no standing as a dark-skinned man in a California court to sue for damages. An estimated 10,000 people used the trail to enter Marysville in the following decade. In 1996, at the urging of promoters of Beckwourth Frontier Days, a living history festival, the city of Marysville's largest park was renamed Beckwourth Riverfront Park in recognition of the debt owed by the city and Beckwourth's significance to the growth of the city.

The pig tail bridges

I was told by a friend (Jack my Neighbor) that one of the funnest roads in the country is along our route.

He calls it the pig tails, but I think the official name is US16 A. Here is some information I found out about it.

Known for its “pigtail” bridges, Iron Mountain Road redefined what a road could be. Climbing 17 miles from Custer State Park to the entrance of Mount Rushmore, you’ll wind over stacked loops of wooden bridges and through one-lane tunnels that perfectly frame Mount Rushmore. Such care was taken not to disturb the landscape that some sections of the road actually divide into one-lane one-way ribbons that swoop and bound through mixed pine and deciduous forest. 

Norbeck is also responsible for the design and routing of Iron Mountain Road (US16A). Iron Mountain Road is about 17 miles long and runs from the town of Keystone south into Custer State Park.
It is often called “Pigtail Highway” because of its pigtail-like corkscrew bridges that quickly move travelers up or down the mountain while keeping the impact on the forest to a minimum. Just so he could maintain certain sections of the forest, Norbeck even designed the road so that it splits apart into narrow, single-lane sections that wind through the trees and then merge back together a few hundred yards later.
Iron Mountain Road also features three rock tunnels that perfectly frame the faces of Mount Rushmore National Memorial. The famous faces seen through these tunnels are one of the most popular visitor photo ops in the Black Hills.
Both Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road are part of the aptly named Peter Norbeck Scenic Byway which is hailed world-wide by motorists, bicyclists and motorcycle riders as one of the most beautiful roads on the planet.
These two roads – Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road – should be on the “Must Do” list for every Black Hills visitor. The combination of natural scenery and man-made engineering feats are hard to beat.

I created this little biker trivia quiz. Check it out and see how much you know. Some of the answers are from this blog

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Reno Rick - Tragic Accident

A while ago we wrote about a friend, Reno Rick Scarmella, who would accompany us to sturgis.

Soon after we wrote about rick comming on our trip some turns came up in his life and he was forced to cancel his plans for the trip due to a job opportunity.

Last week tragedy struck.... Rick was hit on his motorcycle by a truck who ran a RED light. The accident was so violent that rick was knocked unconscious and his bike was destroyed. Rick was in the hospital for several days and has some major injuries from which he is trying to recover. Unfortunately he will no longer be able to work the job for which he had to fore-go the trip.

Our hearts go out to rick and his family and we wish him a speedy recovery. We will ride with rick in our hearts on the Long Ride to Sturgis. If you are the praying type, please pray for him and his family as they fight to recover economically and physically from this accident. Bikers everywhere watch out for each other and feel for each other when we fall.

Iron Butt Association's Archive of Wisdom for long rides

As we plan this epic ride, I came across the Iron Butt Associations "Archive of Wisdom" 29 tips for long rides. Good info

"1. Know your limits and plan your trip around them.

If the longest ride you have ever taken is 300 miles in a day, don't plan a trip with a string of endless five- hundred mile days. Iron Butt Association surveys also warn of an important trend in long distance trip planning (see Chart A). Discounting weather or other problems; after an initial mileage peak on days one and two, daily average mileage will steadily drop during trip days three to seven. On day seven of a trip, the typical long distance rider will comfortably ride about 65% of the average daily mileage that they would book on a two day trip. If the pros have this type of mileage attrition rate, would you plan on any less?Also include large easy-to-cut loops into your trip plan. If you do get behind schedule, this is the easiest way to skip part of your trip without ruining the rest of it.
Whether you are capable of riding 300 miles per day, or 1,000, the ability to make miles tends to decrease as the length of the trip increases. The most severe loss is in days 3 through 7, where Iron Butt types then level out to about 65% of their peak capacity.

2. Forget about high speeds.

Forget what you've been told; high speeds and long-distance riding have little in common. A steady rider can book more miles, enjoy more mountain vistas and ride more twisty miles than a canyon carver bent on making the best times across a mountain pass. Besides the obvious effects on fuel mileage, which means more time wasted looking for gas, and the fatigue caused by fighting the effects of pushing a motorcycle through the wind, riding much beyond the flow of traffic will land you a hefty speeding ticket. While you are on the side of the road having a spirited discussion with a Police officer about your 10/10ths riding style, the turtle-like rider on the Honda 250 will wave as he sets himself up for the next set of corners.

3. Leave your drugs and coffee supply at home.

It's this simple, drugs and other stimulants do not work! If you need No-Doze or other drugs to stay alert (the Iron Butt Association includes coffee and colas on this hot list), it's time to stop for the day and get some serious rest.

4. Prepare your motorcycle before the trip.

With vacation time in short supply, why would you waste time during a trip to have your tires replaced? It is often cheaper to replace tires and chains at home rather than squeezing the few remaining miles from them to only find that they are not available. Additionally, quality motorcycle oils can go the distance. It is not unheard of Iron Butt types grinding away 10,000 or more miles between oil changes. Running hours between oil changes and work load means more than miles. A motorcycle ridden around town will need more frequent changes than one used on a long trip.

5. Avoid adding accessories or doing maintenance immediately before a trip.
if it can be avoided, don't use a trip as a test bed for a new exciting accessory. This is particularly true for electrical system farkles. It's asking for trouble to install new auxiliary lights or perform other mission-critical electrical modifications right before a rally. This leaves no time to thoroughly exercise the system for proper behavior before having to depend on them during a long night ride.And don't forget, even the best mechanic can make a mistake. Try and avoid picking up your motorcycle and heading out directly on a 10,000 mile trip. A trip is also not the best time to try out that new rainsuit, helmet or packing technique!

6. Use an electric vest!

Even on the warmest summer nights, after a few days of 100+ temperatures, a 75-degree evening ride can send a chill through your body. Add in a cool, wet day and the benefits of an electric vest mean that no serious rider would leave home without it.

7. Pack wisely; keep personal supplies handy.

While many riders use a tank bag, what they pack in them is not always well thought out. Sun screen, skin lotions, eye cleaner, eye lubricant, a flash light, a tire gauge, maps and other essentials should all be kept in a handy location. If these items are not on-hand when you need them, you won't use them. That can lead to costly mistakes like missing a road because you didn't want to find your map or roasting your face and then facing painful sun burn for days into a trip (ever try wearing a helmet over a sun-burnt head? - do it once and you will never forget to pack the sun screen where it is handy).On the other hand, things like registration and insurance papers should be kept in a secure water tight area of the motorcycle. Assuming you probably will only need these items while talking to the Law, having them stowed away gives you time to talk to the officer and convince him you are human and not some crazed-biker - that could work to your advantage.

8. Be ready before you leave, don't waste time shopping on the road.

The same rules that applies to your motorcycle should apply to your riding gear and essentials. Maintain a check list of items to carry and then check it before you leave. Buying toothpaste at 7-11 is no big deal, but having to shop around for a sweater or swimsuit or specialty medicines that you left at home can eat up valuable riding or rest time.

9. Learn how to avoid boredom.

Long rides usually mean riding across areas you might not consider prime riding spots. To some riders U.S. 50 across Nevada is a beautiful ride. To a canyon carver it can be a long, hot boring, dull highway to hell. For times like this, carrying a tape player with your favorite music can prove invaluable. Some of the other tricks of the trade are to stock up your tank bag with a supply of tart candies that you can munch on while riding. A sour lemon drop will shock your senses and keep you going another twenty miles!

10. Join a towing service!

Break downs happen and there is nothing like being stuck with no one to turn to for help. MTS, AMA, Cross-Country motor club, some insurance companies and some auto clubs have plans that will tow you out of trouble. This is not a matter of just money (the cost of the plan versus the risk of the cost of a later tow), these clubs have contracted with tow companies around the U.S. Skip the insurance and you can spend hours burning up the phone looking for a tow company. Pay a little now or pay a lot later in the form of money and wasted trip time.

11. Learn to Stop to go Faster.

On the surface this tip may not make sense, but the successful long distance rider uses this strategy to their advantage. Since each rider is different, no one can predict a comfortable speed average for every rider. What is important is to know what speed your internal riding clock runs by and when your speed falls below that average, take time out and get some serious rest. Wasting time on coffee stops or milling about gas stations is time that could be better spent in a comfortable room sleeping or even better, taking a walk to stretch tired and sore muscles and get some oxygen pumping back into your brain.

12. Know when to stop!
As soon as you are tempted to close an eye, even "for just a second", find the nearest safe place to pull over and take nap!Other symptoms to watch for:
Inability to maintain a desired speed. If you find yourself slowing down and constantly having to speed back up, you are ready to fall asleep!
Forgetting to turn high beams down for oncoming traffic.
Indecision. Can't decide to stop for gas or continue? Can't decide what turn to take? These are all a result of fatigue.
13. Maintain a good mental attitude.
If you really hate rain, you just may be better off taking a time-out and hold-up in a motel for a day. The same goes for excessive heat (if possible, try riding at night) or a host of other conditions that can put you in such a bad mental state that riding is no longer fun (if you are concentrating on being miserable, you are not concentrating on the road). Yes, answering to your boss why you are a day or two late can cause some stress, but at least you might make it safely home!
14. Eat healthful foods. 

Fast foods and a big road trip are a bad combination, but realizing that this is the real world, try these time-proven combinations:In the mornings stick to oatmeal, cereals or one egg with toast (no butter please!). Lunch should be skipped in favor of a light, healthful snack. Dinner should include a salad with a light pasta dish (quickly and readily available at the long distance riders all-time place to hate; Dennys and most Wendys).
If all else fails, our motto is, "If you can't eat right at least try and eat light!" Consider having a freshly made Subway sandwich instead of that grease-dripping Quarter-Pounder!

15. Put on your rain suit before it rains!

If you have less than a half tank of gas, why not stop, fill-up and put on your suit all in one, quick, safe stop? Whether you take the fill-up advice or not, we strongly recommend you avoid putting your rain suit on along side the road. The dangers are too numerous to outline, but think about this when planning to dodge the rain under an overpass; do you really want to be standing just three feet (or about an arms length) from traffic zooming by at 60 mph and up? And if it is raining, do you want to be standing that close to drivers half-blinded by the rain themselves? And keep in mind that some of those drivers will be looking for a covered place of their own to wait out a hard rain - just like the place you are putting on your rainsuit.While hard statistics on this subject are hard to come by, roadside shoulder accidents do happen. For example, we witnessed this tragic accident in May of 1995; on a clear nights while stopping a vehicle for a traffic violation an Illinois state Trooper had his blue police lights in full gear (anyone that has ever gotten stopped can attest to the intensity of these lights). Although both vehicles were on the shoulder of the Interstate, a tired driver managed came off the road and rammed into the rear of the Illinois state highway patrol car causing it to explode and kill the trooper inside.
16. Separate gas stops from food stops.

After getting gasoline (a mini rest-stop in itself), it takes just as long to suit-up to ride across the street to eat as it does to ride twenty miles down the road and then eat. The result is two mini rest-stops for the price of one.

17. Stay hydrated!
While your bike might have a fuel gauge, unfortunately, your body does not have a simple hydration gauge - by the time you are thirsty, you have already started on the road to dehydration.Lack of water impacts mental and physical performance, causes soreness, cramping, headaches and can be a direct cause of injury and illness. Whether you are thirsty or not, drink water on a regular schedule - even in cold weather where you may never feel thirsty (don't think it can happen to you? Read Jonny Volk's experience at Lessons learned from an EMT ).
Although it may seem extreme, we recommend that during the long rides, you give up local tap water and use purified bottled water. Changes in the local make-up of the water supply can lead to upset stomach, diarrhea and in some extreme cases require hospitalization. Besides those concerns, in 1995 the federal government issued a warning that Cryptosporidium, a disease-carrying parasite, can slip through most municipal water treatment systems. While a healthy individual can fight off this bug, we recommend avoiding it, and other potential water-born parasites while on the road by using purified water. For more information on bottled water brands that use production processes that are free from parasites contact the International Bottled Water Association at (800) 928-3711 or NSF International (a product testing organization) at (800) 673-8010.

18. Carry at least one-half gallon of water.

You don't have to be riding in the desert to listen to this advice. For example, pushing a broken motorcycle a short distance up a hill to get it to a safe parking place on a cool night can generate a thirst that cannot be described.Your water supply should be kept in two sources. One should be used for casual drinking (i.e., whenever you are thirsty, you drink from that bottle) and the remainder should be packed away for true emergencies such as breakdowns. The theory here is straightforward. Once riders start carrying water, they will use it. Unfortunately, if you drink your emergency supply away, then you will not have it for an emergency. Do yourself a favor and pack the emergency supply in an area that is inconvenient to get to and save it for when you really need it. On a health note, although bottled water has a fairly long shelf life, to insure that tap water is safe to drink, it should be changed every few days.
19. Get gas before you need it.
You only have to run out of gas one time, or take a five mile detour in search of gas to blow the time you saved by not stopping. When gas is handy, stop and get it!That having been said, keep in mind that gas stops can be a major time-sink if not managed properly. While wasting 5 minutes loitering at the fuel pump might not be to detrimental on multi-day events, it can be devestating on 24-hour rides, where maintaining a certain minimum average speed is critical. Whenever possible, always use "pay-at-the-pump" service stations. And have more than one credit card handy, in case your financial institution's automated systems "shut down" your card for unusually heavy use.

20. Pack a variety of vitamins.

We have to defer this exact advice to a doctor, but in general a minimum recommendation is to take a one- a-day vitamin. Seek the advice of your doctor as to what vitamins are best for the type of conditions you are riding through (hot summer-time conditions has different requirements than winter riding).For long distance riding, look for vitamins that will prevent muscle cramps.
21. Carry aspirin for aches and pains.

Note: While aspirin enjoys an almost cult-like following in the riding community (riders claim it alleviates a variety of pains and helps prevent muscle spasms), it is important to remember to consult your physician for side-effects related to its use.For example, aspirin can lower your body's core temperature. So those riders choosing to use it for aches along the way should be aware they may be cooling themselves down as well. Additionally, aspirin acts as an anti-coagulant (something to worry about should you crash and suffer wounds that cause severe bleeding). Some brands of aspirin contain caffeine (it is sometimes added to help the aspirin take effect more quickly). A quick review of active ingredients on the packaging will let you know if caffeine is part of the formula.

22. When riding back roads, be extra cautious when crossing county lines!

In many states, road maintenance is the responsibility of the county. That means every fifty miles or so you may be dealing with different pavement mixes and different engineers ideas of what is a good design. After crossing a county or state line, take notice of subtle signs of how the local road department operates. Has the pavement gone from asphalt to concrete? Are the turns well marked? Do they use decreasing radius turns? Are road repairs done with rubber sealer (the kind that flexes slightly when hot, which can cause some riders to panic if they are not used to a motorcycle moving around underneath them when leaned over), gravel or other hazardous methods? Is vegetation trimmed back from the side of the road? Do fences exist to keep animals on the sidelines?Find out how the locals do it before you get the surprise of your life!
23. Never ride faster than you can stop!
Imagine riding down the Interstate in a heavy fog at 50 mph when all of a sudden you come across a stopped car in the fast lane. Can you stop before you hit the car? You may think this is a ridiculous question, but it has happened. Don't be the next rider killed by out-riding your eyes.This same tip applies to good weather as well. Is making 10 mph more around a corner you can't see through worth spending six months in a hospital? Think about it like that and you may live to ride another day.
Always remember the Absolute Number 1 priority when participating in a long-distance ride or endurance rally: cross the Finish Line alive. Everything else is just gravy!

24. Do you want to live? Stay away from trucks!

Truck drivers hate having anyone follow them. When you are behind a truck, you become a liability. Instead of paying attention to the road, a trucker will start worrying about the people on their tailgate. From a bikers standpoint, it is not uncommon for a truck tire to explode. Iron Butt veteran and professional truck driver Mary Sue Johnson warns, "A blowout can blast off the truck's heavy mudflap with the force of a bowling ball going 60 m.p.h." Suzy goes on to warn that should the truck run over tailpipe or muffler in the road, you probably won't see it until too late leading to disaster." Additionally, if a trucker has to get on the brakes hard because of a of something in the road or someone has cut them off, (it happens to me once a day or more) AND you aren't alert back there, you will hit the trailer - it happens all the time!"Least you think this is all great theory but will never happen to you, this real-life incident of the forces involved with truck tires comes from the June 3, 1997 Chicago Sun-Times titled "Teen dies when wheel fly off truck..." Two wheels broke loose from an 18-wheel semi-trailer truck on the Eisenhower Expressway...killing an 18-year-old youth. One wheel rolled up and over a concrete barrier and struck the sport utility vehicle in which the teen was sitting in the front passenger seat.

25. Eliminate all distractions/irritants.

Eliminate all distractions and potential irritants before the ride, no matter how minor they may seem. The cost in stamina and energy used in fighting off the effects of irritants while tired can be enormous. Even minor aggravations are magnified during a long-distance ride, robbing you of precious energy in the form of stress.Key to your ability to fight off irritants is a well prepared bike that is set up properly with resulting excellent ergos for the rider. Long term rider comfort while underway is the true secret in how seasoned veterans can safely garner big mileage.

26. Use a Tracking device
Article authored by Jason Jonas.The advantages of using a tracking device are:
Share your experience with family and friends 
Aid in documenting your ride
Value-added services such as roadside assistance and emergency 911 services.
Keeping your family informed of your whereabouts while on the road is an invaluable source of piece of mind for both you and those who care about you. Using a tracking device to "record" your ride is a good way to document the route traveled. Some companies provide value-added services like roadside assistance and emergency 911 services that may help locate you in the unfortunate event of an accident.There are two main technologies employed to transmit location data. A cell-based solution uses the cell phone network to transmit location data. If your travels are within your coverage area, a cell-based tracking solution is cost-effective. But if your travels take you to remote regions, for example, the Colorado Mountains, Death Valley, Siberia, or even Yellowstone National Park, then consider a more reliable satellite-based system.
For more information about cell-based solutions, consider using Google Latitude. More information may be found at:
For more information about satellite-based solutions, consider using a SPOT device from SPOT, Inc. More information may be found here: Regardless of the chosen solution, you'll need an application that provides secure location management and the ability to control who gets to see your data and how much data they get to see as well as save your "trips". Most long-distance riders use SpotWalla located at
To view a sample trip log, visit this IBA ride Heaven to Hell 1000 from the top of Pikes Peak to Death Valley!
27. Carry a flat repair kit and know how to use it!
The majority of tubeless tires punctures can be repaired in just a few minutes! There is no excuse for not carrying a repair kit, but even more importantly, you should know how to use it. Practice at home on an old tire so you are not trying to figure the process out on the side of the road! While tube-type tires are more of a hassle, once your learn how to patch a tube, it can be done a lot faster than trying to arrange a tow.Further, you should periodically inspect your tire repair kit to ensure the glue has not leaked out. If your kit has CO2 cartridges as its means of inflation, do you know how many cartridges it will take to inflate your tire to a safe level? Find out before you hit the road!

28. Upgrade your tool kit.
The tool kit in most motorcycles are at best junk. Use the tool kit as a guide and purchase quality replacement tools from Snap-On or Sears' Craftsman. Also add a compact digital voltmeter (Radio Shack sells a pocket model for less than $20) and a ratchet and socket set.In May of 1997, the late, great Ron Major published to the LD Riders list what is undoubtedly the most comprehensive tool listing ever devised:

In my leather Travelcade tool bag, 4 X 5 1/2 X 11 inches:
10 in. Channelock pliers
6 in. Channelock pliers
6 in. needle nose pliers
5 in. flush cutting wire cutters
5 in. wire strippers
6 in. locking surgical forceps
4 in. 1/8 flat blade screwdriver
4 1/2 3/16 flat blade screwdriver
4 in. 00 Phillips screwdriver
6 in. #1 Phillips screwdriver
7 1/2 in. #2 Phillips screwdriver
7 1/2 in. 1/4 in. flat screwdriver
Xcelite four way driver
Magnet, general use, small
6 in. Crescent Wrench
Short 1/2 - 9/16 in. open end wrench
M 10 X M 11 open end wrench
M 12 X M 14 open end wrench
M 10 X M 11 box end wrench
M 12 X M 14 box end wrench
M 17 X M 19 box end wrench
MAC combination six point Flex Box End/Open End, M 10, M 12, M 14, M 17 wrenches
4 oz. ball pien hammer, with handle shortened to 7 in.
M 5 hex key - short arm
M 6 hex key - short arm
M 5 Ball end hex key - "T" handle - 8 in.
Machinist's scribe, self storing point
6 Straight edge razor blades
6 C.C. tube of Locktite
6 Oz. tube of RTV clear silicone sealer
Two Tube 5 Minute Epoxy
Zip-lock bag of Anti-Seize Compound
Zip-lock bag of rear spline lube, Honda 60% moly paste (for rear tire change)
The two above items stored in 35 MM film containers, clean, dry, protected!
Top quality padlock - with keys
2 spare electric vest wire connectors - wired
12 feet of two conductor electric wire
35-40 small zip ties - 3 1/2 in.
12 medium zip ties - 8 in.
8 in. Tire Iron
6 electricians tapes, roll ends only, very easy to carry/use
12 Pre-Packaged alcohol wipes, for general clean-up
6 Pre-packaged "Handy-Towels" for your hands, etc.
clean up towels, terrycloth
ALL - Snap-On, Craftsman, Mac, Xelite, etc., PROFESSIONAL TOOLS!
Not In The Above Kit:
Stock ST1100A Honda Tool-kit
siphon hose, 5 /16 in. I.D., 6 feet long
1/4 in. Nylon rope, 15 feet long
12 in. Crescent Wrench
M 5, M 6 long arm, ball end hex drivers
Spare fuses for "EVERYTHING"
Re-chargable, 2-D Cell flashlight
AA cell Maglight, on neck lanyard, for walking bonuses/back-up
Two AAA cell Maglights
Eye glass repair kit
Sewing kit
Safety pins
Lensatic, Engineer Compass
2 Magnifying glasses, 2X, and 5X
Small mirror
Swiss Army Knife
Wavetek, DM78A Digital Multimeter
Digital tire gauge
Spare keys for "everything"
6 new Micro-Point ball point pens
MANY spare batteries for flashlights, clock/timers, shaver, Screaming-Meanies!
Buck TITANIUM locking blade knife, 3 3/4 in. blade
Spare headlight, driving light, license plate, and other bulbs
Spare throttle cables
These items are ALWAYS in my ST1100!
The Skill, Knowlege, and Ability to use them!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ron, well prepared, Major
P. S.
You should see my "First Aid Kit", and other necessary things, such as three different tire repair methods, and two means of inflation!

P. S. S.

We must have an un-scheduled "TANK BAG SHOOT-OUT" someday!!!!! Many eyes would be opened, for sure, if they saw what the "Old Timers" actually carried in their tank-bags!!!!! This is very private, and personal, like a LADY's PURSE!

My $0.50 worth.

- Ron Major "

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Sick Saddles Custom Seat

The Sportster has a new seat on the way to make our epic journey more comfortable. Ed Graves at Sick Saddles is making us a custom gel and memory foam seat for the Sportster. I'm excited to take the new saddle for a ride when it arrives! Ed has been awesome to work with so far, and I've heard great things about his work. I look forward to seeing how it turns out.

Myths of the Little Bighorn

Long Ride's last stand! We're preparing for an epic journey to Sturgis, which can be a daunting task. While trying to prepare for everything, we came across history's greatest example of why it's important to be prepared for anything! George Armstrong Custer. We'll be riding through the area of the Little Bighorn River, just a short distance from where one of the most infamous and bloody battles in early United State's history took place. The battle of the Little Bighorn, or more commonly known, "Custer's Last Stand". We've all heard the story at some point, but while preparing our route and our gear, we came across as story of 10 "myths" about Custer and the Little Bighorn on Maybe the story is just a little different than our history teachers told us!

"The Battle of the Little Bighorn, fought on the banks of the river of that name in Montana Territory in June 1876, is the most often discussed fight of the Indian wars. It has been said that we will never know what happened there because there were no survivors. That is nonsense. There were thousands of survivors. The Indians clearly told us what happened. We need only to listen to what they said. There are also many misconceptions about Lt. Col. George A. Custer and the 7th Cavalry, among them being that Custer had long yellow hair and that he and his regiment carried sabers into the battle. In reality, Custer's hair was cut short, and the regiment left its sabers behind.
An examination of 10 of the major myths about the Battle of the Little Bighorn follows. The first two myths are widely held fallacies that do not require Indian testimony to discredit; the last eight myths are largely discredited by eyewitness accounts of those on the winning side. 
1. Custer and All His Men Were Killed- The 7th Cavalry on June 25, 1876, consisted of about 31 officers, 586 soldiers, 33 Indian scouts and 20 civilian employees. They did not all die. When the smoke cleared on the evening of June 26, 262 were dead, 68 were wounded and six later died of their wounds. Custer's Battalion – C, E, F, I and L companies – was wiped out, but the majority of the seven other companies under Major Marcus Reno and Captain Frederick Benteen survived.

2. Custer Disobeyed His Orders- Many Custerphobes insist Custer violated Brig. Gen. Alfred Terry's orders. We only need to read Terry's written instructions to clarify the situation. Terry wrote that he "places too much confidence in your zeal, energy, and ability to wish to impose upon you precise orders which might hamper your action when nearly in contact with the enemy." Terry gave Custer suggestions that he should attempt to carry out, "unless you shall see sufficient reason for departing from them." In addition to the written orders, Terry entered Custer's tent before he left on his final march, and told him, "Use your own judgment and do what you think best if you strike the trail." Custer did not disobey his orders. 

3. Custer Did Not Listen to His Scouts- Even using binoculars from the traditional Plains Indian lookout known as the Crow's Nest, Colonel Custer of the 7th Cavalry had trouble seeing the village in the valley some 15 miles away. His scouts told him a large village was there. He believed them, but he wanted to wait one more day, until the morning of June 26, 1876, to attack. He told Half Yellow Face, "I want to wait until it is dark, and then we will march." The Crow scout replied, "These Sioux…have seen the smoke of our camp," and argued that they must attack immediately. Custer still wanted to wait. Another Crow, White Man Runs Him, said, "That plan is no good, the Sioux have already spotted your soldiers." Red Star, an Arikara, concurred that the Crows were right, and believed that Custer must "attack at once, that day, and capture the horses of the Dakotas [Sioux]." Shortly after, soldiers discovered Indians rummaging through some supplies they had dropped on the back trail. Custer now knew his scouts were right. He followed their advice and attacked immediately. Custer did listen to his scouts. 

4. The Indian Village Was Immense- Traditionally, the village on the Little Bighorn has been depicted as the largest ever seen in the West. Actually there were at least one dozen villages larger, and geographical and spatial considerations illustrate the impossibility of the exaggerated size estimations. A village that has been depicted as large as six miles long and one mile wide, in reality was 11⁄2 miles long and one-quarter mile wide. It contained about 1,200 lodges and perhaps 1,500 warriors. Custer was not "crazy" for attacking. The Indians told us the village size. Pretty White Buffalo said that the Cheyenne and Sans Arc camps were at the lower end of the village, across from the Medicine Tail crossing of the river. Standing Bear said that the mouth of Muskrat Creek (Medicine Tail) was north of the Santee camp, which was the northernmost of the circles. Two Moon said that the village stretched from Sitting Bull's Hunkpapa camp at Shoulder Blade Creek, to the Cheyenne camp at Medicine Tail's place. Wooden Leg stated that the Cheyenne camp was just a little upstream and across from Medicine Tail Coulee, and at the other end were the Hunkpapas, just northeast of the present-day Garryowen Station, with all the camps east of the present road. A soldier named Wolf drew a map depicting the camp conforming to the course of the river with its northernmost limits across from Medicine Tail. Fears Nothing's map showed the entire camp between Medicine Tail in the north, to Shoulder Blade Creek in the south. Standing Bear and Flying Hawk both produced maps that showed the northernmost limit of the camp to be south of Medicine Tail Creek. The Indians showed us that the camp conformed to the river and was, at most, 11⁄2 miles long. It was a large camp, certainly, but it was not several miles long and unconquerable. 

5. Sitting Bull Set Up an Ambush- It is said that the Indians knew Custer and the 7th Cavalry were coming, and set a trap. They did no such thing. Pretty White Buffalo said that no one expected an attack; the young men were not even out watching for the soldiers. "I have seen my people prepare for battle many times," she said, "and this I know: that the Sioux that morning had no thought of fighting."
Moving Robe was digging wild turnips with other women several miles from camp when she saw a cloud of dust rise beyond the bluffs in the east. She saw a warrior riding by, shouting that soldiers were only a few miles away, and that the women, children and old men should run for the hills in the other direction.
Antelope Woman (Kate Bighead) was bathing in the river with many others. Scores of naked men, women and children were in the river and not expecting a battle. Neither were many others playing or fishing along the stream. Everyone was having a good time, said Antelope, and no one was thinking about any battle.
Low Dog said the sun was about at noon, and he was still asleep in his lodge. He awoke to the shouts of soldiers, but thought it was a false alarm. "I did not think it possible that any white men would attack us," he said.
After breakfast, White Bull left his wife's lodge and went to tend the horses with no thoughts of any approaching danger. When he heard a man yelling an alarm, he climbed a hill and could see the soldiers approaching. He jumped on his best horse and drove the ponies back to camp.
Standing Bear awoke late that morning. While they ate breakfast, his uncle said, "After you are through eating you had better go and get the horses, because something might happen all at once, we never can tell."
Before they could finish eating, there was a commotion outside, and Standing Bear learned his uncle's premonition was correct. The soldiers were coming. They had been surprised.
Wooden Leg had been to a dance the night before, and slept late that morning. He and his brother Yellow Hair went to the river and found many Indians splashing in the water. The brothers found a shade tree and dozed off. Suddenly an old man called out: "Soldiers are here! Young men, go out and fight them."
Red Feather slept late that morning and awoke to the words: "Go get the horses – buffaloes are stampeding!" Indians began dashing into the camp with the ponies. One, known as Magpie, shouted, "Get away as fast as you can, don't wait for anything, the white men are charging!" Red Feather could see soldiers firing into Sitting Bull's camp. Some Hunkpapas and Oglalas, caught up in the early panic, ran away.
Runs the Enemy heard that soldiers were coming, but did not believe it. He sat back down with the men and continued smoking. Rain in the Face admitted the soldiers came to the valley without warning. "It was a surprise," he said.
Sitting Bull, the chief who was said to have masterminded the ambush by the Indians, was caught up in the confusion. When the soldiers attacked, his young wife, Four Robes, was so frightened that she grabbed only one of her infant twins and ran to the hills. When asked where the second child was, she realized she had left it behind, and raced back to the lodge to retrieve it. Later, the one left behind received the name Abandoned One. This was not the household of a man who supposedly knew soldiers were coming and set a trap for them.
It is apparent from the Indian reactions that Custer had surprised the camp. There was no ambush. Custer's approach was successful. In spite of attacking in broad daylight, he did surprise the village.

6. Custer's Tactics Were Faulty- It is said that Custer foolishly divided his force and allowed the regiment to be defeated in detail. Yet, using part of a force to fix the enemy in front, and sending another portion to envelop the flank is a standard tactic of professional armies. While Major Marcus Reno attacked the southern end of the village, Custer made a flank march to the north along the river bluffs. The Indians, snapping out of their initial surprise, counterattacked Reno and chased him across the river to the east bank. When they climbed the bluffs, they had another surprise: Custer was already beyond them, 11⁄2 miles north and closer to the village than the Indians were.
White Bull went up the bluffs where he saw something of great importance. "Where we were standing on the side of the hill we saw another troop moving from the east toward the north where the camp was moving," he exclaimed.
One Bull found a vantage point on the hill and saw more troops coming from the south, leading what appeared to be pack mules. But a bigger problem was the troop force to the north. Soldiers were already beyond the Indians and were heading toward the other end of the camp.
American Horse was in the valley while Reno's survivors climbed the hill. When he turned to the river, he heard a man's voice calling out that more bluecoats were moving to attack the lower village, American Horse's own people. He spun his horse around and quickly headed north.
Fears Nothing reached the river and heard an Indian on the east bank calling that more soldiers were coming down from behind the ridge. He rode up the bluffs to see for himself and clambered back down. Once in the valley, he galloped north toward the mouth of Medicine Tail Creek.
Runs the Enemy noticed two Indians waving blankets on the eastern bluffs. Crossing over with another Indian, he heard them yell that the soldiers were "coming, and they were going to get our women and children." He continued to the crest and the sight shocked him. "As I looked along the line of the ridge they seemed to fill the whole hill," he said. "It looked as if there were thousands of them, and I thought we would surely be beaten." Runs The Enemy raced downhill, across the river and back down the valley.
Wooden Leg had climbed a hill north of Reno's hilltop position when another Indian cried out: "Look! Yonder are other soldiers!" Peering downriver, Wooden Leg saw them on the distant hills. The news spread quickly, and the Indians began to ride after them to meet this other threat.
Short Bull was busy driving Reno out of the valley and into the hills. He never noticed Custer until Crazy Horse rode up with his men.
"Too late! You've missed the fight!" Short Bull called to him.
"Sorry to miss this fight!" Crazy Horse laughed. "But there's a good fight coming over the hill."
Short Bull looked where Crazy Horse pointed. For the first time he saw Custer and his men pouring over a hill. "I thought there were a million of them," he said.
"That's where the big fight is going to be," Crazy Horse predicted. "We'll not miss that one."
Many Indians who chased Reno up the bluffs also realized that there were more soldiers already north of them, in a position to interpose themselves between the warriors and the village. Moving along a ridge above Medicine Tail Coulee, less than two miles away, was Custer's Battalion. It was a shock. Custer had surprised them not once, but twice. His tactics were working. 

7. Custer Was Killed at the River- One of the major misconceptions of the Little Bighorn fight is that Custer was shot down in a midstream charge while crossing the river. The idea stems from two sources: one was the Lakota White Cow Bull, and the other was two Crow scouts who were not there. Many other Indian eyewitnesses who were there never said anything of the sort.
Two Moon said that Cheyenne guards were already posted on the east bank when Custer rode down. In addition, many Lakotas had already crossed to the east side. Warriors were across the river, some going upstream and some downstream, trying to get on each side of the soldiers.
Yellow Nose said he and his companions were already on the east side of the river when the soldiers first fired at them.
From the east bank of the river, White Shield saw that the troops were heading straight for them, and he believed they would break through and get across the river. When the Gray Horses (Company E) got close to the river, they dismounted, and both sides fired at each other.
Bobtail Horse said the soldiers began shooting as they neared the ford leading to the camp. He said: "Let us get in line behind this ridge and try to stop or turn them. If they get in camp they will kill many women." Bobtail Horse said that his "party had not advanced toward Custer, but were on the bank of the Little Horn on the same side as Custer."
The soldiers advanced, but, "the ten Indians were firing as hard as they could and killed a soldier," Bobtail Horse explained. The man's horse ran on ahead, and Bobtail Horse caught it. The soldiers finally stopped. This all happened on the east bank.
Red Hawk was fighting Reno's men, but went north in time to see a second group of soldiers coming down the ridge in three divisions. They did not make it to the river, he said. The first division only got to a point about one-half to three-quarters of a mile from the water.
Lone Bear said the soldiers got near the river, dismounted and began leading their horses, but they never got to the river. Lone Bear watched as large numbers of warriors, both mounted and on foot, crossed over to the east bank and started after Custer before he reached the stream.
More warriors indicated the confrontation occurred east of the river. Kill Eagle said, "The Indians crossed the creek and then the firing commenced." Wooden Leg said that the first three Cheyennes to cross the river were Bobtail Horse, Roan Bear and Buffalo Calf, and they fired on Custer while he was "far out on the ridge." He Dog said 15 or 20 Indians fought the troopers from the east side of the stream – near the dry creek, but not near the river. Standing Bear also said that the Indians crossed the river as soon as Custer came in sight. They took position behind a low ridge and were reinforced rapidly as more warriors crossed over. "There was no fighting on the creek," Standing Bear said. Bobtail Horse, who was right there, indicated without hesitation that they were all on the east bank, on the same side as Custer. Two years after the fight, Hump, Brave Wolf and Ice told 5th Infantry Lieutenant Oscar F. Long that the Indians crossed the river before Custer could possibly have forded. They had already gained a small hill on the north side of the Little Bighorn and placed themselves between Custer and the river.
It is clear from the explanations of the Indians who were there that Custer's soldiers never got across the river, or even into it; the Indians were already on the east (north) bank fighting them. Where do we get the idea that Custer was killed in the river? Mostly from White Cow Bull. His story has caused more mischief than almost any of the tales that have been circulated about the battle.
It is only White Cow Bull who supposedly said that he and Bobtail Horse shot a buckskin-clad soldier in the river. Neither Bobtail Horse nor any of the other Indians who were there mention anything of the sort – they don't even say White Cow Bull was there. Yet, White Cow Bull says that he, almost single-handed, stopped a full-scale cavalry charge in midstream. No other Lakota or Cheyenne saw it. They were not fighting on the river, but east of it. White Cow Bull's story is just that – bull.
The Crow scouts Goes Ahead and White Man Runs Him reportedly told stories of Custer dying in the river. Goes Ahead's tale comes from his wife, Pretty Shield, who was not there either, but said little other than Custer drank too much and rode into the river and died. White Man Runs Him did not see Custer, but heard later that Custer was hit in the chest by a bullet and fell into the water. From such tales grew the myth that Custer was killed at the river. It did not happen. 

8. Crazy Horse's Ride to the North- One standard tale of the battle involves the legendary ride of Crazy Horse. The story goes that Crazy Horse, with his tactical genius, judged the situation in a flash, gathered hundreds of his warriors, went north down the valley, crossed the river, swung east and swept down on an unsuspecting Custer from the north, completely surprising and overwhelming the befuddled commander.
Many historians and novelists have followed this scenario: Cyrus Brady, George Hyde, Charles Kuhlman, William Graham, Mari Sandoz, Edgar Stewart, David H. Miller, Stephen Ambrose, Henry and Don Weibert, James Welch, Robert Utley, Evan Connell, Jerry Greene and Doug Scott. A slight variation on this theme comes from Richard Fox; he has Crazy Horse approaching from Deep Ravine. With all those historians concurring at one time or another over the years (some have since modified their interpretation), the story must be true.
It is not.
How did it really happen? Again, the warriors who were there told us where Crazy Horse went. After fighting Reno, Crazy Horse and Flying Hawk went back to the village to drop off some wounded warriors. They immediately went to Medicine Tail Ford, where Short Bull and Pretty White Buffalo saw Crazy Horse crossing the river. He was next located in the area of Calhoun Hill by numerous Indians who fought with him that day, including Foolish Elk, Lone Bear, He Dog, Red Feather and Flying Hawk. White Bull rode from the bluffs where Reno had retreated, directly north on the east side of the river. He approached Calhoun Hill from up Deep Coulee and worked around the hill where he joined Crazy Horse and his men, already fighting. Had Crazy Horse gone on his mythical northern sweep, or done half the deeds ascribed to him, he could not have been fighting near Calhoun Hill in this phase of the battle.
Crazy Horse was very reticent about speaking to white recorders. His spokesman, Horned Horse, said that the soldiers' assault was a surprise. The Indians had no plan of ambush. Crazy Horse believed Custer mistook the women and children stampeding in a northerly direction down the valley for the main body of Indians. The warriors merely divided into two groups, one staying between the noncombatants and Custer and the other circling his rear.
That is all there is to it. Only after the collapse of the Calhoun-Keogh position did Crazy Horse continue north where he may have, finally, confronted the last of Custer's men making their stand on the far knob of the ridge. Or maybe not. Flying Hawk indicated that during the final phase of the battle, Crazy Horse jumped on his pony and chased off after one of the last fleeing troopers. Crazy Horse likely had nothing at all to do with the final fight on Last Stand Hill. He did not make a several mile sweep down the valley and hit Custer near Last Stand Hill from the north, and he did not attack from up Deep Ravine.
Much of this incorrect story stemmed from Gall. Edward Godfrey recorded him as saying, "Crazy Horse went to the extreme north end of the camp." He turned right and went up a very deep ravine and "he came very close to the soldiers on their north side." Remember, however, that the northern end of the camp was at Medicine Tail Coulee, not three miles farther, as many white historians believed, and "north" to most Indians, is "east" to white observers.
Why did we get it so wrong? It developed from a number of factors: different terrain perceptions between Indian and white, white exaggeration of the village size, poor critical examination of the accounts and a reluctance to take the time to re-research the primary sources. An incorrect premise was accepted and perpetuated with each telling, and Crazy Horse's ride has drifted out of the realm of history and into the land of fantasy. 

9. There Was No Last Stand- Of late there have been archaeological studies that have shined new light on some of the mysteries of the battle. One of them, by Richard Fox, has taken the stance that the Custer battle had "no famous last stand," and that the Last Stand is a myth, determined mainly because of artifact clustering patterns and because some men ran toward the river at the end of the fight. Certainly, there was no Last Stand as in the 1941 movie They Died With Their Boots On, but there was a stand.
Good Voiced Elk said, "No stand was made until the soldiers got to the end of the long ridge…."
Flying By rode Battle Ridge to the north where he saw bodies of the soldiers who had been killed all the way along his path. As far as he could see there had been only one stand, and it was made in the place where Custer would be killed, down at the end of the long ridge.
Lone Bear said the fight on Custer Hill was at close quarters, and, "There was a good stand made."
Gall neared the end of the ridge where the last soldiers were making a stand, he said, and, "They were fighting good."
Lights said the stand made at Custer Hill was longer than anywhere else on the field.
Two Eagles said the most stubborn stand by the soldiers was made on Custer Hill.
Red Hawk said the bluecoats were "falling back steadily to Custer Hill where another stand was made," and, "Here the soldiers made a desperate fight."
Iron Hawk saw 20 mounted men and about 30 men on foot on Last Stand Hill. "The Indians pressed and crowded right in around them on Custer Hill," he said. But the soldiers were not yet ready to die. Said Iron Hawk, "They stood here a long time."
He Dog participated in the chase that broke the soldiers' line, and helped drive the fleeing troopers along the ridge. At the far end, Custer's men were putting up a good fight.
Red Hawk said that only after making a desperate fight on Custer Hill did the remaining soldiers retreat downhill.
Flying Hawk said they kept after the fleeing soldiers until they got to where Custer was making a stand on the ridge. There "the living remnant of his command were now surrounded."
Although impressions of the stand's time length and degree of intensity vary among the observers, the fact that it took place cannot be erased. Soldiers defending the northern portion of Custer's field inflicted most of the Indian casualties – the best defense was not made at Calhoun Hill. The time spent in their fight and the results of their shooting are all the evidence we need to show that they defended their ground tenaciously. An interpretation claiming that few government cartridges were found on Custer Hill cannot change this. Although some soldiers ran from Custer's Hill, they did hold their ground and fight from their position as long as they could. The participating warriors called it a Last Stand. Deal with it. 

10. 28 Soldiers Died in Deep Ravine- Recent visitors to the battlefield may have walked down the Deep Ravine Trail to its end and read the interpretive sign. The sign perpetuates another myth: that about 28 soldiers died within the steep-walled gully. It has several quotes from Indians and soldiers who said they saw bodies in the ravine. What are not listed are the statements from eyewitnesses who said that few, if any, bodies were there.
Interpretation should be based on historical and physical evidence whenever possible. Battle relics and bones have been found virtually on every part of the Little Bighorn Battlefield. Where they have not been found is in the trench of the Deep Ravine. When the archaeological record shows no sign of bodies, it ought to be matched with the appropriate historical record – that there were few, if any, bodies in the Deep Ravine. It is incredible that diametrically opposed historical and archaeological interpretations are presented as facts.
Since there is no physical record of soldier bodies in Deep Ravine, the interpretive sign should contain the appropriate historical commentary.
The Oglala warrior He Dog, said, "Only a few soldiers who broke away were killed below toward the river."
Lone Bear said Custer Hill was "the first and only place where the soldiers tried to get away, and only a few from there."
Waterman said, "A few soldiers tried to get away and reach the river, but they were all killed."
Flying By said that "Soldiers were running through [the] Indian lines trying to get away…only four soldiers got into the gully by the river."
Two Moon explained that Custer's men "stayed right out in the open where it was easy to shoot them down. Any ordinary bunch of men would have dropped into a watercourse, or a draw."
Red Hawk tellingly reported, "Some of the soldiers broke through the Indians and ran for the river, but all were killed without getting into it."
Iron Hawk said that at the fight's end, "We looked up and the soldiers all were running….The furthest headstone shows where the second man that I killed lies…probably this was the last of Custer's men to be killed….there was only one soldier sneaking along in the gulch."
Probably the clearest white voice that denies bodies in the Deep Ravine came from eyewitness Lieutenant Charles F. Roe, who was there right after the battle, and whose job it was to return to the field in 1881, rebury the bodies on the ridge and place the stone monument above them. In a letter to Walter Camp in 1911, responding to Camp's persistent, incorrect questions about bodies in the ravine, Roe finally said: "I put up the markers near the deep ravine you speak of. There never was twenty-eight dead men in the ravine, but near the head of said ravine, and only two or three in it."
What can we gather from all this? There were many participants who saw what happened at the Little Bighorn, and we should not discount their stories in favor of speculation from those who did not see the events – neither those who lived in the 19th century nor those who make their livings by writing stories today. It is difficult to debunk the old legends, however. Myths die hard – even when hundreds of eyewitnesses have already told it like it was. "

     Now that we've heard all these myths, we'll need to stop by the battlefield of the Little Bighorn for ourselves just to take it all in. We'll ride through on our iron horses and then continue on to Sturgis. Hopefully we'll make it out with our scalps intact. Stay tuned for the next LRS Myths, Legends and Tales from the Road...