Sturgis Motorcycle Rally 2015

Here it is another year gone by and it’s time again for the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota. But the real thrill to going to Sturgis this year 2015 is that it is the 75th anniversary and it also has the potential to be one of the greatest and hands down the largest gathering of motorcycles of all time. A rally on steroids!

But the rally itself is only one of the reasons to go. Grant it that the people watching rivals any venue or thriving metropolis in the world, but then there are also the roads. Yes roads and incredible roads they are. Roads like The Needles Highway, Iron Mountain Road, The Wildlife Loop, Vanocker Canyon Road, Spearfish Canyon Road and Nemo Road to name more than a few that if you don’t twist your throttle on them, you will miss the best riding of your life.

The other advantage of getting on these roads is that they lead to amazing destinations. Mount Rushmore, Custer State Park, The Badlands, Crazy Horse Memorial, Bear Butte State Park and Devil’s Tower National Monument which is a short drive over the Wyoming State Line. Each of these destinations comes rich in history, animal life, and amazing stories that, if you’ve never been out west, will leave you wondering, WTF, where have I been my whole life?

Once you park the bike for the day, the evenings will make you feel like a kid in a candy store. You will discover great concert events, together with plenty of food, fun and motorcycle activities and of course, Vitamin A (alcohol). While you are in Sturgis, you will discover plenty to amuse you with all of the places to hang out. Places like The Full Throttle Saloon, EasyRiders Saloon, One Eyed Jacks to name a few.

But also beware that there are regulations to follow due to the large volume of people that attend. You need to be ready for this and just know that there are fines for fighting, public intoxication, indecent exposure, disorderly conduct and careless driving. Personal injury attorneys warn that the consequences of careless driving can be unpredictable, so both drivers and videos should be extremely careful. Check out to learn about legal consequences of careless driving. With regards to drugs there is a zero tolerance law, and you are going to be arrested and prosecuted, no matter the drug or how much.

The other comment I would make about riding in Sturgis and the surrounding area is that you should leave the alcohol consumption to the evening hours and only after you park your ride. All the great roads have more than abundant amount of curves and twisties. If you’ve never ridden them, you will find them exhilarating and some say, better than sex. But after a few drinks, you may find yourself overly confident and possibly in a ditch or a wheat field from taking that curve a little too hot. Ride safely and responsibly and you will save yourself from a visit to the hospital and your bike from a visit to the body shop.

Here are a few tips from experienced riders on riding in general and you can apply them getting to and being in Sturgis. These are not to insult anyone’s riding ability, just a reminder. There will be all levels or riders around you with many of them young and inexperienced. BE CAREFUL!!!


  • Ride with people who know how to ride and that you trust
  • Be seen
  • Wear the right gloves
  • Never ride tired (or hung over)
  • Keep at least a two second space between you and the bike in front
  • Feather your clutch on slow, tight turns
  • Into a curve, use the outside, inside, outside path of travel
  • Leave room for an escape route
  • Always look where you want to go
  • Ride your own ride but be considerate and follow the speed limit
  • Stay away from semi trucks

When you are in the “zone” you need to remember safety first and that will insure you coming back in one piece with great memories and pictures of the 75th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.

Northbrook provides hero’s welcome home

Northbrook provides hero’s welcome for returning soldier

BY PAT KROCHMAL | June 23, 2013 11:30PM

Story Image
Major Christopher Hillman, left, receives a special welcome home from Northbrook police officer Chip Hulne, upon his arrival at his home in Northbrook Friday evening 6-21-13. | Kevin Tanaka for~Sun-Times Media.
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Article Extras

Updated: June 28, 2013 1:17PM

NORTHBROOK — Amid blaring sirens, honking horns and flashing squad car lights, Major Christopher Hillman returned Friday from Afghanistan to his Northbrook home.

Warriors’ Watch members and Northbrook police provided the hero’s escort, which was only magnified by neighbors who greeted him with American flags, yellow-ribboned trees and applause.

“This is outstanding! I couldn’t ask for more. After being away for a year from my family, friends and community, you want to know people remember what you’ve been doing. It’s been a tough year,” Hillman said.

“And it’s awesome to have a wife who can arrange all this with less than a day’s notice.”

Kristine, Christopher’s wife, had only hours to pull it off, but she totally surprised her husband from the time he stepped off the plane at O’Hare International Airport to the time he was chauffeured to their home on the 1900 block of Milton Avenue.

When Christopher arrived, he was saluted by members of the Chicago Fire Department. Then, in typical VIP fashion, he was whisked past the airport’s endless lines instead of waiting in them, Kristine said.

And when Kristine and their children – Jake, 8; Ryan, 6; Amy, 5; and Colin, 2 1/2 – drove Christopher to Northbrook, Kristine said she had to stop for diapers and pulled their SUV into the a shopping center parking lot at Phingsten and Willow Roads.

There Christopher found several members of the Warriors’ Watch Riders and Northbrook police waiting to accompany him on the last leg of his journey.

Christopher warmly embraced each of the Warriors, and they hugged him back, not one having to say a word.

The Warriors may not have met Christopher before, but they knew everything they had to know to be there.

Christopher was born in Chicago and grew up in the

Rogers Park neighborhood. After attending Notre Dame High School for Boys in Niles, he graduated from Loyola University in 1995, then enlisted.

He served as a non-commissioned officer until 1999 when he went to officer candidate school. He served briefly in Iraq in 2003, then left the Army to begin a career.

Four year ago, while working for Grainger, he joined the Reserves. And on June 7 of last year, he was sent to Afghanistan, where he earned the Bronze Star – the fifth highest combat decoration – awarded for acts of heroism, acts of merit or meritorious service in a combat zone.

Mark Grothe of Rolling Meadows, a founding member of the Road Warriors, said he was part of Hillman’s welcoming committee because it was important for the American people to recognize and honor the military after they’ve fought to maintain the country’s freedom.

U.S. Navy Lt. Commander Steve Michaels of Hoffman Estates, another Road Warrior, noted that a proper welcome is what every returning military man deserves.

“These guys need to know they are appreciated. That’s why we are here,” said Dennis Pignatari, who lives in Gurnee.

Steve Mosias, president of EMS ROADDOCS of Illinois, noted that it’s just the right thing to do. Nancy Wells of Lake Villa, a retired member of the army, said she didn’t want a member of the military coming home again to be disrespected.

“Never again will an American warrior be scorned or ignored,” said Matt Wodzinski of Lake Bluff. “It’s Americans helping Americans. For some of us who haven’t served, it’s our way of giving back.”

They were all pleased when the entourage pulled up in front of the Hillman home, which was decorated with a large, welcoming banner.

Neighbors came from everywhere recording Christopher’s arrival on their cell phones.

Kristine, a seventh and eighth grade math and science teacher at East Prairie Elementary School in Skokie, especially thanked her parents, Bernadette and Carl Carlson of Northbrook, and everyone else who helped her while Christopher was gone.

“Thank you, Northbrook!” she called out as the crowd began leaving quietly. “I’m looking forward to a whole month just being with my family.”

Guide to Protective Gear

Guide to Protective Gear

Passenger Tip Sheet

Quick Tips

Legal Considerations

1. All state laws and requirements for carrying a passenger must be followed.
2. Some states have specific equipment requirements.  Examples: the motorcycle must have passenger footrests, passengers must be able to reach the footrests, and a motorcycle must have a separate seating area for a passenger.
3. The decision to carry a child, assuming all safety and legal factors have been considered, is left to the parent or guardian.  Ensure that the child is mature enough to handle the responsibilities, tall enough to reach the footrests, wears a properly fitted helmet and other protective gear, and holds onto you or the passenger hand-holds.  Check your state’s laws; a few states have set minimum ages for motorcycle passengers.
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MSF’s Guide to Group Riding

MSF’s Guide to Group Riding

Quick Tips

Motorcycling is primarily a solo activity, but for many, riding as a group — whether with friends on a Sunday morning ride or with an organized motorcycle rally — is the epitome of the motorcycling experience.  Here are some tips to help ensure a fun and safe group ride:

Arrive prepared.  Arrive on time with a full gas tank.

Hold a riders’ meeting.  Discuss things like the route, rest and fuel stops, and hand signals (see diagram below).  Assign a lead and sweep (tail) rider.  Both should be experienced riders who are well-versed in group riding procedures.  The leader should assess everyone’s riding skills and the group’s riding style.

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Alcohol Awareness

Alcohol Awareness

QUICK TIPS:  The Importance of Riding Unimpaired by Alcohol or Other Drugs

Theory:  Alcohol And Motorcycles Are Incompatible

• At a BAC* of 0.01 to 0.04%, judgment begins to lessen, the drinker is less critical of their own actions, reaction time is slowed, and indications of mental relaxation may appear.
• At a BAC of 0.05 to 0.07%, judgment is not sound, thinking and reasoning powers are not clear, and the ability to perform complex skills is lessened.
• At a BAC of 0.08% or above, judgment and reasoning powers are severely hampered, and the individual cannot complete common simple tasks without error.

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