August 11, 2005

Start: Bozeman, Montana
End: Sheridan, Wyoming
Miles traveled: 284

Route taken: Interstate 90 through the
Bozeman Pass and Crow Indian Reservation exit at Sheridan

        When I awoke I had every intention of driving the 470 miles to Sturgis to meet some of the guys in the motorcycle group I belong to.

        They were going to be at the Broken Spoke Saloon in Sturgis, drinking away and I was all too ready for a night of adult beverage consumption and making a fool of myself.

        The group I belong to is the Orange County Assholes and I apologize if that offends anyone, but I am not a big fan of political correctness.

Some of the OC Assholes, whose nicknames include Crazy, Butthead, Fang, and Big Dog.   

    On the surface they look like boozing, carousing misfits. Ok, we are that, but we also raise money and provide gifts for the Fred Jordan Mission in downtown
Los Angeles that donate them to kids on Skid Row during the holidays.

        My belief is that being PC is basically censoring yourself and we have taken sensitivity to a level of McCarthyism.

        Consider what was in the news a couple of days ago. A talk show host in San Francisco was critical of the San Francisco Giants and their manager, Felipe Alou.

        The host said the Giants had to many “brain-dead Caribbean hitters hacking at slop nightly and that Alou’s “mind had turned to Cream of Wheat.”

        The first statement is wrong and the host should have been disciplined for that, but some people were saying the second statement was racially insensitive because the old pictures on the box of Cream of Wheat were of black people.

        That logic is hard to follow and is a bigger stretch than a yoga class maneuver.

        Anyone who knows me, knows I am not prejudiced, but I do openly discriminate against one segment of the human race – stupid people. I have no time for them, they take up oxygen I could be using and they get as many votes as I do. There is no excuse for stupidity, it can be overcome, most people just choose not to.

        The reason I am ranting about this is I was riding through an Indian reservation and knew I was going to write about it. The debate I had with Libertad was do I go with the politically correct term of Native American or do I write Indian.

        I choose Indian. I’m not calling myself German, French, and Irish American. I’ve met a lot of bigots who use the term African American.

Once you get through the Bozeman Pass of Interstate 90 it is a fairly boring ride so my mind wandered to other topics and this was one of them. Maybe it is cyclical. I keep thinking this is a period Americans find themselves in and at some point the pendulum will swing back.

It saddens me we don’t allow ourselves to use the brain we were given and just let society tell us what is correct and not correct.

But I had more pressing concerns in the middle of this thought. I was running late and had to make up time if I was going to get to Sturgis at a reasonable hour. I was riding hard and the bike was laboring along, not enjoying the stress I was putting it through.

My own anxiety was causing me to push harder than I normally would. I was also worried about the storms in the area.

I am trying to get Libertad to 80 mph, but she’ll have none of it. She seems to be straining to get to 75 and I can’t figure out why. All I know is I needed to get to Sturgis.

Then something in me clicked. If I get there, I get there, but I am not going to try and force it.

I had skipped breakfast and was going to get something to eat at a gas station when I next filled up and decided against it.

Instead I pulled the motorcycle off the interstate and found a diner. I bought a newspaper and enjoyed lunch.

It was then I realized what was wrong with Libertad. I had put synthetic oil in the motorcycle and there is always a little seepage when you make the conversion. It needs to adjust and because it is thinner, tends to need a little time to work into the gaskets. The tendency for it to burn a little in the beginning is also there.

In Billings there was a Harley dealership and I put some more synthetic oil in and she bolted from the parking lot.

But now I wasn’t in a hurry to get there. I saw the clouds were threatening and decided I wasn’t going to kill myself trying to get there.

Instead Libertad and I had a leisurely ride down the interstate.

One of the places we stopped at was just before the border at Wyoming at the Little Bighorn Casino in Crow Agency, Montana.

Indian Casinos are not like the monstrosities we have in California, with full gaming tables, showrooms and big hotels connected to them.

These are small one room, one-story buildings that have only video poker or keno machines.

The entrance to the casino has a loud speaker playing Indian war chants. The parking lot is drab and the inside even bleaker.

The casino was built to help those who live on the reservation, but it appears the only people that visit the casino are Indians. Out of the 36 people gambling, 30 of them were Indians.

It made me think of lotteries. The very people it is supposed to help are the people who are playing. So it basically comes down to a tax on poor people.

When I left the casino the clouds were turning ugly and rain was inevitable. The last 40 miles I was surrounded by lightening and moderate rain. I got the first hotel that I could find in Sheridan and called a day.