Pounding the pavement works

Writers are not salespersons by nature. But sometimes, you have to force yourself out of your cocoon and make some calls. That’s what I did in early May, a two-day whirlwind tour of the Black Hills, where I called on motorcycle dealers in the area and presented them with copies of Ride the Black Hills.

Persistence does pay off, even if you feel weird about pushing yourself on others. As a result of my little jaunt, Ride the Black Hills is now available at J&L Harley Davidson in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and Indian Motorcycle Sturgis.

So, if you’re heading toward the big Sturgis rally along I-90, or are already in Sturgis and wondering where in the heck the good routes are, stop in at one of these places and pick up a copy of Ride the Black Hills! And tell them I said, “Hi!”


Weather warning for the Black Hills

snow accum
That’s snow accumulating along the side of the road in Spearfish Canyon — in May.

A half-inch of wet, slushy snow fell on Minneapolis last night. It followed a warm, almost-70s weekend. It reminded me of our trip to the Black Hills last May. More specifically, it reminded me of our hellish ride through Spearfish Canyon, in the snow. (You can read more about it in my book, Ride the Black Hills.)

The weather pattern was similar, with a freakishly warm week followed by a return to late winter/early spring. It was an excellent example how quickly weather in the Black Hills can change, not only as you move up or down in elevation, but from one minute to the next. And how the “shoulder seasons” of spring and fall can fool you with the promise of summer.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit the Paha Sapa during those seasons. But you should be prepared with base layers, windproof outer layers and rain gear. It’s not unusual for a thunderstorm — or even a tornado — to spring up out of nowhere, according to the South Dakota Department of Tourism. Summer mornings in the mountains can be chilly.

If you’re planning to ride the Black Hills this summer, be prepared for what Mother Nature can throw at you. Stay safe!



Motorcycle Show Season Ahead

It won’t be long now. Even though the current temperature is -3 degrees, the motorcycle show season is starting to heat up.  The International Motorcycle Show will be held February 3, 4, 5 at the Minneapolis Convention Center. It will be fun to sniff out the new motorcycles and gear, especially if the weather is this cold! I won’t exhibit, but I will hand out business cards for Ride the Black Hills.

I’ve just sent in my registration for the Rosemount Writers Festival and Book Fair on March 18. Although it’s not a motorcycle show, I’ll be selling copies of Ride the Black Hills, Ride Minnesota and Ride Lake Superior. It’s the first time the Rosemount has held a “celebration of the literary arts”, so I hope it’s successful.

I’ve also registered for the 30th annual Donnie Smith Bike and Car Show at St. Paul RiverCentre. The big custom bike show will be held March 25-26. I’ll be sharing booth space with Pat Shanahan, who runs Iron Horse Outfitters and Inn in Lanesboro, Minnesota. Pat’s a great guy, the Iron Horse was designed with bikers in mind, and Lanesboro is a great destination for motorcycle enthusiasts, with lots of hilly, twisty roads in the area.

I do love getting out and talking with bikers. It’s going to be fun!