Spearfish Canyon

Sturgis Characters

I’ve said it a hundred times, the best thing about traveling isn’t the things you see, it’s the people you meet while you’re looking for all those things. Anyone who doubts the veracity of what I say need only go to Sturgis in August.

When it comes to the interesting folks I met this year, Kevin Bean’re would have to rate at the top. I met Kevin at Cincinnati this year, but it wasn’t until Sturgis that I had a chance to really get to know him.

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s really like to chuck the whole deal, the house payments, the car, the job and all the rest, just check with Bean’re. When I asked if he had a permanent address, he explained: “I have a post office box in Tennessee, before that I lived in Miami and before that I lived in the Virgin Islands for awhile. A real residence is just a base, a place for my stuff. But due to economy I have no stuff so I don’t need a base.”

Underneath the wild and crazy exterior is a very thoughtful and talented man. Clean and Sober for twenty-two years, Bean’re is a skilled carpenter. When funds get short he finds a job, often building and designing additions to some very nice houses. Once his part of the project is over, Kevin collects his money and hits the road again. The frequent travel gives Bean’re an opportunity to visit rallies like Sturgis, where this year he found a semi tractor with an empty sleeper compartment – his housing for the week.

We ended our little impromptu interview with a discussion of freedom and what it really means. Bean’re bought up Jack Nicholson’s little epistle on freedom from the movie Easy Rider, “they’re not afraid of you, they’re afraid of what you represent…..” (you can find the movie clip by plugging “Jack Nicholson, Easy Rider, freedom” into Google.)

Kevin Bean’re: biker, carpenter and traveler extraordinaire.

Colleen Swartz
Colleen is another free spirit, one with a bit of a split personality. When home in Milwaukee she spends her time photographing models, often in pin-up attire. But when it comes time for Sturgis or Daytona, she leaves the studio behind and packs her cameras in the RV. This year she spent much of her time at the Broken Spoke campground as the official photographer.

I convinced Colleen to sit on the back of my Bagger for a few hours one morning so we could take some in-the-wind pics. First we did a loop through Main Street, followed by a freeway run to Spearfish, and a ride down Spearfish Canyon as far as Bridal Veil Falls.

Colleen on her mighty Honda ready to tear up the track at Sturgis Dragway.

The photos from that morning are spectacular, and my own photos from the week in Sturgis aren’t bad either. The joy of the trip, however was meeting Colleen and Bean’re and Scooter’s brother Buck and the cute bar maid from the Firehouse and a dozen more.

I’m thinking the road to heaven must look a lot like the road through Spearfish Canyon, thanks Colleen.