Become a Member: Get Ad-Free Access to 3,000+ Reviews, Guides, & More

Easy Rider moment in the Badlands

Easy rider in the badlands

Riding through America constantly feels like you are passing through a Hollywood movie set. Today’s movie moment was Easy Rider.
On the way from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to Minneapolis to drop off the Victory Cross Country Tour at the company’s HQ, we rode through the South Dakota Badlands.
It’s a national park and entry for a motorcycle is just $10. It’s the best $10 I’ve spent in a long time.Easy rider in the badlands
For the next 50km, we were entertained by stunning canyon views with spectacular rock formations and “painted desert” backdrops.
Just when you think it’s finished, you drop down into another canyon, or round the corner to be presented with another stunning view. Many of the riders heading east from the rally took the welcome detour off Interstate 90 to get their own magic movie moments.
Easy rider in the badlandsWhile most tourists are probably reminded by the scenery of old cowboy movies, to me it rekindled one of the riding scenes from Easy Rider. That was actually in the Painted Desert in Arizona, but this looks very similar and as I settled into the deep saddle and the pounding rhythm of the big Victory Freedom 106 V-twin I was transported back to 1969.
Too soon it was over and we were snapped back into mundane reality on Interstate 90 which is a soul-destroying stretch for hundreds of miles with almost no turns, strong and gusty sidewinds off the prairies and few points of interest.Easy rider in the badlands
The only tourist attractions are again related to movies or TV shows, such as Dances With Wolves, Little House on the Prairie and American Pickers. We stopped, snapped shots, but weren’t particularly enthused. Our stops were more to break the monotony of the highway.
We don’t know that we could have handled it any better than on the big, comfortable Victory. But even it had its moments when we were battered around by crosswinds and sudden storms that brew on the prairies, plus the turbulence from the many pick-ups and trailers ferrying their bikes home from the rally.