Four long days later I have arrived at Port Clinton, Ohio. Has it been that long? Yes, my tired and stiff body is telling me so. I will admit though, I was pleased with driving my Challenger (RIFLGAL) cross country. I had no issues what so ever. My dummy engine light came on somewhere in Montana the second morning. I located a Dodge dealer on my gps and they could not find anything wrong with it. He thought perhaps bad gasoline. I made sure to tighten the gas cap again and ran the tank to empty before I filled it up again. It was fine after that. And looking back at my receipts I only spent around $200 in gas. Is that possible? My first night I made it to Butte, MT and barely found a hotel room. Apparently it is a busy city for travelers to stop and sleep during the summer. Tuesday night I made sure to push my drive all the way to Sturgis, SD.
This year is the 75th anniversary of the Sturgis Rally. I drove through there last year the week prior to the rally and the town was pretty empty. This time it was as busy as the normal rally week. I was told they were expecting over one million bikers between this week and next. Crazy! I just wanted to get a tee shirt and get out. It turns out a friend of mine that owns LakOrr Munitions lives in Rapid City very close to Sturgis. He is going to load my 6.5 Creedmoor ammo for my new precision rifle load. (I will explain that story of changing calibers some other time) I did not know his other job was as a police officer for that area. I met him and his work partner in one of the parking lots in town. They took me to a private party/barbeque for the local police and the outside forces that were brought in for the mayhem of the next week. I enjoyed meeting the guys, and one police gal. It seemed though that all the cops were at the party. People came and went in shifts. Their radios so far were fairly quiet. But soon they were getting activity and the dinner started to dismantle. I did not envy any of those cops. The next week is going to be hell. Tons of hours of high alert. Once I left the party I drove downtown to the city controlled liquor store (smart on the cities’ part) and bought a commemorative bottle of Gentleman Jack with the 75th logo on it. They threw in a glass coke bottle with the logo as well. I am getting a pretty cool collection of collector bottles of Whiskey and Bourbon. That night I stayed at The Lodge at Deadwood up the mountain about 10 minutes.
The Lodge had a nice sports bar/restaurant and I made myself comfortable for dinner. A man came up and asked about my car license plate he had seen earlier in the parking lot. I explained my story and about the road trip. He was super nice and brought over more of his buddies and wife. Talk about a small world. It turns out he is from Chicago and knows Joe Lucania the owner of Devil Dog Arms which is one of my sponsors. Then it turns out this man is Jim Thornton, Robo. You know, from Da Bears! I felt bad for not knowing who he was. He did not seem to mind. The Seahawks were not really much of an item back in the early 90’s so I did not follow football that closely. But this group took me under their wing and asked me to hang out with them that evening. They were at Sturgis only for the prior week festivities. They do not want to be in the craziness of next week. My third night I crashed in Des Moines, IA.
I did meet some people at the hotel restaurant again but briefly. These people were Mercedes dealers and they had a new S550 out front that I had to sit in. So I did. It was almost too much. It was like a party limousine. It had the blue lighted trim details inside, computer screens in the back, quilted leather seats and on and on. But it was pretty fabulous. You too can own one for only $130K! Today the last day of travel was the most difficult. The hours seemed to drag on. Crossing the state line from IL to IN was a nightmare. The toll booths caused crazy traffic and then their roads in IN are horrible. Crossing the state was a bumpy mess. I was thankful to cross in to Ohio finally. That final stretch took forever but a couple of iced coffees and I was good to go. I finally pulled in to the team hotel around 7pm. I grabbed a six pack of Stella across the street and met with our team adjutant Bob Mead and his wife Patty to pick up my US Team shirts, jackets, brassards, and swag. Pretty exciting! I love the jackets. There is a huge USA in red on the back. We have USA Palma pins to give away to the visiting teams as well. I helped design these and get them ordered just in time!
Many of the rest of the team members will arrive tomorrow if they were not already here this week competing in Nationals. All of my Washington buddies fly in tomorrow. Now that I am here I can say that I drove their ammo out here for them. My car will be much happier on the drive home when all of those cases are empty. 5 people times 800 rounds each. That is a heavy load in my car! The one big story of Worlds is that the South African team never got their ammo shipped out of SA. The paper work was not done correctly or something. The US Team members rallied and if they were driving out here brought extra loading equipment. We also helped them order tons of components. Thank goodness enough was found. I’d like to give a big shout out to Redding which sent over night quite a bit of stuff for them. So they have been frantically loading 20,000 rounds of ammo this week here. So much for sightseeing for them. I also heard that New Zealand’s bullets did not make it. There were some big last minute sales of components in the last two weeks of US companies!
Stay tuned for more excitement here at Camp Perry. I will let you know are schedule of matches for the next two weeks tomorrow. I will now settle in and get some sleep. And if I can help it, I am staying out of my car for at least a day.