March 15, 2003. A favorable forecast had been holding the entire week, and the Flint Hills were calling us back.

Four of us from the Wichita area rendezvoused in Kechi for the ride to Cassoday. Gregg Armstrong made his first ride with the BT Kansas group, arriving on his well preserved '82 Yamaha XT550. Bill Emond came in on his BMW F650GS, Don Morgan rode his KTM 640, and myself, Roger Baugh on my KLR650 made up the Wichita quartet.

We had an an easy pavement ride to Cassoday. Upon arrival, we found Newton residents Nef Torres waiting with his KLR650 and Todd Hanchett with his Honda XR500. Totally unexpected was a grinning "Mr. Wizard" (Jim Foley) standing alongside a pristine BMW R1100GS. Should we name his new mount "Shadowfax"?

Upon leaving Cassoday, we rode east to Teterville. The dry conditions made the roads dusty, but with stiff winds coming from the southwest, the dust was quickly blown away from the road. We stopped at Teter Rock to enjoy the vistas afforded, then rode north to Texaco Hill. From Texaco Hill, we rode to the east and north eventually ending up at the stone fence line at Elco. We then rode to the northwest through open range to our lunch stop in Cottonwood Falls at the Emma Chase Cafe. We did encounter a herd of yearlings that couldn't decide which side of the road they wanted to be on, criss-crossing in front of us several times before allowing us to pass. Although the rain and snowfall has been below normal in the Flint Hills, we did find ourselves a couple of water crossings which were a nice diversion from the dust.

After lunch, Jim decided to head back to Kansas City, while the rest of us tried a new route back to Matfield Green starting from the west of Cottonwood Falls. With the scenic open range we encountered, it was well worth the exploration. Also, Matfied Green takes on a whole different perspective when seen from the western ridegelines.

Back in Cassoday, we visited with a group of Harley riders intrigued with hearing of our day's journey and learning more about BT Kansas. The Newton-based riders then bid adieu, while the Wichita riders ran to the southwest along the Walnut River valley, crossing a couple of arched stone bridges along the way.

It was a great day ... and lots of great scenery along the way. The Wichita & Newton riders logged about 225 miles of riding .... give Mr. Wizard another 200 miles on top of that!

Looking forward to more rides like this in the weeks and months to come!

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