On Saturday, March 15, 2003, a total of 10 riders met from various parts of Northeast and North Central Kansas, at Shirley’s Restaurant, in Overbrook, for what proved to be a gorgeous day to ride!

Phillip and Cathy Cosby were among a few of the first time folks, traveling from Abilene, to make the ride. Cathy on her BMW F650GS, and Phillip on his KLR650, did a great job of riding with the group on what was their “maiden voyage” on gravel. Two other new comers to the group were Mike Bender, piloting his KTM 640 Adventurer, from Ottawa, and Ray Cole, aboard another BMW F650GS, from Emporia. Thanks to Mike for showing us that I’m not the only one who enjoys riding solely on the back tire! Group riders present were, David Hemphill, Richard Mason, Jim Doyle, Dave Hodges, and myself, Joe Blanchard. Dennis Gowing stopped by to say “hi” aboard a BMW, but departed for other obligations.

From Overbrook we headed southwest towards Pomona Lake, touring the northeast portion and crossing the dam, then on towards Lyndon, making our way further southwest, and on to Melvern Lake, where we entered the state park and took some pictures and a restroom break. After crossing the Melvern dam we headed due south and encountered a “minimum maintenance” road, at which time Dave Hodges, David Hemphill, Mike Bailey, Richard Mason, and Jim Doyle (J.D.) went on the attack to see just how low maintenance it was.

From what information I could gather, the KTM “water dogs” were assigned the task of finding out the depth of the water crossings. All had signs of their accomplishments and a few were wet fairly far up the thigh. I took the remaining group on a more “civilized” route and met up with our counterparts a mile south. We all decided it was time for some lunch and dined at the Wendy’s in Beto Junction.

After lunch, Phillip and Cathy departed for Abilene, with the promise of joining us on upcoming rides. I’m sure they had fun. The rest of the group continued on south towards New Strawn and the off-road riding area, after crossing yet another dam at John Redmond Reservoir. Although the riding area was fairly thick with mud, it didn’t deter most of the group from collecting some samples of the dark stuff, to include Richard and Ray, doing their part to scrap as much mud as possible from a few of the turns, making it safer for the rest of us!

After a break and some photos, Ray headed home to Emporia and it was decided by the remaining group to head northeast to Williamsburg, to dine at Mae and Guy’s barbecue joint. Great food and more “fellowship” was had there, and J.D., Richard, and myself parted ways with David, Mike, and Dave, all heading home. Thanks to J.D. for showing Richard and I some really low maintenance “stuff”, in the Michigan Valley area, as we ventured northwest. The three of us took another break near J.D.’s acreage, to compare mud accumulations, and as the sun was setting, Richard and I headed north towards home.

A great day for an enjoyable, and at times, challenging ride!

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