March 18, 2007 ... There's just a hint of green grass starting to appear, so it will soon be time for the prairie to be fired. To catch the last colors of winter before the prairie is blackened, then turns to emerald green ... a small group of us ventured out into the central Flint Hills.

The threesome this day: Britt Lolley, Wichita - KTM 400 SXC, Doug Bump, Wichita - DR650, and Roger Baugh, Wichita - KLX250.

The weatherman lied. We were supposed to have mid forty degree temperatures at dawn. It was thirty-six degrees! Fortunately, we were prepared, and arrived in Cassoday chilled, but not frozen!

Our route took us from Cassoday south toward the 777 ranch. The wild mustangs were everwhere once we were in open range country. We counted dozens of herds, some with less than a dozen head, to one or two numbering over a hundred equines. It was breathtaking.

We made a quick stop at Teter Rock, them headed north to Texaco Hill. From Texaco Hill, we continued north to "Stonehenge" near Elco, then continued on north to Cottonwood Falls and a great lunch at the Emma Chase Cafe.

After lunch, we rode south along the Den Creek road, then jumped over to Bazaar and followed the Sharpes Creek road and then rode west to Matfield Green. On open rangeland, we encountered hundreds of yearling cattle scattered in small herds. Unlike the mustangs ... cattle have to be confronted at close range before they'll yield the roadbed! Doug led us back to the Newton area entirely off tarmac, and it was a very scenic route he chose.

We created plenty of dust plumes, but at least we didn't have to string-out much, thanks to a constant and stiff southern wind.

Another great day to be out in the Flint Hills!

On a sidenote, the KLX250S makes a good Flint Hills dualsport mount, traveling over 263 miles today and handling the varied road conditions and strong crosswinds quite admirably. ... rb

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