April 2, 2005 ... The purple and white haze of prairie fire plumes on all horizons.

Mike Blubaugh of Emporia - KLR650 and Eric Rickel of Vassar - KLR650 arrived first at the Cassoday Cafe, followed by Ken Meyer of Goddard - DRZ400, Don Morgan of Wichita - BMW 1150GS, and Roger Baugh of Wichita - KLR650.

The route we decided upon ran clockwise and to the northwest out of Cassoday. The ride included stream crossings, a minimum maintenance road or two tossed in, and it was practically motorist- free the entire day.

The ride area included roads around the Clements, Elmdale, Bazaar and Matfield Green townships ... and all within Chase county. Animals encountered included several dozen wild turkeys, several deer and some small coveys of quail. Most likely, we saw more wildlife than usual due to the firing of the prairie in progress, and the temporary disruption of habitat.

The ride went well, and we covered about sixty to seventy miles of roads within Chase county. With the fires in progress, an ever changing landscape unfolded in front of us and extended for miles to the distant horizon. We never came uncomfortably close to any of the larger fires ... but they were quite visible from our vantage points.

Over two hundred miles in the saddle for those of us out of the Wichita area. Once again, another great day riding the backroads of Kansas!

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