Southwest of Cottonwood Falls, Chase county, KS
June 14 and 15 marked our extended weekend ride. Based out of Country Dreams Bed & Breakfast in Marion county, we started things off Saturday morning at the Emma Chase Cafe in Cottonwood Falls.

Making cameo appearances, but not riding the trails were Greg Mitchell of Emporia, riding his Honda TransAlp, Joe Blanchard of Carbondale rode his KLR650, and Bob Lee of Wichita rode his very nice 1975 GoldWing. We enjoyed their company at the breakfast table, where we were thoroughly entertained with tales from Sue Smith, owner of the restaurant. The off-highway group consisted of Rick Schoeck riding a KTM 640 LC4 out of Emporia, Tim North rode in from Emporia on his Yamaha 250 TTR, and Dennis Murray of Conway Springs rode his KLR650. Todd Shumaker of Netawka rode his DR650, and Roger Baugh of Wichita rode his KLR650.

We rode to the southeastern corner of Chase county through the incredible profusion of wildflowers found this season. From lupines, to hairy vetch, penstemmon, coneflowers, gayfeather, primrose, sedum, and butterfly milkweed .... the hills are as colorful as ever remembered. To get a better description of the wildflowers we saw, click here.

Wildlife was also in abundance. In addition to riding open range with cattle herds, we had a small deer and jackrabbits run alongside us, a wild turkey flew close by the lead rider, we disturbed several vultures having road kill banquets, observed several herds of wild horses from a lookout at Teter Rock, surprised a horned toad basking in the sun, saw a large heron feed at a lake, and watched dung beetles cleaning up the prairie. Don't let the solitude of the photos give you the wrong impression .... it is very much alive out there!

We entered Greenwood county near Teterville ... and the beginning of a frustrating afternoon for Tim. A large nail had pentrated his rear tire. After dismounting the wheel and patching, we discovered additional punctures. Pulled the wheel and patched again, and he made about thirteen miles to Cassoday before the tire failed once more. This time, we replaced the tube with a spare. Although we inspected the carcass for any additional objects, Tim only made a quarter mile before he was again flat. Out of patches, tubes, and options, Tim elected to call for transport to get his bike home. We did become a very efficient wheel change crew Saturday afternoon!

Todd, Dennis, and Roger stayed over Saturday night at Country Dreams ... along with Todd's wife Sharon, and Dennis's wife Carolyn. We had a great dinner that evening, thanks to our hosts Kent & Alice Richmond. The two couples went fishing on the scenic lake, and caught quite a few before night fall.

Sunday saw a new group of riders join the three ... Clay Bastian of Wichita rode in on his BMW R100 GS, David Hemphill of Lawrence rode the distance on his DR650, and Tim Edwards and Ken Waters of Topeka brought their KLR650s. We had an incredibly scenic ride, making a run first to Clements, then south to a minimum maintenance road that took us through a riparian forest area before climbing back into the hills. We eventually turned north and entered Cottonwood Falls from the southwest. Once again, a great meal was served by Sue at the Emma Chase, and then we proceeded north along the Diamond Springs road.

At Diamond Springs, we took another minimum maintenance road west that could best be termed "The Trail of Tears" for the number of BT Kansas riders it has claimed. Gently rolling, this innocuous looking six mile stretch offers amazing vistas, and plenty of hidden mud traps and ruts. Two of our group ended up with muddier than normal machines, having been claimed by the trail. With no further incidents, we made our way back to Country Dreams to end the day.

It was another colorful and picturesque two days of riding. The company was great, the food was superb, and the scenery was at times breathtaking.

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