June 15, 2006 ... Fourteen riders made this ride in the middle of century mark temperatures. As Kansans agree .... keep moving, the wind will keep you cooler .... as well as replenish the built-in air conditioner with lots of fluids!

Making the ride this day ... Gordon Polston - Herington, KS - KLR650, Russ Smith - Wichita, KS - DR-Z400, Joe Hemmelgarn - Wichita, KS - KLR650, RD Woolsey - Wichita, KS - KLR650, Chris Owens - Garden Plain, KS - KLR650, Larry McGillivary - Manhattan, KS - XR650L, Kevin Spiares - Wichita, KS - KLR650, Brady Allensworth - Wichita, KS - XR650L, Joe Pieratt - Eaton, OH - 650 V-Strom (who rode the distance to join the group), Larry Ostrom - Concordia, KS, Stephen Burden - Haysville, KS - XR650L, Michael Richardson - Wichita, KS - KLR650, and Roger Baugh - Wichita, KS - KLR650.

The day started out at the Cassoday Cafe in Cassoday, KS. An enormous breakfast was on the menu for those who arrived hungry, as most of us were.

Starting out, we rode to the west and north of Cassoday up into the Flint Hills ... arriving at the minimum maintenance Coyne Creek Road ... and some welcome shade. We visited the nearby Clements stone arched bridge, then headed backroads to Elmdale. Turning north, we rode up the Diamond Creek Road into the Diamond Springs area of Morris County. Of course, there are some great minimum maintenance roads to be found there, and we sampled a few miles of them for "effect".

Running east, then south out of Diamond Springs along the Prairie Tallgrass National Preserve, we encountered our first mishap. A steer escaped a pasture and was waiting in ambush in a ditch behind a tree on the lee side of a hill. The ride leader narrowly missed contact, the following rider was caught unawares and lost control of his machine trying to avoid impact. The gravel road crash resulted in a good amount of scrapes to both man and machine. The steer escaped unscathed. Shortly afterwards, another rider fell victim to a section of mud. Fortunately, his speed was much lower, and damage was minimal to both rider and bike.

We pressed on to Cottonwood Falls, then south into open range land. We rode to the ghost town of Elco and "Stone Henge", then further south on to a large open range ranch about ten miles east of Matfield Green. It was here that a third mishap occured as the result of a moment of horseplay. A rider lost control of his bike at a water crossing, striking another dismounted rider at high speed. Body armor and helmet saved the pedestrian from far more serious injury, with the result being one chest protector destroyed and some bruises.

From there, the decision was made to continue east along Madison Road to arrive at Texaco Hill, then make our way to the overlook at Teter Rock. With the day running late, we decided to return to Cassoday, then make our ways home. Total mileage for the day approached 300 miles for those who rode to and from the event.

Sadly .... the beauty and enjoyment of this ride was marred with mishaps ... two unavoidable, one avoidable. Lessons learned .... body armor protected one individual from serious injury, lack of armor resulted in more extensive injuries to another .... and one moment of horseplay placed other members of the group in extreme danger. Lessons soon not to be forgotten, it is hoped.

... rb

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