July 19, 2008 - The southern Kansas Flint Hills and Chautauqua Hills. Eight riders made the breakfast rendezvous in Mulvane, KS: Thurman Brittingham - Rose Hill - KLX250S, Glen Krause - Emporia - KLR650, Dan Barth - Miami, OK - KLR650, Dennis Murray - Conway Springs - DR-Z400, Kenneth Meyer - Goddard - DR-Z400, Ken Clifford - Wichita - KLR650, Mike Keithly - Wichita - KLR650, and Roger Baugh - Wichita - KLR650.

From Mulvane, we traveled both on and off tarmac to Rock, Atlanta, and Cambridge, then started our main off tarmac section near the ghost town of Cloverdale. We arrived fifteen minutes later in Cedar Vale, and refueled. Departing Cedar Vale, we rode to the southeast along the Caney River valley, passing by or through the ghost towns of Hewins, Hart's Mill and Elgin. (Kansas is reputed to have close to 5,000 ghost towns) Just before arriving in Elgin, we stopped and walked through the Wilson cemetery.

A short while later we rode into Elgin, a town rich in cattle history. Founded in 1869, the town was reputed to be the largest cattle railhead in the United States between 1890 and 1910. In its' heyday, the town grew to 2,300 inhabitants, five general stores, two livery stables, and nine saloons. When the railroad pulled out in the 1930s, the town withered away, and today claims only around fifty families.

After leaving Elgin, we rode to the northeast and the town of Sedan, where we enjoyed lunch. Following our meal, we stopped once more to refuel, then rode west to the Red Buffalo Ranch. Stopping at the ranch, we dismounted at a trail head and walked a short disance to Butcher Falls, part of the ranch property and open to the public for viewing.

The 'dessert' of the day was not to be. In years past, we would cross the Caney River just east of Cloverdale at a wide, but shallow riverbed crossing. It was always a highlight when riding this area. When we arrived, the crossing was gone, and a new two lane bridge stood in its' place. Darn, we were all looking forward to a cool and wet river crossing! Those days are now gone ....

It was hot, it was dusty at times, and yet it was lush green land and deep blue skies greeting us at practically every turn. Our travels today took-in around 230 miles, and am pleased to report no mishaps, group separations, or mechanical issues. A near-perfect ride by all accounts ... rb

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