July 28, 2007 ... Dawn doesn't come early enough when the day includes a ride into the southern Flint Hills!

Our early morning main rendezvous point was the Beaumont Hotel in Beaumont, Kansas. In addition to the hotel and 1880s steam locomotive era wooden water tower, Beaumont is a special place to aviators world-wide.

Making today's gathering .... Richard Sobba - Towanda - DR650, Britt Lolley - Wichita - DL650, Doug Bump - Wichita - DR650, Russ Smith - Wichita - DR-Z400, and Roger Baugh - Wichita - KLX250S. The ride in to Beaumont was cool and comfortable, but by the end of breakfast, heat and humidity had set in with a vengeance. With little wind today, dust clouds were our constant companions.

The first photo was taken in south Augusta of the first trading post established there in 1868. As you can see from the shots at Beaumont, there were pilots coming and going. Doug, a fellow pilot, was busy gathering stories!

Leaving Beaumont, we rode through the wind farm just south of town, then turned east and found some highly scenic and seldom used roads in Elk county. It was along this leg that the ride leader encountered a flock of wild turkeys and a magnificent looking and fully antlered buck (forgot to count how many points) white tail deer on the road. At our modest pace, there was plenty of reaction time for both sets of wildlife. We then turned south and rode open range. Taking a shade break, we enjoyed watching a small brown bat make multiple passes above us. We then pushed on to the small town of Grenola. The former 1800s bank has become the town's cafe, and our group of dualsporters enjoyed their visceral embellishments ... primarily iced tea and pie ..... and it was heaven!

The ride leader (me) was without a handlebar GPS mount and map holding tank bag, so there were some interesting route miscues after leaving Grenola, but we eventually found our water crossing point over the Caney River. We continued riding to the northwest to arrive in Cambridge, then rode on to Burden for fuel.

We then turned east and south, paralleling Grouse Creek on a scenic gravel road, with Dexter being our destination. Doug led us south out of Dexter along the Grouse Creek Road, a superb ten mile tarmac section loaded with scenery and lots of sweeping curves. We then hooked back up to Hackney Road, and rode into Winfield. Underneath a shade tree in north Winfield, we told tales, recounted the day, then split up to make our ways home.

I returned to Wichita with 236 miles added to the KLX odometer today .... and it felt good! ... rb

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