August 19, 2006 ... Forecasts called for severe thunderstorms the entire day ... but south-central Kansas ended up being denied the anticipated precipitation. So ..... seventeen riders ventured into the southern Flint Hills and Chautauqua Hills of Cowley, Elk, and Chautauqua counties.

Making the ride this day ... Tony Adams - Udall, KS - Triumph Tiger, Cody Adams - Udall, KS - KLR650, Branden Faust - Haysville, KS - KLR650, Kenneth Meyer - Goddard, KS - DR-Z400, Steve Starkel - Bel Aire, KS - Husky TE610, Randy Snyder - Belle Plain, KS - KLR650, Bruce Knudtson - Derby, KS - KLR650, John Beckman - Derby, KS - KLR650, RD Woolsey - Derby, KS - KLR650, Roy Russell - Hutchinson, KS - DR650, Bernard Smith - Hutchinson, KS - KLX650C, Michael Cramsey - Ponca City, OK - DR650, Luc Valentin - Manhattan, KS - KTM 640 Adventure, Garry Mayford - Sand Springs, OK - KTM 950, Roger Ganner - Tulsa, OK - KTM 950, Joe Steve - Mission, KS - DR-Z400, and Roger Baugh - Wichita, KS - KLR650.

The day started for most of us out at Laurie's Kitchen in Mulvane, KS. This was also the town annual parade and settler celebration, so access to the town's center was a little more difficult than usual. Once everyone made their way in ... we made our way out of town, destination Cedar Vale.

Arriving in Cedar Vale, we met up with four more riders .... and we had reached a quorum of seventeen riders. Steve led us out of town to Lookout Mountain, a nice vista overlook. We then rode further south to pick up the roads to Hewins. Interesting to note ... this area is settled by a number of Daltons ... descendants of the Dalton Gang. Easy to see how the early Daltons could "hole-up" in these parts ... it is quite rugged country.

From Hewins, Luc led us south into Oklahoma a short ways, then paralleled the state line until we reentered Kansas and visited Elgin. On the way, Roy's DR650 picked up a nail. The pit crew went to work, and in very short order we had him mounted up again. Roger discovered his KTM 950 was overheating, so the two 950 owners decided to return home.

Leaving Elgin, we rode north to Sedan for some visceral embellishments and liquid refreshments. From Sedan, we rode west and north, arriving eventually in Cloverdale, a ghost town just north of Cedar Vale. It was there that the Tiger experienced electrical gremlins ... so we left Tony, Cody, and Randy to sort out the issues (we were actually asked to continue without them). Proceeding back to Mulvane, we crossed some beautiful hills and valleys ... with one bike running out of gas just short of Mulvane. The same rider who provided an air compressor and prop stick for Roy's repair (Steve), whipped another rabbit out of his hat ... a gas siphon. Needless to say, the fuel shortage delay was a short one.

The final legs were completed by Bernard & Roger. As luck would have it, my KLR experienced a torn valve stem. It was not the twenty minute repair job Roy enjoyed. Unknown to me, I had picked up a nail that caused a substantial leak. The loss of air pressure eventually allowed the tire to slip on the rim, irreparably damaging the tube. Slime™ was everywhere inside and outside the wheel .... and it found other places to live during the repair job, too. We wrestled with tire irons, tubes, and green goop for well over an hour and a half before we could get mobile again ... and Bernard, for his camaraderie and support, got to spend the last hour of his day returning home in the dark & rain. He gets my vote for 'Rider of the Week'.

We had a few mechanical gremlins ... but no mishaps. All in all, a great ride and superb scenery was enjoyed by all. ... rb

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