August 20, 2005 ... Our original ride route scheduled for August 20th was changed due to heavy rains in Pottowatomie county. The area we rode for the day was southern Riley county and Wabaunsee county. We met at the Village Inn in Manhattan, there were 11 riders in attendance: Steve Barth - XR650L, Manhattan, Robert Barth - XT225, Manhattan, Kenneth Meyer - DRZ400, Goddard, Grant Zoller - R1000GS, St. George, Douglas Bump - DR650, Wichita, Barry Hoofer - DRZ400, Wichita, Luc Valentin - KTM Adventure, Manhattan, Steve McAtee - DR650, Topeka, Tom Harmon - KLR650, Durham, Mike Krehbiel - XL350R, Pretty Prairie, and the ride leader, Larry McGillivary - Vstrom 650, Manhattan.

Our morning started out with a good surprise. The manager of Village Inn invited us in for free breakfast. Village Inn was just reopening and Saturday was their trial run. We ended up leaving an hour later than planned but we all had full stomachs. Our ride started with a slight detour to Pillsbury Crossing, a natural stone creek crossing before we headed on into Wabaunsee county. The area had been receiving rain all week but the natural rocky soil of the area makes for decent riding even when wet. We headed towards the old military fort ruins in SW Wabaunsee county. We had a extended break while the ride leader fixed two holes in his back tire. Once the tire was fixed we headed towards Alma. After a short break we made our way to Hessdale and Soloschied road. Soloschied road has five creek crossings, the first crossing is the largest creek and is normally 12 - 16 inches deep. As you can tell from the pictures of our mobile depth gauge (me), the water was waist deep and pretty swift. Unfortunately this was the only way onto Soloschied so we had to turn back. Next we headed to Box Turtle road where the real fun began.

Nine riders decided to attempt Box Turtle road. Two of us went around to meet up at the other end. We were met by seven rider, covered with mud and all smiles. After waiting a few minutes we decided we better try finding the two missing riders. Grant on the big BMW surprised us by making it the entire way. When asked how many times he fell down, he ran out of fingers and almost took his shoes off to count on more digits. I think he also has to make a trip back to Box Turtle when it dries out to find a few missing BMW parts. A deep ditch had claimed Barry, and it took a few extra hands to get him out. Box Turtle road is still a road I don't suggest people ride alone, it's not well traveled and there is no cell service in the area.

We made our way back to Alma with a few riders branching off for home on the way. We stayed on gravel roads from Alma back to Manhattan. The total ride distance was 110 miles.

The Flint Hills have stayed nice and green this summer, hopefully the later this year we will see some great fall colors. Due to the uncertain road conditions and sudden change of routes we missed a lot of the low maintenance roads in this area. Hopefully next time I can put together a better route covering more of the challenging low maintenance roads in Wabaunsee county.

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