|September 14-16, 2007 ... The 3rd Annual Flint Hills Stampede!
The third annual Stampede started out on a high note ... riders started arriving on Friday, September 14. The forecast looked perfect ... partly cloudy with highs approaching the mid-seventies the day of the ride. But, this is Kansas .... and when we awoke on Saturday, we were facing a fast moving cold front that caused temperatures to plummet into the forties, accompanied by rain, rain, and more rain. By midmorning, Doppler Radar indicated we might get a break, so the group suited up and struck out into the Flint Hills on abbreviated routes through Morris, Chase, Wabaunsee, Greenwood, and Butler counties. Timing was good, and although we had sprinkles and intermittent light rain throughout the afternoon, we were all able to enjoy a ride through the Flint Hills. After the ride, we enjoyed a delicious BBQ dinner, followed with door prizes. (don't ask about the "thumb saver" prizes!)
We had our work cut out for us ..... but the Stampede turned out well. Looking forward to 2008!
Tim Edwards led a group of riders on an advanced technical ride into Wabaunsee county. His group of seven riders left the camp area about 11:30 after most of the rain had stopped. He wrote: We were following a similar route to the one the group led by David Hemphill had followed. (That group of 15 - 16 riders had left about 11:00 while the rain was in it's last stages.) After about 4 miles we arrived at the first "minimum maintenance" turn only to find a muddy two-track. There were no tire tracks visible so we rode another mile south, a mile west, then back north on rock roads to rejoin the planned route.
At an intersection two miles down this road we found "the dirty dozen." Apparently, ride leader David Hemphill and a couple other riders had made it through a muddy two-track minimum maintenance road heading west from this intersection but the rest of the group either got part way before turning back or stayed at the intersection to watch the carnage unfold. Three riders who had made it part way in and back out, hiked back in about a quarter mile to help a rider who was really stuck. Eventually they got back to the rock road by riding/hiking through an adjoining pasture. Our group of seven, now joined with a couple riders from the first group, headed on north on a greatly revised route. We found several miles of decent two-track rock roads on our way to Alta Vista.
We then headed to "Little Egypt" road in the area south of Volland. It is still a nice 2 - 3 mile stretch but sometime in the recent past the county road grader has been through leaving a more identifiable road, especially west of the old bridge. We then rode several miles of gravel/rock roads north of old K10 looking for water crossings. The rain that had earlier plagued us in Council Grove hardly settled the dust in this area so we didn't find any water crossings. We stopped in Alma for hot chocolate and a snack, then headed south for the Hessdale road. We wound our way back on gravel roads towards K4 with thoughts of barbecued ribs on our minds. When we reached K4 we headed back to camp via the paved roads. We arrived in time to kick tires and swap lies before a great meal. Another KLR rider and I showed 125 miles for the day. As ride leader, I got to see several deer, several big flocks of turkeys and a nice covey of quail. In bobsled racing there is a saying, "the scenery only changes for the lead dog." I hope that wasn't the case for the other riders in my group. Thanks to all the riders in my group for a fun and safe day of riding.
Eddie McLiney was a ride leader for 4 others on the easy route. When I saw the tires on the other bikes I had to scrap my plan route and try to stay on well maintained roads. I took my small group south from Council Grove to see the Z Bar Ranch headquarters and the in front of the Chase County Courthouse and then to Cassoday. That part was all on blacktop. From Cassoday our little group headed east on gravel. This was the first time three of the riders had been on gravel after rain. After a short comfort period everyone was clicking right along.
We turned south to to Teter Rock. There were a few puddles at the start, but no real problem until we got about half way there. The road had turned to mud. Not that deep mud that bogs you down but the thin, slick mud that is more like ice. I hit it and start fishtailing. I luckily made it, but the next rider is not as lucky. We get him up, I ask if he wanted to head back to the good road but he would have none of that. He wanted to see the spot. We continue on and it happens two more times before making it to the rock. He was there to ride the flint hills. We rode back to to main road and a different rider had a quick dismount, but he had his bike back up before anyone could get a camera out!
From Teterville, we rode to Texaco Hill for a few pictures. The road was in good shape up to that point and everyone did fine. After Texaco Hill we rode to the northeast. As we rode, the road became slick in spots, slowing us down. We headed west to the North Branch of the Verdigris River crossing. There is not much water, but everyone enjoyed it. We rode south and the west picking up Sharpes Creek Road to Bazaar. From Bazaar we took the highway back to camp for the BBQ. The BBQ was delicious and there was plenty for all. I believe everyone had a wonderful time even if though the weather cold and wet. Our total ride was 150 miles. We left a little after 12:30 pm and returned at 5:30 pm.
Greg Mitchell led a group on a moderate technical ride. His report: The ride started off in a very light drizzle, cool with overcast skies, breaking into a few patches of blue sky every once in a while. The group consisted of: Colby Urban on a 2006 Suzuki DRZ400S; Joe Steve on a DRZ400S; Kenneth Meyer rode his DR-Z400, Dennis Sewell riding a 2006 XR650L Honda; Quinton Dodds on a 06" Lifan GY5 (I really think it was a Suzuki); Jim Corman; Jim Krone on a 2005 Honda XR650L; Brian Wise on a 06 KLR 650; Darian Callaway riding an 06' Honda XR650L; David Ochs on a 2005 Kawasaki KLR 650; Justin Begnoche riding a 2001 Honda XR650L; Kenny Rogers ("You picked a fine time to leave me loose wheel") on a 2007 KLR 650; Jim Ferri on a 2000 KTM 640R; Eric Rickel riding an 05' Kaw KLR 650; and the ride leader Greg Mitchell on a 95' Suzuki DR 350SE .
A good variety of machines and a great group of riders!! We left Council Grove around 12:00 noon (after a morning rain delay) and headed southeast towards Dunlap via twisty, narrow, fairly sloppy, muddy roads. We came out on the old paved road into Dunlap a mile west of town. We rode south towards Lake Kahola and skirted the lake to the north side and went west on a 1.5 mile minimum maintenance road to the top of the hill for our first photo stop and a good example of the beauty of the Flint Hills. We proceeded to go around Lake Kahola and headed south to Saffordville. There we sampled the infamous hill climb (that yours truely got a scolding from the adjacent land owner on a previous ride) and we rode to the top to take a look down. It was cleared of brush and weeds but was pretty slippery with the rain that morning. All of a sudden I could not help myself and pulled up to the top of the hill and committed to going down. Made it OK but slipped and slid a lot. Next Colby thought he could go UP the hill, so he started off really good but lost traction, control, direction, and ideas about 10 feet from the top and rolled aways back down the hill. Bike and rider were no worse for wear, so we continued on to the BTKs regular stop at the Stone Hinge driveway. We went south and then west on Camp Creek road and it provided many water crossings and fun turns to the top of the hill by the microwave tower that provided an excellent view of the magnificent Flint Hills of Kansas. No fences in sight, hardly any roads in site, beautiful flowery hills waving in the breeze, cattle peacefully grazing the native grass, and a bunch of stoked dual sport riders soaking it all in!! What a great Kodak moment!! Then it was on to Sharpes Creek road back to the north and towards Bazaar. Half of us were nearing our gas range, and yours truly ran out first a mile or 2 east of 177 highway at Bazaar. Tipped her over on the left side and got some more gas on the petcock side and made it all the way to Cottonwood Falls. One other rider, I believe it was Quinten, ran out on the way, but we siphoned gas from one of the other bikes and we all made it to Cottonwood Falls to the gas station.
It was getting late, so we decided to ride the 18 miles to Council Grove (sorry guys, I know it was hard on the knobbies) on 177 highway past the Tallgrass Prairie Park. We were about 5 miles from C.G. when my bike stuttered a few times and then died cold. Tried to crank it, but no fire. Waited a few minutes and tried it one more time and it fired up and ran great back to the camp ground. We got in about 4:30 and were carrying some of Chase County with us packed on our bikes fenders and frames. We had a great ride and all riders are to be commended for being helpful and safe!! Can't wait till next year. (Maybe next year I will remember to bring my camera!)
Monte Kuxhausen rode with David Hemphill's advanced technical group, and wrote: It started out like any other ride that starts out with a lot of rain. Fearless leader Dave had us herded up and ready to go! All was going fine, and then the group headed into what looked like a road with a little bit of mud!!! I started in and observed a mud plant or two. WOW!! A few riders made it through, I, unfortunately was not one of them. I looked around and more than just myself were stuck. At least I wasn't real alone. A mere one and a half to two hours later, we finally got the last bike out. The only damage was a broken mirror on a bike and a tired clutch on another.
After a little conversation, determined that some riders were worn out from pushing bikes out of the mud trap, some needed fuel, and some were just discouraged, but six of us needed more of a ride fix for the day. I knew the area and had the maps, so off we went. We headed up north on into Wabaunsee County and Alta Vista. We then headed east and headed in to Alma for a light lunch. We were all a little hungry as we pushed out half a dozen bikes (including mine) and a little chilled. After a good cup of coffee and a bite, we headed to the car wash!! All the bikes were caked heavy in Kansas goo. After the wash we hit the twisty tarmac of Old K-10 out of Alma. Fun was had by all. There is just something fun about a good twisty on a bike. We headed to Volland then Alta Vista and on south to K-177 and back to camp. Some roads were awesome, airtime was had by a few. All of you were great and safe and respectful and FUN!! Hope to meet up all you again soon. For an impromptu ride, it was one of the best.
Roger Baugh, KLR650 rider out of Wichita, led a large group on a scenic ride into Morris and Chase counties. Joining him were: Julian Reyes - Wichita - KLR650, Dave Redmon - Manhattan - Sherpa 250, Bernard Smith - Hutchinson - KLX650, RD Woolsey - Derby - KLR650, Mark Cole - Wichita - KLR650, Thurman Brittingham - Rose Hill - KLX250, Larry Ostrom - Concordia - KLR650, and Ken Clifford - Wichita - KLR650. "Scenic" is a term that could best be called marginal, as our route started off towards Diamond Springs on a greasy surface that required a higher than usual amount of attention to changing degrees of traction and control. We took our time, gauging the best speed to keep tire lugs clean and making several stops to enjoy the panorama before us.
We rode south along Diamond Creek road to Elmdale, then swung over for a short rest in Cottonwood Falls. We then rode over to the Millstream Motel to reconnoiter the facilities as a potential Stampede location. Feeling the cold, we decided to take an indoor break at a truck stop in Strong City, where the hot chocolate, coffee, and pie was most welcome. Following the rest and replenishment, we rode a picturesque route north out of Strong City, eventually winding our way back to the highway and the short sprint back to Council Grove. No spills in our group ... but plenty of chills!
Jeff Jelinek of Danville also led a scenic ride. He reported: The five of us headed south on 177 from Council Grove. I was leading on a KLX400, followed by Dean Loy, Brad Herman, and Phil Denk; all on KLR650's and Bruce Leach on a XT350.
We rode south to 4 Mile Road and headed west at a nice and easy pace. We hit the gravel and assessed the traction; it was better than what it looked like. By the time we got to Diamond Springs everyone was confident and having fun despite the mud. We then head south on Diamond Creek Road. Some of the corn was cut, but the beans were all still in the fields. We ended up at a double arch limestone bridge, just north of US 50. After a brief stop we headed down to Elmdale and over to Cottonwood Falls, where we saw the oldest court house west of the Mississippi in Chase County.
We took back roads to Bazaar then southeast down Sharpes Creek Road. As we crossed I35, we paused for a moment to feel sorry for those who only see the Flint Hills in a cage at 70 mph. A little ways south, in open range we met Greg Mitchel and his rowdy bunch. They were doing a route opposite ours and now all we needed to do was follow their tracks back to Council Grove. We headed east on Camp Creek Road and picked up the pace. We stopped at Stonehenge to see more uses of limestone. Time was getting short so we headed north at a spirited pace to US50. From there we went to Strong City and then north on 177 to Council Grove.
There were no falls, flats, or failures, which made made for a great afternoon of riding. Til next time, Jeff