September 22, 2002 marked our second ride of the season to the Gypsum Hills of Barber county. We started the day with a rendezvous at Jeff Jelinek's farm near Danville.

Making the ride: Don Morgan - KTM 640 LC4, Tim Troyer - KLR650, Jeff Jelinek - Triumph Tiger, Ken Meyer - KLR650, Bill Lewton - XT350, Allan Patton - KLR650, Chester Thompson - KTM 640 LC4, and Roger Baugh - KLR650.

Chester had driven to Wichita from eastern Kansas early Sunday morning, where he off-loaded at Roger's home. Don and Tim joined up, and the four of us made the quick ride to Jeff's place. After leaving Danville, we rode on pavement to Kiowa, Kansas for fueling and a little time to warm ourselves. We then proceeded to Hardtner, and the beginning of our off-pavement section.

Arriving in the hills, we were again struck by the unique landscape that this region provides. Unlike the deep green, gentle rolling of the Flint Hills, the Gyp Hills are far more angular and accented in high plains / desert flora and colors. Riding the Gypsum Hills requires a different riding style as well. Whereas the Flint Hills roadbeds and trails are limestone gravel, flint, and dirt ... the Gyp Hills roads and trails are mainly sand and rock. With this year's drought, roadbeds have deteriorated more than usual, so we found ourselves "wallowing in sand traps" more frequently than on past rides.

We made a stop at the Lodi (historical) cemetary. The town no longer exists, but research shows that this area had been settled in the 1880s by eastern European Jews. The Jewish colonies were short-lived due to the extreme weather, plagues of grasshoppers, and limited funding. The Jewish families were welcomed by the Christian farmers and ranchers, and often played a part in community affairs, according to newspaper articles of the time. Click Here for some interesting reading.

One of the best unpaved roads in the area is the Lake City Road running aproximately thirty miles from Eldred to Lake City (Kind of an interesting name for a town .... there are no lakes within ten miles of Lake City!). There are some great panoramas of the hills along this road.

From Lake City, we sprinted to Sun City, and lunch at Busters. Always good fare there, and a nice quiet town to take in a meal. We then rode the Sun City Road south to US 160. By the time we reached pavement, our forks and rear shocks had heated to optimum temperature from the rough, washboard sand road .... it is also great fun trying to deal with two contradictory forces working in concert to create rider get-offs!

It was starting to get late in the day, so we made the decision to start making the ride homeward bound. Jeff showed us some scenic roads, paved and unpaved, that put us where we needed to be so that all riders would get to their respective homes before dark.

A long day for most of us, and a lot of miles in the saddle. We were fortunate to have two riders new to the group with us, and it looked like everyone enjoyed themselves thoroughly. For those who missed it .... it was a colorful and completely different ride in the Gyp Hills. We'll do it again next year ... there's still a lot of area that we didn't have time to ride on this trip

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