September 24, 2006 ...

A "technicolor ride". One hundred and twenty-three miles into the most colorful reaches of Chase county in the third week of September. Goldenrod, broomweed, purple gayfeather, and half a dozen other wildflower species were in full bloom for seventeen riders this day.

Making the ride: Tom Harmon - Durham, KS - KLR650, Douglas Bump - Wichta, KS - DR650, Brian Wise - S. Hutchinson, KS - KLR650, Jim Foley - Shawnee, KS - KLR650, Teri Frailey - Shawnee, KS - XL250R, Steve McAtee - Topeka, KS - KLX250, Jeff Jelinek - Danville, KS - KLX400, Larry Ostrom - Concordia, KS - KLR650, Brittain Lolley - Wichita, KS - KTM-400SXC, Mary Grabanski - Augusta, KS - XT225, Fred Goertzen - Gridley, KS - BMW 1100 GS, Donald Howell - Princeton, KS - BMW F-650GS, Gordon Polston, Herington, KS - KLR650, Leslie Rynott - KCMO - KLR650, Henry Harvey - Douglass, KS - Moto Guzzi Quota, Brady Allensworth - Wichita, KS - XR650L, and Roger Baugh - Wichita, KS - KLR650.

We gathered at the Emma Chase Cafe' in Cottonwood Falls. As always, a great breakfast had been prepared in advance, and no one left the premises hungry. Rolling east, we entered the wide open spaces of eastern Chase county. We were immediately struck by the vibrant colors of the wildflowers that colored the landscape as far as the eye could see.

Running south, we visited the Schroeder Ranch, and the appropriately named entryway to the ranch, "Stonehenge". The stonework is the result of five years labor by a rancher and his sons ... and their lone farm tractor. It is impressive.

We continued riding south to Texaco Hill, then on to Teter Rock and the wild mustang herds. Proceeding another ten miles south, we entered the 777 Ranch area, and to our delight, encountered more wild mustang herds on open range.

We then worked our way north to Cassoday. The sole gas station had run out of fuel, so the group decided to continue on to Cottonwood Falls. Part of the group opted for tarmac, the main group decided to ride the Sharpes Creek Road and all the open range it afforded. Everyone arrived back in Cottonwood Falls in good order.

No mishaps. A punctured tube was quickly swapped out, and a loose battery cable were the only mechanical issues for the entire day. Grins were seen on every rider. What more could one ask for a color-saturated Fall ride in Kansas?

... rb

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