September 25, 2004 ... perfect weather and plenty of dust!

Nine riders made the final rendezvous in Cedar Vale, KS. Enjoying the day were: Max Gado, Lees Summit, MO - KLR650, David Hemphill, Lawrence - V-Strom 1000, Don Morgan, Wichita - BWM 1150 GS, Dennis Murray, Conway Springs - KLR650, Bernard Smith, Hutchinson - KLX650, Wil Locke, Derby - KTM LC4 Adventure, Elinor Pyle, Wichita - BMW F650, Chris Greenhoot, Lawrence - KTM 625 SXC, and Roger Baugh, Wichita - KLR650.

Eight of us started the morning in Mulvane, KS at Laurie's Kitchen. As always, a great breakfast at a great price. We then sprinted down to Cedar Vale to rendezvous with Chris Greenhoot. After fueling and provisioning, we then rode along the Caney River valley to Hewins, KS. From Hewins, we turned south across open range land into Oklahoma. After a few short miles, we arrived in the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in the former Osage Indian reservation.

There is a well preserved stone ranch and bunkhouse complex that serves as a visitor center at the preserve. Well worth a stop, as we were able to learn a little more about the area and the native flora and fauna.

To see a panorama of the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, click here.

Unfortunately, travel into the interior of the preserve is prohibited, so we rode the perimeter of the area instead. There are over 2,000 buffalo within the preserve, but we only saw about a dozen head. Riding north along the eastern edge of the preserve, we were treated to varied road conditions and some delightful scenery. When we once again found pavement, we turned north back towards Kansas.

We found one road that was minimally marked going to Elgin, KS and decided to give it a try. Had to be one of the best constructed asphalt roads we've ridden in years, and it was chock full of hills, sweeping curves, and one scenic valley after another. What fun! We made Elgin in short order, then were treated to heavily graveled roads to Hewins. Everyone remarked that it was akin to riding on marbles mile after mile.

We made a stop again in Cedar Vale to refuel and then head back to our respective homes. Most of us clocked at least 270 miles of riding today, with a couple of riders breaking 300 miles of riding.

Photos are not as numerous as on previous rides. Dust plumes and lack of strong winds put us in a cloud practically every time we stopped, making it difficult to obtain "clean" shots. But, for those of us who rode it, the views were spectacular in numerous sections of the ride.

It was a great ride to end the "state-wide" ride season. We'll be back next year!

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