November 29, 2003 - A cold morning with temperatures at the freezing level ... but forecasts called for unseasonably mild temperatures by early afternoon. Wil Locke, Derby - Honda XR650, Elinor Pyle, Wichita - BMW F650, Brady Allensworth, Wichita - BMW 1150 GS, Greg Mitchell, Emporia - Honda XL600V TransAlp, Steve Starkel, Wichita - Husqvarna TE610E, Jeff Gilliland, Wichita - KLR650, and Roger Baugh, Wichita - KLR650 gathered for breakfast at Laurie's Kitchen in Mulvane for a ride to the Flint Hills of Cowley county.

Brady and Elinor arrived "wired" with electric vests, while the rest of us meditated on the concept of warmth the first hour or so of riding.

Our plans called for exploration in the Grouse Creek valley area. The rangelands of the Flint Hills have seen a good amount of barbed wire come and go over the past century ... and on this ride Greg's TransAlp picked up a rather gnarly piece of metal in the rear tread. We dismounted the wheel and patched, but still had leaks. We then replaced the tube with a spare. After another ten miles the tire was flat again ... so a sealer was added. Fortunately, fellow BT Kansas rider Michael Alley's motorcycle shop, "PowerSports Alley" was only ten or so miles away in Winfield, so we made a dash to reach him. The tube lasted to within a half mile of Michael's establishment before failing altogether. Michael dropped everything and came out with his truck to retrieve the inert Honda. An hour or so later ... and with another small unseen metallic shard removed from the tire carcass, we were again mobile. We couldn't thank Michael enough for his assistance.

By this time, the sun was starting to sink lower in the west, so we decided to make the return trip to Wichita before the temperatures dropped dramatically with the failing light.

We weren't able to see all that we had hoped, but it didn't really matter. We got to ride with friends, collectively do some problem solving, and end the day with lots of smiles.

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