What a GREAT ride Larry & I had! The track I slapped together the night before turned out SO good--much better than I expected. I found a ton of min maint roads and was able to string them together so that we were never riding long before hitting another rough, grassy 2-track or even bush-whacking through long-ago closed bridges. At times we were winding through tunnels of trees along the rivers. In a few miles, we'd be high on a hill looking over wild flowers that were in full array.
I rode 60+ miles from Overland Park to Williamsburg, KS. Larry rode N from his place about 20 or so miles. I ended up arriving 40 minutes early. I put the kickstand down next to the city park which had a decent restroom facility. The 2 blocks of town seemed dead--nobody stirring. I walked over to a shop named "Pass The Time, Coffee, Tea, and Collectibles". I was reading the various signs in the window next to the "CLOSED" sign when a lady opened the door and invited me to come in, have a cup of coffee and a snack, and look around. When I entered, I found a dining table with 5 ladies enjoying conversation. I grabbed a cup of lousy coffee from the old coffee pot and sat down at the table. I had a great time chatting about small town life and other fine things. I also enjoyed a small piece of banana bread from the community plate on the table. I looked up to see Larry roll by on Main Street, so I said my goodbyes. On my way out, I turned the CLOSED sign around to OPEN. They hollered out, "Thanks!"
Larry and I took a couple minutes to give thanks for the beautiful weather we'd been gifted with and the freedom we enjoyed to ride our motorcycles, then it was kickstands up.
The route was a big clockwise loop around Osage County, so we headed West. Very soon we hit a beautiful, winding, dirt road. When we neared the end of it, Larry remarked, "That might be the most beautiful road we see all day." The best was yet to come!
As we crossed under the railroad, we took time to appreciate the local art. Clearly the youth in this area have embraced people of all skin colors and religions--even writing their love in 2 foot tall letters for all to see.
(The pictures below do not express the opinions of the RideForum.NET community or myself.)
The above might be explained by...
We road mile after mile of grass-covered roads. We had to be careful because sometimes you could not see the ruts and other hazards. It was slow going, but we sure weren't complaining. At one point I said to Larry, "You know you are on some remote roads when the county mows the roads instead of grading them!"
Larry had told me the Miracle Cafe in Reading, KS offers some good eats, so I put it in the route. Unfortunately, it closes at 11 am on Saturday. Apparently they do a special brunch on Saturdays. We rolled in just after 11:30 and sat on their porch to enjoy our snack and water.
I commented how clean and tidy the town seemed. Larry reminded me that this town was mostly wiped out by the tornado in 2011
so was rebuilt.
Refreshed from our break, we put the gravel back in our travel.
I think Larry took a panaromic photo in this spot. Seriously a LOT of these "roads" in Osage County.
What was funny was that despite the lack of maintenance and how remote these roads were, almost every intersection had what looked like a shiny, new road sign like this one that was at the road in the pic above:
We enjoyed checking out this abandoned Atlas ICBM Missile Silo.
Here we are parked on the massive roof that would open to launch the missile.
Short video of Larry riding off the ICBM roof:
https://photos.smugmug.com/ADV-2012-09- ... 2-1920.mp4
The entire facility was full of water.
When I built the route, there were 5 "iffy" spots I had marked with waypoints to indicate "this may not work out". Two of those spots did not work out causing us to route around. We had a 3rd road that ended up being a no-go. It had been a road a long time ago, but was what I consider impassable now and seemed marked with purple paint so has probably gone back to the land owner.
This photo was taken as we came out on the other end of a particularly rough road that challenged us with several deep, muddy sections we were able to work around.
This next photo was taken at what appears to be a nearly abandoned, remote North entrance to Carbolyn State Park
Next comes our most ambitious road of the day. I had marked this road with a "Rough" waypoint to indicate we might have to route around this one. The KDOT county map and Google showed the road not going through anymore. The satellite imagery suggested we might be able to get through on our bikes, but much was hidden by tree cover. The road started with this warning:
The road was very rough in spots with a few mud holes. In what seemed like 3/4 of a mile, we came to this seemingly perfect bridge:
The river here was beautiful, and I imagine was a popular spot before this road closed.
At first it appeared this bridge would be the end of the road as the weeds were too thick to see through at the other end. I walked through them, and in perhaps 50 feet, the road opened back up a bit--so we rode on...
...until we came to this--the real bridge out! This is looking East.
This time it seemed we might really be turning back...but hold on...here is the view looking back West from the other side of what is now a grown-over bridge.
The locals have built ATV and motorcycle trails down in this hollow, so there was a bit of a single-track to get up onto the bridge and about an 8 foot very steep drop-off on the other side to get off the bridge into the woods so you could route around back onto the road. We made it look easy!
We made it!
More remote, grassy roads!
Mile after mile!
Short video of Larry riding onto a torn up low water bridge.
https://photos.smugmug.com/ADV-2012-09- ... 3-1920.mp4
By the very late afternoon, we were passing by minimum maintenance roads as we were running out of time. I left the house at 7 am and returned home at 8 pm. Just about 250 miles for me. A great day riding beautiful roads with a very good friend.