Midwest Dualsport Motorcycle Community 

Pull up a couch. It's cool in the Lounge. Just remember to be a good neighbor.
 #19630  by troy
 23 Sep 2016 08:50
My good friend, Sean, is MoRidin here on the forum. He really needed to get a good ride in. He did most of the logistics and developed a 3 day adventure loop out of Harrison, AR.

Now when I say he developed it, really he put pieces together from tracks others have posted, so THANK YOU to the community! Thanks also to Sean because putting this stuff together is time-consuming. What he put together was really 4 days of riding at least, but Sean tends to be over-optimistic in his expectations--which is part of what I love about him! So there was a huge part of the route we never got to. Doesn't matter!

The plan was kickstands up at 9 am in Harrison on Fri, Sep 16. Sean would haul down from the St. Louis area in his truck, and I would ride from Kansas City.

Sean's steed is a Honda CB500X that he has modified for adventure riding with stronger, taller suspension and a few other modifications. It's a great little machine! Low cost, reliable, engine smooth as butter, low seat height. Sean has tested this machine on the NMBDR and now our 3 day adventure. We took that bike through some gnarly stuff, and it went everywhere. It helps that Sean is an A-level rider.

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I rode my 2011 BMW F800GS. This bike has lived up to the hype when it launched and all of my expectations and more. Here I am about to hop on the bike and head out Thursday afternoon.

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My plan was to get to Harrison, AR Thur night and enjoy some Hampton Inn luxury before meeting Sean in the morning for THE RIDE. However, with my late decision to ride the 4.5 hours of pavement down there, I realized that my rear tire knobs might not have much left for the adventure sections of the route. I figured I could hit Springfield, MO before motorcycle shop closing time, so I asked Google Maps to show me the "motorcycle shops" in Springfield. Skunkwerks Moto popped up. Hmmmmm....

I called Skunkwerks to see if they could fit me in same day. Brad's response was, "you got 20 minutes?". After rolling through some heavy rain that started about Boliver, I rolled into Skunkwerks mostly dry.

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Skunkwerks is a metal fabrication shop and they love adventure motorcycles. Brad is a GS Giant and had his big BMW 1200 Adventure in Super-Motard setup. Wild! I can't think of a better place to stop if you need something fixed on your motorcycle. Call these guys next time you need a skid plate, larger foot pegs, or tires installed as you roll through town. Did I mention they put a new rear Shinko 805 on in UNDER 6 MINUTES! That's from wheel on the bike to rolling the bike out the door ready to ride! WOW. It takes me 6 minutes of cussing just to work up the motivation to start working the old tire off the rim.

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At this point I really screwed up. It was early enough in the afternoon that I could easily make the 1 hour ride down to Harrison, so that's what I did. HOWEVER, turns out that about the time I rolled out of Springfield, the Cannonball riders rolled in! In fact, at least one of them had some repairs made at Skunkwerks that evening!

I rolled into Harrison as the sun was going down and a light sprinkle had started. I enjoyed a nice, lonely meal at the Colton's Steakhouse just a short walk from the Hampton. Since I had a nice hotel room with an extra bed, Sean rolled all the way to Harrison arriving about midnight. Tomorrow the real adventure begins!

...to be continued...
 #19632  by troy
 24 Sep 2016 08:29
Friday Morning -- the ADV begins!

Sean & I woke to a beautiful morning. We were rolling on the bikes just before 9 am, so not an early start, but according to our lazy plan.

It did not take long to get out of the Harrison "metropolis" and onto fine forest roads like this in the Buffalo River National Park on the N side of the river:

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About 1 mile W of Pruitt, we came across 2 beautiful, sweet dogs that appeared to be lost. They were obviously somebody's pets. Based on their malnutrition and cokaburs stuck in their hair, these dogs may have been lost for a couple weeks.

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We gave them the little bit of food we had, which they were very grateful for. They appeared to be waiting it out at the Erbie Horsecamp Trailhead where presumably they last saw their owner. No collars. We reported this with exact location to the park ranger outside of Jasper. I later learned that dogs aren't even allowed on the trails in the National Park. These dogs were way too sweet to have been dumped, so hopefully they are reunited with their owner or find a new home. They did not appear to be managing so well in the wild.

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After rolling through Jasper, a short stint down hwy 123 (the Arkansas Dragon), and rolling through what appeared to be a highly-organized commune deep in the woods (uh...let's just keep moving, Sean...), we came across a Metro Bus Stop. We decided it would be nice to take the bus to rest our motorcycles. However, after 45 minutes of waiting, we finally gave up and kept riding.

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Now some of you know Bohawk, a native in this part of AR. I got to know Bo through his excellent, detailed, photo-rich AdvRider ride reports. It was clear this man liked to ride and knows where to find the good stuff. So I sent our route plan to him and asked if he had any recommended tweaks. He sent a couple gems and we modified our route. He also accepted our invitation to join us! So Bo took off from his house sometime Fri morning and rode the route backwards until he ran into us. We met near the Richland Creek Wilderness area. Bo rode his sweet Husky 510 this day. This photo was taken at the top of a short but very rough trail that puts you near the top of the infamous landslide that closed the Searcy 1 Hwy (gravel road) for more than a year.

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We rolled by the famous "Falling Waters" waterfall.

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The forecast for this weekend was pretty much "guaranteed rain". This is late in the afternoon on Fri--notice how clean & dry we are.

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Despite snow, ice, hail, wind, rain, and heat, I have yet to regret a motorcycle ride because of weather. That's a fact.

Our route was making it's way up to the top of Pilot Knob, where there used to be an old lookout tower. Only 4 small concrete pads remain. Our route up there included one of Bo's gems: Trail #1814. I only have this photo from the start of the trail. It might have been the roughest stuff I had taken my F800GS on, but that record would be broken a few more times on this adventure!

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A couple shots from the top of Pilot Knob. The foilage was heavy and blocked what is normally a great view if you go later in the fall.

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After running down a very rugged road from the Knob, Bo showed us another "secret gem". This old school house tucked along the little Piney.

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Sean & I had hoped this would be a great place to camp, but we really wanted to be able to wash off and cool off in the creek. The only pool of water in the creek was stagnant. We were just about out of daylight. We knew about a popular area along the Big Piney that folks play & camp at under the Hwy 123 bridge. We figured we could get there in 30 minutes....

But the route included another Bo gem that turned out to definitely be the roughest stuff I've done on my F800GS! We ended up in total darkness going down a loose, steep ATV trail with both wheels locked up and still moving. ADVENTURE! My headlight sucks, but Bo can light up a stadium with his headlight. I was in the lead with Bo running right behind me to help light the way. Sean was in the back to fend for himself!

The goat trail finally dumped onto a forest road at the Fort Douglas Cemetery. We took note of the small pavilion with concrete pad before rolling the 1/4 mile down to the bridge. We rode down under and parked. We said our goodbyes with Bo who had about 40 miles to ride home...in the dark.

Before Bo even left, it started raining. Sean & I figured to give it 15 minutes to blow over and waited under the bridge somewhat out of the rain. No cell coverage so we could not check radar. Worse, we could not watch funny cat videos, which is my favorite thing to do...when I'm not riding of course.

After 20 minutes of hard rain, it was raining harder with no end in sight and lots of lightning. We decided to head back up to the cemetery. We stepped out from under the bridge into at least 2 inches of water that was now a raging stream running down the road into the Big Piney. Once we reached our bikes, we were standing in 4 to 6 inches of water. Once our headlights were one, we could see that the Big Piney had risen perhaps 3 feet! TIME TO MOVE!

I could not see more than 10 feet--it was very dark with very heavy rain. So in 1st or 2nd gear, we crawled up the hwy to the forest road turnoff for the cemetery. We made it there and parked under the roof of the pavilion.

The pavilion had about 32 old theater chairs and a small wooden pulpit. We moved the pulpit to make room for our tents. We placed an old board on top of the chairs to create a table and prepared our chili-mac dinner and evening lattes. (Yes, lattes. Instant lattes, but still....we aren't savages!)

Almost every one of those 32 chairs were packed with cobwebs and huge spiders! Outside of the chairs were all kinds of bugs including lots of daddy long-legs. We slept comfortable in the knowledge that our tents SHOULD be spider-proof. It was pitch black except everytime the lightning struck, you'd see the tombstone silhouettes on the hill!

A few Fri video clips:


...to be continued...
 #19638  by troy
 25 Sep 2016 17:28
By morning, the rain had stopped and we enjoyed coffee and eggs. The bee hive is in the seat cushion directly below Sean's helmet.

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Then Sean got stung on his neck by a bee! Turns out the 3rd chair in on the 2nd row had a wild bee hive in the seat cushion! I figured we'd get attacked by Bigfoot next, but that was the end of the morning drama.

We had just about finished our packing when we heard the purr of a big motorcycle. Bo pulled up on his brand new KTM 1190 with the stock tires, which are basically street tires. Although not concerned enough to get in his truck to come rescue us, Bo said he had been quite worried about us--hoping we had not stayed under the bridge where we could have easily been killed. As we passed over Haw Creek a short distance from camp, it had not only risen out of it's banks, it had been over the bridge in the night making the road impassable. Bo said his ride home was the worst rain he's ever ridden in--it was a long, tense 40 miles.

KTM 1190 VS BMW F800GS
I think that is the Little Piney in the background. It is normally a calm, narrow river, but after the night's rain, it was a wide, raging torrent.

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We did not know Bo was going to re-join us Sat morning, but boy are we glad he did! Bo knows the area. He said, "Your route takes you up North and this morning you aren't going to be able to cross Hurricane Creek." Our plan also had us running up 5550 by Bub Pearson's cabin. That route has 4 river crossings that can be serious after heavy rain. It was very unlikely we would be able to cross those. Bo was able to make up an alternative route on the fly to get us over to the Oark Cafe for lunch. He said, "There are some tough sections that will be muddy today. I don't know if I can make it on these tires, but I'm not afraid to try." I love that attitude! :twisted:

As we progressed West, it was clear it had not rained as hard that way. We had no creek crossing issues the rest of the journey.

Bo turned us off Hwy 123 and soon the "fun" began! We meandered on some wonderful, low-maintenance roads and finally came to a fork. Bo explained both options took us to basically the same place and that the left option had some steep, rutted stuff near the top that could get tricky. I said, "which one is more fun?!" So left we went! 8)

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Bo was leading and seemingly having zero issues on his new 1190 sans knobbies. The road was getting steeper, but it was evident recent work had been down to smooth over ruts and bring in gravel to fill in. I stopped Sean and said, I guess the fun parts have been "fixed". Sigh. We turned the next bend and BOOM. The road went from a normal forest road to a Jeep path. 8)

I stopped to take some photos so Bo & Sean got ahead of me and out of sight. I rounded a corner and was faced with a daunting section that required commitment to be successful. Not seeing their tracks, I doubted I was going the right way--did I miss a turn? TOO LATE! Commit or FAIL! ......fail. :oops:

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Ugh! I drug the rear wheel down the hill a bit to make it easier to stand the beast up. I backed down the hill a few feet, twisted the throttle, stood on the pegs, and probably closed my eyes for a second or 2! I made it! I know, I know...in the photo it looks like nothing, and to some it would be nothing. :roll:

The boys were walking back down the hill to see if I needed rescuing. Here is where I found their steeds:

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We took a short break here while I loosened my forks to tweak my bars back to a somewhat straight position.

A scenic bend in the road:

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We arrived to a full Oark Cafe--nice to see the place still doing good business! Ever since hwy 215 was paved 100% a few years back, it has opened up the route to more Harleys and other street bikes--it's been good for business.

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I enjoyed the pulled pork sandwich special. It was excellent! As usual, no way to fit pie in. :(

We were only getting farther away from Bo's home near Dover, so after lunch, he made his way home. Sean & I were left to survive on our own! The odds were in our favor because this part of the St. Francis is our stomping ground.

We pulled out of the Oark Cafe shortly after a very loud group of Harleys. You could really hear the lives being saved, and it made me feel a lot more comfortable on the road knowing they were out there.

Not even a mile West, we turned North on a route we know well, but not on the big bikes. This section has caused riders on dirt bikes to stumble, and so much can change with erosion. I was not so sure this was a good decision, but that seems to be a theme of riding with Sean! Well, let's see if we can get this beast loaded with camping gear up this thing!

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SORRY! No photos of the nasty stuff! I have to keep this report family safe! :shock: Thanks to adrenaline, plenty of throttle, and careful line picking (KEEP THAT HEAD UP!) we both made it through without incident. A short jaunt W then turn N...FAIL. We were sad to discover private property has taken over one of our trails. We consulted our GPS and knowledge of the area to come up with a good alternative.

Since we were routing on the fly for a bit, Sean really wanted to be able to use his touchscreen on his Android. (More on Sean's Android GPS setup later!). Sean had brought some thin, touchscreen gloves, but they were soaked so he was wearing a normal pair of old moto gloves. We put our elite engineering brains together and developed this highly technical solution. I present...

Motorcycle Glove Touchscreen Mod



We didn't take many pictures the rest of the day. We took a relatively long gas, ice-cream, and cool-down break at the St. Paul gas station. I don't look tired, do I?

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From St. Paul, we ran W on Hwy 16 past Combs then turned S onto Possum Creek Rd. (At least that's what we call it.) We've used this road for dirt bike fun and to connect various trails for years. In recent years, I've led some big bikes on this route, and it's a bit of a challenge. Remember when I said erosion can change things? HOLY COW! Possum Creek was in the worst condition I've ever seen it. I barely got my F800GS up this thing, and until conditions improve, I don't recommend taking a big bike on this thing. Easier S to N for sure, though. I dropped the bike twice in one section and another time in the nastiest bit. Actually, I launched my F8 off the rock ledge at the top. It not only tweaked the bars in the triple clamp, it twisted the position of my bar risers. No photos of the tough bits, but have these:

Sean is up ahead

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...And looking back where I'm sitting.

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Once off Possum Creek (whew!) we cruised down easy forest roads to Shores Lake where we would camp for the night. Here is a view along the way. Sean's grin says it all.

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No pictures, but we made it to the campground at Shores Lake with just enough light to put up our tents. We were bummed that we couldn't get a fire going, but we slept well and stayed dry....that is until morning!

Some day 2 (Sat) video clips



...not much left, but to be continued...
 #19641  by troy
 26 Sep 2016 09:01
Sunday | Day 3 | All good things must come to an end...

We stayed dry through the night, but as we were waking to very overcast skies we could hear the thunder not so far away. The race was on! We sprung out of our tents and started packing them up as quick as we could. It takes as long to get the air out of my sleeping pad as it does to take my whole tent down.

We did it! My last bit was going into my big dry bag as the rain drops started. I put on my Frog Toggs, but by this time it was pouring. Unfortunately, I had my gear as well as some clothing items I needed to wear still on the clothesline. DOH!

We spent about an hour hanging out under the roof of the shower house. I used the electric hand dryer to dry my gloves and attempted to dry my underwear. Putting on a cold, wet pair of synthetic underwear is not the most motivational thing I've done. :cry: I had a pair of dry water-proof socks that saved my day. My feet stayed dry all day despite my wet boots.

It was dark by the time the tents were up the night before and with the morning storm chasing us, we did not get a single photo of our Shores Lake camp. It's a nice camp ground with a nice shower house and a beautiful lake--although you really can't see the lake from the campground.

The rain lightened up a bit and we took off. 8 miles away there was sunshine and no rain! We enjoyed blue skies the rest of the day. It did not take too long to dry out.

Unlike the other days where it did not matter where we ended up, this day had a goal -- end up back in Harrison so Sean can load up and head home to Illinois (St. Louis area). With the recent rain in the area, the condition of Possum Creek the day before, and our late morning start, we decided to skip all the "hero sections" and ran mostly nice forest roads and back highways North and Eastward.

We stopped in Huntsville, AR to eat at Granny's. OH BOY is this place GREAT! All the normal parking was full so we parked out back along the creek and let our stuff dry in the warm sunshine while we ate.

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That is almost the only photo we took all day! The route Sean put together took us up in the Kings River area where we enjoyed some nice roads including one ADV gem for sure. Somewhere 30 or 40 miles W of Harrison we parted ways. Sean rode back to Harrison.

I pointed the F800GS towards Kansas City. I told Garmin to give me the shortest distance vs shortest time. I ended up REALLY enjoying the route that included gems like MO Hwy 86 N of Eagle Rock just E of Roaring River State Park.

I took Mon off work and spent the day lazily airing and drying out my gear on the line in the back yard and washing the bike.

Good times.
8) SAFETY 3RD!
 #19644  by ajayhawkfan
 26 Sep 2016 12:28
Clap Clap Clap

Sean consider:

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Troy nice job editing the videos. Most people's are way too long with little or no edits. 2.5-3 is perfect!

When I saw the first couple of frames on Possum road I was saying to myself that looked very familiar. That is very much the way it looked when I took it for the first time, right after major rains the night before. I followed Dr and a bunch of little bikes up the road. Exhausting.

I believe this is the top of the hill you were showing in the video:

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 #19645  by troy
 26 Sep 2016 12:35
Yeah, Possum Creek has changed a lot. The first time I ever rode it, it was more like ATV or narrow Jeep trail most of the way to Hwy 16. The next year, I was shocked to find a large portion of the road at the N end widened out for logging equipment. As the years passed, the logged section grew longer, but the S portion had remain untouched....until this ride. Now the S end of this road is widened WAY out. Another year or 3 and this whole thing might be a logging super highway! Right now, though, it still has plenty of nasty, challenging bits!

I hate video editing. More specifically, I hate the time and effort required to do a great job--it's just not what I aspire to be. My recipe is to shoot short clips at hopefully interesting points with a handheld video camera. Then for the most part, I just put them back to back with a fast-fade between each clip. I don't usually bother to cut anything unless there is a long bit at the front or end with no action.

Glad you enjoyed it!
 #19687  by Creekside
 03 Oct 2016 07:56
Cool!!! Thanks for the warning on that road Troy. Bohawk definitely knows the area, his tracks are good. Nice report. That road used to be 'interesting', now it sounds like its more 'if your on a big bike you better be good'.
 #19688  by troy
 03 Oct 2016 08:04
Creekside wrote:Cool!!! Thanks for the warning on that road Troy. Bohawk definitely knows the area, his tracks are good. Nice report. That road used to be 'interesting', now it sounds like its more 'if your on a big bike you better be good'.
Yes, but of course, 3 months from now, it might be graded or widened, or maybe a landslide closes it for months. Road conditions change a lot down there! Case in point--the transformation of Fly Gap Rd between Hwy 23 and Mill Creek Rd has been amazing the last 8 years. Several reports of people getting hurt on that road in recent years.
 #19689  by Creekside
 03 Oct 2016 08:27
West fly, I did that one about four times last April. It wasn't bad then, at least dry. I got passed by some 1190s hauling a$$ thru there like nuts, wheeling and roostering past me. I know I get pokey solo and zig zag looking at the scenery. Lol. I caught them and did some areas with them.

I found most of the roads west of 23 into white mountain well graded and boring, or just crazy hard trails, except west fly as why I did it so many times and the 101? closed road too. But I was solo. Just east of 23 was all fixed up too, and hohum for the most part. But if your on slick street tires or it's wet, ymmv for sure.

Riding with bohawk at long pool, ark camping thread on advrider, oct 21-23. It'll be a good time.

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