200 Miles Of Bad Road
March 24th and 25th--2007

Some 15 years ago I rode a 200 mile dual-sport ride put on by the Midwest Trail Riders Association (MTRA) of southern Missouri----me and my son usually rode it together as a team.
It was a 2-day 200 mile ride and was tough. It was always touted as the toughest "dual-sport" ride in the country and was referred to as "200 Miles Of Bad Road". It was my favorite dual-sport ride I ever did and mostly racers attended. There was always a 100 rider limit and you better not bring anything bigger than a 400cc dirt bike. There were always a lot of 2-strokes and things moved along at a very fast pace. The entry fee was high as you were provided with food, gas, lodging, tubes (flats fixed for free), chain lube, steak dinner, ice cream, breakfast, 3 times as many door prizes as there were riders and on and on.

This Ride Was Free
And Didn't Provide Diddly Squat
Not Even A Tarp

So we would ride the trails alone--just me and GasPipe

Tahlequah III ???????
Our Weapons
2006 Husqvarna WR250 2-smoker
2002 KTM520EXC



My 2002 KTM 520EXC was ready for the ride,
Except for it's worn out front tire.

I haven't had this bike long and had really not taken
it on a proper ride.

It is very powerful and I was hoping the bike
wouldn't overwhelm me. The power to weight
ration is larger than any vehicle I have ever owned



I arrived in Lesterville, Missouri way before GasPipe and had brought along my KLR650 to poke around the backroads
before he got there..
This place just has everything--in downtown Lesterville.
I already had a doohickey---so move on out of town.



It looked like rain any minute. I put on my waterproof
gear and headed out looking for some new backroads
and river fords.


The Victory Babtist Church
Organized in 1938

I poked around this church for a few minutes.
The interior was all intact and original,
but doesn't look like it's still in use.
It had a stone foundation which I'm sure
were gathered from the local area.

It is very rocky in most all of Southern, Missouri.





After a few hours of poking around it started raining pretty good and I headed back to Lesterville and found GasPipe had just got to town and was unloading his brand new Husqvarna WR250.

He had left a few Tecate's in my cooler from our Baja ride a few weeks ago and I had them cooled down in our Motel refrigerator.

We headed of to Centerville, Missouri which is just about 8 miles away and got our permits for riding in the Mark Twain Forest. Money well spent---all the money goes to where it is suppose to go and the offroad people have a very good realtionship between them and the forest service. Don't be stupid and you'll get along with them fine.

A lot of thanks should go to the Midwest Trailriders Association I'm sure.

After getting our permits, Reeds Mill was just around the corner.




While enjoying this ride with us---you are going to get to see the 2 most beautiful things I have found in Missouri.
Here's the first---------Reeds Mill


There is a huge water flow here. The water first flows into this intial pond.



Part of the water is diverted to the mill water wheel.



The rest bleeds over into another lower pond---which then overflows into
another lower pond--which then flows into a creek.
It is definitely "Kinda Spectacular"
The colors just overwhelmed us.
I would love to come here mid-winter.

Saturday morning after breakfast at the local cafe--- we rode off. I had forgotten that the worse part of the whole 200 mile 2-day ride was the very first thing you came to on the trail.

It was extremely foggy--almost a drizzle and the humidity was over the top--we could't see squat as our glasses and goggles were fogged over so badly. . There are 3 lines for this hill I remembered.

1. Impossible
2. Nearly Impossible
3. And do-able.......if you were good and lucky

Of course--we were neither..

I wisely chose what I remebered as the "do-able if you were good and lucky" line and was quickly informed that this line had moved from the left of the hill to the right of the hill since I had went up it 15 years ago. It was steep--full of rocks---and deep in wet leaves and hidden logs. I spun out knowing I'd never get going again........ I turned around and GasPipe was wide open coming straight at me throwing rocks, leaves and small logs out the back of his WR with a look of desperation behind his fogged up glasses. He could't get around me and had to stop.......and we both gathered our breath and composure. Somehow I got going again in the steep loose rocks. GasPipe wasn't so luck as he had dug a deep hole and we had to push his bike to the top---I was pushing in the back and was being impailed with dirt and 3 inch rocks. At the top our body temperatures boiled over--we were soaked in sweat.




You think I would have learned a lesson---but NOOoooooo!!!!!
Off we went to a waypoint on my GPS I had previously labled as "Bad Hill" years ago.
It had miraculously turned into "Extermely bad Hill" in a few short years.
Somehow I cleaned it-------only with lots of stupidity and whiskey throttle.
I wasn't in his way this time---but he was just unlucky and we had to push his bike
up yet another really bad rutted, steep, rocky hill.
We were spent !!!!!!


This the very top as it got less steep and much smoother.



So-----1 1/2 hours----11 miles...........it gets worse.

But god were're having the time of our lives and just laugh it all off.
It's got to get better ?????



The forest service has made some nice bridges over some of the creeks.
Us dirt bikers would rather ride thru the creek........but I guess they don't want you to.




Now we are on top of Suttons's Bluff---the other most beautiful place in Missouri.
The Black River is down below and we will cross it on a concrete Ford.



Sutton's Bluff
The crystal clear water made the view magnificent.
There is a nice campground here but it wasn't open yet.
I don't think there is any electricity in any of the camp spots--it's a nice quiet place.



This is some kind of mine pond and dam of which I know nothing about it's purpose


This guy was at least 2 1/2" in diameter
and 6' long.

Snakes don't really bother me to much--unless they're
crawling into my sleeping bag.


The trail meanders thru the forest,
2 track mostly as we head North towards
the tiny town of Bixby for gas and lunch.

There had been a lot of rain lately in the area.
This was a good thing as the dust can get horrible
here when it's dry.

Mud just isn't a problem as it usually isn't bottomless.


I came around the corner and was flying and wheely'd over these mudholes.
GasPipe saw the camera and figured I was just settin' him up
so he wisely went around----normally that's exactly what I
would have doin' !!!!! So he played it safe.





We arrived in Bixby, Missouri for gas and lunch around 2PM
We were starving as breakfast had long ago worn off---as the day had been very active.



GasPipe (a lifelong railroad man) has become disenchanted with railroading
and refused to eat in the caboose.



We seemed to almost be the first ones out on the trails this year as we had to
go around or over so many downed trees. But this made it fun as the weather was perfect
now and it had dried out and you could jump the smaller downed trees without busting your butt.


Single Track

There's not much of it left anymore.
It's what a dirt rider lives for--or used to.

The ATV's have destroyed almost all the single
track everywhere you go.

I've almost gotten used to the double rutted
ATV trails--as it's been so rare you get to even
find any single track anywhere.

I hate riding in ATV tracks---but you will
or just quit riding.

I don't hate ATV'ers and don't want to deny
them a place to ride--but I'm just sayin'

It's just not as fun as it used to be.

We ride further North towards Viburnam
and the Miners Inn.

It was just 5 miles of road to Viburnam but we took
"The Road Less Traveled"
which was much farther and longer.


The miners Inn in Viburnam was waiting for us.
With cold beer beer and dancing girls.

Life is good as we relaxed on the balcony
and relived the most excellent day.


We did have work to do tho-----Laundry

We skipped the wash cycle and went straight to the dry cycle.

Those socks were not allowed in the room--my boots neither !!!

It was tiresome work--but had to be done.



Just relaxin' on the balcony----suddenly I noticed
some competition had showed up.

HhhMMmmmmm !!!
One of those 225 race bikes---with knobby tires, GPS navigational systems,
and one of those fancy smancy electrical type starters !!!!

Kevin would be riding with us tomorrow and he
was having the time of his life.

I was so glad he showed up as I have ridden with him several times
before and have really enjoyed his smiling face.

Kevin called it a girls bike---but I'm tellin' you he rode it like a man !!



It was none other than my good friend "Buzzez"
or better known as Buuzzzzeeeezzzzzz or Kevin Tennant.

It was such a beautiful evening. The sun was going down
it was about 68 degrees--nice gentle breeze.
We talked sickles for hours untill BigDogs eyelids started
to kind of droop.


Day 2 Back to Lesterville -----on different trails.