Big Dog Headin' For The
"Homeless HoeDown"

The Adventure Rider Rally in Hot Springs Arkansas
August 23rd thru the 25th

A tarantula, hurricane and a very near death experience await me.

It took me a week of backroad traveling to go the 500 straight line miles to Hot Springs Arkansas for the ADVrider "HoeDown" event. I made a lot of good friends, found good riding and scenery in an unsuspecting state----and of course found great food. Here's breakfast in the only cafe in Wright, Missouri.

Now that has got to make you hungry.

$3.50--how are they making any money ??

Man--there's nothin' better than a new set of knobbies.

Got a new Michelin desert on the rear and Metzeler Karoo on the front. The Desert is the same tire all the riders use in the famed Paris Dakar race in France and Africa. They burn them up in a day--surely they would last a few days with an ole' fart behind the handlebars.

I would need them in Kansas, as they were a waitin' for me. They heard the "BigDog" was comin' and got their best dirt bike machinery out to anhilate me. I would be battling young men on machines half the weight of mine.

It had been so hot and humid the past weeks in Southern, Illinois. It was really nice for a little cloud cover and cooler temperatures where I could wear my protective riding gear comfortably. I think I even ran the heated grips some today.

I headed West battling rain soaked greenery---and the notorious hills and curves of Missouri. Now I know what Lewis and Clark---and their men went thru. I wacked the 950's throttle hard a few times------spit out more green grass than a good golfer could in 36 holes-----a smile came over my face, and I said outloud.
"This is why I ride"

The "Katy" trail.

This an old railroad bed that has been converted for bicycle use. I have forgotten, but I think it goes all the way across the state and maybe on into Kansas.

The road took me down into a beautiful valley along the Missouri River as I continued to follow the "Katy" trail.

The bridge you see here is an old railroad bridge and the "Katy" trail goes right over it.


I'm a nut about old bridges as you may know.

This one is somewhat of a swinging bridge--with the cable supports.

N38° 03.908'
W92° 54.621'

But this is the one I was looking for.

I have traveled on many open swinging bridges in Missouri. A friend took me on a ride about 2 years ago to find all the swinging bridges in Missouri. This one I had marked with my GPS but it was too far out of the way for us to try and see it. I made use of my extra time this trip and found it. It is a beauty---unlike the others, this one is closed to traffic because people were jumping off of it into the river. Yes-if I had been younger I would have scaled the gate and jumped in.

It goes over the Lake of the Ozarks

N38° 07.506'
W92° 48.253'

I think a guy named Dice made all these bridges--about 1910. He had no education, but they are still standing.

Thank you Mr. Dice !!!!

I made it too Lawrence, Kansas for the night. My older brother and his wife took me in for the night and fed me----since I was heading for the "Homeless Hoedown"------I felt kind of homeless----especially since I left my sleeping bag at home---you dumb idiot.
My brother said it only took him 6 1/2 hrs. and 376 miles to get to my house and couldn't understand why it took me so long to get to his. "But Blaine--you missed the cafe in Wright City---the swinging bridge over the lake---the curves--the scenery--the greenery---the smell of the blooming daisies---the wave of the kids while I cruised thru their little towns---knobbies squealing for mercy on a 20mph curve--the Lewis and Clark trail----farting in the open air at 83 mph !!!!!


Next Day 9-17-05

I was to hook up with the Kansas boys from
Back Road Touring Kansas

I was the first to arrive at their private meeting spot (Burger King)

I was to be guided on a 150 mile ride thru the scenic backroads of Kansas.

OK--you Colorado boys quit laughing--stay tuned !!!

This is Chris--our leader on a KTM 625 SXC

He made me nervous with that evil grin of his--but I had twice as much horsepower as him--and twice as much weight. And my bike was orange too !!!!

He was a great leader and kept us all together----his GPS said 93 mph top speed on one dirt section !!! Oh yeah---some parts of Kansas are straight :)

Sorry for the "PhotoShop" work--but this is a family website !!!!

Southeast Kansas had a lot of rain in the past few days and it made for almost no dust and lots of greenery. We stopped for a break on the old bridge (yes I luv old bridges) and never had to move for a car. We hardly ever saw any traffic all day. I like that !!!!

We had a lot of different machines.

Quite a few KTM's---a few DR's, XR's and a couple 3 KLR's.

This guy was a really good rider---I was jealous---I've never been able to do wheelies---no matter how hard I'd try I just could never get the hang of it. Up--then down. Up--then down. Up--then down. Up--then down. Up--then down. Up--then over backwards. I don't try anymore.

I can't go riding without doing something illegal---so here we go to the muddy section.

The bridge and road were blocked with trees and it was pretty muddy all thru there. Here is Luke riding someone else's bike out who didn't want to try it.

Bad boys--Bad boys--watcha gonna do when the cops get you !!!

It wasn't a pretty sight watchin' me ride thru here--but I made it---pure dumb luck.

Well-------I didn't feel so bad--looks like some others had trouble too!! I don't think everybody had knobbies.

This guy didn't want to get his bike dirty I guess.

Yeh--you know how them KTM riders are :)


The old rusty steel bridge which is still in use is one of 3 bridges here----there are just the remains of the other two.

It really was a pretty ride that I enjoyed immensely.

We are at 13,150 ft. elevation here--thank god for the early snow melt----or was it 150ft. ?????

Well the sky looks like Colorado ???

OK--for you youngsters---this is what gas stations use to look like. My uncle had one just like it when I was a kid. It had a hydraulic lift for working on my dads 53 Buick----the lift was outside.

I also remember an old coal stove in the middle with a glass case full of candy--really brings back the memories.

Duh !!!!

Now me and this guy Chris on are the same page----we had a hoot in this cafe in Holton, Kansas. There was some kind of town celebration going on at the town square---a really nice beautiful old fashion town. A lot was going on---food everywhere. There was a talent contest going on and a gal was singing a Shania Twain song.

I heard one guy say----"Wish I could sing----wish she could sing too"


This here is "Luc"

One of them good looking tall guys from France--yeh, he had that Antonio whats-his-name accent that makes all the womens clothes just drop to the floor. Besides his good looks he was an excellent rider and nice guy-----I'm not showin' his face---heck everybody will be calling me and e-mailing me wanting his phone number.

My wife wants to meet him-----sheeeeesh !!


He was a great guy and was always helping someone in trouble. He is just here for college and going back to France. I'm not queer or anything--but I liked him too !!!!!

We had to put up with a lot of this crap too !!1

I had so much fun today---everybody was so nice to me. Thanks everyone !!!

Me and Troy (pictured) decided we would ride Southwest about 150 miles and ride with a whole different group of riders tomorrow on another backroad ride with more riders from the BackRoadTouringKansas group.

I'm not too handy with a camera at speed like my buddy GasPipe--but here she goes.


The sun is a setting---times a wasting---and the deer are everywhere.

My new best buddy Troy led me to Rogers house near Wichita for the night, and Roger put me up for the night. Roger is the webmaster and the man behind the Kansas Back Road Touring group and would be our ride leader for tomorrow. He was a great guy--thanks Roger.

Sunday morning me and Roger and another rider beat it to Mulvane, Kansas to Lauries Cafe for breakfast. About 20 riders showed up and I met a lot of new people---very few I can remember their names.

Here is Troy again and his brother. Nice to see two brothers that are so close and enjoy each others company so well.

Suddenly our leader pulled over and there seemed to be some kind of fuss going on about something ??

As big and scary as this guy was---he was very calm and docile.

The last one I seen in Texas pounced at me and chased me for a bit around a parking lot. I was a little scared of the thing. He finally put it down and it just kind of sat there.

I don't think there are really that dangerous, but are really scary looking !!

It was very hill in this area with great views. We stopped at another bridge and spotted these cows going for a dip. It was getting pretty hot and we thought they were smarter than us.

Sorry--another bridge.

I think everybody missed sighting this one. Hidden in the trees is a very old stone arch bridge. The new road by-passed it completely. I looked for an old road going to it but never saw anything. It must have been abandoned a long time ago.

Elgin, Kansas

We are in a real ghost town---I loved it here.

This was a huge, rich cattle town that has done everything but die.

There was a sign at the edge of town

"The Town That Is Too Tough To Die"

You can see how rich it use to be---few live here now. Almost all the houses are falling down.

This wide brick paved road is amazing. It still is in great shape. I couldn't get over how wide it is.

The weirdest thing---ass the grass in the whole town was kept perfectly mowed--even the old run down houses. It was almost like a nuclear bomb went off here and killed everybody 50 years ago. I enjoyed the visit.

Roger Baugh----left (hope) I got the name right.

Mark Sampson---right

Elk Falls---background

Here is a closer look at the Falls below the bridge. You can barely see the remains of a dam. And to the right was an old mill---there is nothing left of it now.

The only remaining business in downtown Elk Falls, Kansas.

Go to Elk Falls---bring a cold Gatorade and sandwich--relax---do the outhouse tour.

Is this an alien spaceship ?? A mirage ??? Those weird lights in Alaska ???

Nope---my feeble attempt for a cool moonrise.

After saying goodbye to the Kansas boys I made a beeline for my sisters house in Kingman, Kansas. Since I am homeless and sleeping bagless, I am hoping she and her family will put me up for a while and have some good vittles. These gatorade and rice krispy bars are getting old. This shot is heading down the sandy road to their farm. the last time I came down this road me, my wife and 4 year old son were riding a 1963 Harley Duo-Glide with a sidecar. It had been raining and I barely made it down this road going sideways most of the time.

I couldn't find their house for the longest time---I had a GPS waypoint I downloaded before leaving--it was 6 miles off !!!!

Sis had a great Chicken dinner waiting in the microwave for me--thanks sis.

My nephew Scott is a very busy guy managing the farm. I thought he was way too busy to take me for a ride and he was all greasy from working on a tractor.
After scoping out the GPS and controls I thought "yeh, I could fly this thing"-------"Is it a 5 or 6 speed ?? One down 5 up ??? I started to get in when Scott informed me that I was sitting on the left side !!!!

Whats this do ???

"Alright Mark--put your hands in your pockets and keep them there".

Well I didn't---couldn't help myself.

Do Not Stick Your Arm Out Of A Helicopter Going 160mph.

After putting my arm back in it's socket I pretty much behaved myself.

This is my sisters and brother in-laws farm.

Yep---here's more of those Sci-Fi crop circles you've been seeing on TV.

I'll be darn---Kansas is flat !!!!!

I made use of the barn full of tools after we landed and gave my 950 a much needed oil change--it was way over do. I was glad to be able to do it

I had a great time at sis's house--thanks so much for the hospitality---but the road to somewhere is calling me. I headed South to Oklahoma.

I guess this guy was a little tired---and when you have to let her fly----just let it go !!!

Yep--went to all those places.

I was lucky an overheard a conversation at a gas station about the artesian well. This is the 4th one I've seen in my travels. I replaced the city water in my camelback with some good water here. I had a hard time finding it, and met this nice fellow while there---said he was an adventurous traveler--yep--just like me. He filled the jugs and I helped him carry some of them to his truck---he really appreciated that---I made a new friend today. He said he first came to this well in 1937.

N36° 48.676'
W98° 10.557'

Oklahoma--On the Trans Am Trail

My favorite part of my whole trip--and my favorite picture. I never seen a soul on these untravelled backroads. The sand got deep sometimes--I comitted myself to the sand--opened the throttle and the 950 plowed right thru it effortlessly. I wanted to run real fast--but thought better of it as I was traveling alone.

As I was probing thru my tankbag for my camera--looky what I found. Fresh homemade brownies my sis gave to me as I left her house--thanks sis--I luv you !!!

I was having a ball. A full tank of gas, a full belly and I stood on the pegs some more and just let her fly. The road deteoriated quite a bit--which was fine with me and I damn hear ran off into the river when I ran upon this washed out bridge.

Stupid me--I was having so much fun I missed this "Bridge Out" sign. Got to slow down and smell the flowers Mark.

Wasn't nobody on this road either--too bad it didn't go all the way to the "Homeless HoeDown".

I camped at Lake Oolahgah in Oklahoma. A real butt hole at the campground. The campground was empty--I asked if I could ride thru and pick out a camp spot. He look down at my bike "Well----if you don't do anything"

Well--yes I'm going to do a lot things mister---camp, shower, look at the lake, poop--pee---that alright with you ???

"Well go ahead he said"---I tried to forget our conversation and not let a buthole ruin my evening. He was just pissed because his wife wouldn't let him have a motorcycle and he was cooped up in that little travel trailer with nothing to do but twiddle his thumbs and grow old--dying with a TV remote in his hands.

This is below a big dam--I crossed the river in the slimy green wet rocks and got on some jeep and ATV trails. I rode in some very rough terrain with baby head size rocks. The big 950 is surprising in this stuff. You just point and gas it---don't go slow, as you'll end up on the ground in a hurry and it's way too heavy too pick up. It really was no place to be by myself--never saw a soul in there. No pics--I was way too busy hanging on--I never let off the throttle for miles thru there untill I finally hit a dirt road.

I was hot and sweaty---I took my jacket off---finished off the rest of sis's brownies and washed it down with artesian well water---it just doesn't get any better than this.

Arkansas Mountains


Well Big Dog finally got to the "Homeless HoeDown"

You had to cross this creek to get in the campground---we all thought this would be impassable if hurricane Rita had her way. It was really a nice place and I was one of the first arrivals.

Bright and early the next morning while everyone was sleeping I went for a ride and was rewarded with a great find. This old abandoned bridge was pretty much invisible from the new road. I always slow and take a side view going over creeks and rivers--never know what you'll see. After riding down thru a ditch and following a weedy path I got below the bridge, down to the creek and here she is.

On the Saline River--look hard or you'll never find it.

N34° 36.202'
W92° 55.349'

Back at the "Hoedown" I was treated to a test ride on a Honda Big Rukkus. Only cost me .05 cents. Heck I would of paid a quarter--it was a hoot, just give it gas and go. A Ruckus will run about 80 mph and is a nice comfy ride---and you can pass a unsuspecting Beemer pilot if your sneaky.

Ant Ware

Me and this guy were buddies and didn't even know it. Yeh--we were both orange---the only orange at the HoeDown. But we have been sharing GPS data for years and he sent me a tracklog a couple years ago that helped me so much to navigate thru a very dangerous area of Mexico. I wouldn't have attempted it without his help. Thanks again Ant.

He has about 33,000 miles on his 950 and loves it.



Ace---was a hoot--a hardy traveler.

I told him he looked like one of them movie stars out of a Clint Eastwood movie.

Or was it the "Good, Bad and Ugly"

He was the "Bad"--the Very Bad !!!

Yep--this hardy soul rode the Ruckus 275 miles to the Hoedown---humiliating all of his compradres in route.


On her SV650--a real nice bike she had. I had one of those and sold it a while back. A really nice scooter. I really never got to meet or talk to Linzi, but she was having a good time.

GasPipes DR Big just stole the show. This bike is unavailable in the US.

GasPipe said it handle like a clapped-out KLR carrying 2-100 lb. sacks of feed.

Hey !!! I resemble that remark !!!!

"Yeh--it's bad---it's fast--and I'm so cute"

"And NO--You Can't Ride It"

Vance and the luv of his life--said he found her along the road---or did she find him ?? Super nice people.

Vance and JKam were the 2 people mainly responsilble for the Homeless HoeDown.

Thank you all so much for getting me on the road less travelled to the HoeDown--I had a hoot.

Although my trip focused mainly on my ride getting there--when I got there I had a great time meeting some people I only new on the net.

I think if this hardy party-goer were looking thru my camera lens--this is what he would have saw !!!

Free beer, all the food you could eat, gatorade, water, air conditioned shower and bathroom---campfires to make it hotter than it already was--what else could you ask for ??

Old "BigDog" went to bed about 9PM.

Took my earplugs---ahhhhh




All night long--well-----you just had to be there to understand ;)



It was tough leaving the "HoeDown"

I had more riding to do and was faced with an easy decision on the road.

Go right young man !!!!!

The Arkansas backroads didn't dissapoint me again.

I've been to Arkansas 3 times this year--you see why ????

Oh Yeah--My near death experience--almost forgot.
I pulled off the road onto the shoulder and was poking at the little buttons on my GPS.
I heard a loud noise and had no time to react.
Something hit me in the back---I had a motocross chest protector on.
A hubcap flew in front of my face !!
And a 1978 Cadillac flew by me sideways missing me by about 4 ft. and then going into a ditch.
He had blown his right front tire and he told me he thought he was going to hit me straight on.
He fought the wheel and barely missed me. Part of his tire had hit me in the back.
He and his family were OK---and he gave me a great big hug---and I met a new friend.
This is why I ride.