Kenny's Missouri Dualsport Ride
November 15th and 16th 2003
Story written by: Mark Sampson (

Saturday 11-15-03

Left to Right: Mark Sampson, Don Magnus, Kenny Gibbons. Three more riders would join us Sunday. Joe Hart wanted to come---but it was so far and he would have had to ride through miserable weather.

Kenny was the host and ride organizer for this ride--he spent a lot of time riding in the Mark Twain Forest, and pouring over maps (Garmin Mapsource) to provide his personal friends with a scenic and seriously fun weekend. It had rained all night and was very foggy and cold as we departed Kenny's weekend getaway for the ride.

We started riding just South of Bixby, Missouri and rode North on mostly gravel backroads.

Downtown--Huhzah, Missouri
Population 4 (including us 3 riders)

This is the only building left standing here---and I don't know the history of this ghost town. In another few years this building will be gone----but I got a picture !! It is just about 1 1/2 miles South of route 8--South on Co.Rd. 703 then Eagle Hurst Road.

This was to be our first gas stop---and gas was 28.9 cents per gallon-----damn !!! I had just topped off the IMS Valdez and wouldn't need gas for weeks !!!!

The fellow owning the old store stopped and told us this building was built at the turn of the century and told us "come back anytime guys". He couldn't believe we were out ridng our bikes in the cold--we tried to tell the old codger about our heated clothes (except Don), but I don't think he understood.

Here I am crossing a typical rock bottom Missouri river. We were to make about 40 low water creek and river crossings over the weekend. Some would go right thru the creek and some were up out of the creek like this one. When the water was up it would be impossible to cross here.

This weekend was new to me---as I am always leading. It was so nice to just sit back and relax while Kenny did all the navigating and worrying. He did a great job. I just drug up the rear and enjoyed the scenery at my own slow pace---expcept when it got gnarly---then the old dirt rider would come out in me.

We stopped for an early lunch at "Ikes Place" (or the "Chat and Chew") in Leasburg, Missouri.

It had all the ingredients for fine dining: Pickup trucks out front--uneven floor--full of friendly people--tables that rocked while you ate--spitoon--great coffee--original name--farting allowed and encouraged etc. etc. !!!! And did I say cheap---25 cent coffee-----it was 3 bucks for me, out the door !!

We headed East on Possum Hollow Rd. thru Harrison Mill then Anthony's Mill-----then turned South crossing route 8 at Shirley. On Co.Rd. Z we went by a beautiful farm that was situated in a valley with a creek running right thru the middle of it. We all three stopped silently and admired the old homeplace----I'm sure we were all thinking how lucky the people were to be living in such remote beauty !! As we headed on toward a spring we were run down by the sheriff---or so we thought---it was the nice gentleman to the right in the picture who was driving his dads ex-cop car------and lo and behold he lived on the farm and had a KLR !! He seen us go by and took chase as he wanted to share his enthusiasm for bikes with us adventure travelers. He invited us to tour the farm and fed us coffee and cookies. We declined lunch as we had just "pigged" out at the "Chat and Chew". What a nice fellow---thank you Jerry !!!!

Our 2nd gas stop!!!

Some organization Kenny ???--this store and cafe had been closed for 30 years !!! Oh well----the Valdez didn't need no sitnkin' gas. Sure hope that Suzuki with the float bowl sized gas tank doesn't run dry----ah these beginners---you tell them and take them out and tell them :) Hey at least he has an electric starter--this is the same guy who stopped on top of a rattlesnake in Arizona this spring and went for the electric starter---but alas, his XR didn't have one---well he's got one now !!! We tried to get Don to give us his credit card---so me and Kenny could go to work modifying his DR--but he wouldn't go for that.

He said he couldn't hardly hold his head up after downgrading from his Honda----He'll never admit to us if he likes this Suzuki, that's for sure !!!

I was having so much fun as the sun was going down-----I told Kenny "the only thing that could make the ride any better is--- 1. It got dark--- 2. it got much colder--and 3. it would start raining.

Well be careful what you wish for-----we got all three within the next 30 minutes. We made this low water crossing and several others in the dark after our leader got a little disoriented and wallored all of us thru mud hole after mud hole, then thru deep sand. After Kenny barely jumped a deep sand ravine in the dark, then crashed--we turned back as we just couldn't see where we were going. Kenny, ran his battery dead idling around with all his heated clothes on. Don had the perfect chance to gig Kenny about all that fancy smancy electrical stuff, but passed on it. (I think those 4 GPS's on his handlebars ran it dead myself :) We had one shot pushing it down a deep sandy hill to get it going----varooooomm!!! Off we went back to camp.

Sunday Day Two

About 6AM in the morning I looked out to check the weather and lo and behold---- my buddy Jay Grafton had rode his BMWF650 in the cold, rain, fog and dark to Kenny's and would join us for Sundays ride--great !! I looked all over for Jay---but couldn't find him anywhere. I went outside and Jay had camped in the back of my truck all night long as he could hear all of us snoring in Kenny's trailer and knew he wouldn't get any sleep in there !! Now the funny part------Jay got in my truck camper (just a topper) shut the door and turned the latch------he was locked in !!!! The recessed latch wouldn't open---oh well, he just crashed out for the night----and the next morning told me not to drink the lemonade in the pepsi bottle--OK !!

Now we have 6 riders this foggy Sunday morning.

Left to Right: Tony Koenan, Jim Kempf, Jay Grafton, Kenny Gibbons, Mark Sampson and Don Magnus.

A lot of the forest roads we went down looked like this. Really smooth gravel that you could go real fast on if you wanted to.

We all had full bellies as Kenny's wife Doris had fixed us pork steaks last night and breakfast this morning----that was so nice, and thank you so much Doris !!! She made a great time-- greater !!!! She had her hands full, keeping the farting, belching, burping and snoring of all of us dirty sickle riders at bay. If you got out of line---she would sick her big mean dog "Bailey" on you :) Then you would have to scratch his back for 5 minutes

So Kenny drug us down some pretty gnarly trails (for "Big Dogs" anyway). We all made it thru unscathed and came to this beautiful vista---or so we were told, as the fog was too thick to see anything. But the riding was fantastic.

Another low water river crossing.

Jay Grafton----BMWF650

Jay was ready for some rest and relaxation after working in the Harley shop in Mt. Vernon, Illinois all week. Jay is the service manager---and I always pull up to the service desk on my KLR and holler out--"I want some chrome and pipes"-----to the blank stares of all the HD riders.

Cooks spring is just above his left mirror and created a small creek that was filled with pretty greenery.

Heres me with my foot in the spring concrete tank. See the 3 pipes coming out of the bottom of it ?

Suttons Bluff

Suttons bluff is one of the most beautiful places in Missouri---it is located about 4 miles Northwest of Centerville, Missouri. The foggy bluff was a pretty sight to behold.

Well here is a better picture----it's got a KLR in it---a magnificent speciman I must say.
Down a lonely one lane road just outside of Centerville is this small grist mill. The water wheel has been locked up for years----but I have seen it when it was turning and went inside to watch the stone rotating.
This picture was taken to the left of the mill and shows the 3 ponds all at different levels, that the spring feeds before the mill.
This beautiful spring is just on the other side of the road from the grist mill and it's spring. Most people overlook this spring. Both springs flow together and form a nice size creek.
Yes-----the sun finally popped out and warmed us up quite a bit. The riding had been great----but the sun just brightened things up a bit.

Ok----had to slip one more picture of my beautiful KLR and Sutton's bluff in here.

Check out the green moss growing it the bottom.

My buddies-----coaxed me out there----I know they were hoping I would get stuck in the deep river gravel and the cameras would be snapping!! I showed them.

Cooks Cave on the Black River

You would have to wade chest high water to get in the cave and we weren't prepared for that---that's for sure. So me and Jay came up with a plan for later. We will come back down in the Jeeps-----our wives can drop me and Jay off in the river in my inflatable raft--we can float down the river and into the cave---then out and further down the river where they can snatch us out of the water at Sutton's Bluff. Sounds like a plan to me---stay tuned !!

Doris said the cave was much bigger inside--I've got to see it.

Motorized vehicles weren't allowed at this location----so I can't figure out for the life of me what that windshield is doing in the picture.

Mark Sampson crossing the Black River near Cooks Cave.
6 riders--one water hole----a little plotting was going on here. As there was still a lot of kid in all of us.
Jay Grafton on his Beemer. Jay had no problem going wherever our KLR's and DR's went.
Paris Dakar style----Mark Sampson-- AKA BigDogAdventures.

When I downsized this picture (for website use) it blurred the intense, evil, shit eatin' grin Tony had on his face as he not only drowned his good friend Jim (on the KLR to the right)---but he drenched Kenny our illustrious ride coordinator and his new fancy smancy expensive digital camera !!! Kenny was dripping wet-----and we all laughed till we almost puked !!!!

Oh hell-----I've had too much fun, let's go home, I can't take anymore !!