Spring, 1985

This is a collection of a number of shorter weekend trips taken in the spring of 1985. I bought the Moto Guzzi motorcycle (which is seen in most of the other trips reports) March 5. The comments for the pictures have been written in November of 2004.

Just the next weekend after I bought the motorcycle, I took it on an overnight trip with the sole intention of breaking in the motor as perfectly as possible. Considering that this engine now has over 260,000 miles on it without major work (2004), I'd say that the 1985 trip was a success.

Just a few days after I bought the bike, I tried to make a recording of the sound of the the engine during acceleration. You can hear it here, but be warned, the quality is really quite awful.


Basically, I rode around the state of Kansas. The photograph, below, is at the Cimarron National Grasslands. This should not be confused with a national park, or anything that might be expected to have a visitors center or park ranger. What we have is just a great deal of land with natural grasses.

I parked the bike (above) and then headed out (about three or four miles) on foot. It's an interesting area.

It is my understanding that at least some of this land was actually under crops until the dust-bowl years put a stop to that once and for all.  Certainly, there is no sign of that, now.

I won't identify any of the plants (because I can't).


This low lying cactus made walking difficult, at times. Up close, it's quite colorful.



A trip through the Ozark mountains in Missouri. The Ozarks extend down into Arkansas, too, of course.

Any of the roads through the Ozarks is a good one. There's not much need to study a map, looking for the best ones. They're all great.  And if you get lost, even better.



This being Spring, the water level of the rivers throughout Missouri was quite high.


The Nebraska National Forest is a man-made creation, with planting done early in the 1900's. Twenty years to the day from when this picture was taken (May 5), much of the forest burned. It was replanted, but it will take time to get back to what it was. In any event, without human help, the forest would never last, anyway (something I learned from my 2004 trip).


On leaving the National Forest (which is not too far from the South Dakota line) I was in danger of catching up with a thunderstorm. So, instead of riding into it, I stopped at a small town to wait for it to dissipate.

Waiting out the storm. This service station had long been idle.


A series of Kansas dirt roads.

I have no idea which river this is, but trust me, we are in Kansas.

I'd guess that this delicate looking plant is nothing more than tall grass going to seed.

The town of Cawker City is one of those marginal Kansas towns that you're just not sure will survive the next fifty years, or not. Cawker is famous (?) for having the world's largest ball of twine. I think that there's another small town in Minnesota that might dispute this, but we'll give Cawker the nod.

The sign says: "Thrift plus patience equals success."


I have been to the Springfield Mile every year, and often twice each year (the races being held on both Memorial Day and Labor Day). This was my first trip.

The temperature was around 100 degrees. Just after I arrived in town, I had a flat tire, the result of a 2" nail in back tire. I removed the rear wheel, and after a couple of phone calls, I was back in business.

The early morning arrivals to the parking lot at the state fair grounds.  I'd guess that there were eventually maybe 3,000 bikes.

The motor maids have opened flat track racing for a very long time.  They are one of the oldest motorcycle organizations, but judging by all the white hair, they have not done such a good job of recruiting new "maids." They are an enthusiastic and independent bunch of women.

At the track...

There are only two brands at the Grand National level: Honda and Harley-Davidson. Note: In 1985 Honda dominated, but after rule changes went against them, Honda dropped their factory support, and these days H-D is uncontested.

The Hondas RS750...

...and the Harley-Davidson XR750


The winner was Bubba Shobert (center), with Ricky Graham in second (on the right), and Scott Parker (being interviewed) in third. 


A small town in Oklahoma when the custom cutters arrived.


A return to the Kansas Flint Hills. You must go off the pavement if you want to see this area.

This sudden outcropping gives some clue as to why the land has never been under the plow.

Kansas wildflowers.


 This is the South Fork River, not far from Cassoday.

The cool shade was a nice place to get away from the heat.

An abandoned school-house, far away from any town or paved road.

There are many such houses throughout Kansas

It might be worth noting that the car (below) is not in a ditch.  The grass is tall, and not easy to walk through.


Central Missouri is a very popular vacation spot. At times it's bumper-to-bumper.

Near St. Joseph, Missouri.

Standing on the bank of the Missouri River.


The Moto Guzzi National Owner's Club Rally in Abilene, Kansas

The college at St Mary's (founded 1869). The main entrance faces the railroad, which is reasonable considering that nobody would be arriving over the roads that existed at the time. This is a memorial to the people of the college of St Mary's that were killed in the First World War (although the word "first" is not used).

Part of the complex is in ruins, from a fire many years ago.

The Beecher Bible and Rifle Church.

This church is an important part of the Bleeding Kansas period in Kansas history.

Both sides of the slavery issue were bringing in people to vote the state in as either a free state or a slave state. The free-staters eventually won, but it was a very hard-fought thing.


I always return to the Flint Hills


last edit: 3/6/2007