Every year, usually on the first weekend in June there is a dual sport ride held in Eureka, KS. Its free to ride, free to camp, and this year there was even a free breakfast the morning of the ride. The ride is organized by the Backroads Touring Kansas organization and has grown to one of Kansas’ largest dual sport rides. They call it the “Flint Hills Stampede”
I missed the 2013 Stampede so I wasn’t going to miss it this year, especially since Eureka Kansas is only 120 miles away. The weekend was planned, waivers filled out, tires checked and bags packed. I was even able to convince my father-in-law Chris to join me. Friday morning Chris and I, both on KLR650's and Doug on his Triumph Tiger headed north towards Eureka.
We all had reservations at the hotel so our first stop was to drop off gear. I was using my Iphone in my new Ram Xgrip (review here) so navigation was simple. After a short break we rode to the campground north of Eureka. At the campground we met up with about a dozen other riders who had chosen to rough it. Set on the north edge of the Eureka city lake the campground is large and open with plenty of room between campsites.
Chris and I returned to the hotel just in time for another group to invite us out to eat. Hanging out at a really cool bar and grill we were able to meet some of the local riders. They helped us to make the decision on what ride leader we wanted to be with and pointed us in the direction of the nearest liquor store.
Friday night was a social event both at the campground and in the hotel parking lot. Lots of standing around in the parking lot and comparing bikes, battle scars and talking about what the next day had in store.
Saturday morning was busy at the hotel. Bikes started firing up in the parking lot and heading over to the campground around daylight. You don’t want to be late to the ride, especially because the Christian Motorcyclists Association cooks a great free breakfast.
There was a rider meeting, then a prayer. Then about 60 riders split up between ride leaders based on one of three skill levels; scenic, intermediate and advanced. This year Chris and I chose the scenic ride hoping to have a chance to take some pictures. Doug was needing to be home by Saturday evening so he chose an intermediate group that had a ride planned to go south. Doug’s plan was to ride with them south then break off and head back home.
The 2014 ride was going to be different than previous years. There was a huge bicycle race scheduled for the same weekend in the area that the Stampede usually rides in. Due to safety, the ride routes were changed to go farther southeast of Eureka. The route change eliminated a few of the more remote areas I was looking forward to.
Our ride was led by an expert who had planned a ride going to a few of the local attractions. Our first rest stop was at the top of a large hill in the middle of cattle country. There were rolling hills with scattered boulders and it felt like you could see forever. It was then we discovered we had lost a few riders. The area we had just gone through wasn’t deep mud, but it was slick and most of it was uphill. A rider on a Suzuki V-strom had gone down when his front tire locked up with mud caked between the fender and tire. He was not injured, and the easiest thing to do was to remove the fender. When he got back to the group the fender was reattached and never caused a problem. Peter (pictured kneeling on the left) helped him get sorted out and back on the trail while I stood around taking pictures.
The Flint Hills area of Kansas is wide open with rolling hills. It was nice to have a ride leader from the area lead us around from one interesting place to another. The ride was mostly gravel and dirt roads with some grown over and reclaimed by cattle. There were quite a few water crossings, however none were more than a few inches deep. Recent rains help to keep the dust down and there was only a few areas where the mud was troublesome.
At the end of the day our group totaled 180 miles, had one flat, and only one time where the group separated. We were able to experience everything the Flint hills had to offer from good food, good riding and some beautiful scenery. The ride leader set a brisk pace and everyone returned tired and dirty. There were a few drops, and one significant wreck. A rider caught a rut and landed on his right arm causing a pretty large laceration. He ended up leaving the ride and going back to the campsite.
On Sunday, before returning to Oklahoma, Chris and I wanted to see Teter Rock. It sets high on a hill overlooking the now ghost town of Teter Kansas. Teter Rock is a tribute to James Teter who constructed a waypoint in order to direct early settlers towards the Cottonwood River. The town and original pile of rocks are now gone, but a 16' long rock monument is there. It is truly a beautiful thing to see. There was a local rider that was going there also and offered to lead us. The ride is mostly graded gravel until you reach the actual monument then it turns into a rutted two track. Reaching Teter Rock was definitely the highlight of the trip for me. It was standing on top of a large hill surrounded by a herd of wild horses!
Its great to see a group of riders who are willing to get together and host a ride of this size. I highly suggest you attend the Flint Hills Stampede. The entire weekend has a nice atmosphere with groups going to explore different areas on both Friday and Sunday with the main ride going on Saturday. We were able to eat, ride, and drink with some interesting people who we wouldn't have met hadn't gone. More information can be found on the Backroads Touring Kansas website at http://www.backroadstouring.org
2015 Flint Hills Stampede
The planning is well underway for the 2015 Stampede and information can be found on the 2015 Stampede website. I'm sure the ride will be just as entertaining this year as it was last year. Better get your tent or reservations ready because the ride this year is on MAY 29-31 2015!
This article was written by Jacob Roby. More about Jacob can be found here: http://www.spiritstrike.com/jacob-roby/
On the 2014 Flint Hills Stampede i used the following gear:
- Sidi Discover Boots (review here)
- Klim Dakar Gloves (review here)
- Ram X-grip (review here)
- LS2 MX453 (review here)
- DoubleTake mirror (review here)
- Michelin T63 dual sport tires (review here)