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Old 06-12-2013, 05:22 PM   #1
forest explorer
Joined: Jan 2013
Location: Missouri lower ozarks
Oddometer: 27
“Catch a Tiger by its Tail” a Memorial Day weekend ride in the Ozarks

MOFOREST (Mike) Illinois farm boy and forester baptized into Missouri redneckedness

Randy “Marathon runner, mechanical engineer, and doer of all things adventurous”

MOYZF (Trae) Mechanical engineer, born and raised Missourian livin the dream in Chi town

It all started last fall, I was talking about motorcycles with my cousin Randy and both of us were discussing getting rid of our sportsters for some kind of adventure bike. In the mean time I had found ADVrider and thoroughly enjoy reading ride reports from people all over the world. We began to plot and plan for a western adventure ride in the fall of 2013. Randy decided he would look for a f 800GS BMW or a Triumph Tiger 800 xc, and I was looking to get a 09 up klr as I lived in the heart of Missouri dual sport country and needed something basic for commuter duty and dual sport weekends. I listed my bike on Craigslist and he began to look at new bikes at his local dealerships.
Something however happened that changed the plan. I found out we were having a new baby girl in July (my third) and Randy had his first on the way due at the end of August. We both agreed that a fall trip leaving our wives with new babies for a week would most likely not be in the best interest for either of us. So we hatched a new plan. Randy would haul his bike down from Iowa with his wife to my place in the heart of the Missouri Ozarks and we would do some adventure riding around the area during Memorial Day weekend. It would probably be good to brush up on our dirt skills before we decided to do some big trip anyways. Only problem was it was March already and neither of us had a bike yet, I put my bike back on Craigslist and sold it to a guy in St Louis and as luck would have it I drove across the river to Illinois and paid cash the same day for a low mile super clean 2009 klr that I had also found on craigslist. The bike was great had less than 3000 miles and had never even been off of the pavement (this would soon change), Randy ended up trading his sportster in for a new black 800 XC in April,
Now time for some farkles. I put on SW Motech crash bars, swapped out the duck bill front fender for a KTM supermoto, replaced the rear tire with a skinko 700 and bought a used Garmin 76 and a ram mount. Randy put on some engine guards, a skid plate, center stand and most importantly some K60 Scouts to replace the stock road treads.
Randy’s engineering friend Trae (MOYZF) from Chicago also decided he would join us. He planned to ride the 430 miles from Chicago on his decked out 2011 tiger 800 and meet up with us at my house in Eminence

The plan for weekend was to ride as much scenic forest roads/county gravel as possible and meet up at some of the tourist sites though out the day to catch a bite to eat with the wives and kids. Shannon county Missouri is 1000 square miles and only has 8000 residents, with nearly 80 % of the county publicly or semi-publically owned by the various state and federal agencies. It has wild horses, Missouri’s only wild free ranging elk herd, and some of the best paddling anywhere in the Midwest, and might also add that it contains nearly 1000 miles of gravel roads/trails with 100’s of low water crossings which equates to some great dual sport day trippin if you know where you are going.

MOFOREST screwed with this post 06-12-2013 at 06:17 PM
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Old 06-12-2013, 05:34 PM   #2
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When I first saw your location refer to Missouri as dual sporters heaven, I was intrigued. I do not hold that opinion for the KC area anyway. I'll keep an eye on this one. Have not explored southern Missouri yet.
2013 CRF250L - 2009 DL650 - 1997 GL1500SE - 2005 DR-Z400S - 2008 DL650A - 2008 ST1300 - 2009 KLR650 - 2002 DR-Z400S - 1987 RM 250 - 1980 KD-80
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Old 06-12-2013, 05:53 PM   #3
forest explorer
Joined: Jan 2013
Location: Missouri lower ozarks
Oddometer: 27
Day 1


Day 1 map

We all meet up before noon on Saturday at my house and did some last minute bike maintenance before loading up and hitting the trail. First a short trip up 19 highway to round spring river access then off into the sunklands conservation area. Sunklands is a 37,000 acre block of state owned forest with no houses- all gravel and woods trails. From sunklands we travelled into Spring Valley

Taking a break in Spring Valley

We then took the back way to Alley springs and find some of the first wet low water crossings.
alley overlook

low water crossing on the back way to alley spring

We met up with the family at the campground and eat a late lunch. From there we travelled some back roads from Alley spring back up 19 highways to sinking creek and off into the Roger Prior Backcountry which is arguably the most remote area in Missouri and probably in all of the Midwest. Everyone was having a blast and everyone seem to be getting their gravel legs under them

One of the state conservation areas

I had been leading all day since I knew where everything was located but the two in the back were getting dusted out pretty bad. We decided to trade out lead and I would point which way to turn when we got to an intersection. Trae was the first to lead, we travelled all the way to bee bluff which is a remote primitive access on the current river . It is about 20 miles of gravel off of the highway.

On the way back out I decided to offer for Randy to lead. Randy and I grew up together the we both learned to ride on his dads old Honda XL 125, Randy had only one speed growing up, all out, so I thought to myself this could be interesting.

As we climb out of the river valley up the steep and loose trail it was Randy leading followed by Myself and then Trae. Trae was getting a little low on fuel and was taking it easy. As we exited the spur road Randy and I were within a few 100 feet of each other, I looked down to check my GPS and throttled out as I came out of the intersection. Unknown to me Randy had stopped to wait for Trae and I was aimed right toward him with my wrist rolling on all 33 hp. Had to make a quick a stop with the front brake or plow right in to him. Locked up front brake, tire washes out down I go. Bumping into Randy's rear tire. catching the tiger by its tail. Guess what, all this talk about ATGATT is important.

Although I had a good jacket with armor( tourmaster) and a good helmet, I was just wearing blue jeans and mechanics gloves big mistake. Gravel makes short work of jeans and my gloves slipped forward causing me to embedded gravel into my palm. I quick shut off the bike and start to lift it back up and survey the damage. Bloody bruised knee and palm on right side, Bike is in pretty good shape the SW Motech bars had done there job, no bent bars, even my throw over klr bags survived. I was glad I bought the crash bars as it surely would have destroyed the side plastic and most likely the radiator.

I bandaged myself up the best I could with my cheap first aid kit and we decided to head back to the house as Trae is low on fuel and it was getting around 6 and we had about hour ride back. Total damage--- one ripped pair of jeans ,a 33 year old with bruised (knee and ego), and a scratched crash bar. I now have some good fieldshear pants with CE armor, no more skinned and bruised knees lesson learned. On the way back I ‘m trying to stay comfortable with my knee and switch back and forth from standing on the pegs and sitting and end up missing our turn by a couple of miles and we have to turn around and go back.

bandaging myself up

We return to the house and take it easy for a while and grill out some porkchops. Total miles for the day 120.

MOFOREST screwed with this post 06-12-2013 at 06:30 PM
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Old 06-13-2013, 11:11 AM   #4
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Joined: May 2009
Location: Fort Mill, SC
Oddometer: 274
You don't want an adventure bike without character, right? It's like the old crappy dresser in my sons room he drew all over as a kid, or the footboard on one of my beds he chewed on when he was teething. Those things are like gold to me. Those character marks will cement a good days ride for you now. It's all good.

Nice RR, I miss AR alot. Grew up there, but joined the Navy and haven't been back for more than a couples weeks at a time. So many good roads out there, compared to Charlotte NC metro area. It's like the have a vendetta against dirt roads here or something. Thankfully a few big Natl parks aren't too far away.

Ride safe.
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Old 06-14-2013, 05:45 AM   #5
forest explorer
Joined: Jan 2013
Location: Missouri lower ozarks
Oddometer: 27
Day 2

GPS track Day 2

Trae got up early the next morning and travelled some gravel county roads south of Eminence, Randy and I went to Sunday Service with the family and we all met up at the house after lunch to travel to Coot mountain to climb the fire tower there. When I first moved to Missouri I lived at the residence there and manned the firetower during fire season. The gate is usually locked but its a short walk to the top and the views from the tower are spectacular.

View from the tower

Another view looking down river

From Coot Mountain we travelled to Rocky Falls another popular tourist spot,

Rocky Falls

Klepzig Mill

From there we travelled to klepzig mill, this could have proven to be the most adventurist part of the trip as Randy was back in the lead (notice a trend). I had warned everyone about a deep low water crossing but it had been a few years since I had travelled there and I couldn’t remember were the crossings was or how deep. We travel to the mill coming in from the south entrance and continue on. The next crossing looked deep, but Randy gave it about 2 seconds to determine whether he could make it and he bailed in. About half way across the k 60 scouts lost traction and the bike stall stuck on a large boulder, the rear tire is completely submerged and he manages to hold the bike up without it tipping over, He fires it back up and paddles his way to the other side.

I look at the crossing and it really doesn’t look that bad I figure he just took a bad line and ended up in a deep area with slick cobble so I decide to go for it taking a different route, Nope the whole thing is deep and covered with slick boulders, Randy gets behind me and helps me make it to the other side. Two soak riders but no hydrolocked engines. One Tiger and a Klr have conquered the crossing. I pull my side cover to make sure my air box is dry. Trae has much more sense than us heads back around to meet us at the highway, which was a smart move as he has a 400 mile trip back to Chicago the next day and hydrolocking a $10,000 bike is probably not the most intelligent thing to do.

doesn't look that deep

looking back across the crossing

After that adventure we travel back to the highway and head over to blue spring

From Blue Spring I suggest that we try to look for the wild horse at shawnee creek which is on the way back to the house. I decided to stop and video Trae and Randy crossing a boring concrete water crossing, as we had not taken any video for the day, As Trae went through I thought well this is a waste of memory on my card as it look really boring and uneventfull, Randy decided to change that. Mossy concrete 50/50 tires and 90 hp is not a good combination

Watch the video.

Bent footpeg
Damaged passenger peg
Broke turn signal
Scratched handguard and mirror
Scratched engine guard
Randy was a little bruised, but no big deal since he participated in a triatholon the next weekend.

Exciting end to day 2
We decide to head back to house ,forget the stupid horses…..

MOFOREST screwed with this post 06-14-2013 at 12:28 PM
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Old 06-14-2013, 11:49 AM   #6
AZ Mark
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Location: Wickenburg AZ
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Thanks for taking us along...
Mark, a Misplaced Farm Boy....
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Old 06-15-2013, 12:14 PM   #7
forest explorer
Joined: Jan 2013
Location: Missouri lower ozarks
Oddometer: 27
Day 3

I roll out of bed late, still sore from my get off, Trae has looked at the weather and a large band of thunderstorms is brewing to the west so he decides to head out early as he needs to get back to Chicago by that evening. We decided that we will all ride up with him to Salem on Highway 19. If you have not ridden Highway 19 you are missing out, it is rated as one of the best riding roads in the country. I am about half asleep and hurry out of the house without coffee or breakfast, but soon wake up because there are turtles all over the road. I felt like I was part of some 1980’s video game. Trae does a good job pointing them out and we manage to make it to Salem withouth any turtles fatalities. I was surprised that even though the klr only has 33 hp and tigers have around 90 hp I was able to keep up and did just about as well in the curves as them. I just have to shift more. Tigers and Klrs mix really well for this kind of riding, Klr maybe slightly better in the dirt, but the tigers are great on the road, but overall no one was waiting for anyone all weekend.

Day 3 Map

After we get back Randy and I decide to take some back roads along the river as the horse trail ride has ended and they are once again passable. From there we grab a bite in town at the Dairy Shack and head out to swimming hole at Alley Springs.
My boy riding with the big kids back to the house

Randy rolled out after lunch but before they left I got a chance to ride Randy’s 800XC All I got to say is that is one awesome bike, the power is unbelievable and it is super smooth even with the K60 scouts. It was a great weekend had by all even though we had a couple of get-offs. Total mileage for the three days was 320. Wish I would have taken more riding photos and video's but was having to much fun to stop.

Can’t wait for our next trip, I don’t think either Randy or I have been missing our Harleys any. If you live in the Midwest and have not experience riding in the Ozarks your missing out.
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Old 06-15-2013, 04:25 PM   #8
forest explorer
Joined: Jan 2013
Location: Missouri lower ozarks
Oddometer: 27
Originally Posted by jsmithy View Post
When I first saw your location refer to Missouri as dual sporters heaven, I was intrigued. I do not hold that opinion for the KC area anyway. I'll keep an eye on this one. Have not explored southern Missouri yet.
hopefully this gives you a better idea of the types of roads in southern part of state. Wish I would of took more video and pictures of the rough stuff. Check out the Missouri adventure riders thread in the regional forums, lots of inmates riding here in the ozarks
2013 memorial day ride in the ozarks
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Old 06-15-2013, 07:18 PM   #9
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Joined: Nov 2007
Location: Branson MO
Oddometer: 962
Yep, there's big difference between the MO of the Mo and Miss and the edge of the great plains and the Ozarks that occupy the southern part of the state.
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Old 11-15-2013, 08:26 AM   #10
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Joined: Dec 2003
Location: Southern Missouri
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what? no devils well? no akers ferry crossing? no k kk sign pics? no ice cream pics from the dairy shack?
Get to work, millions on welfare are depending on you
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Old 11-19-2013, 09:36 AM   #11
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Joined: Nov 2012
Location: "The Ozarks" Southwest Missouri
Oddometer: 75
thanks for the vids
Have had: Girelli Bronco 50, XR 75, YZ80, MX175, TS250, XR350R, XR500R, XL600R, 49ccRuckus, DR200, GS1100E, F650GS
Have: TW200, DRZ400S, Tiger955i
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