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Get lost and ride


There are times that a map could cheat you out of a great ride.

Maps fail to show you the scenic views, the interesting structures along the way and the out of the way stops. It didn’t take long for me to toss the map last weekend when several bikes left Texas County. One of the bikers along on the ride said he had lived in this area for years and had never been down some of the beautiful stretches of roads. Sometimes, the journey of discovery is the best kind.

In pursuit of scenic mills, one has to admit the Ozarks has the best quality preserved grist mills compared to other states.  Houston’s 63 toward Cabool has a left hand turn about five miles before you get to Cabool.  Highway U is a twisty road that will grant the traveler some of the best vistas in Texas County.  This road intersects with highways Y and HH which both lead to Highway 137. Highway HH takes you within three miles of the city limits of Willow Springs and is a favorite when wishing to seek the road less traveled. At Willow Springs, Highway 76 leads to the heart of mill country featuring Topaz, Zanoni, Rockbridge and Hodgson Mills. The loop is worth the time and effort.  Sitting beside the cool clear waters of our natural springs makes the ride so worth it.

Now back to throwing away that map. The leader of our entourage that day made a wrong turn early on in the trip. Not willing to turn back, this led to several highways and miles of road that lead the riders to views that had not seen prior. It is amazing how you can ride for years and still find a stretch of road that you have never ridden!

We met some interesting characters on our jaunt. Two older folks appeared to be enforcing slave labor on the grandchildren when we asked them for the end point of the highway we were travelling. They explained the grandkids were down from Kansas City and were picking up river rocks to take home with them (oh, and by the way, these folks didn’t know where the highway ended). We journeyed on and the sun seemed to be on all sides. It was then that I realized, we might be lost. It took only a moment however to realize that on a motorcycle, you don’t get lost, you get to ride. Where in the world would I rather be but on my bike, in the sun, travelling some of the most beautiful country known to riders?

Around the bend we encountered a two-story, log-sided country store to which we found two ladies cooking up lunch. The Drury Store is a unique place on Highway 181 that caters to fish lovers on Friday nights and locals every other day of the week. The store had been rebuilt on the site of a historic general store that has served that area for generations. It features an open floor plan without walls – yes, you can watch the cooks in the kitchen as they prepare your order! Its country décor invites a relaxed atmosphere. We made plans to go back for an evening dinner ride.

Tuesday nights are “Bike Night” at the Side Street Grill on Steffens Street in Houston. Area riders can enjoy the food, drink specials and camaraderie from 4 p.m. to closing, as well as a ride in a bike show. Winning the People’s Choice trophy last week was Sandy Walker of Elk Creek on her ‘97 Buell.  Trophies are sponsored by the Downtown Cruise In. Rhett Drake, of Side Street, plans to grow the bike night specials as well as the activities. Come out and support his endeavors and see your friends. We recommend the grilled chicken breast with onions and peppers! It is delicious.

The monthly Downtown Motorcycle Cruise In will be 6:30 p.m. July 18 at Twist and Shake in downtown Houston. The streets will be blocked for our cruise in and the fun will be had!  We have several new sponsors. New activities and prizes as well will include water balloons and 36D sling shots!  Come out for fun and friendship and enjoy in our family atmosphere. In my last column, I forgot to mention we have riders from the big town of Roby who attend as well. Thanks to all who come out – let’s break a record for attendance this month!

I have to give a shout out to the Houston Herald for printing this column and for our long distance subscribers as well. Recently a group from our area traveled to New Mexico and a waitress in a café knew where Houston, Mo., was as she told the riders she reads the Houston Herald online and this article!  Motorcycling is a family and the borders keep enlarging.

There are several benefits coming up in our area. Alonzo Tillery, a Willow Springs fellow rider, was injured in a motorcycle crash and a benefit has been planned for 4 p.m. July 20 at the Mountain View Community Center.  There will be a ride in benefit at Emmett Kelly Park here in Houston at noon July 27 for Liam Myrick in honor of his second anniversary of battling stage 4 neuroblastoma.

“Young riders pick a destination and go…old riders pick a direction and go.”

Safe travels friends.

Kerry York is a lady rider and resident of Houston, Mo., who coordinates monthly Houston Downtown Cruise-In events from spring to fall. Email

Local motorcycle riders visited Hodgson Mill last week.

Local motorcycle riders visited Hodgson Mill last week.