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Cruising for all ages; keep to the roads

When you can’t ride due to rain and high water, you get a bit of a hemmed-in feeling.

Days off in summer are for sunshine and the highway, not dreaming.  On an overcast day last week, I felt glum.  Roads were wet, I had seen too many rainy days and needed to get out. Seeking adventure, I teasingly asked my 19 year old, “Hey, wanna kayak the Piney today?”

Well, I wasn’t totally serious, but as soon as the challenge was off my lips he responded “yeah!,” and from that moment began my cruise down the Piney during the flood of 2013.

Now this was a Thursday – seems we do all our crazy stuff on Thursdays!  All of our cruise ins are on Thursday nights, too. We arrived at Dogs Bluff to find the water meeting us just beyond the picnic area. It was murky and looked a whole lot like chocolate milk — foam and all. The bridge marker read 12-feet above normal. Well, that wouldn’t be bad, I thought, as many times you have to pick up and drag during the floating season. No dragging today!  It took about a 1/2-mile for me to realize that the son and I had no business out there on that river that day. We were taught a great lesson about trees and current within that first 1/2-mile. Arriving at Mineral Springs in a swift 75 minutes, we were barely able to see the conservation department signage that was peeking out of the water.  Jacob and I made it and we can say we conquered, but I will stick to cruising the highways for a while.

Houston’s Downtown Cruise In Thursday night was awesome with the cool temps. Many of the bikers donned leather to head home – some to as far as Salem – after enjoying an evening of good food, friends conversing and of course games!

Bikers challenged their mounted shooting skills, as 15 white helium balloons weighted with water bottles were targeted with water guns filled with red, green and blue food colored water.  Neal Jones from Bucyrus won this event with a little backtracking, but Jeff Scott, of Raymondville, and newcomer Justin Chandler, of Salem, were tied for the win without cheating.

A timed obstacle course was very popular and challenging.  Bikers young and old attempted the course and the best time of 23 seconds went to Shannon Wright, Salem. Many thanks to those who participated and to the city who allows us to block off the portion of Grand and have the event.  Stealing the limelight was Braden Martin, first time cruise in participant who also now holds the title of youngest cruise in rider at age 10.  He is a tough guy too! Riding in on a black mini-chopper with some sputtering and spitting, Braden looked at that obstacle course with determination.  His bike wasn’t cooperating, but Braden stayed with the course. This wasn’t an easy task as this bike was a kick start. He finished the course with the applause and hoops and hollers of the other members. Great job, man, and thanks to his dad, Michael Martin, also attending on two wheels, who brought him up to the event.

The cruise ins are for all ages!

Sponsors for the August cruise in are Memories and Dreams and the newly owned and managed Simply Sweets.  Both businesses donated prizes for the event as well as stayed open during the cruise in for patrons. Thank you for investing in downtown activities. Special thanks to D&L Florist as well for donating a gift certificate as a prize.  Shari McCallister wanted to donate in honor of her dad who also had been a rider.

If you would like to get involved in the cruise ins downtown you have one more month as the September cruise in will be our last for 2013. After the cruise ins end, you can still enjoy Bike Night every Tuesday at Side Street Grill from 4 p.m. to closing.

There are two types of people in this world: those that ride motorcycles, and those who wish they did.

See you all next month!  Ride safe.

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

Behind the Handlebars header

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 kyorkrn@ymail.com.

Local motorcycle riders visited Hodgson Mill last week.

Local motorcycle riders visited Hodgson Mill last week.