Feed on

Well, we made it down there and we made it back, and we had a good damn time while out of town. Joel, Christi, & I left out of KCMO on Friday morning around 8:30 a.m. We made it down to Blanchard Springs in the early afternoon, giving us plenty of time to set up camp, then take a little tour of part of the Yellow trail, out to a magnificent overlook:

Tom Yahl, Joel, & Christi taking in the view.

Said view.
This little spin was just the thing to knock the carsickness off of me, and to get us all in the mood for the weekend of riding ahead of us. It also got me in the photography mood. I snapped a few pictures that day, and scouted a few spots I planned on re-visiting later in the weekend.

On Saturday, Joel was planning to ride with a group that would be re-tracing the 50-mile Syllamo’s Revenge race course. Joel, Scott Cotter, and John Harter rode it together, and Greg Rupp ventured out on his own. I had already made other plans. I remembered sections of the Yellow and Green trails from last year, specifically this gnarly, rocky stretch which wends its way along the side of the mountain with a shocking drop off to the outside of the trail. It’s a nasty ledge with nothing but DOWN if you wipe out to the outside. When I rode it last year, I swear to you I almost had a nervous breakdown. There definitely was hysteria involved; hyperventilating, panicky giggling, and a conviction that I would never get off the side of that mountain alive. Needless to say, with that in mind, I had no intention of trying to follow that course. My skills are not all that (they’re significantly newbish, honestly) and my nerves aren’t exactly the best, either. Too strong of a catastrophic imagination.

My favorite picture of Christi from the weekend.

So, while the Big Fifty ride was going on, and other, more skillful riders were exploring the more technical trails, I planned on going on a photo ride. Christi was into a mellow cruise, so we rode together. She bore with marvelous good grace my constant stopping to crawl around on the forest floor taking pictures of fungus. Fungus seemed to be a major theme in my picture-taking. I got inspired by a great big bracket fungus on a tree-stump near that overlook, and just decided to go where the mushrooms led me, so to speak.

This here’s the bracket fungus that started it all.

And here it is, head-on.

Here’s a little white mushroom (actually, it was pretty good sized…about the size of the lid off a spray-paint can) with a strange rainbow reflection shining on a small divot in its top. You may need to view the large size of this image to truly appreciate the little rainbow spot. I don’t know why or how that got there, but I really like it.

This is actually technically a better mushroom picture. It’s much clearer and you get a better idea of the scale of the darn thing.

These mushrooms had cool, pearlescent tops. It looked like the sides of the mushroom were kind of fuzzy and the tops looked like satin.

I was also kind of obsessed with spiderwebs and cobwebs.

Obsessed, I tells ya!

If you want to look through the rest of my photoset (which I promise isn’t entirely pictures of fungus and spiderwebs) you should go here! Some of the other Earthriders shared pictures from the festivities. Stan G. took copious pictures over the weekend which Ben “Dover” Bolin is hosting. Pete Barth’s pictures can be found here. Tactfully, Pete has omitted to publish a couple of derriere expositions from Friday night’s campfire hijinks. Ben McCall brought some of his professional photography rig with him, and took some truly breathtaking photos. You should seriously check out Ben’s photoset. Go. Do it!

On Sunday morning most of the Earthriders headed back for Kansas City. Since the three of us had scheduled Monday off, we decided to do a little more goofing around and leave in midafternoon, to return to KC around 10 or 11 p.m. We did another trip out the Yellow trail to the overlook, where I got the bracket fungus pictures. Christi asked to borrow my camera, and I let her, thinking she’d found some view or perspective I’d never considered. She did:

When we rode back out of the Yellow trail, I was starting to get my “offroad brain” working, and was gaining confidence in my descents (my weakest area offroad). I made it through a pretty good rock-garden only having to dab once, and made it most of the way through a second, smaller one. I wrecked a little in that rock-field, but not too bad. The rock I was rolling over was wobbly, and launched me off the trail. I didn’t actually go “splat” so I was really damn pleased with myself.

After we got back, we struck camp, and decided to stop at the Blanchard Springs Caverns on the way out. I’m very glad we did, because it was truly amazing.

Another one best viewed large. This is my desktop wallpaper at work now.

You feel so tiny and insignificant inside this grandiose, ancient space. I can’t articulate how overwhelming (and cool) the caverns are.

Other highlights of the weekend: the sweet, satisfying scent of hot pine trees, how luxuriously wonderful a hot shower felt after a day of sweating on a bike, the camaraderie of smartassing around the campfire, surprising Posson with Sean & Pete’s beautifully crafted plaque and the Plaza gift certificate we all chipped in for. (Posson had worked toward getting a significant grant for trail development out at Lake of the Ozarks and has done an incredible amount of work out there, as well as closer to home, and it was the Lake of the Ozarks project we were especially recognizing). It was so much fun to get out of town, have a weekend of great riding, good food, and beautiful sightseeing. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to do something like this.

2 Responses to “Bonktoberfest 2007 sort-of wrap-up”

  1. Matt says:


    I am contacting you because I am working with the authors of a book about blogs, and I’d like to request permission to use the photograph you have posted in this book. Please contact me at matt@wefeelfine.org, and I’d be happy to give you more information about the project. Please paste a link to your blog in the subject field. Your assistance is greatly appreciated.



  2. […] started their fall migration were chirping like little maniacs up in the trees. It felt like a Bonktoberfest morning. On a couple of other days, I have smelled woodsmoke from somebody’s fireplace or […]

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