Missouri Adventure Loop

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by ajayhawkfan, Jun 10, 2019.

  1. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    Missouri has so much to offer ADV riders. The State topography goes from the Ozarks in South West and South Central Missouri to the Mississippi River Valley in the South East. It has the Loess Hills in the North West and the Mississippi River Bluffs in the North East. The Western Plains reach into West Central Missouri.

    This state has a fascinating history as well. The state has been inhabited for over 7,000 years by Native Americans, then came the French and Spanish and then and finally the Americans. There are disappearing colony or Irish, many civil war battles and historic mills and so much more.

    The State Of Missouri also has fantastic roads throughout most of the state that I believe an ADV would enjoy.

    There are a few routes across the state but I found nothing that circumnavigated the entire state so I decided to create one from waypoints that I have collected over 35 years of traveling the State of Missouri for business and pleasure.

    A few of my goals when creating the route (in case anyone wanted to use the route beside me)
    1. Explore the unique topography and history of Missouri
    2. Be able to complete the trip in one week
    3. Be big ADV bike friendly
    4. Spend most of the time riding off blacktop

    I ended up with an 1800 mile route around Missouri that travels completely around Missouri (When @Get_Bent and I rode the route it was 2100 miles because of the backtracking caused by flooding). The route is about 50% blacktop and 50% gravel and/or dirt roads. We spent about 70-75% of our traveling time on the gravel/dirt roads.

    An overview of the route:

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    As you can see the route stays away from the major metropolitan areas of Kansas City, St. Louis and Springfield as well as the travel headache of Branson.

    I have stops at historic battlefields, Native America villages, historic mills and unique towns.

    Get_Bent and I stayed in motels however there is plenty of places to camp (especially in the southern half of the state) and gas is never far from the route.

    I will be posting the tracks soon but I'm still cleaning them up.
    #1
  2. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    Higginsville to Nevada.

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    Mike (get_bent) and I started our route at the Confederate Memorial State Historic Park in Higginsville, MO at 1:00 PM

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    The memorial shows the "Lion of Lucerne" with its face clearly in pain and its right paw resting on the Great Seal of the Confederacy. At this time I know of no protests against the memorial however there are rules about what flags can be flown and when they can be flown.

    The state park was once home to the Confederate Soldiers Home of Missouri. It had 1600 Civil War Vets living here for 60 years. There is a restored chapel and cemetery. There are more than 800 Confederate Vets that lived on the property buried here.

    Crossing the Marais des Cygnes River in Bates County. The river was cresting at that time. We didn't have trouble with high water at this time but did later during the route.

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    South of here, almost to Nevada is the Osage Village State Park and National Historic Landmark. This was an Osage Village here the had over 200 lodges and 2000 t0 3000 people. The village was use between 1700 and 1775. There is a nice interpretive trail explaining the area.

    In Nevada there is the Bushwacker Jail and Museum. Built around 1860 and used for 100 years. The museum focus' on the Border War and the Civil War. If interested where the Civil War became hot in the 1850's this is a museum for you.

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    Not on the route but not far, Drywood Battle Field: (N37° 49.182' W94° 29.172', waypoint included)

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    Note: It is a half day ride between the Confederate Memorial and Nevada and 122 miles.
    #2
  3. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

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    Thanks for this Mr. Jay Hawk---------------will probably do this at some point--when the water goes down. I've ridden in Missouri all my life----but I'm thinkin' you found stuff and roads I've never been on.
    BigDog
    #3
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  4. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    Nevada to Cassville

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    South of Nevada, along the tracks you'll come across two dirt bike symbols. These road can be a little tough on a big bike if it is wet.

    Further south is a "X" symbol. From time to time the crossing is washed out.

    The route takes you though Prairie State Park.

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    One third of Missouri (13 million acres) was covered by tall grass prairie now only 65,000 area remain. This park is Missouri’s largest remaining tallgrass prairie landscape. The park is about 4000 acres with a gravel road through the middle of the park. Prairie State park has a free roaming bison and elk herd. I have had to stop for the herd of bison to cross the road.

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    There is a nice visitor center along the road and camping is allowed in designated areas.

    The route take you though Carthage (along Historic Route 66) and to Battle of Carthage Civil War Museum. The battle took place July 5, 1861, three months after the firing on Fort Sumter. It was the second battle in Missouri and a Confederate victory.

    Newtonia is further south. There is a historic civil war cemetery marked that is worth visiting.

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    Buried in the cemetery is Capt. Robert Christian.

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    Christian was one of the most notorious figures of the war in Southwest Missouri:

    Excerpt from a 1931 Interview of Thomas Sallee of Exeter, Missouri about Christian.


    "One of the most noted guerrillas in the country at that time was a fellow by the name of Christian who claimed to be a Union man or Home Guard. He had a number of followers. His gang killed Ace Chilcutt, Tom Dillworth, Dock Harris and Elias Price who were hiding in the hills west of where Exeter now is. The men were all shot in the right eye and the top of their heads blown off. Their brains were taken out and put in their hats which were set beside their bodies. Tom Sallee's father helped haul the men in and bury them. They were all buried in one large grave in the old Packwood cemetery.

    The Christian gang burned many houses in that part of the country, claiming that the owners were Confederate sympathizers. Later on a man by the name of Moore, who was one of General Joe Shelby’s scouts and whose father Christian had killed, asked his commander for a few days’ furlough in order that he might kill Christian. The furlough was granted. He killed Christian near Newtonia, cut off his scalp and beard, tied it to his horse’s bridle and rode over the country showing the scalp to many people whose homes Christian had burned. Mr. Sallee’s wife, then a young girl named Nancy Hale, saw the scalp. Moore rode over the country and gave every widow whose house Christian had burned $10.00. This incident marked the ending of the Christian gang in Southwest Missouri."

    In Newtonia stands the Mathew Ritchey home, built in 1851-52.

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    Newtonia changed hands several times during the war and would be the HQ of the occupining army. It was also a hospital following local battles. The First Battle of Newtonia, Sept 30, 1862 was a Confederate Victory and the Second Battle of Newtonia on Oct. 28, 1864 and was a Union victory. The second battle was the end of General Prices raid into Missouri.

    The plains are giving away to the Ozark Mountains with towering bluffs along creeks and rivers and road.

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    #4
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  5. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    Next stop Roaring River State Park and Spring.

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    Picture by Tommy Hornbeck, Universities Space Research Association

    Roaring River Spring is about 10 feet across and explored to the depth of 223 feet. The average daily flow is 26 million gallons. The spring feeds Roaring River and is stocked with trout. Camping, cabins and a motel are in the park.

    Nevada to Cassville is 180 miles
    #5
  6. misanthropic

    misanthropic Zero

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    How does a self respecting feller from Missouri call himself a Jawhawk fan? Signed Gentry county native me.
    #6
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  7. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    I hope you do and when finished write a good ride report.
    #7
  8. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    Two reasons.
    1. KU Basketball
    2. Daughter went to KU as did my money
    #8
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  9. misanthropic

    misanthropic Zero

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    Looking forward to the rest of the report.
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  10. yosso

    yosso We gotta go now. Supporter

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    Wonderful start, subscribed.

    Wish you had grabbed the SW Missouri tag at the Prairie State Park.
    #10
  11. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    I hope people read the info about Robert Christian. It was a brutal time in American History and SW MO.

    DETOUR TO ARKANSAS:

    While at the Civil War Cemetery I asked Mike (Get_Bent from Minnesota) if he had ever visited Pea Ridge Battlefield and/or Eureka Springs. He had not. IF you have not been to either, I highly recommend going.

    The MO Loop takes a rider to within a mile of the state line and just north of Pea Ridge National Battlefield.

    Our first stop was at the visitor center and watched the film about the battle. It is worth learning about the battle before riding through the battlefield.

    A views from the overlook in Pea Ridge"

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    We also stopped at Elkhorn Tavern:

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    The Battle of Pea Ridge is also know as the Battle of Elkhorn Tavern (March 7 & 6, 1862) and was a major battle in the Civil War. 10,500 Union troops beat 16,500 Confederates. The casulities totaled 3,384, almost 10% of those fighting were lost.

    Late 1862 and Early 1863 Confederate troops were pushed out of Missouri. Union Forces moved into NW Arkansas. Confederate forces launched a counter offensive to take back NW Arkansas and Missouri.

    With the defeat of the Confederates Missouri the Union had control over Northern Arkansas and Missouri was never seriously threatened.

    After visiting the Battlefield we rode to Eureka Springs for the night. I highly recommend eating at the SKY BAR located on the top floor of the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa. Request an outdoor table. The view is worth it.

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    The follow day we left Eureka Springs and used the Beaver Bridge to crossed the White River (upper park to Table Rock Lake) at Beaver, AR:

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    This detour meets the Missouri Adventure Loop at the intersection of Farm Road 2280 and Forest Road 198. While riding Farm Road 2280 you are on an old railroad grade that went from Joplin, MO to Seligman, MO to Eureka Springs, AR and eventually to Helena, AR. The work started in 1882. The RR was eventually known as the Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad.

    Missouri and North Arkansas RR Grade.

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    If there has been rain Forest Road 198 has a number of waterfalls falling from the cliff on your left. 198 will take you to Sugar Camp National Forest Scenic Byway and this overlook before getting to Roaring River State Park.

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    Get_Bent at the overlook:

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    Detour is 56 miles
    #11
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  12. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

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    Will do -----down South now----probably be fall before I do your ride---when it cools off and the leaves are turning
    You know what------I always go to the Falling Leaf BMW rally in October and take off from there for a week or two of riding. Probably do your ride then.

    Will be on my Honda 250 rally.
    BigDog
    #12
  13. Get_Bent

    Get_Bent Long timer

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    It's a fantastic ride when you can just follow along and enjoy the scenery as well as get a history lesson when you arrive at a spot. Great job on this Ed. Very memorable
    #13
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  14. ajayhawkfan

    ajayhawkfan Rock Chalk

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    Please add any anything to the ride report, including pictures you took.
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  15. ChazW

    ChazW Been here awhile

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    I'm in for the ride. :clap
    #15
  16. dtysdalx2

    dtysdalx2 Knowledge is horsepower

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    :thumb
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  17. Nick MN

    Nick MN Been here awhile

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    :lurk
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  18. LeeSch

    LeeSch Adventurer

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    :lurk
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  19. jdfog2

    jdfog2 Been here awhile

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    Subscribed!

    I had to laugh at what appeared to be irony at the "jayhawkfan" doing a very very nice thread about this area.
    I saw where you explained that and it all makes perfect sense.

    So everyone else - let me tell you. There's absolutely nothing to see in South Central and South West Missouri (or NW Ark and NE OK for that matter).
    There's no beautiful vistas, there's no beautiful state parks or cool springs bubbling out of the ground, and there's ZERO excellent trout fishing.
    So you all just need to go someplace else - haha!

    Seriously, I've almost "been everywhere man" (including living overseas for 10 years) and this is my absolute favorite place on Earth.
    It might not be as majestic as a lot of places out west, and it's arguably not as nice climate wise - in the middle of the Summer especially (or height and vastness of mountains) as the Smokies but it's NICE nonetheless. And it's easy to do. It is not hurried, it's not impatient, it is just welcoming and full of surprises. I've been to Kansas and they have it wrong. THIS region (Ozarks) is the real Land of "Ahs"

    I've camped and fished a number of times at both Roaring River and Montauk State Parks. I haven't explored most of the rest of Missouri other than passing through on trips to visit family in Oklahoma but I plan to do that in July for a week.

    Thanks for a great thread!

    Looking forward to more.

    Oh yeah. Boomer Sooner !

    Jay
    #19
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  20. trailrider71us

    trailrider71us I can't b fired,only sold

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    Nice thread, Would tie in nicely to a ride in the Loess Hills.
    #20