Realisation that our bikes may not really be up to the task in hand slowly dawned as the sun rose over a supposed 6:30am start. Taking stock we realised that my bike had no clutch, Stefs engine was good but his rear tyre was shot after only five days, and his sprockets were going to need replacement soon. Jon's bike was busy eating everything it could get its hands on. Air filters, tyres, and sprockets, were to name but a few. Our route took us nowhere near anywhere and we needed a Honda/KTM dealer badly.
Jon's valiant attempts to use the US phone system had us all in hysterics as he tried in vain to get anyone to tell him where a US Honda dealer could be found. Conversations with telephone operators, automated answering systems, car dealers, local people, and anyone else we could think of failed miserably. By 10:30am (yep, that's right, four hours later!!) we still had nothing except a really frustrated team and no dealership or spares in sight. It was time for an executive decision. We were going to have to cut north heading for Dodge City and hope that there was something in the only decent size town within 400 miles of us.
I navigated that morning through some of the most beautiful grasslands I have ever seen. The Indian prairie reserves are stunning rolling grasslands full of wild roaming buffalo, gazelle, and good old cows. The road wound in welcome curves over the gentle hills and hid small farms and water pumps. A good slow scenic ride. Partly to preserve Jon's bike, and partly because it was so stunning. By 3pm after cutting the trail short and riding 70 road miles we arrived in Dodge City. The first thing we saw was a Honda/KTM dealer. The Gods were smiling down on us.
Inside the dealership were some serious off road enthusiasts. Although they had none of the parts in stock, that didn't stop them dismantling just about every bike in the showroom to get what we needed. We stripped Honda CR500's, KTM640 Supermoto's, KTM525's and a good proportion of other stock. By 6pm we had three working bikes ( although I still had no clutch, we had arranged for a part to be sent to Trinidad, Colorado, and I was hoping to pick it up and finish my bike on Friday ) and information that a local dried up riverbed headed 70 miles in the direction of the trail. The riding for the next day looked promising.
Historic Dodge City itself would have been great if the town council hadn't decided to pull down the original buildings and replace them with a car park in the 70's. I'm not saying the Disney like replicas of the old buildings and daily 'gunfights' were a little tacky....but I think that possibly the originals would have lent a slightly more authentic aura to the town. Cheated out of a decent history binge we contented ourselves with taking lots of stupid photographs and went to eat huge rare steak's (signed for to say we agreed to this cooking method so that in the event of problems we couldn't sue the state!!) and sleep (well, what else could you eat in Dodge City's 'Boot Hill' area restaurant?).