Missouri by 1971 Triumph TR6C and 2007 Triumph Scrambler

Motorcycle touring Missouri by Triumph

| July/August 2008

Around the offices here at Motorcycle Classics, it often seems the simplest ideas we have are the best ones.

When we learned we had a 2007 Triumph Scrambler test bike coming our way, we quickly wrote up a list of things to do with it. We wanted to take it on a short tour, commute on it, get in some dirt-road riding and, yes, someone even suggested we try to replicate Bud Ekins’ stunt-doubling for Steve McQueen in The Great Escape by finding a good barb-wire fence and jumping it. Let’s just say that’s the one test we didn’t quite get around to.

The idea we were sold on, however, was simply getting it out on the road. And since the Scrambler is the spiritual successor to the Triumph Trophy of yore, we decided our last project bike, a 1971 Triumph TR6C Trophy, would make the perfect traveling companion to the Scrambler and give us a chance to see how far Triumph has come in the last 35-plus years.

Hitting the road We decided the German settlement town of Hermann, Mo., sited on the banks of the Missouri River about 90 miles west and south of St. Louis, sounded like a great destination for a short tour. At a bit more than 250 miles away, it was both close enough to be accessible and far enough away to get in some real road time. It would also get us into the hillier parts of Missouri.

We left from editor Backus’ place (which he fondly calls "Appalachia West" in honor of the numerous automotive carcasses he’s collected) in Lawrence, Kan., on a Monday in late April. Heading out around noon, we aimed east on state Route K10 for a few miles, then turned and headed south and then east on county roads until we hit state Route K33. B-road riding was the goal of the trip, and as the Trophy is happiest at around 60mph we kept off major roads as much as possible. An hour or so of these mostly straight two-lane routes ran us into state Route K68, where we hung a left and headed east. K68 took us all the way to the Missouri border, where it turns into Missouri state Route 2. Ahhh, success, we’d made it past our first mental barrier, the state line. Almost on cue, the Trophy shook loose a rear signal assembly, but it was nothing Backus, a few tools and five minutes couldn’t fix. And yes, we’d brought along a good selection of wrenches. Call it insurance. Remarkably, it would be the only real mechanical failure we’d experience on the entire trip.

Getting more comfortable on the bikes, we continued on, following Route 2’s zigzag pattern as it heads east and through the farm towns of Harrisonville, Chilhowee and Leeton, where we stopped for gas and inquired about finding a café for some lunch. We’d have to proceed on to the next town, Windsor, we were told, as the local greasy spoon wasn’t open on Mondays. Go figure. It was for the best, though, as Windsor is the home of a great little hole-in-the-wall called Nita’s Place. Nita’s is about the size of a drive-thru burrito joint, yet at three in the afternoon there were four cars outside, which seemed busy for the time of day. A good sign for sure. Not five minutes after sitting down, the local sheriff walked in: You know you’re in the right place for good, small-town home-cookin’ when you’re where the locals go. Backus’ open-faced roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy proved the point.

Mike Hanig
12/21/2011 9:12:21 AM

For about 15 years I sold Harley's for a living and people always said it was the perfect job. It was good but you could'nt ride. Then, I'd have said you have the perfect job. Now I'm retired and it beats both jobs.

Ride 'Em, Don't Hide 'Em Getaway

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