Adventure Palooza 2020

Adventure Palooza is an annual motorcycle ride put on by Adventure Riders LLC. This is their 4th year putting on the ride and it is growing in attendance each year. The format of the ride is to have 4 tracks, North, South, East, and West that start in their corresponding direction and converge on a family farm in Mexico, Missouri. A significant amount of time is put into each track to make it the most enjoyable off road motorcycle riding possible.

Part of the adventure of the ride is using the GooseChase app. Each team is added to the app and work together to complete missions to get points. The organizers did a great job selecting different easy to difficult things for us to record and gain points for along the ride.

Screenshots below show our team’s ranking and some of the missions we completed.

My story begins when I signed up for the ride in May of 2020. During the sign up process, you tell them the route you want to start from. Then indicate if you’re solo, on a team, or interested in joining a team. I selected interested in joining a team. A month before the ride I received an email indicating that there were 3 other gentlemen that also selected joining a team. We met online a few times and joined up.

Meet  Joe Depczynski, Dennis McGrath, Kevin, Taylor and Hogan. The following is what I can remember that transpired from our ride together.

We received the GPX track of the ride about a week before it started. When signing up, you agree not to share the track itself, but you can see the general map of where we were going to go.

Thursday, I spent the day procrastinating about packing. I was nervous what to bring or not bring. Eventually I got the motorcycle packed and forgot about it, going to bed early.

Friday morning, I woke up at 3:30am and couldn’t sleep anymore. I got up and loafed around the house for a bit getting a shower before being dirty for a few days. I left the house as quietly as I could to make sure the family was able to continue sleeping. There, I went to the Quick Trip that we agreed to meet at and fueled up with gas and food. Our meeting time was scheduled for 5 am. This should give us enough time to ride to Little Indian Creek Conservation area, the official start of our 2 day ride!

When 5am hit, Joe and Dennis has not yet arrived. I began to worry they would never show and started deciding when I would just leave and meet Kevin on my own. At 5:05 am, Joe showed up and I was relieved. Still concerned, Dennis showed up at 5:10am. We were a full group. I was confident in my directions and technology and headed out to the starting point to meet Kevin.

The highway riding was bitter cold in the morning and my heated grips were turned up to keep my warn. Just as we were

getting off the highway at my exit, my navigation phone (I have 1 just for navigating and my regular one) died. I was flummoxed as it was plugged in the whole ride. Turns out that I substituted the plug during packing. The one I was using didn’t fit as well and came out enough to not charge.

We pulled over to get our directions manually as my phone was now at zero battery. With directions memorized, Dennis lead the way to Little Indian Creek Conservation area. There, Kevin was waiting for us at the entrance to go ride! But before we could take off, we needed to take a selfie of the group for the Goosechase app. One of our many tasks for this trip to document what we’ve done.

It wasn’t long before we were going down the road. Then the sign to turn around, we had missed our turn. This is where things started getting interesting. I had the first fall of the team on a state highway U-Turn. I felt stupid, but it was nice to get it out of the way!

I’m happy to report that there was only a very minor amount of damage to the bike. One strap broke and a highway bar (place to put your feet forward) bent. Nothing significant, just my pride!

Shortly after the U-Turn, we were climbing up on fire trucks to get a photo for the app!

And now just photos with some descriptions from the adventure!

This is inside Romp MX park, Joe and Kevin did some off road riding to get to a GPS point deep in the single track and get us some team points.

Joe had our group’s first repair. He bought the bike he is riding 2 days before the ride and had a small oil leak. He was confident that something wasn’t on tight from when he did the oil change.

We need a creative photo at these “water cannons”. Kevin and I decided to be human water cannons.

This photo was our second major challenge. Earlier in the day, Joe tried to ride up a very steep hill and fell over several times. Dennis and I were thinking it was a bad idea for us to even try. We turned Joe around and took a detour while Kevin rode the real tough stuff. We were a bit on edge when this feature came up. It doesn’t look like much, but its a very steep downhill followed by an uphill of the same size. Kevin went up and down while Joe, Dennis, and I decided on a detour.

It turns out that our detour took about an hour to complete. I believe it was harder than the photo above that we avoided. It was a very steep hill with large loose rocks. Somehow, Joe went up by himself. Then Dennis went up. He fell over around 8 times. Joe and I coached and pulled him as much as we could. Half way up, Dennis needed a break and we decided I should go to give him a breather. I didn’t fall over, but I spun my rear tire a ton and barely made it up with their help!  I noticed afterwards that a rock got embedded into my new tire. It didn’t cause me any issues. It did however make me grateful that I got new tires before the trip.

Not all of the ride was difficult, we did have fun at other roadside attractions like this bulldozer.

Time wise, we should not have stopped for lunch, but we were exhausted and it felt great. Of course, it was a crowd of motorcycles!

Somewhere along the afternoon, we had to find a cabin in the woods. Our track took us off the gravel road and on to a non-mowed power line road. I followed Kevin and had trouble staying upright as there were narrow tracks and elevation changes. Once we got there, I walked back a ways and saw Joe had fallen. When I got to him, he said that he took a pretty good fall. It took a while to get him going again.

By the time we found camp, it was full dark around 8pm. I learned that my two flashlights barely worked. I had to shake one and the other one was borderline possessed. A headlamp for next time. We put up camp by motorcycle headlight. And then were up and packed, rolling out of camp at 6:10am on Saturday.

We went first to a gas station where we learned that Joe had enough. Between all of his falls on Friday he was thinking he broke a rib. He wanted to get home and rest as it was getting much harder to ride. Our team now carried on as three riders.

While I thought Friday was hard, Saturday had some surprises up its sleeve for us. First up was a slimy bridge. Kevin tried to warn us, but Dennis went down.He was fortunate as his bike did a 180 spin and was inches from falling into deep water. I clenched my cheeks and went across slow and straight without incident. The photo was after we pulled him and the bike to safety.

Another semi-offroad geocache had us in this field with hay bails.Rather than go back out the way we came in, we went up and popped out on the highway making our own path. Of course, Kevin scouted it out first 🙂

I’ve seen this bridge in several Missouri riding videos. Its at “Devil’s Elbow”. It was fantastic coming up to it and riding under it after seeing it online many times. The guys said its still in daily use servicing Fort Lenoard Wood.

Shortly after the train bridge is this one going over a river.

A random selfie I took at lunch.

No day of riding would be complete without its events that seem impossible, all coming after lunch.

First, just north of Jefferson City, I learned what deep sand can do to a motorcycle. It felt like 10 minutes before Kevin and Dennis came back to see what happened to me! I was going about 25mph when I lost control and crashed. The bike and I survived without incident, but I have a new respect for riding in sand!

After the sand pit came the closed bridge. Because why wouldn’t you cross a bridge missing some of its most important parts. Dennis decided to pass and let Kevin navigate his bike across the bridge. I”m happy to report that I made it without incident.

Finally we had a deep water crossing. It was around knee deep and deeper in sections. Like always, Kevin went across without issue. Dennis hit a rock and knocked his bike over (its in the video). It started right back up and finished the crossing. Then I went very slow to not have the same falling fate and it worked other than being extremely wet when I finished.

I learned that the universe has an unlimited supply of gravel dust for me to eat in the back of our convoy! But I’m looking forward to doing this event again next year!!!

Finally a few from the Adventure Palooza headquarters.

All told, when I pulled into my driveway on Sunday, I had traveled 664 miles for this journey.

Hogan Haake

Motorcycle Therapy – 3/29/2020

Due to the COVID-19 virus and everybody sheltering in place, I was going a bit crazy. I needed something different. I figured motorcycle therapy was the right choice. I would be alone unless I was getting gas and could see something new. The ride was a long one, picking random highways trying to get away while only knowing the general direction I’m headed. Eventually I ended up along the Mississippi river on the Missouri side. I found some cool limestone facilities.

And the view without the sign. I wanted to go in and look around but its private property with a gate. It looked like an amazing place to explore!

And as always, I end up finding water too! Decided not to see how deep it was 🙂

Hogan Haake

St. Charles Unicycle Ride – 11/16/2019

The MR340 race was moved due to flooding several times this year. Ultimately, it was decided that only 3 boats would start due to the extreme cold. I love this community of paddlers. The finish was going to be this night and only 1 boat was left in the race. I thought I could get there early and get a nice unicycle ride in before waiting for the last and only boat to come across the finish line.

The ride started at the St. Charles boat house. From there, I rode the Katy trail out west. I stopped at Blanchette landing to get some photos of the river.

It was fall, so I had lots of leaves to deal with during the ride.

I heard there was lots of mud due to the flooding, but I didn’t get it till I saw how much mud was scraped to the side of the trail!

Eventually, I caught a road between farm fields. It was large gravel. I was able to ride about 90% of it.

Eventually, I ended up on Route 94 and rode that back most of the way to the boat house. Its not somewhere I would be excited to ride again. A small shoulder and not very flat. It didn’t help that I was quickly getting tired and should have stopped riding about an hour before I did.

Once I got back, I still had to wait about 3 hours for the boat to finish the race, but I considered it a fantastic day and got to hang out with many friends!

Hogan Haake


Moto Adventure – 10/12/2019

I originally took time off work for the week to participate in the MR340 canoe race. After nearly sinking the 3 person canoe on the Missouri river, the team decided it wasn’t our year. This left me with a one week vacation to do almost anything I wanted with. I decided I would use half of it on a motorcycle trip.

I left Saturday just after lunch. Corvin had a cross country meet in the morning and I didn’t want to miss seeing him run. After he finished and we got back home, I got all of my gear together with my loose plans and headed out for the unknown.

Actually, it wasn’t completely unknown. I had a general plan. I was going to ride Illinois Route 3 south most of the way into Tennessee. Then I would cut across the state and head towards Tail Of The Dragon. This famous (to motorcycle and car enthusiasts) road has 311 curves in an 11 mile stretch. But I’ll talk more about that later. First, I had to get there.

This October day was fairly cold. Being that I was on a rural state highway, I wasn’t going extremely fast. Add that to a few side trips to see the Mississippi river and I stayed decently warm. Unfortunately, the Mississippi was in flood stage. I tried to get to the Saint Genevieve ferry crossing, but was stopped short. I wanted to cross the water, but I could also visibly see the river slowly rising and decided to stay dry and safe.

As I posed the bike for this photo, I watched the water flowing over the road and decided it was as far as I was going this way.

Eventually, I pulled over and added my 1 piece rain suit to add more wind protection and warmth.

I ended up stopping for the night when I couldn’t stay warm enough. I wanted to get to Nashville, but it just didn’t work. This motel was the most expensive one I stayed at for the whole trip. I learned the next morning that I was one exit from Nashville! I made it 352 miles for the day.

The next morning, I prepared the motorcycle for the days’ ride. This included drying it with a towel (sorry motel), packing my bags, and preparing my directions in the top bag.

Sometimes you get stopped by a train. This time, there was a cool mural and miniature water tower to check out in Englewood, TN.

Yesterday, I could hardly stay warm on the motorcycle. Today it was much warmer, and I put on different layers that had more warmth. It made it an easy and fun ride all the way to the Dragon in Deal’s Gap. I even managed some light off road to check out a dam.

And to prove I was there, here is one photo.

I was a bit numb after finishing the dragon. I rode some more off road, but its just a lot to take in. I headed to a motel where I could meet another rider from the Internet that would ride with me the next day to get some local flavor. 312 miles on this fantastic day!

I thought about taking a swim in the motel’s pool, but it seems that they may have put it up for the season already…

Today I was meeting the rider from online (who’s name I’ve forgotten). He is riding this massive 1200cc Honda on the right.

We rode several places I would not have considered from the map that were fantastic roads. In addition to that, I found out it was his birthday!

We came upon this accident, never did figure out how this truck got into this horrible position.

After lunch, we parted ways. I headed south for Cherohala Skyway. This highway was amazing. 43 miles of twists and turns. Before I got to the highway, I took a nice gravel detour to get there.

Detour is the name of the game. I also went several miles out of the way to get to this waterfall.

I didn’t grab any photos, but I did find an off road detour. This was an out and back that I spent nearly an hour on.  Back on the Skyway, I did stop for a few overlooks.

This is the best thing you can see when riding a motorcycle!

Hey cool, I can (and did) go under this sign!

I spent the night at the Phillips motel in Robbinsville. It had very cool art outside.

I got up early and the day was just feeling right. I went outside to check the weather and my bike. The mood was still up, but school across the street was about to start.

During that outside coffee drinking time, I met a fellow motorcyclist. We chatted about each other’s ride and how wonderful the world is. Then he suggested I visit the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forrest. Eventually I found it on the map and performed some backtracking to get to there. I wish I remembered his name so I could thank him for an amazing morning. the riding was fantastic and I had the overlook to myself!

The path to the overlook.

The view from the overlook.

Unfortunately, I knew today was the day that I needed to start coming home. I went back to Deals Gap to run Tail of the Dragon twice more.

I found another roadside waterfall worth stopping and hiking down to.

Most of the rest of the trip becomes a blur. I learned that I don’t like interstates with my V-Strom. The motorcycle has no complaints about going whatever speed I ask of it, but the fuel economy lets me know that it wasn’t designed for it. More importantly, I feel like I’m missing something when I’m on the interstate. I exited and took state highways and was satisfied with my choice. It also meant that I could take a ferry across the Ohio river to Cave-In-Rock.

.I did some minor exploring, but knew that I didn’t have enough time. I wanted to get home to pick up Sonora from school and be with the family. These trips always end too soon, but are a fantastic time to relax and reset. I’m a big fan of the Shad top box for holding all of my valuables during the trip! All told, the trip was 1,698 miles split over 4.5 days.

If you want to see my horrible video, watch below. I used my cell phone mounted to the crash bars on the bike to try and capture how far I leaned over. The vibration basically ruins the video, but it was all I had available.

Hogan Haake

Riding with Sonora – 8/17/2019

I got a top box installed on my 2017 V-Strom 650 at Flying Tiger Motorcycles. I wasn’t sure how it was going to look as it seemed quite large when it was sitting on the ground next to the bike.

Much to my delight, the top box appears to be a great size. To celebrate, I went home and picked up Sonora and took her out for a ride with me.

We headed out to the graffiti wall to check out the recent paintings.

We both enjoy looking at the art and find a motorcycle a great way to experience it!

Hogan Haake