The Heartland Chapter of Women On Wheels (WOW) is a Facebook group dedicated to promoting and empowering women motorcyclists in the Midwestern United States. Founded in 1997, the group is an active and vibrant community of women who share a passion for motorcycles
WOW is a national organization with chapters all over the United States, but the Heartland Chapter is unique in that it is focused on serving the needs of women in the Midwestern region. The group is open to all women who ride or have an interest in motorcycles, regardless of experience level, type of bike, or age.
The Heartland Chapter of WOW is a welcoming and inclusive community that provides a space for women to connect, share their experiences, and support each other. Members organize and participate in a variety of events throughout the year, including group rides, charity events, and social gatherings. These events provide opportunities for members to meet new people, explore new routes, and give back to their communities.
One of the primary goals of the Heartland Chapter of WOW is to promote motorcycle safety and education. The group regularly hosts educational events and training sessions, including classes on motorcycle maintenance, riding techniques, and safety tips. Members also share their own experiences and advice, helping each other to become more confident and skilled riders.
Another important aspect of the Heartland Chapter of WOW is its commitment to community service. Members are actively involved in supporting local charities and causes, including organizations that support women’s health and empowerment, animal shelters, and military veterans. The group also participates in fundraising events and volunteer activities throughout the year, demonstrating the power of women coming together to make a positive impact in their communities.
Perhaps one of the most valuable aspects of the Heartland Chapter of WOW is the sense of community and camaraderie that it provides. Women who may have felt isolated or alone in their love for motorcycles are able to connect with others who share that same passion. Members support each other through life’s challenges and celebrate each other’s successes, creating lasting friendships and a sense of belonging.
In summary, the Heartland Chapter of Women On Wheels is a vibrant and active Facebook group that promotes and empowers women motorcyclists in the Midwestern United States. Through its focus on community, education, and service, the group provides a welcoming space for women to connect, grow, and thrive as riders and as individuals. If you are a woman who loves motorcycles and wants to be part of a supportive and empowering community, the Heartland Chapter of WOW may be the perfect group for you.
“The sky and the sun are always there. It’s the clouds that come and go.” – Rachel Joyce
Dictionary.com defines “cloud nine” as “a state of perfect happiness (usually in the phrase on cloud nine)”. A day of motorcycling with sunny skies, warm weather, and scenic twisty back roads always makes me happy, regardless of the purpose or the destination.
For the 2022 Regional Touring/Photo Contest, WOW members in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, and Oklahoma could ride to, and take photographs of, any water tower, tank, or standpipe in the region with a city name on it.
For most years, “touring” is the focus of the Contest for me. How many miles can I ride today? How many water towers, barn quilts, state parks, historic sites, etc., can I find today or this year?
As a motorcyclist, I pay a lot of attention to the weather. I’m always hoping for those sunny, warm days. I know what cloudless days, fluffy clouds, whispy clouds, rain clouds, storm clouds, and snow clouds look like and the impact they can have while on the road. Photographing them, however, has never been my focus.
Taking photographs of tall vertical objects with different architectural styles means looking at clouds or noticing the lack of them. It seems that somewhere along the way, the “Photo” portion of the Contest also came into focus this year.
Cold weather may not be a motorcyclist’s friend. It may keep some Heartland members from riding their motorcycles, but it does not keep us from getting together for other activities. One of the activities we considered doing during non-riding weather was eagle watching along the Great River Road in southwestern Illinois. (Cold weather, especially with ice on the river, is the best time to see eagles.) Every Saturday, during the month of January, there is an eagle ‘meet and greet’ at the Alton or Grafton Visitors Centers, where one can see a live bald eagle up close and personal.
Marie researched this activity, shared the info with us, and planned our meet-up. Six of us met at the Alton Visitors Center on Saturday, 14 Jan 2023, transferred to one vehicle (Jenean’s) so that Marie could act as our “unpaid” eagle-watching tour guide, and then we headed to the Grafton Visitors Center. From 10am to 2pm there is a live bald eagle and the bird’s handler. You can learn about the American bald eagle, ask questions, and take pictures.
Featured at the Grafton location was Liberty, a 32-year-old, male bald eagle. His handler shared info about him and eagles, in general.
We learned Liberty was originally from St. Augustine, FL, and was injured when he was hit by a car. He was treated for his broken collar bone and then released. Unfortunately, two weeks later he was hit by a car again. This time he suffered neurological damage and was sent to live at the World Bird Sanctuary in Fenton/Valley Park, MO. He has been there since the age of 2. His handler, pictured above, has been with Liberty for 19 years.
As a “southern” bald eagle, Liberty is smaller than those who live more north. He weighs 8 pounds, and has a 6 foot wingspan. We learned that eagles are solitary and mate for life. They eat mostly fish. Female birds of prey are larger and heavier than the males, and have a 7’ to 8’ wingspan.
If you want more info regarding eagles, you may start here:
There were six of us who participated in this activity—Heartland members Marie, Jenean, Glow, and I, and my daughter Adrienne and her son Paul. We sat in on Liberty’s presentation, walked through the Grafton Museum, tried to see the screeching owl that we were told was nearby in a tree (it chose to duck inside as we approached, so we were unsuccessful), took pictures, then headed to Hardin, IL. Marie directed us to an eagle’s nest she had seen earlier this month. Along the way, we saw trumpet swans, hawks, but no other eagles, besides Liberty.
Lunch was at Mel’s Illinois Riverdock Restaurant. They are known for their BIG portions of food and home-made pies. I ordered my favorite pie, Bumbleberry Pie, before my entrée so that I was assured I’d have a slice for dessert. Others did the same thing. If you are ever in the area, I suggest you go by and check it out and be sure to get something to eat. Their website is, https://www.ilriverdock.com/.
As we were about to leave the restaurant, two gentlemen were arriving. One stopped to talk to us, while the other returned to his vehicle. Once he returned, we found out he had a wooden toy he built that he wanted to present to Paul, my 5-year-old grandson.
I took many photos/videos, but no one thought to take a group photo of us. Although we were not riding, I believe we all had a great time together.
“There’s No Such Thing As The Unknown, Only Things Temporarily Hidden.” – James T. Kirk
I’ve been a fan of Star Trek® for as long as I can remember.
Its mission to explore has translated well into my motorcycling adventures. I doubt that the places I’ve “discovered” were ever hidden from me, but rather, only temporarily out of my sight waiting to be seen and shared with others.
Day 1 of the six-day mission to attend the 36th Annual Women On Wheels® International Ride-In™ found my crew and I stopping at three Iowa water towers including one in Riverside, Iowa. Riverside, Iowa, boasts that it is the Future (03/22/2228) Birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk. Fans can find a mini-scaled starship, museum, banners, murals, statues, historical markers, and other Trek-related items.
We arrived in Winona, Minnesota, on the evening of Day 1. My itinerary for Day 2 was to pre-ride the three routes I was to lead during the Ride-In and have dinner with my family. Winona, and the surrounding area, hold a special place in my heart. I’m an alum of Winona State University. I worked on the family dairy farm 30-ish miles from there from the time I was old enough to be useful until the day I journeyed north for my first teaching gig in 1985. Riding the roads around my hometown of Alma, Wisconsin, brought back so many fond memories.
Day 3. The official start of the Ride-In found me missing all of the important meetings as I led a group of guy Support Members and a few gals on some of my favorite backroads. I have a fondness for “Alphabet Soup” rides. This day found us on some excellent one- and two-letter county roads that took us through beautiful rural scenery via sweepers, tight turns, and several altitude changes. This 144-mile ride included stops at Buena Vista Park, Maiden Rock, Wisconsin–legendary site of Princess Wenonah’s death–, and lunch at Slippery’s Tavern & Ristorante, in Wabasha, Minnesota. (Princess Wenonah is the namesake of the event’s host city; Slippery’s claim to fame is its part in the Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men movies.)
Day 4 was a time to welcome our newest WOW members into the family or those for whom this was their first Ride-In. I was honored to lead these new guys and gals (and a few others) on other “Alphabet Soup” roads and introduce them to a high school classmate. Kathy made sure we were treated very well when we enjoyed a patio lunch at Beth’s Twin Bluffs Cafe, in Nelson, Wisconsin. After lunch, we weaved and wandered our way to the magnificent Soldiers Walk Memorial Park in Arcadia, Wisconsin, for a personal group tour.
Before, after, and in-between these rides there was plenty to do. At Tuesday evening’s Opening Ceremony, we enjoyed locally made root beer and ice cream floats and were introduced to the Little Warriors Drum Line, a group of amazing, spirited musicians aged 7 to 16.
On Wednesday evening, nearly everyone in attendance enjoyed the picnic celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Women On Wheels®!
Thursday afternoon found us on the Pearl of the Lake paddleboat enjoying a 90-minute cruise on the widest lake on the Mississippi River. Lake Pepin is 2 miles wide and 22 miles long and offers breathtaking views of the area from a different perspective.
Thursday evening’s banquet and recognition ceremony offered an opportunity for us to see how some of our hypnotized members surfed, body built, rode a motorcycle, performed in a rock band, and other female-oriented activities.
I was honored to be recognized as a Past President (2009-2011, 2013-14) of this WOWderful organization and am deeply grateful to everyone who has shared my 25-year mission to boldy go in search of things–so many only temporarily hidden from me until enjoyed with my wind sisters and brothers.
Our calendar showed there was a ride scheduled for Sunday, 12 June, but we did not have a ride leader nor a route planned. Based on a poll I posted, there were only two of us who would be able to make this ride.
So Jenean and I planned to meet at a Phillips 66 in Foristell at 12:30 pm. I got there early and heard thunder and saw lightning around 12:23. I called Jenean and she was just leaving church. We decided to still meet at the gas stop and decide then. I was able to get under the covering at the gas station; she was caught in the rain and got drenched. Radar showed it was a quick-moving storm moving east. Jenean had a ride planned heading west. We waited for the rain to stop and headed out.
Our route had stops along the Katy Trail. The first was to Peers Store in Marthasville. It is a Conservation Outpost on the Katy Trail and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There was a 3-person string band (Missouri Possum Tamers) playing on the porch. It was cool inside the store, a welcome break from the heat. There was ice cream we could’ve purchased, but we didn’t as it was so hot it probably would’ve melted once we stepped outside.
From there we headed to Treloar, another stop along the Katy Trail. See magnificentmissouri.org/treloar-mercantile/ for more information. At this stop, I found a huge carving of a large ear of corn in the side lot next to the Mercantile Building. See the link above, but specifically the article, Missouri Corn Carving, for its history. “When we bought the 100+ year-old Treloar Mercantile Building, it came with a large, dead elm tree. To pay tribute to the historic success of the town of Treloar, and one main reason it prospered for many years, we decided to turn the stump into an ear of Missouri field corn. Here’s its story . . .”
While visiting this stop Jenean suggested today’s route and a stop for lunch as a possible future route for a group ride later.
After Treloar, we stopped in Truesdale so that we could both get photos of its water tower (this year’s Region Touring Contest), and then we each headed home.
Another successful Missouri State Rally is in the books. It was held in Boonville, MO, at the Isle of Capri Casino and Hotel and ran from 3-5 Jun 2022. Heartland was the host of this year’s rally. As Heartland’s director, I am proud of the many members and support members who helped make it a success.
Cris started off our “rally project” by presenting her proposal for considering Boonville as the rally site. The proposal included hotels in the area, considerations for other activities to do and possible sites to see on your own during your free time, and possible sites for a group photo. Jenean and Marie made the calls to six hotels getting info for comparison purposes, which they then presented to the chapter. We voted during a monthly meeting on which hotel was the best choice. The Isle of Capri Casino and Hotel was chosen. On Mother’s Day Jenean and Ron rode to Boonville to pre-ride routes for the rally. There were several members who returned to Boonville to pre-ride the Saturday group ride as they would be group ride leaders.
Cris, Jenean, and Marie also helped out by making necessary copies for the rally.
We have Jenean to thank for one of the items in our goody bags. Her talent is folding dollar bills into hearts. She then created a card that had the Heartland logo and the phrase, “We put the ♥ in Heartland” and glued those dollar hearts on the card. Every goody bag had one included in it.
Speaking of goody bags, Donelson Cycles, a Missouri WOW Participating Dealer, donated the bags and keychains. At registration attendees signed a release/waiver, received a goody bag, which included a name tag, one raffle ticket, a WOW pen, WOW nail file, a MO official highway map, a brochure of scenic rides in MO, a keychain, and two small bottles of water. Each person received a printout of the rally agenda and a map of the proposed Saturday ride, and each person could choose one bag of assorted chips, one Nutrigrain bar (strawberry, apple cinnamon, or blueberry), and 3 pieces of assorted chocolate bars. (Thanks to Marie for shopping for these “goodies.”)
We had 42 attendees—46 who registered early, 2 of whom had to cancel (goody bags to be delivered later), 5 no-shows (goody bags to be delivered to 4 later), and 3 registered at the event. We had registrants from CO, GA, IL, KS, MN, MO, and WI
Most people arrived sometime during Friday, 3 Jun. Registration was scheduled from 5-8pm. Dinner was on-your-own. Malcolm Wood of Missouri Law Tigers offered lots of pizzas (he bought enough to feed 80!) from Breadeaux Pizza in Boonville. All he asked was for just about 5 minutes of our attention as he explained how Law Tigers can work for you should you be injured in a motorcycle accident and can help you get the compensation you deserve. He also had freebies for anyone who was there.
Our Saturday ride (4 Jun) went very well. We asked all riders to be ready by 9:30. We had a bike blessing given by Beth and 2022 Bike Blessing stickers were distributed. Afterwards Cris conducted a pre-ride safety meeting. At 9:45 we were led out of Boonville by a police escort. Several Boonville police officers/cruisers blocked streets so that we riders could proceed through lights and turns without traffic. There were 29 total motorcycles divided into four groups, led by four Heartland ride leaders.
A scenic ride consisted of straight-aways, sweeping curves, and tight turns. Everyone rode her/his own ride and, fortunately, there were no incidents. We had a rest stop in California, MO, and then continued on with more twisties, heading back to Boonville to gas up. We then rode to our BBQ lunch where we were treated to pulled pork, 2 sides, and a beverage, all outside in a shaded area reserved just for us at Meriwether Café & Bike Shop in Rocheport. The food was delicious and reasonably priced.
Afterwards we had a long walk (many jokingly griped about the distance, but that was the only negative I heard the whole event) to a Katy Trail Tunnel in Rocheport for our group photo. Marie had her tripod and camera set up. After a short delay, so that she could join the group, the camera automatically took several photos.
Then, for those interested, we rode 30+ miles to The Pinnacles, a beautiful rock formation in Sturgeon, MO. We spent some time there seeing the rock formations and enjoying a short break off of our bikes. Fortunately, no one had issues with the gravel parking lot. Then back to the Isle of Capri with a little time to get ready for dinner and awards scheduled for 6pm.
Dinner and drinks were available from the casino’s The Brew Brothers restaurant, and they did not disappoint. We were set up in the covered patio area (we did not use the uncovered area as it had started to drizzle/rain).
Heartland members (Sandy, Glow, Alice) collected and/or donated items for the raffle and as door prizes. We had 24 winners of door prizes. The door prizes were randomly stickered with a number, which corresponded to attendee’s registration number (found on their name tag). Door prizes included 8 small stuffed frogs, 9 small bath/pool rubber frogs, 2 ceramic frogs, a bar of soap with frog motif, a splat frog, a motorcycle themed coaster for a car’s cup holder, a frog wind chime, and a frog candle.
After most people had finished eating I thanked everyone for coming and hoped everyone had a good time. I commented that there were many Heartland members who made the rally a success. “Teamwork makes the dream work.” I then had winners to announce. I had some Heartland mileage awards and certificates, but learned that Heartland was the only MO chapter who submitted both beginning and ending mileage readings to the former State Ambassador so only Heartland members were in the running for the State Mileage Contest. For that reason, I did not use my time to recognize Heartland mileage winners since Cris as our new Region Ambassador would be acknowledging the MO mileage winners and other contest winners later. I then announced the 50/50 and raffle winners.
We sold $193 worth of 50/50 tickets. $96.50 was won by Irene.
We had six items for raffle and several generated a lot of interest. Each attendee was given one free raffle ticket to use and extra raffle tickets were sold. Marie collected and had responsibility for holding monies collected. At this time I do not know how much was collected. There was, however, one attendee who was very interested in the large stuffed frog and purchased at least $30 (or more) worth of raffle tickets.
The raffle winners were:
Blanket – won by Stephanie
Cutting board (we only regret the rides we didn’t take) – won by Debi
Book “On the Perimeter: The Autobiography of Hazel Kolb Motorcyclin’ Gran’ma” – won by Marie
Frog night light – won by Alice
Cutting board (we ride not to escape life…) – won by Debi
Large stuffed frog – Gail (who would’ve guessed she would win? Lol)
Then Cris had a few awards she handed out. She recognized the service of our previous State Ambassador, several women who have been WOW members for more than 30 years, chapters who had recent chapter anniversaries, the 2021 Support Member of the Year, 2021 mileage winners (members and support members), 2021 Touring Contest winners, each MO chapter and their participation points, and the MO chapter with the most participation points earned the traveling State Trophy. This year Heartland earned the traveling trophy with a total of 29 points! Yay!
“We’re going to party like a rock star!” – Joe Wofford
As the calendar changes to 2022, we reflect on 2021 and begin to imagine what kind of party might be sufficient to celebrate our 25th anniversary as a Chapter of Women On Wheels®.
We have six months to prepare to host the 22nd Missouri Women On Wheels® (MO WOW) State Rally, seven months to make plans to attend the 36th Women On Wheels® International Ride-In™ and celebrate the 40th anniversary of Women On Wheels®, and twelve months to participate in weeknight/weekend rides, state lunches/events, monthly meetings, and other spontaneous gatherings.
Per Wikipedia, “A party is a gathering of people who have been invited by a host for the purposes of socializing, conversation, recreation, or as part of a festival or other commemoration or celebration of a special occasion.”
We invite interested riders in the St. Louis metro area and beyond to join us in our 25th year. We have 12 months to party! Let’s get started.
The 2021 Missouri State Women On Wheels® Annual Touring Contest has ended. The theme to visit Missouri places with the same name as cities in another state took us to cities big and small. These are the tiniest towns as determined by their 2020 population per missouri-demographics.com or a Google search if the city was not listed there.
The annual Missouri Women On Wheels® Touring/Photo Contest serves the same purpose. When one visits a place to earn another point for the Contest, one may not know the history of that place. Although we didn’t know it, the Heartland Chapter had already visited a a few of Baugher’s places in 2021 before this blogger heard about the book.
Place 54. St. Louis County is known for its dozens of municipalities. In less than .75 mile on Interstate 170 between Page Avenue and Natural Bridge Road, three different city limit signs are visible at one time. Motorists cross from Overland to Charlack to Sycamore Hills and back to Charlack before motoring on to St. John and Bel-Ridge.
Every ride is an opportunity to discover something new and unlike anything else. Eureka!
This tribal map of the United States was found on the website www. native-land.ca/. According to the site, “Native Land is an app as well as a website designed to show people what indigenous groups once lived in places they currently live in. All you need to do is enter the zip code or type the name of the town you’re interested in and the interactive map will zoom in on your inquiry, color-code it, and reveal data on the area’s Indigenous history, original language, and tribal ties.”
As I ride in search of Missouri cities with the same name as other cities for the 2021 Missouri Women On Wheels®MO WOW Annual Touring/Photo Contest, two thoughts come to mind:
Missouri’s backroads, filled with small towns, old barns, pastured cows, and acres of hay and corn fields were once the lands of indigenous people.
In her remarks to the 2021 graduates from the Brown School (social work/public health/social policy) and the Sam Fox School (art, design, and architecture), dean Mary McKay of the Brown School, said: “I’d like to take a moment and recognize that Washington University occupies the land of native people. It’s so important that we acknowledge that these buildings are built on the homes of their ancestors.”1
“The Missouria or Missouri indigenous peoples gave Missouri its name. The tribe belongs to the Chiwere division of the Siouan language family, together with the Iowa and Otoe. The tribe originated in the Great Lakes region and began migrating south in the 1500s. The tribe lived near the mouth of the Missouri at its confluence with the Mississippi River. In their own Siouan language, the Missouri call themselves Niúachi, also spelled Niutachi, meaning ‘People of the River Mouth’. At some point, the Missouria migrated west of the Missouri River into Osage territory. Today they are federally recognized as the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians, based in Red Rock, Oklahoma.”2
“There are currently no federally recognized tribes in Missouri. Before the Indian Removal Act of 1830, there were nine tribes in Missouri, however other tribes inhabited and have connections to our state.