September 8, 2005

John Cook Completes Motorcycle Tour de Capitals

It took the Memphis motorcycle enthusiast approximately two years to travel by bike to 49 of the United States state capitals, lacking only a motorcycle boat to get to Hawaii.

Lance Armstrong has made the Tour de France famous. A bike tour of a different variety has gained a Memphis man some notoriety of his own.

Its not like John Cook needs his love of motorcycles to make him known in this community. John and his wife Maxine have owned and operated Cooks Mens Store, a well-known western apparel store for 40 years.

But those in the community that didnt encounter John in the store or via his various other community service projects such as Rotary, surely saw the man riding his motorcycle in the parades.

He wasnt showing off. John simply found the love of riding and is more than willing to take advantage of just about any excuse to fire up his ride and head down the road.

Cook blames his love of riding on the fact that he started so late in life. John was 40 years old before he owned his first ride.

I just finally got exposed to the sport then, he said. I had a pretty large group of friends who all had motorcycles at this time and they all kept coming by and trying to get me revved up.

So John finally took the plunge. But it was a relatively small leap, as he shelled out $50 bucks to buy a small size 50 motorcycle.

He rode that for a couple of weeks and was hooked. The industry reeled in their newest catch, as Cook began upgrading, moving up to a 100 c.c. engine, then on to a 125, a 175, a 350, a 550, a 1000, a 1100 and then his 1200 10th Anniversary American Gold Wing.

Its just like any other hobby, fishing, hunting, golfing Cook said. We all have our interests, and for me its definitely riding a motorcycle.

In 1974 he started touring on his 550 Honda, traveling with his brother Charles to Arkansas, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Colorado. They even traveled to the little known town of Sturgis, South Dakota where Cook joined with some 5,000 other motorcycle enthusiasts. Last year, the 63rd annual Sturgis rally drew nearly half a million bikers.

John enjoyed the sport so much he decided to share the fun with Maxine. Together the couple rode across the United States, Canada and even in Mexico.

The riding around all over our great country, thats simply the best, John said. We have seen some many different places thanks to riding, yet we are so thankful that we still live in the best part. Still, I love to ride.

Cook doesnt use the term love, loosely when he refers to riding his motorcycle. How else could one explain a man celebrating his 65th birthday by departing on a two-year quest to ride his bike to all of the state capitals in the United States?

The marathon began innocently enough back in 1998. On May 17, John departed from Memphis heading west. His first stop was Topeka, KS. He went on to Oklahoma City. Stop two on the 49 capital tour was made more memorable by his viewing of the bombed-out Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building.

While the site of the terrorist bombing dampened Cooks spirits some, he was reinvigorated by what he called the beautiful scenery on the road to Santa Fe, NM. Phoenix, AZ, was the next stop before John departed on one of the longest rides of his adventure, the 1,020 miles to Austin, TX.

That ride was hard on me, Cook said. It was kind of funny because it bugged me, until I finally told myself that it was a thousand miles, and I really didnt have to do it all in one day.

Between Texas and Louisianna, John experienced his first setback. He miscalculated on his fuel, and actually ran out of gasoline. Fortunately he was rescued by a passerby.

A nice young man stopped and brought me some gas, Cook said. We got to talking, and the fellow related what his father had told him, that anytime you go someplace new, you always learn something. Thats stuck with me on my trips.

Refueled, Cook pressed on to Baton Rouge and then turned north for the return trip, stopping in Little Rock, AR, before hitting Jefferson City, MO.

It was in his own state capital that Cook came across the book that became his guide on the quest. He was visiting with the folks in the souvenir shop, when one pointed out a book, The Capitals of the United States. John purchased a copy, which highlighted each states capital building. Now the book includes Johns own additions, as it has become somewhat of a scrapbook with photos taken by Cook at each of his stops.

On May 25, Johns 1500 Honda crossed the city limits of Memphis. In eight and a half days he had ridden 4,302 miles and visited nine state capitals on stage one of his tour.

After his visit to the southwest, John next mapped out the second leg of his journey, this time heading northeast.

On June 21, Cook departed from Memphis heading east. Springfield, IL was the first stop. Then it was on to Indianapolis, IN, followed by Columbus, OH. Cook made a pit stop in Brookville, PA, where he stayed at a friends home. He resumed the quest as he made it to Harrisburg before journeying into our nations capital, Washington, D.C.

That was definitely a challenge because of the road designs, Cook said. Its shaped like a wagon wheel with all kinds of one-way streets. But still I got to see all the national monuments and all of the history.

The history lesson continued as John made his way to Annapolis, MD, the site of the oldest state capital in the U.S., Dover, DE and Trenton, NJ, were two more stops as Cook said he found himself amazed that he was wandering among buildings with such history, like in Maryland, where George Washington had actually resigned his post as Commander and Chief of the Continental army back in 1783. He marveled at the four towers of marble and granite that comprised the Hartford, CT, capital building.

After hitting Providence, RI, and Boston, MA, John finally began to ride out of the urban sprawl of the east coast. He still couldnt avoid the crowds though, as his misfortunate timing placed him in Concord, New Hampshire at the same time as a big NASCAR race, making it impossible to find a hotel room.

John continued north and hit Augusta, ME, and then stopped at Montpelier Vermont.

This was the only one of the 49 state capitals that I didnt either walk around or ride around, Cook said. I couldnt, because the building is actually built into the side of a mountain.

From there the journey turned to Albany, NY, before John headed to Buffalo, NY, and got to see Niagara Falls. He continued through Canada on a straight line for Lansing, MI. He then turned back south and traveled through Chicago on the return to Memphis where he arrived July 3.

The East Coast was amazing with its history, its huge ports and giant ships, Cook said. The ocean and the mountains made it a very nice trip that I would have enjoyed much more without my mishap in Pennsylvania.

An accident in the Keystone state left Cook with broken ribs, making the last 3,000 miles of the ride a little uncomfortable.

Still he completed the 12-day trek, covering 3,967 miles and 15 more state capitals.

Leg three of the five-stage trip started August 2 when Cook again departed Memphis, this time heading north to Des Moines, IA. He learned a little about politics in the gold-domed capital building where an engraved sign reads Nothing is politically correct that is morally wrong.

The northern tour went on to Madison, WI, and St. Paul, MN. Bismark, ND, presented an enjoyable ride across the northern plains. Cook admired the capital building as he approached the city, noting it is the tallest of all state capitals, standing 19 stories tall.

Cook was able to admire the length of the Missouri River as he paralleled the massive body of water on his way to Pierre, SD. Of course, it was August, so John made a detour to Sturgis to check out the biker rally before heading on to Lincoln, NE.

Cook covered 2,402 miles on the five-day excursion and will tell you that the midwest ride is definitely his favorite.

Stage four was the most ambitious thus far. Cook took off April 19, 1999 and headed southeast for what would be more than 4,000 miles on his motorcycle.

Nashville, TN, was stop #1 followed by Atlanta, GA, and Montgomery, AL.

Cook got to view two state capitals in Tallahassee, as Florida not only has a new modern building but also maintains the original capital building, restored to its original condition.

A strong desire to see Key West sent Cook on a detour across Alligator Alley and down the states west coast to his farthest southern stop. He returned up the east coast and on to Savannah, GA and then Columbia, SC. Here Cook saw the brass markers that represented canon shells that had hit the building during the Civil War.

Raleigh, NC, and Richmond, VA, had Cook two more stops closer to his goal.

But the cyclist found his trip soured by a call from home. He received word that his mother had passed away. That cut short his visit with friends in Lynchburg, VA, as he jumped on his bike that evening and rode until he had to stop for sleep. He made it back through Charleston, WV and Frankfurt, KY, before getting back home May 26. He covered 4,158 miles in eight days.

But that proved to be nothing compared to the final leg of the quest. A week later, John and a friend, Jerry Speer, departed Memphis to hit the remaining spots in the northwest.

Cook questioned if he was not getting a little soft as the first day on the road the duo hit rain. It was not the only roadblock Mother Nature would provide.

They made it to Cheyenne, WY, but hit a huge windstorm that nearly blew them off course on the way to Boise, ID. It turned cold as they crossed the narrow mountain roads en route to Helena, MT.

They kept going north, crossing into Canada on the way to Alaska. They headed for Calgary, riding along the Columbia Ice Field.

They took a break at Pink Mountain and awoke from a nights sleep at a motel to 18 inches of snow. They were stalled for nearly three days by more than 20 inches of snow.

They made up for the layover with a hard day of riding.

When we pulled into the motel, I was cleaning bugs off my windshield and kept wondering why I was so tired, Then I looked at my watch and saw it was 10:30 p.m., but the sun was still up. Thats the first time Ive ever went to bed with the sun still up.

The two bikers finally made it to Juneau, AK, and then turned around and headed back to the good old USA.

It was kind of interesting as I was sitting there in Alaska to stop and think, just a month or so before that I had been all the way across the nation down in the Florida Keys, Cook said.

The next stop was Olympia, WA, before hitting Salem, OR, and Sacramento, CA. Carson City, NV, and Salt Lake City, UT, were stops 47 and 48 before the final destination of Denver, CO. was reached.

Twenty days later the two men returned home after covering more than 7,700 miles on their motorcycles.

I always get asked, which one is the prettiest, Cook said. Well, thats sort of like judging a queen contest, I mean you just cant pick one over another as they are all so amazing.

Regardless of all of his stops on the 59-day, 23,000 miles adventure, Cook never had any doubt what his favorite sight was.

I saw so many beautiful things on my trips, but none compares to getting that first look at home when you finally get back, he said.

With his obvious love for home, one might wonder why Cook undertook the massive trip.

It was a challenge- and I won, Cook said. As a kid, I always wished my horse could have wings so that I could ride every place. On the highway, I realized God had given me my Gold Wing very humbling.

Scotland County Library Presents ‘Build a Better World’ Summer Reading Program

Readers of all ages will explore exciting things this summer as the Scotland County Library presents “Build a Better World” during their summer library program.  The 2017 Summer Reading Program is open to young people ages three through 6th grade with programs and prizes.

Registration for “Build a Better World” begins Monday, June 5th, and the last day to collect prizes will be Friday, July 21st.  Prizes will be awarded based on hours spent reading.

Weekly programs will also be presented at 10:00 a.m. each Wednesday beginning June7th. The first program will feature Jeff Dyer’s presentation of a famous Scotland County resident.  On June 14th, Karen Armstrong of the Missouri Department of Conservation will give an animal presentation.  Other programs will include the Scotland County R-1 FFA presenting a Petting Zoo, Kim Ludwick of the Scotland County Health Department, and Brian Whitney and members of the Memphis and Scotland County Fire Departments.

For more information, call the library at 660-465-7042.  All programs are free of charge.

Residential Terrace Hosts 20th Annual Car Show

The soggy streets and roads didn’t keep 30 diehard vehicles from showing off at the 20th Annual Residential Terrace Car Show on Saturday, May 20th.

The residents of both the Scotland County Care Center and Residential Terrace were thrilled to view the vehicles in the parking lot. The weather threatened rain and was chilly so most viewing was from the many windows. Some brave residents ventured out for a closer look.

Memphis Mayor William Reckenberg awarded Alan Hufford with the Mayor’s Award for his bright yellow 1972 Chevy Nova.

The residents chose a red 1993 Chevy S-10 owned by John and Donna Austin from Memphis as their favorite color.

The vehicle with the most memories was a 1951 Pontiac Chieftain owned by Ewing and Louise Dean from Kirksville.

The fun car award was a 1965 Volkswagen owned by Larry and Michell Balanda from Anchorage, AK.

The fancy car award was a 2015 Chevrolet SS owned by Michell and Larry Balanda from Anchorage, AK.

Peoples’ choice award was a 1955 Chevy Bel Air convertible owned by Gary Harris from Moulton, IA.

Other awards for the top 10 cars, top 3 pickups and top motorcycle were awarded also.

A special plaque was awarded to Jerry Grosenkemper for his volunteering and dedication for the past 20 years of this car show.

As always, the organizers expressed their appreciation to all who helped and participated in this year’s show.

Tague Attends ‘Chosin Few’ Reunion in Springfield

Left to right: Don “Buck” Tague, Dr. Baes Suk Lee, Jong Kook Lee. Baes Suk Lee (center) was part of the Army in Korea, serving as an interpreter – in his capacity to do so – even though he was a youth at the time. He came to the U.S. post Korean War. Jong Kook Lee (right) , the Consulate General of the Republic of (South) Korea , stationed in Chicago, presented Tague (and other veterans) with the Korean Government’s Ambassador of Peace Medal at this reunion.

submitted by Sandra Kalman

Don “Buck” Tague of Gorin attended a Korean War battle reunion in Springfield, Missouri, May 18 to 20.

Commemorating the Korean War Battle of Chosin Reservoir, survivors of that battle have taken to calling themselves: “The Chosin Few.”

This particular reunion was the U.S. Army Chapter reunion of The Chosen Few – another association holds reunions for both Marines and Army survivors together and Tague attends those Korean War reunions too.  He also attends World War II reunions with his Patton’s Third Army 65th Infantry Division Association.

The Battle of Chosin Reservoir lasted from late November, 1950, until the end of December, making this reunion not quite 67 years post battle.  Details of the battle are not pretty.  Tague played a part in the Army’s 79th Construction Engineering Battalion in Korea.

An interesting editorial written about this reunion by a local Springfield physician, Yung Hwang, M. D., published prior to the reunion, said the purpose of this reunion was “To honor the surviving veterans and the memory of those who died during that decisive battle…”

Hwang said:  “On the eve of Chosin Few coming to town, the Korean community will warmly welcome and happily join in their memorial service as we are also hoping North Korean and Chinese communism will stop their bad behaviors against the world.”

Several highlights of the reunion are described in text accompanying photographs in a Fathers’ Day ad, placed here by Tague’s proud children.

About the general feeling of the reunion, Buck’s son, David, said:  “They were glad to be here.”

Scotland County Senior Nutrition Center

MENU

Thursday, May 25 – Roast Pork, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Sauerkraut, Cranberry Sauce, Slice Bread, Pudding

Friday, May 26 – Fish Fillets, Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli Salad, Peas, Cornbread, Cream Pie

Monday, May 29 – Memorial Day, Center Closed, No Meals

Tuesday, May 30 – BBQ or Plain Pork/Bun, Scalloped Potatoes, Cauliflower Blend Veggies, Pears, Cookies

Wednesday, May 31 – Chicken Strips, Mashed Potatoes/Gravy, Buttered Corn, Bread, Fruit Salad

Thursday, June 1 – Ham and Beans, Carrot-Pineapple Salad, Buttered Beets, Cornbread, Cake

ACTIVITIES

Thursday, May 25 – Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

Monday, May 29 – Memorial Day, Center Closed

Thursday, June 1 – Card Party at 5:00 p.m.

Regularly Scheduled Audit of Scotland County Underway

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo (May 19, 2017) Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway has announced her office has started work on audits of Scotland and Mercer counties, located in northern Missouri.  Audit staff is on-site in both locations, and Auditor Galloway encouraged citizens to submit concerns or information through the dedicated hotline.

“The public deserves a government that is transparent and works efficiently on behalf of its citizens,” Auditor Galloway said. “These audits will provide an independent review, and I encourage anyone who has information to contact my Whistleblower Hotline.”

The most recent audits of Scotland and Mercer counties were completed in 2013 and both counties received good ratings.

Individuals who would like to provide information for consideration in this or any audit may contact the State Auditor’s Whistleblower Hotline at moaudit@auditor.mo.gov or by calling 800-347-8597. Concerns may also be submitted anonymously online at auditor.mo.gov/hotline.

MLRA Late Models to Highlight June 1st Races at Scotland County Speedway

Racing action will return to Scotland County Speedway next week as the Lucas Oil Midwest Late Model Racing Association will kick off a three-day circuit across northeast Missouri and southeast Iowa with a stop in Memphis on Thursday, June 1st.

The MLRA event will highlight a full schedule of events at SCS, paying $3,000 to win the late model feature. Modifieds, sport models and stock cars will all be racing for a $1,000 top prize with sport compacts battling for a $300 payday.

The track will be open from 2 to 4 p.m. for practice at $25 per car. The gates will open at 5:30 p.m. with hot laps at 7 p.m.

The local event is being sponsored by J & J Ag, Memphis Pepsi-Cola, Brain’s Foundation Repair and Crop Production Services.

The MLRA will be racing May 25-27th in Wheatland, MO. After the Memphis stop, the late models will be in action Friday night at Lee County Speedway in Donnellson, IA before heading to Randolph County Speedway in Moberly on Saturday.

On May 4th-6th the circuit was in Iowa, racing at Lee County Speedway, Davenport and Independence with Chris Simpson, Bobby Pierce and Billy Moyer all picking up wins. Thus far in 2017, five races in the books have generated five different winners for the MLRA.

Rush Releases Latest Book ‘You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!!’

Pastor Terry Rush is no stranger to the people of his hometown, Memphis. But while Scotland County residents may know Rush from his frequent visits back home for speaking engagements, or as readers of his newspaper column of one of his books, his latest release starts with a revealing confession.

“All I ever wanted to be was famous.” That is the statement Rush offers to open “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!!”, his newest book fresh off the press.

Of course that confession was made tongue-in-cheek to the high school guidance counselor, as Rush was clinging to his dream of one day becoming a St. Louis Cardinal. Fittingly enough, he offered stand-up comedian, as his backup plan.

It turns out, God had other plans for Terry. While his professional baseball career never took off, Rush has had plenty of brushes with the fame he joked about.

After offering more than a dozen publication’s Rush penned his latest book in which he reveals how God has continued to send him to the right place at the right time, over and over again, to minister to the famous.

“In my younger days, I would never have guessed that the famous need and want spiritual and emotional support,” said Rush. “Surprised me. We tend to think they’ve got it made. Think again. They need people who care; just as we do.”

It has been the stories of meeting some of these needs that has led Rush to fulfill the new book’s subtitle, “Experiencing God Beyond Imagination”.

“I love people,” Rush says in the opening chapter of the book. “The famous have been ignored because it seems they are assumed to be both unneedy and unreachable. Fans just figure they have no problems.”

Rush goes on to explain in the book that his stardom, didn’t come from becoming a St. Louis Cardinal baseball player as he dreamed of as a young man, but instead only after he became a pastor in Tulsa, Oklahoma and happened upon an ad for adults to attend a Cardinals Baseball Camp to play alongside past and current stars and coaches.

“When I read this article about playing baseball with these heroes, I wondered if God would use me to encourage them,” Rush says in the book. “As I thought of the possibilities, I wept.”

Little did he know that the Legends Camp would only be the beginning of the multitude of opportunities the Lord presented for Rush to interact with the famous and offer God’s encouragement. “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” is a collection of stories about “chance” meetings Rush has had with a number of celebrities from the movies, sports, politics, the music industry and television. The book is packed with amazing encounters that surely cannot be true, yet they are. These things couldn’t happen to a man from rural northeast Missouri, yet they did.

The book is chocked full of such unbelievable experiences that have put Rush in the presence of the likes of Charlton Heston, Loretta Lynn and James MacArthur.

It is through these experiences that Rush has learned that we are all alike, adding that everyone has confidences that are often undermined by fears. The author sais he hopes his latest book will open readers’ hearts to new possibility and potential.

Copies of you “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!!” are available at J’s Foods in Memphis or can be ordered directly from Kelly Press, Inc. by calling 573-449-4163 or by emailing colin@kellypressinc.com.

Judge DeMarce to Address 71st Annual Memorial Day Services

Judge Karl DeMarce will be the featured speaker on Monday as the Wallace W. Gillespie Memorial Post #4958 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars hosts the 71st Annual Memorial Day Services on the lawn of the Scotland County Courthouse.

The services will begin at 10 a.m. with Post Commander Lloyd Erickson and program chairman Donnie Middleton welcoming the crowd.

Veterans Flody C. Baker and Mike Stephenson will perform the traditional wreath placement at the soldiers’ memorial on the southeast side of the courthouse. Fellow serviceman Bill Camp will lead the gathering the Pledge of Allegiance.

Pastor Leon Buford, also a Scotland County veteran, will lead the invocation prior to the playing of the National Anthem by the Scotland County R-I band. The Memphis Community Players will keep the music flowing with a series of patriotic selections.

Judge Gary Dial will again have the honor of introducing the service’s guest speaker.

Following DeMarce’s speech, veteran Jamie Parker will sing Sleep Soldier Boy accompanied by Connie Courtney.

Following the benediction by Buford, the VFW members will present a 21 gun salute before the performance of taps by service member Melinda Briggs with ECHO played by Chris Kempke.

The service is open to the public. In case of inclement weather, the program will be moved indoors at the VFW post.

Gorin American Legion Post Plans Memorial Day Gathering

The Leslie Chambers #395 Gorin American Legion Post will be hosting their annual Memorial Day gathering on Sunday, May 28.  There will be a carry-in dinner at 12:30 at the Gorin Christian Church with a program following the dinner. The Post will present military services at the Gorin Cemetery at 2:00 p.m. and everyone is invited.

BABY FUNK

Casey and April Funk of Coatsville, MO are the parents of a son, Carter Bret Funk, born May 10, 2017 at 8:16 a.m. at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis. Carter weighed 7 lbs 1.8 oz and was 20.75 inches long. He has a sibling, Caley Archer. Grandparents are Chris and Ida Archer of Moulton, IA; Ralph Funk of Coatsville, MO; and Judy Funk of Coatsville, MO.

BABY KEEFE

Kara Ball of Kahoka and Johnathon Keefe of Kahoka are the parents of a son, Michael Raymond Keefe, born May 16, 2017 at 6:28 a.m. at Scotland County Hospital in Memphis. Michael weighed 7 lbs 2.8 oz and was 21 inches long. Grandparents are David and Stacie Parson of Lawrence, Patrick Keefe of Keokuk, and Alicia Boyd of Eureka.

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