|APRIL 2005||Louisiana HSTA Newsletter||Page 1|
Saturday April 23, 2005 by Bob Chappuis
The weather was perfect for a ride, blue skies and perfect riding temperatures, around 70 degrees. I put together a 150 mile loop that wound back and forth through West Feliciana back roads, looped up into Mississippi and then back down into East Feliciana. The good forecast resulted in a good turnout with 7 riders showing up to ride at the McDonalds in St. Francisville. Tony Crowell on his new V-Strom 650, Bill Ellis on his FJR 1300, Chris Laderer on a brand new candy red ST1300 joined by friend Phillip on a BMW GS, new member Kevin Yeats on his silver ST1300, and long time member Henry Pretus on his 94 CBR 1000.
After the usual banter and tire kicking I led the group on 30 mile double loop south and north of Hwy 10 which included 966,955, Bains Rd, Sage Hill Rd and Jones Vaughn Creek Rd and ended back on 10 just West of Jackson, LA. We then turned North onto 421 and 967 where Tony lead for a while. We hung a left at Harris Coronor to Laurel Hill. I took the lead again as we crossed 61 at Lake Rosemound and continued on West on Sligo Rd. Harris Coronor and Sligo roads are hilly and twisty as well as very narrow and virtually surrounded on three sides, left right and above by thick woods. These roads are a blast on the smaller bikes like the SV and V-Strom but as far as I could tell the guys and the big bores were have big fun too!
Sligo finally spit us out on hwy 66 (Angola Rd) which is wide and smooth and hilly but with gentle sweepers and much more open scenery. We rode this to 967 and headed North into Mississippi. I had planned to take this road all the way to Woodville but by the time we reached the Pond turnoff it seemed a good time for a break. Chris and maybe Kevin had never seen the Pond Store, built in 1881. The pond for which the store was named was dug as a watering hole for oxen, horses and mules which were used in hauling cotton and other produce by wagon to Fort Adams for shipment on the Mississippi. I had not planned to travel Pond Rd to Fort Adams since it is gravel but everyone was game so we decided to ride the four miles to Fort Adams. The gravel proved to be pretty thick and the road was steeply crowned. As I moved right for a car coming the other way the SV's pointy front tire did not seem to want to steer back to the center and I had to come to a near stop and paddle my way back on course. This was my first time on gravel with the SV and it felt a lot less stable than the VFR. Bill Ellis pulled ahead and led the way and I was able to follow at a reasonable pace.
We made it to Fort Adams, without further delay and on to Woodville via 24. We then turned North on 61 briefly before peeling off to the right onto 563,. 563 here is hilly and quite tight but the surface is rough. We turned South onto Macedonia Rd where the excitement level got cranked up a couple of notches. All the way to Centreville. Between Sligo and Macedonia roads one can enjoy the full gamut the sport bike experience. We made a gas stop at Vine Brothers Mobile in Centreville then South on 24, 33 and 19 to Wilson, and finally 562 to Jackson, where we had a great lunch at Bear Corners.
The Surrey at Bear Corners, as it is now called is housed in an interesting old building full of remarkably large antiques. The lunch menu includes numerous delicious po-boys with confederate era historic names with a bit of the history behind the name. I forget which confederate colonel my sandwich was name after but I won't soon forget those delectable grilled shrimp!
After the meal I turned West for home on 10 while the rest went East to return to Baton Rouge and points South via 68 and 61. This was just about a perfect ride, great road, great weather, great food and most of all great company!
April 8 & 9 First Annual Florida Fling, Tallahassee, FL by Bob Chappuis
Stacie and I attended this inaugural event organized by Sam Ulbing, North Florida State Director. Due to a shoulder injury in late January I was not expecting to be in any shape to ride at all by the April 8 event date so the plan was to travel via automobile and just make the trip a non-riding one like our trip to Arkansas last month. However, my recovery has been faster than expected and on March 29 the Orthopedist gave me the OK to ride. I was caught with the VFR is 20 pieces undergoing major maintenance and I did not feel ready for a two-up 500 mile trip on the SV650. However the new Chevy Van I had order arrived and I took delivery on the 31st. A quick trip to Kirk's (Has the Works) got me supplied with a loading ram. Measurement indicated the rear cargo door would clear the SV's windscreen by 3 inches so with a good duck of the head I can ride the SV right up and in! With the van loaded with bike, gear and beer we left St. Francisville early Friday morning and headed for Tallahassee. An easy trip but we lost an hour crossing into Eastern TZ and arrived at the event motel a little after 6.
By the time we got checked in most of the crowd had headed to the restaurant next door for a meal but our good friends Chuck and Francis Headrick of Titusville, FL had waited for us and the four of us had a delicious meal at Julie's Restaurant. The place was packed and we were told an hour wait but thanks to Stacie's quick thinking the four of us commandeered the earlier HSTA groups' table before they could give it to someone else! Afterwards we attended Sam's riders' meeting in the motel conference room and met a bunch of the Florida folks. The only other out-of-staters were from Alabama, Audray Hubble and wife. Audray and I knew each other from the VFR owners email list and it was good to meet him in person. After Sam and resident road expert Jan gave us the run-down on the route offerings, various groups made plans for the next days ride and the meeting split up. Stacie and I then had a nice visit with Sam and his wife before turning in for the night.
The next morning I unloaded the SV with Chuck's help and he and I headed out on one of the routes provided by Sam in both printed and digital formats. I had downloaded the Garmin GPS files from the Florida HSTA Yahoo Group website and loaded them into my GPS. However, I was soon reminded of the fact that the Garmin will not work on battery power mounted on a bike and I did not have an electrical system hookup on the SV as I do on the VFR. The bike's vibration causes the AA cell batteries to bounce against the contacts enough that the unit's low battery detection feature is triggered and the unit shuts itself off after about 5 minutes of riding.
As a result my GPS was little help and I had to rely on Chuck to lead the way. However, Chuck had along as passenger his son-in-law Lucas, a Tallahassee resident so we utilized his local knowledge as we explored the coastal areas south of the city. After as short stop to figure out what and why Chuck's Beemer was bottoming out on hard lefts we were out into the Florida Panhandle countryside
We covered some pleasant roads with nice scenery but certainly nothing of a challenging nature and made a couple of photo stops along the coast. We then headed to St. Marks for a tasty but slow coming lunch. The quaint little town was quite busy with tourists and boaters enjoying the great weather. Along the way we passed through the historic town of Sopchoppy where the fourth annual Sopchoppy Worm Gruntin' Festival was underway! We briefly considering staying for the Worm Grunter's Ball but realized we'd look silly trying to dance in the dirt in our motorcycle boots. So we headed back to the motel, got a little lost but guided by Lucas we found our way back.
Saturday evening the group, which had grown due to several Saturday arrivals, gathered on the courtyard patio area to drink beer and talk about the days ride. As supper time approached most of the group opted to order pizza and eat out on the Patio but Chuck and Frances and Stacie and I were in the mood for more of Julie's tasty seafood and steaks so we headed back to the restaurant and enjoyed another good meal. We then returned to the patio where several good conversations covering everything motorcycle were underway. The Florida folks are a great bunch and we really enjoyed the socializing. Sam and his helpers did a great job organizing this successful first-time event and we plan to return next year. I hope more of the Louisiana members will take advantage of this nearby event in 2006!
For about the past 15 years or so, Brad and Cynda Mobley have hosted an HSTA non-event in the Hill Country of Texas. Their ride usually is the first weekend in May and has attracted as many as 70 riders in the past. Having attended four years ago, I was anxious to return. Brad and Cynda have been very supportive of Cajun Christmas and I wanted to return the favor (and besides, it has been too pretty not to ride!!)
Heading out on Friday morning the 28th, I jumped on good ole I-20 toward Shreveport. A few miles west of S'port (as it is called locally), I turned south on Highway 79 to Carthage, Texas. At Carthage I continued southwest on 315 to Mt. Enterprise to Highway 84 and stayed on 84 to Rusk where I turned south on Highway 69 to Alto, Texas. Continuing southwest on Highway 21, I turned west on Highway 7 in Crockett. On 7 I rode to I-45 where I turned south for 12 miles until I picked up the Old Spanish Road. The OSR may have been the highlight of the trip down. It does not have all that many twists and turns but is lined with ranches straight out of the old TV show Dallas, and wildflowers dominated the roadside. By taking the OSR I also avoided the Bryan/College Station area, a place where I have gotten held up, time wise, in the past. Once past Bryan, the OSR reconnects to Highway 21 which took me all the way to San Marcos. I picked up I-35 for 16 miles to New Braunfels where I turned west on Highway 46. Highway 46 is a very nicely paved road that has some interesting moments and once again, lined with terrific scenery. Twelve miles southeast of Bandera, I turned north on Highway 16 to complete the 547 mile ride to the River Oaks Inn
Approximately 50 riders woke up to rain on Saturday morning that gave way to clear skies with a breeze by 11 am. From the motel in Bandera one can find ideal motorcycling by heading literally in any direction. I rode west on 470 to Leakey where I met fellow riders at a motorcycle gathering place in this very small town. From Leakey I headed up 83 till I could turn east on Highway 39 for 16 miles. I turned south on 187. Even the smaller roads in this part of the country are fairly well surfaced and there is little traffic on them (except on days like today where I encountered easily over 300 motorcycles of all descriptions!) Just north of Vanderpool, Texas I rode by the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum. This building, which is literally in the middle of nowhere, houses about 60 different motorcycles of all types and ages. For a $5 admission I probably spent an hour looking at a variety of BSAs, BMWs, Harleys, a couple of Vincents and some other notable pieces. The museum also has a small snack bar and is a good place to sit and visit with other motorcyclists. I had heard about this place so decided to stop in as I simply just happened to be riding by.
From the museum I took 337 east to Medina and stopped in at Luv's Apple Orchard for some of the best apple pie I have ever had! Told by Brad Mobley about this place on Saturday morning, I laughed when about 10 other members of the HSTA group arrived at nearly the same time. From Medina it was Highway 16 south back to Bandera and the River Oaks Inn.
The weather turned out spectacular and it was nice to see some folks that I had not seen in a year or two. Several riders present had attended Cajun Christmas in December and promised to return this year. I left at sunup on Sunday morning for the return ride home. I enjoyed this Hill Country ride. I have always liked the topography and geography of the area and Indian paintbrushes and bluebonnets were quite numerous. The weather cooperated (even though the temperature dropped 40 degrees from Friday afternoon to Saturday morning.) Brad and Cynda are contemplating the possibility of moving this ride next year to get a better hotel deal (and also a hotel that can accommodate every rider.) So, we'll just have to wait and see what next year brings but I can recommend a springtime Hill Country ride for anyone that can steal away for a day or two.
Several members will visit the Art of the Motorcycle exhibit at the Pyramid in Memphis on Saturday, May 14th. The plan is to ride up to Tunica, Mississippi on Friday the 13th (yikes!) and stay at the Holiday Inn Express, (662)363-0030 4250 Casino Center Dr Robinsonville, MS 38664s. If you like to ride, gamble or look at art then join us! Tony, Bob, Stacie and Bill and Sherri will be riding up via backroads Friday morning from the Baton Rouge AREA. Drew Newcomer will be riding up from Monroe. Contact me if you would like to to join us for the ride.
Meet at STARBUCKS on CORPORATE BLVD 9:00
How about a long ride to get in shape for STAR 05?
Event details subject to change. Be sure to check the event link for up-to-date (hopefully) info before making your plans!
|May 13-15||TwiSTAR 2005||Voyageur Inn - Reedsburg, WI 800-444-4493|
|May 27-30||Tri-Star||Allegheny Inn - Sparta, NC 888-372-2501|
|June 19-22||STAR 2005||Holiday Inn North - Lexington, KY|
|August 12-14||Nolichucky Valley Rally||Holiday Inn Express - Erwin, TN|
|August 26-28||Mail Pouch Fly By||Best Value Inn (formerly Knights Inn) - Marietta, OH|
|September 9-11||Ozarks BS Rally||Theodosia
Marina & Resort - Highway 160
|September 16-18||River City Ride||Baymont Inn - 2495 Landmark Avenue Corydon, Indiana 812-738-1500|
|September 23-25||SE Star||Holiday Inn Express 64 White Oak Lane Dillard, Georgia 706-746-3585|
|October 7-9||Friends of Freddie - XIII||Tradition Inn Intersection of Hwy 67 & W Farmington, MO 877-355-6205|
|November 4-6||Texas Hill Country Ride||YO Ranch Resort 2033 Sidney Baker Kerrville, TX 78028 877-967-3767|
Well, that's all for now. Keep riding & smiling.
Bob Chappuis, Editor
7060 Barrow Creek Dr.
St. Francisville, LA 70775