|January 2002||Louisiana HSTA Newsletter||Bob Chappuis, Editor|
I hope everyone had a great Holiday Season! Despite some pretty cold weather the Louisiana HSTA has started the New Year out RIGHT with two club rides during the month of January. You can read about them below but first a recap of 2001, including a ride report from New Orleans Area Assistant Director (NOAAD) Bud Logan which we could not include in the December issue. Activities in the latter half of 2001 included two group rides to the new No Problem Raceway in Belle Rose, Louisiana - Louisiana's new (and only) Road Racing venue; a lunch ride to Natchez, MS, a weekend trip to Vicksburg, MS including tours of the Emerald Indian Mound and the National Battleground Park and of course the 13th Annual Cajun Christmas at Louisiana's Chico State Park. The weekend following Cajun Christmas NOAAD Bud led his inaugural "Couples Ride". His report follows. 2001 also saw several new members joining our ranks. Although we have not yet met all of you we look forward to doing so soon. A map depicting the location of our state membership can be viewed on our web site. (www.felicianaonline.com/hsta) You new members: don't be shy, let me know if there is anything we can do to improve YOUR club. The National Membership address book will be mailed out soon. Have a look and see who's in there; call somebody up - they may be sitting around wishing they had somebody to go riding with.
Today was one of those days where I thought to myself while riding away from home to begin a full day of riding, "God must truly love me to allow me to ride on such a beautiful day." The air was cool, crisp, and clean. The sky was blue. It felt great to be fully clad in my leather riding gear, which I love! Dale and I were heading out for our first ride as the New Orleans Area Assistant Director for the Louisiana HSTA.
I have been riding for 44 years and love to ride aggressively, but three years ago Dale told me that if I would trade in my CBR900RR for a Gold Wing she would ride with me. Three days later, we had a big fat Wing! It has truly been a good move because it has brought us so much closer. We have been "empty nesters" for some time now. I no longer leave for full day rides without her. I no longer go to the Smokies without her. She is now, after long last, my riding buddy! Oh yes, I still carve corners with the boys and thoroughly enjoy aggressive riding, but the best times are when I hear that sweet voice in my helmet speakers!
We arrived at Shoneys Clearview at I-10 to meet Tammy and Ruven St. Pierre on their new Honda 750 NightHawk, and Ret and Ann Favret on his 1800 Wing. Bob Addig was there on his brand new (12 hours old) 750 Shadow. Bob just came to meet the group and say that he'd be back, but didn't want to ride with us until he put more time in the saddle and get a backrest for his fiancée.
Ret has a few years experience and is also a good rider. He and Eddie and I did a "guys only" ride to the Smokies this summer. Ann is fairly new to the scene but is gaining confidence and beginning to relax. Ruven and Tammy looked a though they were very comfortable with their first ride with us; although Tammy said that she has to condition her neck muscles to the helmet weight and pressure from the wind, and her butt to the hours in the seat!
After getting to know each other a little, we headed for Slidell to pick up Eddie and Robin Molina on their 1978 XS 1100 Yamaha. Eddie has made a few HSTA rides in the past and has many years riding experience. In fact, Eddie is my son and he started riding off-road when I bought him his first 80cc dirt bike and introduced him to the Enon woods at age 10. He later moved up to a Yamaha 125 MX bike, and we put many, many laps on the Waggaman MX Track together. He was without a bike for a few years until he got the Yamaha 1100 in 1996. Today he brought Robin along for her first ride with Dale and I.
After adding Eddie and Robin as our 4th couple, we took the Rigolets Road to Port Bienville Road to Waveland staying along the coast to the Beau Rivage Casino in Biloxi. I never tire of riding either the Smokies or the Gulf Coast. The view to the south is sandy beaches, long piers, and the beautiful Gulf. To the north is the unmistakable architecture of gracious beachfront homes and sprawling Southern Oaks. The atmospheres of those combined essences bring back 50 years of grand memories. The Beau Rivage is fairly new to the Mississippi casino scene, but stands out with its class act architecture and grandeur. It was beautifully decorated for Christmas and the long walk through the lobby was a treat. They have an enormous buffet and we all enjoyed both good food and good conversation.
After slowly waddling back through the lobby to our bikes, Ruven and Tammy had to head back to LaPlace, and Eddie and Robin had to get back to Slidell. Ret and Ann, and Dale and I, hit the backroads north of Biloxi in the Homochitto Forest. We finally took some very remote backroads known only to the locals (and my GPS unit), then wound our way back to I-59 and then home. Oh yeah, God does love me.
I've received enough feedback to know that everyone enjoyed the ride and the company. The next ride will be another couples ride to the north shore and will meet at Shoney's just South of I-10 at the Clearview exit at 9AM on Sunday, January 20. See the brief note below, Ed.
I have an Internet thingy called Weather Bug installed on my computers. It keeps the current temperature for a selected zip code in the bottom right of your Windows Desktop and current conditions and forecasts are just a click away. As the week wore on I kept a constant eye one this little bug hoping for good weather for the January Baton Rouge Area HSTA ride. Early on the forecast went from wet and warm to clear and cold. So far so good but just how cold would it get?
As Sunday approached the chance of rain diminished but so did the predicted low. I had decided that if it was still below 40 at 9:00 am I would chicken out and show up in the van to just drink coffee with whoever showed. But when member Bob Hennessey called Saturday night to let me know he was coming and bring some buddies I decided I would have to Press On Regardless. How could I possibly pass up riding with Bob on the Sportbike of the Month? Temperatures dropped to around 33 degrees in St. Francisville over Saturday night and Sunday morning at 7:00 am it was still dropping. I pulled on my long johns, my electric vest and my Joe Rocket Ballistic riding suit. A balaclava, winter riding gloves with liners and my Rhino boots completed the outfit and I was ready for the Big Chill. As I rode out of the yard at 8:30 the Interceptor's ambient thermometer read 37 degrees. Nothing to it! The Joe Rocket suit makes all the difference. The vest gave me a nice warm feeling inside but I did not really need it. Half way to Baton Rouge I shut off the vest and never bothered to hook it up again once I had de-hooked at Starbucks.
There were four bikes in the lot when I rolled in: Tony Crowell's Honda CBR1100XX, two Kawasaki ZRX's (1100?/1200?)and the Bike of the Month: Bob Hennessy's Yamaha FZ1. The guys were all inside drinking Starbucks coffee. The Kawi's belong to Joe Saia and Zan. (Pardon me if I misspelled your last name Joe and forgetting yours Zan!) We sipped coffee and chatted for a good 30 minutes while we waited to see who else would show up. No one did so at 10:15 we headed out for River Road. By now the temperature was perfect for our protective riding gear and the few clouds in the sky were giving way to mostly bright blue! We turned onto River Road a Brightside Lane just South of LSU, the red VFR800 leading the pack of litre plus sportbikes.
For much of River Road from LSU to Geismer there is little traffic.The Mississippi on one side and mostly open land on the other. Mostly long fast sweepers with a few kinks and some nice long straights; this is a good place to ride fast. The roads were in fair or good shape and we maintained a descent pace until my gas gauge started flashing as we passed St. Gabriel. I slowed to around 90, er, I mean around 50, yeah, something like that, to save fuel as we continued down river toward Highway 22. On 22 we stopped at a Chevron for gas and had a nice conversation with a local father and son duo on a pair of Beemers who were headed across the river to NPR.
Continuing on 22 we crossed HWY 61 headed for the twisty section that from Head of Island to Clio. Along the way to Head of Island I recognized turn off for 936 and took it. Did I mention that this area was my old stomping ground back in the 80's when I first started riding sport bikes? 936 has some nice curves and we carved them before turning back onto 22.The curvy section of 22 is potentially some great riding but there is usually traffic and much of it slow. Being older and wiser these days I no longer cross the double yellow in such circumstances and unfortunately we had many a fine curve spoiled by a slow moving sedan. (Sorry guys) Well, eventually Tony and Bob could stand it no longer and came blasting by me on the double yellow. And right around the next bend or two along comes you-know-who. The local LEO made an immediate U-Turn and on came the flashing lights! Luckily he did not see the double yellow offense and was in a good mood because he let us go with a warning to "slow it down".
Click selected areas of the route map for a blow-up
At that point we decided we had it was time for lunch so we motored on to Springfield and the Taste of Bavaria. This place features German food and has an outside dining area. This worked out well for us since it was still cool and we could remain comfortable without having too shed all our riding gear. The food is pretty good, especially if you like German food. The potato salad was hot and good but a bit pricey, I thought, at $3.50
After enjoying the meal and some more conversation it was time to split up. The New Orleans guys headed East while Tony and I backtracked on 22 and then took 444 to 16 and Port Vincent. From there Tony took 42 back to Baton Rouge and I took 16 to Denham Springs, crossed the Amite River at Magnolia Crossing and worked my way home to St. Francisville via various back roads.
Bud led another ride on January 20. He did not have time for a full report before the deadline for this newsletter but sent me this email update: We had a good ride although only 4 of us showed (3 bikes), I'm sure due to the dreary weather. It was Dale & I, Ret and Zan. We rode over the Causeway and up to Columbia, then Hwy. 13 to 49 to a Chili Cook off put on by Chapter B of the GWRRA in Paul B. Johnson State Park. We then came home for around 4:30PM. Just under 300 miles I think.
We will meet at Starbucks, Corporate Blvd and Energy in Baton Rouge at 9:30 and depart at 10:00. No definite route or destination yet - your suggestions are welcomed. Otherwise maybe we can explore some new territory and find some new highways and restaurants. The usual weather restrictions apply: greater than 50% probability of rain or 9:00 am temperature below 40 degrees will keep this wimp at home!
NOAAD Bud Logan will be attending the International Bike Show in Atlanta January 25 through 27 and will be riding his Goldwing in several Mardi Gras parades in the coming weeks. However, he plans to schedule another ride for the New Orleans Area for late February. Look for updates in your email box and on the web site. If you are not connected to the Word Wide Web and would like to receive telephone notification for either the New Orleans or Baton Rouge Area rides give me a call and let me know how and when you can best be contacted.
I try not to miss the Daytona 200 since I am a Road Racing fan and this is the opening and biggest race of the AMA season. The International Motorcycle Show will also be happening on the Speedway grounds. For those who have not been, there are tents and tents of displays by all the bike manufacturers and accessory vendors. You can see whats new, try stuff on, get some bargains and even take demo rides. The Florida HSTA has arranged an HSTA banquet Saturday night, March For more info hit the Link with your browser or contact Event Coordinator – Phil Ridgdill, (904 287 9654)
Due to the scattered locations of our membership it seems impossible to get everyone together at one time. In an attempt to give everyone a chance to meet each other and talk about club activities I am planning an Annual Membership Lunch. The location will be a restaurant in Alexandria and the Month will be May, more details will be announced in coming months. If anyone has any suggestions for a good restaurant in Alex please send them in. A large place with relaxed atmosphere and good food with good bike parking would be ideal.
Well, time to wrap this thing up and start publishing. We hope to see you on the road soon, ride safe!and KEEP IN TOUCH!