|June and July, 2002||Louisiana HSTA Newsletter||Bob Chappuis, Editor|
By Bob Chappuis
The new No Problem Raceway in Belle Rose, La hosted the first Halloween Bike Fest the last weekend of October. The three day event centered around a motorcycle drag racing competition and included live music, biker type fun events, food vendors and partying. Members Drew Newcomer, Bill Ellis and Sherri Ourso were there for Saturday events. Drew rode down from West Monroe Saturday morning, stopping on his way at out place in St. Francisville for a coffee break. Drew stayed over at a motel in Donaldsonville. Bill and Sherri rode over from Baton Rouge Saturday and returned to BR, meeting up with the main group Sunday morning at Starbucks. This group also included long time member Cindy Earle on her BMW K12 and Henry Pretus on his CBR1000, me on my VFR, non-members Joe LaVraea on his 750 Magna and Deb Reid on her Yamaha V-Star 1100. Future member Bobby Graham joined us for coffee and rode with us as far the Sunshine Bridge on his 89 EX500. Speaking of ride, we had a spirited one down River Road from Brightside Lane to the bridge, then back up the river on the west side to Donaldsonville and down 308 along Bayou Lafourche. This was some of our old speed zones back in the street racing days so I wicked it up for old times sake. The line stretched out a ways but that K12 stayed right on my tail and the EX was not far behind. The sky was blue and the temperature just right for leathers, a really fine ride!
We arrived at the track and parked, spent some time eyeing some interesting machines and then grabbed a section of bleachers. The racing classes were broken down into Fast and Slow (read stock) Japanese and Fast (?) and Slow Harley with the winners of the fast and slow groups facing off in the end. There were several fast Japanese machines and they put on quite a show with several runs in the high sevens. I only recall one fast Harley. It sounded good though. Anyway, the racing event was just a good excuse to get together and have a good time and that we did.
|VICKSBURG - NOV 10|
|We hatched the idea for an overnite run to Vicksburg during our Natchez Lunch Ride in mid-October. I wanted to see the Emerald Mound Indian mound near Churchill, MS the second largest Indian Mound in the USA and also wanted to return to the site of one of the first Louisiana HSTA rides back in.......??? 1989? I am getting OLD! Five couples on six bikes assembled at our place in St. Francisville, just a few miles off HWY 61 and a good staging area with great roads beginning at the end of our driveway. Three VFRs my red '99, Bill's (Ellis) red 98 and Mark Galyean's yellow '00; Stacie's Violet Ninja and two Goldwings. Bud and Dale Logan and there friends Ret and Ann Favret on an 01 1800 rode out from Kenner. Mark's and Bill's significant others Lynn and Sherrie were riding passenger on the VFRs. Mark and Lynn led the group out Sage Hill Rd to the Jackson-Woodville Rd - the back way to Woodville, MS and through some beautiful, hilly scenery. North of Woodville we turned off of 61 onto MS 563, a really nice road with some good twisty sections as the hills steepened.||
Civil War Monument
|We worked our way up to Natchez via similar back roads and then US 84. We checked out the Pig Out Bar-B-Q place in Downtown Natchez but passed it by as the parking area was totally clogged up with Hogs and ended up at our old favorite Magnolia Grill. After lunch we invaded the Natchez Visitor's Center, acting on a tip from member Henry Pretus. There we scooped up five coupons good for 20 bucks off at our destination motel, The battlefield Inn. Thanks Henry, for saving us a collective hundred bucks! Leaving Natchez on US 61 North we quickly turned off onto the Southern terminus of the Natchez Trace Parkway. What a beautiful ride: perfect temps, blue skies, smooth, curvy roads, no traffic and awesome fall foliage! Along the way we stopped to visit the Emerald Indian Mound, one of the largest ceremonial mounds in the United States. The mound is a massive, flat-topped earthen structure that rises 35 feet high and covers eight acres. It was given to the National Park Service in 1950 and in 1989 was designated a National Historic Landmark.|
at the National Military Park
Parking area at Emerald Mound National Landmark near Natchez, MS
Getting out of and stowing our riding gear
|After climbing to the top and taking some pictures we returned to the bikes to resume our journey. I believe this is when Ret and Ann realized they were not alone on the Goldwing. Somewhere along the way a bee had decided that the 'Wing would make a good home. Ret and Ann claimed that each time they got off the 'Wing the damn bee would appear and harass them but whenever they cranked up it would disappear somewhere within the body work or engine compartment only to emerge at the next stop. This little insect would soon cause some major trouble! We returned to the Parkway for a few miles and then headed for an exit to get some gas. At this point I was in the||
lead followed by Mark and Lynn, Stacie, Bill and Sherrie and the two Goldwings. As Mark and I pulled to a stop at the intersection the rest of the group was coming through the curved exit road at which point the afore mentioned bee found its way into Ann's helmet and proceeded to sting her, apparently not wanting to stop for gas. Ret immediately pulled off and began signalling with his horn for the rest of us to stop. Stacie, trying to ascertain the cause of the commotion turned her head to look back and in so doing strayed to the outer edge of the road and into a patch of pine needles. The next thing she knew the Ninja was sliding out from under her and she was tumbling on the side of the road. Sherrie, who is a nurse, was off of Bill's VFR and at Stacie's side almost before the Ninja came to rest. Meanwhile up front I heard Mark say "Oh Shit!" and looked in my rearview and saw the Ninja on the ground. My heart rate instantly jumps to 160!
|By the time I got to the group a few frantic seconds later, Stacie was up and grinning stating that she was fine. Her brand new Joe Rocket Ballistic Suit had protected her well. The forks were tweaked and the side stand spring was missing. Luckily someone found the spring and I re-attached it. We straightened the front wheel and I took a test ride. All appeared well and Stacie insisted she could continue. All the while poor Ann was no doubt hurting from the bee sting but was not complaining. So after a stop for gas, on we went to Vicksburg without further incident.|
|After checking in and unloading the bikes we gathered in the lobby for free cocktails. The room rate at the Battlefield Inn included two cocktails per guest as well a free buffet breakfast. We had a great time getting to know new acquaintances and chatting with old friends until we worked up an appetite. As the on-the-premises restaurant seemed to be highly rated and the cocktails were taking effect we elected to give it a try.||The atmosphere was pleasant with a jazz band and the prices were very reasonable. The food however was inconsistent with half our selections being reported favorably while others had to be sent back to the kitchen! Following dinner we relocated to the Sports Bar in the adjacent room which was featuring Karaoke Night.|
None of our group was brave enough to try the microphone but we definitely put the dance floor to good use. Turns out Bud Logan can dance as well as he rides!Everyone had a great time, some enjoyed themselves a little more than others but everyone showed up the next morning for the complimentary breakfast of bacon, eggs, biscuits and grits. After check out we did an abbreviated version of the 16 mile Military Park Driving Tour. Abbreviated because the Warship Cairo exhibit was closed for construction and the Louisiana monument had been knocked down by a lightning strike and was also closed. Stacie was also stiff and sore and not enjoyed the slow speed maneuvering and stop and go riding. Accordingly, Stacie and I decided to head for home early via highway 61. The rest of the group returned to Louisiana via some rather obscure back roads but reportedly had an enjoyable ride home. This was a great trip. To quote member Bud Logan: " As you know Dale & I really had a great time and look forward to the next time. Every one was terrific and we were all so compatible that it all came together very well, a rare weekend. " My sentiments exactly Bud! We will definitely try to schedule a weekend trip like this more often. Suggestions for Itinerary/Destinations are solicited.
KEEP IN TOUCH!
email@example.com and my telephone number is (225)635-3171.
and Ride Safe,