|November 2002||Louisiana HSTA Newsletter||Bob Chappuis, Editor|
Bud Logan reports that he had a good turnout, unfortunately the weather just would not cooperate. Bud and Dale met up with several other couples at the meeting place in Metairie. Ric and Karen Moore, Ruven and Tammy St.Pierre, Ann and Ret Favret and Kent and Evie all showed up to ride. The rain started however and the decision was made to cancel.
Stacie and I made the November Hill Country Rally in Kerrville, Texas. Jim Poulas, Texas State Director did a great job putting on this event. The host hotel, the Y.O. Ranch Resort and Convention center was a great location and the local roads are terrific. The weather, as was the case in North Georgia for September's SE STAR was rainy with the additional factor of chilly temperatures. Nevertheless we got in some fine riding and got to see a lot of old friends and made some new ones. Louisiana members Cindy Earl and Bill Ellis also attended.
The plan was simple. I ride up to the Smokey Mountains and meet Scott, Frank, Ryan, Clarence and JoJo, who trailered up earlier on Wednesday. We'd spend 2 days riding our favorite roads, then head home. The trip had been delayed for 3 weeks because of back to back hurricanes that headed our way, so I was itchin to ride.
I left home at 6:30am on Thursday October 17, and headed for my overnight destination Athens, TN. This puts me at the base of the Smokey Mountains, within 30 minutes of great roads, and it has a Super 8 and Shoney's. This 600 mile, 10 hour ride is just right for the first day. Passing through New Orleans about 7:30am, I get tied up in traffic for 45 minutes. It was a pain in the wrist and shoulders from all the starting and stopping. The rest of the ride was great, and the weather was better. The electric vest stayed on most of the day, as temps stayed in the 50's.
I pulled into Athens about 5:00pm and checked in the Super 8 motel for the night. Later I called the others to set up a time to meet at Deal's Gap Friday morning to start our two day mountain adventure. I was told that Ryan had been in an accident and they were all heading home in the morning. While at a stop light in Cherokee Thursday afternoon, Ryan was struck from behind by an inattentive car driver. He was fortunately unhurt, but they feared his new Yamaha R1 was totaled. Bummed out they decided to return to Thibodaux.
Once again I would be on my own, but ready to enjoy the great roads in western North Carolina and Tennessee. The only change would be only one day in the mountains instead of two.
Friday morning began with occasional fog that quickly cleared after hitting the road about 8:00am. From Athens I traveled Hwy. 39, 411, 72 to reach 129 to Deal's Gap. The Gap has a new top of asphalt that was soo smooth and had lot's of traction, which really increased the fun factor. There were several corners with gravel that helped to produce that extra surge of adrenaline, slowing speed at times. At the store, it was quiet, with only a hand full of bikes in the parking lot. It seems it was too early for most, which is exactly why I planned on riding the Gap first thing. I did notice at several camp grounds and local motels along the way there were many sport bikes parked. This area is has become so popular, with so many going too fast, that it's really not as appealing as it was years ago. My first ride to the Gap was about 1986, and I have been to the area several times in the last few years, and it seems to be worse each time. That's why I look for the remote twisty road hidden away from the masses. After the obligatory t-shirt at the store, it was off to more excitement.
I continued down 129 to 19, and onto a nice little road 1310/ Wayah Rd. After a break for lunch in Franklin, NC, it was off to my favorite road of the area, Hwy 28 N. Hwy 28 winds back north to 19, with a great surface and non-stop twisties. There is very little traffic to spoil the rhythm, and a guaranteed smile at the end. I jumped on Hwy 28 N to 143 E and eventually on to Cherohala Skyway. This is a must ride road! Simply awesome, except for some repaving delays. I explored a few new roads on the way out of Tellico Plains, starting with Hwy 315 S to 30 S, which was worth the time. There were many twisties hidden along the way, especially toward the end of Hwy 30 at Hwy 64.
Then began the ride towards home, and the decision of where I would stop for the night. I had planned to get somewhere near Birmingham, to keep my last leg of the ride short on Saturday.
I passed through Birmingham about 6:30pm and it was a nice ride with excellent weather, so I decided to try and make it to Tusculoosa. Not long out of Birmingham, I encountered an accident that had me delayed 45 minutes. By this time I was tired and looking forward to a great Chinese restaurant next to the La Quinta motel in Tusculoosa. I finally pulled into Tusculoosa at 8:00pm and went to get my room. No vacancies! After several attempts to locate a hotel room, I realized it was going to be a long night. It happened to be homecoming night for the University of Alabama, and Tusculoosa was sold out. The decision was made for me, I had to get back on the road, so after gas and grub it was off into the darkness of I-59S.
Cruising at night isn't all that bad. Traffic is lighter with mostly big rigs, and somehow the music just sounds better in the peaceful night air. If I hadn't been on the road for over 12 hours, tired with a sore butt, I could have rode all night to get home.
Finally at 10:30pm I pulled into Meridian, quickly found a room and tried to get some rest. At this point, I was only 5 hours from home, so I didn't get that 6am wake-up call and slept in. By 2 pm Saturday I was back home in Thibodaux. This was another memorable trip, even though it didn't quite go as planned. But good or not so good, that's why I ride. It's another memory to savor, to think of should the day come I can no longer ride. The people I meet along the way and the sights I see make getting to the twisties a real trip.
I installed this nice 12 volt cigarette lighter type power source on the VFR and thought some of you might be interested in a review. In the past I have hardwired radar detector cords to the electrical system and installed a 1/4 inch headphone jack and used a coiled headphone cord to power my electric vest. now I wanted something a little slicker for my Interceptor. Various connectors are now available for powering 12 volt devices on a motorcycle and the BMW style plugs are an improvement over your basic cigarette lighter syle receptacle and plug. Also expensive and, well... BMWish. I found a good alternative searching the internet.
The last date for receipt of member info updates for the HSTA "Blue Book" membership directory is January 15, 2003. Be sure to send address changes or new bike info to:
Phil & Sue Allgood
9617 Piper Lake Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46239>
The 14th annual Cajun Christmas will be December 6,7 & 8 at Chico State Park. HSTA members from Louisiana, Texas and who knows where else will be gathering in the rustic cabins in the cul-de-sac area (cabins 1-5). We will get together Friday night for a group meal in Ville Platte. Saturday there will be a ride for those on bikes and not afraid of the cold. Saturday evening we will have a cook out and get merry, culminating in the infamous Cajun Christmas Wacky Gift Exchange. If you want to play, bring a wrapped gift ( $15-$20). In recent years many folks have come away with some great motorcycling oriented gifts while others were not so lucky. My approach has been to bring a gift I would not mind having for myself as you never know what you may wind up with. For details see http://www.staciechappuis.com/hsta/chico/chico.htm
KEEP IN TOUCH!
email@example.com and my telephone number is
(225)635-3171 Home, (225)281-0799 Cell
and Ride Safe,