|October 2004||Louisiana HSTA Newsletter||Bob Chappuis, Editor|
photo by Tony Crowell
FOF Days One and Two by Tony Crowell
Our trip to Friends of Freddies started a little unexpectedly for me. The original plan was to leave Baton Rouge about 4 am on Friday October 8th and meet Bill Ellis (FJR), and Bob and Stacy Chappuis (VFR) on I-55 in Brookhaven, MS. On Thursday however a tropical depression roaming around the Gulf changed my plans in a hurry.
After looking at Doppler radar Thursday morning I knew it was time to get going. I called my Uncle, Billy F. Jones (CBR1000) in Homer, LA and told him to meet me in Vicksburg at 2 pm; from there we would ride to Canton, MS and wait for the Brookhaven group on Friday morning.
The plan worked pretty well, as my wife said it started raining five minutes after my departure. Friday morning the Brookhaven group, who started out in rain, met us in Canton just as a light rain began to fall. From the weather reports it looked like a solid line of steady rain from Michigan to the Gulf with no way to avoid it if we were going to make our final destination of Farmington, MO. Our original route was to travel north on I-55 then on back roads through northeastern AR and southeastern MO.
I suggested a slightly longer route that would take us through Memphis and western TN and southwestern KY, and southern IL. I hoped that we could skirt the worst of the rain by taking this route. Well, it worked. After leaving Canton we rode in the light rain for about an hour then no more rain until we reached Jackson, MO where we encountered more sprinkles. Wow, hope we didn't use up all our luck on this one day.
The ride was fairly uneventful until we reached the rural areas of northwest TN and southwest KY. Just outside Union City, TN a woman tried to cross a four lane divided highway but was held up by traffic an decided to park across the very lane in which I was riding. Luckily, I saw what was happening in just enough time to avoid impaling her car with my ST1300. Then, after crossing into KY, we encountered a crazed truck driver who obviously didn't care to passed by our group of carefree motorcyclists. Bob, Stacy and I made it around the guy fine, but Uncle Bill and FJR Bill had some exciting moments as the truck driver tried to use the entire available roadway in order to keep the two riders at bay. They finally made it around him and there was no more excitement until Highway 72 in MO, where the light rain, traffic, and very slippery yellow paint made for a pucker factor of about 4.5, not that bad really. I arrived at the hotel with 695 miles on the odometer from my house in south Baton Rouge.
FOF Days 3 & 4 by Bob Chappuis
First a note about Friday night arrival and Hotdog and Chili Feast. The Tradition Inn, FOF headquarters, is a fine facility for a rally. It is a large complex with a lounge and restaurant/banquet room on premises. Add a large parking lot and friendly and helpful staff, a gas station/convenience store next door and us sporttourers could not ask for more. We unpacked, hit the convenience store for a supply of beer, registered and commenced mingling. Many familar but not often seen faces were present and this is always a delightful time for Stacie and I. Fred Ziglar and his helpers provided a well organized and smoothly run event. The Inn has a central courtyard and this served as a great area for grilling and consuming hot dogs and the huge kettles of delicious chili prepared by Donna Ziglar! Needless to say we enjoyed a sumptious meal.
Before turning in the Louisiana contingent agreed to meet at 8:00 am Saturday to plan the days ride. Stacie and Uncle Billy decided to sleep late and hang around the Inn socializing. Tony, Bill and I decided to run a shortened 200 mile loop instead of the 300 miler suggested by the rally organisers since we still abit sore from Friday and slightly dreading the 600 mile ride home on Sunday; plus Tony was a bit under the weather. Eddy McCarty, of Paduca, Kentucky decided to join our group on his very trick '99 BMW R1100S.
We saddled up and headed West out of town on W past Doe Run and then turned south on V (The smaller roads in Missouri are labeled with letters). Then Left on 21 briefly through Ironton and then E, winding around for a good ways until we came out on US67 and to Cherokee Pass where we turned West agaim on C. These were all nice, hilly, twisty roads but mostly still damp from last nights rain but we still managed a brisk pace. We caught a few cars and managed to pass them. They held us up long enough for a large group of riders to catch up but once around the cars we left them behind again ;)
We soon connected with 49 and were in Piedmont, location of a suggested lunch spot but it was only about 11:00 am and we were not ready to stop. Here we turned onto HH instead of 34 as suggested by our hosts in order to save some time. I later heard via email from a couple attendees that 34 was the best road in the area. (That's all the excuse I need for going back next year!) HH wound around to Ellington and put us back on 21. We passed though Centreville, which was having a Pumkin Festival with arts and crafts and food venders and every house in the whole town was decorated with a scarecrow in the front yard, each one uniquely made out of every imagineable piece of scrap cloth or what-not. It was colorful and interesting to see!
North bound on 49/21 now, we rode through Black, Edgehill and Goodland then East on 32 to Bismarck and finally back to Farmington. It is hard to decide whether I enjoyed these MO roads better thgan the AR roads two weeks earlier. The AR roads were in better condition and more consistent in engineering but the scenery and fall colors were outstanding in MO.
We were surprised to see we were nearly the only riders back so soon. But we took up an Inn staff's invitation to partake of some brats and burgers they were grilling next to a tent in the parking lot where an acoustical duo was performing. They were very good performers and we enjoyed their wide reportoire while we had a delicious and inexpensive lunch. It was a pretty lazy afternnoon and we just enjoyed the good weather and music until it was banquet time. Once again our rally hosts showed there expertise and we enjoyed one of the best banquets I can recall in recent years.
Day 4: The Long, Wet Ride Home
As Tony mentioned in part 1, Bill and Stacie and I broke up our ride to Farmington over two days. We all prefer 400 mile days to 600! But it was back to work on Monday for us! While Tony and Uncle Billy had free time to ride towards the Sun, Bill, Stacie and I were faced with riding straight into oncoming Tropical Depression Matthew and potential torrential rain, and we were dreading it just a bit. To cover the 600 miles quickly we opted to take Interstate 55 most of the way so Sunrise found us backtracking on 67 and 72 to Cape Girardeau, MO where we ramped on up to I-55. the rain started just outside of Bytheville, AR and continued steadily until we hit the Louisiana line, except for a short 15 mile respite at jackson. MS. I believe Bill later mentioned that it rained cats and dogs on his final stretch to Baton Rouge after we split up at McComb MS. Our rain gear kept us dry for most of the 8 hour soaking but finally allowed some moisture to soak though in the last hour. For the most part the rain was only moderate and did not impede the excellent time we were making; with only about 30 minutes of the really hard stuff that rattled noisily on our face shields and made visibility a saftey concern, forcing a slowed pace.
Oddly enough, I found the extra demands on my attention and riding skills required by the wet conditions and frequent uncooperative drivers not sharing the road kept my mind off my usual 400 plus mile aches and the trip was actually enjoyable and not at all tiring. Not at all a bad way to end another great trip!
from Regional Vice Prez Jim Poulos:
Check it out on our national HSTA website for details. Make your reservations at the Y.O. Ranch Motel...1-877-967-3767. Joe and Michelle do a great job as host, and the roads in the Texas hill country are awesome!
MEET AT STARBUCKS 9:00 am Corporate Blvd & Energy Plaza We will hop on I-10 and go West to Gros Tete and ride 77, 1, 69 and 996 to No Problem Raceway near Belle Rose, La. Single Day Pass is $15 (any day) Saturday & Sunday - $25, camping is free. Check out the web page, could be fun. If the weather is promising and there is interest we could turn this into an over nighter!
UPDATE:Not much feedback so far, price may be a little high for a sleepless night!?
LET'S RIDE ANYWAY! see ya at Starbucks!
DESTINATION TO BE ANNOUNCED
Your Input is Welcomed
email@example.com and my telephone number is (225)635-3171. Ride safe and keep in touch.Bob Chappuis