April 2009 Louisiana MSTA Newsletter P.1

Turn One

STAR 09, our club's premier, annual event is getting close. This is the highlight of the year. Some of you have never been to STAR, and I know some may have an aversion to big, orchestrated events. STARS are not like that, they are more like family re-unions. Last I checked, Louisiana had 9 members registered and this is awesome percentage-wise for our small numbers but I urge the rest of you to give it a try, I think you will not be disappointed. I have attended 15 STARS and have loved every one!

In this issue we have a trip report from Drew Newcomer, our latest LUNCH RIDE report, a brief recount of a soggy T21 event and another LAMSTA track day. Later...

We welcome aboard new member Rick Spiller of Baton Rouge. Rick rides a Yamaha FJR 1300 and has already joined us on a few lunch rides. Welcome to MSTA Rick!



by Drew T. Newcomer
       After having spent a considerable amount of money to get the R ready for the riding season, it was time to go somewhere. Less than 100 miles from the house, the BMW Riders of Mississippi offered an opportunity to sample some of their southern hospitality. Under clear skies on Friday, April 3, I headed east on I-20 to Mississippi exit 19. Finding Askew's Ferry Road right next to the interstate, I easily found Askew's Landing campground. What a nice location complete with pine trees, a couple of small lakes, and plenty of BMW motorcycle enthusiasts.
        I stopped at the main pavilion and began the registration process. Motorcycle acquaintance Mike Hilton was there and I visited with Mike for a few minutes. I found a camping spot and set up my claustrophobic one-person tent for the evening. After a healthy serving of gumbo provided by the Mississippi Riders, the rest of the evening was spent visiting with folks from the southeast. While bad weather in the Midwest did cause some cancellations, 139 riders did show up from as far away as North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Virginia. The youngest rally rider was 19, and the oldest was 88!
        Friday night was a bit chilly and I was cold and almost wet from heavy dew. The next morning I discovered many of my fellow riders did not sleep well either (guess we should have brought the heavier sleeping bags!) Well, I decided right then and there that if I was going to be doing this "rally thing," I needed to upgrade my equipment. As luck would have it, a vendor from Catoma Outdoor (www.catomaoutdoor.com) was present and more than willing to sell me a new tent. I purchased one on the spot!!
        I have been somewhat itching to buy a new motorcycle (not an uncommon occurrence for many of us) and I decided to ride to the Triumph dealership in Jackson. I have been gazing with an interested eye at a Tiger. Mike Hilton and I rode northeast on Mississippi highway 22 through Flora then turned south on 463 to I-55 and on into Jackson. What a great ride! The weather was nearly perfect and the roads were very much "motorcycle enjoyable." We found the dealership and even though I had the opportunity to "try one out", I did not take up the offer to ride a Tiger. Guess I was thinking, given the current economic situation, that frugality may be the best course of action for now. So, after having gotten some local information from Wayne, the Triumph salesman, Mike and I headed back to Flora via some roads not on our map but riding through some very pretty countryside. We stopped in Flora for a good old fashion "country lunch" then found highway 22 that took us back to the rally.
        A nap was now in order and I closed my eyes for a few minutes trying to catch up on some of the sleep I lost the night before. I woke up in time for the door prize drawings and actually won some Amsoil Bike Wash. Now all I have to do is get off my butt and find some elbow grease to use it!
        Saturday night was warmer and very pleasant. Supper consisted of fried catfish, ribs, beans, cole slaw, potato salad, and rolls. A local band played while folks enjoyed their evening meal. I picked up and set up my new tent in less than five minutes! Not being a Boy Scout or handyman, this was one of the draws towards a new tent purchase. I also found out that double wall tents are much dryer than single wall tents and I slept better on Saturday night.
        Sunday morning the tent came down just as easily and the bike was packed. No sense leaving too early as pancakes were being served as they had been the morning before. So, after filling my stomach, good byes were said and it was time to head back home. There was some fog, but no rain and the trip home was uneventful, which is exactly the way I like it.
        This was a great way to start the 09 riding season - good company, good roads, good food, and weather that still couldn't be complained about. If I am free next year, I will be back.

T-21 Rally, Mena, AR

by Bob Chappuis

Three Louisiana members ended up attending a wet and foggy T-21 rally in West Central Arkansas, hosted by Bill and Becky Wing, AR State Directors. In March various combinations of members began making plans for an April road trip to either Deals Gap or the North Georgia Classic but eventually it was myself, Kevin Yeats of Hahnville and Matt Moore of Bossier City trying to stay dry at the Queen Wilhelmina State Park Lodge. Kevin and I departed Friday morning meeting in Woodville, MS. We connected with US 84 via US 61 at Natchez and crossed the Mississippi, continuing west on 84 to Jonesville. There we left the main highways and hit the twisty back roads of central Louisiana, which would prove to be our only good riding of the trip. We stopped for gas & a nice lunch in Campti and then rejoined US 84 and then I-49 at Grand Bayou to expedite our passage through Shreveport which has an excellent bypass loop system. We were in Texas on I-20 without any delay. At that point my Garmin went wack trying to route me back through Shreveport and causing me to miss my intended exit at Greenwood, TX; so we ended up skirting Marshall, TX instead. Just north of Smithville on US 59 we hit our first rain. It was moderate and short lived and we quickly dried out. But a hour or so later we hit some serious rain that lasted for hours eventually soaking through our "waterproof" gloves and boots. We checked into the lodge at Queen Wilhelmina State Park and proceeded to try to dry out our wet gear. Kevin and I both had problems with the linings of our Joe Rocket gloves pulling out, balling up and refusing to go back into the fingers. Thankyou Steve K for the toothbrush tip! Although the rain finally let up we were busy drying out our gear and not wanting to put wet stuff back on we skipped the Weiner roast at the bottom of the mountain and ate supper at the lodge. Eventually the weinie group returned and we had a great time chatting with old friends and meeting several new faces. The lodge has a real nice lobby area for socializing and there is not a friendlier group than MSTA. The rally packets contained route maps and lots of time was spent studying them and planning the next day's ride and strategizing how to avoid the rain. For Kevin and me the strategy would fail.

We awoke Saturday to find the mountain shrouded in dense fog. Visibility was about 60 feet. We could not see our bikes, parked about 80 feet away, looking out the window of our room. We had a nice buffet breakfast and waited a while but the fog did not get any better. Riders who had come up from the campground assured us the fog abated at the base so Kevin and I saddled up and proceeded down the mountain planning to attack our chosen route. Kevin led the way but I lost sight of his tail light before we were out of the parking lot. The road down the mountain is steep and twisty and to run off road likely meant a plunge to potential destruction! My shield was nearly opaque with fog and up it went. I could not see the road more than 30 feet ahead and slowed to a crawl, frankly terrified. Two unknown riders caught and passed me and I did my best to keep the second one in sight. Hopefully they knew the road and would not lead me into oblivion! After a few miles (seeming like 30) they towed me past a ghostly apparition of a rider on an ST1300 parked at one of the scenic pullouts. It looked like Kevin. I expected to see headlights pull into view in my mirrors but didn't. I concentrated on the tailights in front of me and managed to keep them in sight for several miles but eventually lost them. Fortunately within another few miles I rounded a bend and saw the light. I pulled into the first scenic pullout I came to and parked. Kevin eventaully joined me and we dried out visors and continued. We covered a few miles on roads that were only damp but the rain soon started falling again. Our chosen route seemed to be taking us into worsening weather. We stoppped and decided on an alternative direction toward what looked like clearing skies but the dark clouds seemed to anticipate our evasive manouever and the rain was soon falling harder and we were getting damp. Kevin suggested we head into Mena and have some lunch. Halfway there the rainfall became a deluge! I was wet and miserable. I was almost out of gas by now and had no choice but to continue to town. We took shelter at a gas station and ate a gas station lunch. Gradually the rain slowed and we headed back to the lodge to dry our gear all over again! There was a note on my door from Matt, he had arrived while we were out and was also quite damp and drying out his gear. We spent the rest of the day socializing in the lobby and plotting a ride up into north Arkansas on Sunday hoping to salvage the weekend.


The banquet proved to be delicious and the food plentiful. After the meal we had more good times socializing and as we went to bed we had high hopes of getting in some good dry riding. To our delight, the sky was clear and bright when day broke, alas, our joy was short lived. A quick look at the radar showed the outlook was even worse than the previous two days with multiple large patches of thunderstorms hovering within striking distance of our planed route. The only dry option looked to be back home in Louisiana.Kevin and I, fed up with the rain, decided to head for home. Matt decided to go back to bed, since he was only 4 hours from home. And by the time we ate a light breakfast the fog was back! GRRRR!

The route home was essentially the reverse of our route out and was uneventful, and dry. Happily, most of the route was on good roads and in fact includes some of the best motorcyle roads that Louisiana has to offer.

The T-XX rally is one of our HSTA/MSTA traditions and a great one for Louisiana members with its close proximity. The Queen Wilhelmina Lodge is a really nice place to stay and there are many great roads in the vicinity. Bill and Becky do a great job putting the event on. I highly recommend this rally, as long as the weather is good!



by Bob Chappuis
Our scheduled ride to Osyka, MS and Nyla's Burger Basket was post-poned and we instead rode to lunch at Mammy's Cupboard on hwy 61 just south of Natchez. Only new member Rick Spillier and I showed up at the St. Francisville McDonalds meeting place. But that did not prevent the two of us from enjoying some scenic back roads and a fine lunch as Mammie's.

The place was packed but Mammy had graciously saved us a parking spot in the shade and gave us preferred status seating since we were members of the prestigous MSTA. (Or perhaps it was because we were taking up too much space in the waiting area with our helmets and riding gear). At any rate the service was friendly and fast and the food was delicious.

TIGER TRACK DAYS - No Problem Raceway

Tony Crowell, Dennis Headrick and I (Bob Chappuis) all participated in the April 5 Tiger Track Days event at No Problem Raceway Park. I also attended the Milestones Racing School held at the track. The weather was close to perfect for a track day and we all had a great time. To my surprise, instructor AMA Racer D.J. Ricks only found one bad habit I need to correct in my riding form. But DJ's down to earth classroom style (complete with demonstative body gestures) really brought home many of the techniques I have read about in all the well known books on the subject in a way that gave me a clearer understanding of them.

Bob and pursuers
Saturday May 23rd
LUNCH at Graysons' Bar B Que, Clarence, LA, 11:30 am
Junction of Highways US 84 and US 71
Here is a lunch ride that our long neglected north Louisiana members can easily attend. Grayson's is a great, no-frills BBQ joint that has been around forever! I used to enjoy it 15 years ago when I traveled for my job. Rumor had it that Gov. Edwin Edwards used to fly to Clarence for lunch from the mansion in the LSP chopper. I recently noticed on the Internet that it still gets rave reviews. Kevin and I passed by on our way back from Arkansas and notice it was packed. Although only about an hours ride from Shreveport or Monroe, this will be a long ride (200 miles) from the Baton Rouge area and real long from New Orleans. Maybe we will even have some hard core riders ride out from NOLA! For riders wanting to attend from the south we will meet in Woodville, MS offering an alternative route bypassing Baton Rouge traffic. From Woodville we will take 61 to Natchez for the river crossing and then hit a couple of the best roads Lousiana has to offer before arriving in Clarence.
TIME: 7:45 AM RIDE: 8:15 AM

That's all for now.
Keep riding & smiling

Bob Chappuis, State Director and Editor