|Aug./Sept. 2011||Louisiana MSTA Newsletter||Page 1|
The hot weather has finally let up a bit and we have some good ride reports to offer. There is no organized club activity to report on for July and most of August, however! It was too hot to ride comfortably past noon so lunch rides were not even attempted. And when it wasn't too hot we had flooding rains. But club activity picked up at the end of August with our trip to the Indy MotoGP and thanks to member Paul Lefort we had a great lunch ride in early September, see stories below. And as promised we have part 2 of Tony's STAR 2011 report. Great writing Tino!
One of my favorite pastimes while attending a STAR is simply walking through the parking lot. It's like attending a free motorcycle show. One can see everything from single cylinder dual-sport bikes to multi-cylinder luxo-tourers to bikes with car tires installed for extra mileage or whatever reason…. Apparently, I'm not the only member who enjoys this aspect of STAR as on any given evening, after the rides are finished and the bikes are cleaned; it is not unusual to see huge numbers of members strolling through the lot ogling the machines.
This years STAR was only different in the fact that there seemed to be more bikes to ogle. In fact, when we arrived on Saturday, the parking lot was packed it as if it were a Sunday official start. After checking into the hotel, Lee and I set out to find other LA riders and begin to plan the next days riding adventure. It wasn't long before we found Bob and Stacie and Honorary LA member Jimmy Girton. Sometimes when planning the rides we use the suggested routes and sometimes we modify the route with suggestions from people that have local knowledge or one of us who has ridden the roads before. That system has served us well over the years. In fact, one of the best rides we discovered in this manner was suggested by our friend Fannie Haine at STAR in Lexington, KY in 2005. She had found and told me about a gem of a road called KY 22 which is now on my list of all-time fun roads.
When we awoke Sunday morning, a look at the radar had me worried. Huge blobs of red, yellow and green heading our way. The question was… how long it will take to get here and muddle up our riding plans. With that in mind we decided to take a route that wasn't too long in order to ride the good stuff but still make it back the hotel before the rains came. We almost made it.
The one thing we all wanted to do was ride "The Snake." US 421 is a very twisty road divided into two segments northeast of Johnson City. Sort of like Northeast TN's version of the Dragon with a general store in the middle of the two segments. The store is where everyone stops to kick tires and regale the crowd with stories of scraping and sliding through one of the aforementioned segments. So…that is exactly what we did. Now onto to segment two.
Before leaving Shady Valley, (unbelievably, we had cell service), we checked the radar and noticed the blob was getting larger and moving faster toward us. I suggested a shortened route that would have got us back to the hotel dry as a bone. I unfortunately was overruled by Kevin who persuaded most of the group to take a longer route. Against my better judgment I went along. Notice I said "most of the group" it seems that somewhere along the route we lost two members, Bob and Jimmy. Kevin immediately went into panic mode looking for medivac helicopters on the horizon to try and pinpoint their location. Once again, I tried to allay his fears by saying "they didn't crash; they probably took a wrong GPS turn. SO… we rode all the way back to Shady Valley searching the ditches for signs of smoldering wreckage. As there was none to be found we mounted up and rode back to Mountain City. Now if you simply have to back-track on a road you will hardly find one better than 421 so all was not lost. I surmised that Bob and Jimmy probably took TN 91 to Damascus, VA. After we all made it back to JC they confirmed my suspicion. But… I digress. After entering Mountain City for the second time I suggested taking 67 south; back to the hotel to beat the rain. Overruled once again, we followed 421 into NC where we picked up US 321 and turned toward JC. This gave us a beautiful view of the now ominous black, blue and purple clouds staring us in the face. Needless to say, we got soaked before reaching JC. Lesson learned. We arrived back at the hotel in early afternoon where we washed some of the road grime off the bikes and commenced patrolling the parking lot to look at even more great machinery that was rolling in minute by minute.
On Monday, we decided to try a southeasterly route that would take us on one of my favorite roads, US 19W. The rider line-up card changed a little for this ride. Me, Kevin, Lee, Dennis, Eric and Texan David Moss on his FJR 1300. On this route, there were many, very small roads that weren't even listed on my map of North Carolina, therefore. "GPS Kevin" would ride up to me at every intersection and tell me which way to turn.
While on a straight stretch of 19W we came upon some road construction that had us all off the bikes and helmetless for a few minutes, it was here that a group of riders passed us to the front of the line and joined another larger group of MSTAr's. As I recall these guys were riding a VFR, SV650 and I think… a Triumph 675 Daytona. The flagman finally turned the sign and we were off. It wasn't long before the now, large, group turned north onto a small NC road. We caught up with the trio again and followed them off and on most of the day. Sometimes we would take different roads but usually saw them at some point along our different routes. Just after they split for another road, we came upon a very recent crash that must have taken place only a minute or two before we arrived. In fact, we went around them to the other side of the sharp r/h turn to warn southbound motorist while they retreived the brand new Ninja 1000 from ditch. We didn't know the fellows but did see that both the rider and bike were healing back at the hotel later. It seems that he had hit some gravel that was strewn in the apex of the corner, something we would see quite often on this day.
The only problem he now had an injured leg that he rode with the rest of the trip. I looked in the mirror and saw him hit his leg; it looked painful.
We continued on many three- numbered, NC roads. All of which were pretty darn good. One of them took us back across the border to Tennessee over Roan Mountain. Very nice! We continued through the beautiful countryside then looped back into NC. Then back into TN at Erwin. It was on this last road to Erwin that we again met up with the three guys from MN. We all had a great, spirited, ride into Erwin. Those guys were very good riders. Lee mixed it up with them for a while I pulled up the rear on the trumpet and watched a very entertaining show.
Once in Erwin, we began the hunt for sustenance. A girl at the gas station suggested Hawg and Dawg downtown. This was my favorite reastaurant of the whole trip. A small place, with just the owner and an adorably shy, teenage waitress. Both extremely nice people. The food was very, very good.
After the wonderfully delicious lunch we hopped on the freeway and headed back to JC to begin the afternoon ritual of showering and heading down to the parking lot to ogle machinery.
That night's biggest decision was which route to take to the lunch ride on the VA/KY border. Correctly assuming that afternoon thunder showers would be in the offing, we decided to do the loop clockwise thinking that the return route would be faster in case of bad weather. This turned out to be a very wise move. We left early the next morning and enjoyed some very good …and some very bad Virginia roads. We would have probably missed the one bad road but the Kevin's evil GPS once again reared its ugly head and sent us down a cow-path through the deep backwoods. I could have sworn I heard dueling banjos and saw Ned Beatty tied to a tree along this route. After a brief detour, we found the correct road and made it to the lunch stop. There were only a handful of bikes in the parking lot when we arrived at the Breaks Interstate Park.
Once inside the lodge we had a nice lunch in a lodge overlooking a deep canyon. Riders continued to file in as we finished our meal. As we returned to the parking lot, a search of the weather radar showed an ugly sight just behind us to the west. I suggested that we head east and south at an accelerated pace. We probably met 70 or so riders heading up the hill to the park as we were heading down. At the time I thought, to myself, "Those guys are in for rough ride home". The organizers laid out a great route to and from and the park. I think I liked the return route a little more. It had some tight, one-laned, twisty stuff that I really enjoyed. When we got back to I-81, Lee and I split from the others and high-tailed it for the hotel stopping only briefly to let Lee take pics of the Bristol Motor Speedway. We arrived at the hotel about 30 minutes before the rain hit.
After the rain the daily ritual of ogling and drooling continued as the bikes trickled back in from the lunch ride. The one good thing about that big line of showers is that right behind it was a nice cold front inching its way toward JC. The Weather Guesser said we would awake on Wednesday to lower temps and humidity. Well, he lied. But just a little.
It was still humid and warm when we convened in the parking lot the next morning. Me, Lee, Kevin, Eric were once again joined by David Moss. We had decided to finish off STAR with a route that made a circle from VA to NC and back to TN.
Once again we took US 421 to the aptly named Shady Valley, aptly named because we were under overcast skies. However, after a brief stop there we turned north and headed in to VA at Damascus. Just before we hit the VA line we noticed that the clouds were gone revealing brilliant sunshine, blue, cloudless, skies and best of all… NO HUMIDITY!!! It was one of those days that make you congratulate yourself on your wise choice of transportation. We rode east on one of my other favorite roads, US58. The first 15-20 miles there road surface was a little wet in the shady spots but not slick. The rain the previous day had washed away the slick stuff.
We had a great ride to a town called Mouth of Wilson. We stopped at a little store at the crossroads there and had a drink, sat on the porch and watched the world and other riders go by for a while. This was truly turning out to be a great day of riding.
After a nice break, we headed into NC and onto the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Parkway is in my opinion one of the most beautiful roads in the world. Whenever I'm in the East, I always try to work at least a little of the BRP into my routes. This section is not as technical as the southern section we were on earlier but nonetheless as stunningly beautiful as my girlfriend.
We had a pleasant lunch in Blowing Rock. From there it was a fairly quick ride back to JC on US321. Quite a bit of traffic in town; so at some point, we were all separated. Lee and I led the way until we came to a sign that said road closed. We could see the bridge was closed but unlike every other state in the Union, NC apparently decided to save a little money and NOT put up a detour sign. I saw a road just to the left heading out through the woods and decided to take a chance that it was the detour. It was. But… would it have killed them to put up at least one detour sign?
Back in JC, we topped off the tanks and began our daily, aforementioned ritual. We were all in nervous anticipation of that night's banquet where our merry group of Louisianans would surely win something... right. I mean, come on. The Bayou State boys NEVER win anything; surely tonight would be the night. (Insert game-show loser- buzzer sound here). Not only did we not win anything; the guy that won was a two-time winner!
We hung around to hear the announcement of next years STAR. Which BTW, we all pretty much had guessed correctly. Seems like when you go west of the Mississippi, there really aren't that many options. I keep hoping for Lake Tahoe or San Diego County but I'm beginning to think I'll have a better chance of winning the bike than having a California STAR.
Oh well, time to pack for tomorrows departure for home. Kevin had decided to ride to GA to visit his Sister. Eric and Dennis were "Iron-butting" it to New Orleans. Lee was trailering his CBR back to Baton Rouge. Bob's wife Stacie had to leave STAR early for business so that left he and I footloose and fancy free.
We decided to leave at 7 AM as the cool front had passed through the day before. It was very nice as we pulled out of the Holiday Inn parking lot and headed north for Louisiana. What's that you say? North to LA? Of course! Didn't I say we were footloose and fancy free? We decided to head back into VA and then over through the Cumberland Gap, sneak into Kentucky then back into TN.
We had a beautiful, cool crisp day with the sun at our backs as we motored along US58 westbound. We stopped for breakfast at Webb's country Kitchen in Cumberland Gap, TN. It's inside the park and if you didn't know where it was, it can be a little hard to find. Bob and I had been here before, on separate trips. He, on the way to STAR in Staunton and me; on my return from STAR in Staunton. I really like this little town. It's hidden off the road but worth checking out if you are ever in the area.
After a delicious breakfast we rode through the tunnel and into KY at Middlesboro. About a block after exiting the tunnel we turned onto to KY 74. This is one STRANGE road. Not bad strange… just strange. As soon as you get out of town it starts climbing into the mountains which is great. However, the strange thing is this: the pavement looks smooth but it is very bumpy. Most of the road was covered in a fine layer of dirt and dust. It was almost like riding on a dirt road, in fact the dirt road I returned on from Taos last year was smoother than this. It was very bumpy and dirty for most of the length but all of sudden it would be perfectly smooth without even the smallest bumps, yet the road surface looked exactly the same. There were some places where water was trickling down the road so I had a dusty/muddy bike by the time we crossed back into TN and their billiard -table- smooth roads.
Our plan was to ride across TN to somewhere just east of Nashville. I chose TN 52 over I-40 for obvious reasons; well, at least obvious to motorcyclists who like curvy two-lane roads over busy Interstates; and I-40 is one of the busiest in the nation. TN 52 on the other hand is a delightful way to travel across the northern part of the state. It basically begins a little west of I-75 and heads west until just north of Nashville. You travel through some very nice scenery including some small mountains and hills; and hardwood forest. The closer you get to middle TN the flatter and straighter the road becomes. However! Be advised this little gem of a road looks as if it's about to suffer the same fate as many good roads around the country. While riding some of the most scenic stretches of 52, I noticed the dreaded road construction signs with accompanying HUGE earth moving equipment indicating that the anti-curve society will soon be hard at work eliminating our scenic playground.
By the time we got to middle TN it was starting to get a little warm, My original plan was to try and make Jackson, TN, however, after the heat started to build I set my sights on Dickson just east of Nashville on I-40. Bob and I checked into the Super 8 about 4 pm. and found a decent place to eat within walking distance. My plan was to depart just after midnight in order to beat the jungle-like heat the next day back to Baton Rouge. Whenever I get within 500 miles of home after a hot summer trip I typically do this to avoid the heat; and to avoid seeing the same stuff I've seen a million times before. Before the trip, Kevin and I had installed some Denali 2 LED's on the Tiger. This we be my first time to fire them in anger and I'm happy to report that they work GREAT!!! I was able to light up the night with these bad-boys all the while using only 10 watts of power. Woo hoo!!
Anyhoo…As soon as we returned from supper around 7 pm, I jumped into bed and fell fast asleep. I woke up without the help of an alarm about midnight and departed at 12:24 AM.
As I saddled up, I noticed that my aftermarket thermometer read 68 degrees. Hmm, should I put a liner I my jacket? No. Only 20 miles down I-40 west I began to regret that decision. This would be the first of several more times that I would stop to add few layers here and there. By the time sunrise occurred I had ridden in 60-61 degree temps most of the night. Perfect on a Gold Wing, but a little nippy on a Tiger.
Between Dickson and Memphis I saw very few passenger cars and very many trucks. Also under- represented were any members of the animal kingdom. That is ALWAYS good on a night ride.
I tried to stretch my tank of gas to Bartlett, TN just east of Memphis. The Tiger is still new and the gas mileage is only adequate. On the Tiger, once the reserve light comes on, the odometer changes to a countdown of how many miles the computer thinks you have until the pushing begins. I do not like this feature. I prefer to do my own countdown thank you very much. Any way, the furthest I had ever seen it count down to was 24 miles. I nervously watched as the countdown went past 24, 23, and 22,21,20,19,18,17,16. Still no sign of a gas station on the cool mid-summer night. Then…all of a sudden; it went from 16 directly to ZERO! I stupidly thought that it would continue down in order from 16 to 0. Now it was time to worry a little. I wondered what other surprises my new bike had in store for me. I could imagine the Triumph engineers who designed the stupid thing sitting around a pub somewhere laughing at the all the Triumph owners pushing there new bikes
Another STAR complete. My day wasn't yet over, when I was already planning a route to STAR in Avon, CO. Hope to see you there!
by Ninja Bob
I attended a MotoGP race at Laguna Seca Raceway near Monterey California back in 1989. MotoGP is the highest level of motorcycle racing with teams competing worldwide. Back in 1990 the bikes were 500cc two strokes and it was simply called 500 Grand Prix or GP. There were also classes for 125, 250 and sidecars. My solo trip to Laguna Seca on my 900 Ninja was epic and still ranks as one of the best trips ever. So when the Indy MotoGP was first announced 4 years ago I really wanted to go but it was not a short trip and it came close after STAR. I skipped STAR that year to got to Laguna Seca for the April GP but Stacie and I love STAR so much, skipping it is no longer an option. But in December 2010 I RETIRED! Vacation time was no longer a concern. So Indy here we come!
Indiana has always had a strong MSTA chapter thanks to Moose Parish and his many Hoosier Squadron friends. Moose has arranged a group ticket buy for the Indy MotoGP each year and it is a great deal and Stacie and I took advantage of it. To make the deal even sweeter, Moose's high school buddy Bo has a home just a block away from one of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) gates. It was great to be able to park among friends and visit before and after out time at the track .
Keeping to our approximate 400 miles a day maximum Stacie and I broke the 800 mile trip into two days. Using the MSTA Choice Hotels discount we booked a room in Jackson, TN about as close to halfway as you can get. Knowing it would be hot we planned an early (for us) departure and were on the road at 7:30 Thursday morning. We rode east to nearby Jackson, LA then north to Norwood, LA and Centreville, MS; then northeast through Liberty. We then hooked up with I-55 to just north of Jackson, MS, then switched to parallel US 51. I avoid the interstate whenever possible but they are often the best routes through congested cities.
Lunch time found us near Durant, MS so I asked the Nuvi for a restaurant recommendation. Garmin's perennially outdated POI databases are a terrible way to actually pick a place to eat but I have found that if you navigate to one of their numerous out-of-business poi you will probably spot a good alternative on the way. Worked great this time. On the way to the crumbling "Green Lantern Diner" we spotted the "Kaffay Mile-O-Way" with the owner's Harley Tour Glide parked outside .
The building is large and spacious and decorated with hunting trophies and quaint signs. The owner is a friendly, "good ole boy". Seeing our helmets he asked what we rode and how we liked it. He resignedly commented that a back injury had forced him to postpone a planned ride to the Smoky Mountains on his Harley and he was working on a Trike instead.
The food was delicious and inexpensive. We continued our ride north on US 51 through the towns of Vaiden, Winona and Duck Hill, but bypassing Grenada via I-55. It was now way to hot to sit at stoplights! Just north of Grenada we exited onto MS 7 which goes through Oxford, home of Ole Miss, continuing on 7 through Holly Springs and then the Tennessee line. In TN the hwy number was 18 and it took us to our first night destination, the Jackson Quality Inn. We checked in, unpacked and hit the pool.
We pick our motels based on proximity to good restaurants, as in walking distance. After a hot day on the road we are always eager to shed our riding gear and get into some comfortable clothes so we prefer not to have to suit back up for a ride to eat. Yes, we are ATGATT kinda people. At the Jackson Quality Inn we had a Logan's Roadhouse and a Coyotes Blues Mexican Grill within spitting distance. We decided on Coyote since we had never tried one and we had done Logan's a time or two. We were disappointed in Coyotes Blues Fresh Mexican Grill. The décor was modern and boring, none of the usual rural Mexican stuff. It seemed like they wanted to create an "upscale" Mexican restaurant. Well, the prices were upscale but the food was less than average. The portions were large and the presentation was quirkily different but the flavor was missing.
Friday morning we headed out of town on US 70 through Huntington, then TN 77 to Paris. There must be a Paris in every state! US 641 out of Paris to Puryear, TN, into Kentucky at Hazel and through Murry, another college town. Continuing on US 641 we paralelled Kentucky Lake and the Land Between The Lakes recreational area. Too far to the west to see anything but I could see it on my GPS, an interesting man- made geographical feature. Turning northeast on US 62 we crossed the dams that created the lakes. At Dawson Spring we tirned north on US 41 Alternate through Henderson and Audubon Memorial State Park and then crossed the mighty Ohio River. I found the state park interesting since we live a couple of miles from the Audubon State Historic Site and Oakley Plantation where Audubon lived and painted for a year. A quick Google check revealed that Audubon also lived and worked in Henderson, KY for a time. I made a mental note to return and visit the state park and Land Between The Lakes Area one day. Crossing the Ohio we were in Indiana; Evansville, to be exact and we had finally left behind the southern heat and humidity. The highs throughout our 4 days in Indiana were only about 85 compared to 95 back home! We continued northeast toward our destination on IN 57 and US 231, riding through many miles of farmland, corn and soybeans.
Approaching Indy in the afternoon we veered north to I-70 to avoid possible suburban Friday afternoon traffic only to find Interstate construction, lane closures and traffic delays.
Using my MSTA discount and the Choice Hotels website I had managed to snag a fantastic $60 rate on an extremely nice Comfort Suites. It is located in an industrial park just 6 easy, low traffic miles from the race track. The industrial park had numerous motels among the numerous businesses and industrial operations and my guess is that rates are typically discounted on weekends. Management apparently had not yet realized that there was an event going on as I later heard the rates went up substantially. There were also a couple of restaurants within walking distance so the location met our needs well.
A red 2009 Concours 14 with a Kansas plate was already in the lot as we rolled in, belonging to long time friend and MSTA member Jimmie Girton. We unpacked and chatted for a while then the three of us hoofed it about .8 miles through the mostly deserted industrial park to the Library Restaurant. The Library turned out to have some history, originally the Mon Rêve, an exclusive French restaurant built by the late Lou Jenn, founder of Jenn-Air, nearly 30 years ago. The building, styled after a French chateau, retains a fountain with statue of Venus, a rose garden, restored vintage crystal chandeliers, beautiful woodwork, and classical oil paintings. A humorous reproduction of the famous David work of Napoleon on his rearing horse shows him holding aloft a martini.
The food was good but expensive and the service was excellent. I chose the Frutta di Mare - Sautéed shrimp, scallops, calamari, mussels, mahi, clams, and tomatoes tossed with linguine and a hearty red sauce. Huge portions of fresh plump seafood but I was wishing for some Cajun spice. Stacie had the Shrimp Scampi and had a similar reaction.
Saturday the three of us headed out for the track at about 11:00 o:clock to watch qualifying and the Harley XR1200 race. Qualifying was scheduled for 1:00 but we would first attend the MSTA Burger Burn at Bo's place. But as soon as I turned out of the Comfort Suites parking lot I noticed a bad rattle from the Concours' front end as I hit each bump or pavement irregularity. I pulled over at the first chance to check it out and discovered I was missing both center upper fairing stay bolts! GPS found an ACE hardware 1.8 miles away and only .2 miles out of our way. 30 minutes and I had two new bolts in place finger tight. We made it to the burger burn in time to spare - there was still plenty meat on the grill! We got into comfortable clothes and chowed down. We then visited with several old friends, Moose, Tom Bartels, Dan Thomas, Steve Kirkindoll before walking over to the track to watch qualifying. IMS is truly impressive in size. Only a small percentage of the stands were open for qualifying but we found some good seats and enjoyed watching the show. Riders in each of the 3 classes had an hour session in which to record their best lap time with the first 40 minutes or so used to try different settings. With about 20 minutes to go the top riders began upping the ante one by one but then Casey Stoner of Australia set an unbeatable time half a second faster than the field. After that it was a battle to see who would be beside him on the first row. American rider Ben Spies managed to nail down second but still nearly .3 seconds slower than Stoner's pole position time. After qualifying, track activities concluded with the Harley Davidson XR1200 race. The Harleys seemed visibly slower than even the 125cc GP bikes but perhaps that was a false impression created by the deep booming tones of the big twins. The race did not lack for excitement however, with more than one crash or incident and it turned out to be the closest race for the win of the entire weekend.
Saturday evening Steve and Julie Kirkendoll picked us up at the motel and took us out to eat and then downtown to witness the biker scene. We ate at a great place called Grindstone Charlie's; excellent sandwiches and extremely reasonable prices. I ordered one of their signature sandwiches, the fried pork loin, delicious! Then we headed downtown to experience Motorcycles on Meridian. We parked and walked around observing the massive biker scene that has developed since MotoGP has come to town.
"The streets of downtown Indianapolis were an ocean of bikes and people, moving in waves. The event is for people with and without bikes. Interested parties with no steel horse of their own are welcome to walk around at this free event and marvel at the impressive choppers and sport bikes. On these two nights in August, the motorcycle culture of Indianapolis is open for everyone to enjoy." We finished the evening with a stop at Starbucks for some refreshment before heading back to the motel.
Sunday morning we made an earlier departure for the track to take in the races for all three GP classes. A bit of a cold front had moved through the area and the ride to the track was a bit chilly. We joined about a dozen other MSTAers in section H which has a nice view of the series of turns just before the front straight. Points leader Nico Terol from Spain won the 125cc race from the start. The Moto2 race was a little more competitive with Bradly Smith of Britain and Italian Simone Corsi jumping out in front of pole position rider Spaniard Mark Marquez who eventually worked his way to the lead and a win. American riders J.D. Beach and Martin Cardenas could only manage 28th and 29th places. Cardenas is actually a Columbian but regularly races in the AMA. A third American, Kenny Noyes, a Moto2 regular failed to finish.
The main event MotoGP race got off to an eventfull start. Spaniard Dani Pedrosa passed pole sitter Australian Casey Stoner for the lead with an outside move entering turn 1 with Jorge Lorenzo also passing Stoner for second. Popular American Nicky Hayden, 2006 World Champion, fought from eighth to fourth in the first four turns while fellow Americam Ben Spies, who qualified second, dropped to ninth place after getting bumped by another rider while exiting Turn 4. By lap 7 Championship leader Stoner had reeled in both Lorenzo and Pedrosa and passed into the lead and steadily pulled away for an eventual 4.8 second win. Ben Spies gradually worked his way through the field, passing team mate and 2010 Champ Lorenzo for a 3rd place finish.
Americans Colin Edwards and Nicky Hayden finished 7th and 14th respectively a disappointing finish for Kentuckian Hayden at his home track. We did not stay for Sunday's Harley race which was last on the schedule. There was little traffic heading back and we were back at Comfort Suites in time for me to explore Indianapolis a bit on the Concours. Later we walked back to the Library for some more good food. I had the Penne Vodka - Spicy Italian sausage, mushrooms and penne tossed in a vodka tomato cream sauce. It was way more than I could eat but I did anyway! Stacie had some Quesadillas.
Monday morning Jimmy and I were up early to do our lap of the track. We had some confusion trying to locate the proper gate around the massive IMS complex but once there we were the final riders of the first group of about 20 and all went smoothly. We were led around by a pickup truck at a slow pace. There were mostly "old guys" like us in the group and no squids or hooligans. The track was extremely wide and smooth. There were a couple fairly tight turns to negotiate and it was interesting to get some idea of what the racers had to deal with for 28 laps and of course big fun to do a lap on the world famous venue.
We were back on US 51 for the run down to Memphis, our destination for the day. The GPS somehow managed to guide us right into downtown Memphis and our motel on surface streets with little traffic and not even many traffic lights. Getting checked in to the Econolodge was not as quick. The gent ahead of us at the desk wanted to argue about the $10.00 parking charge. Apparently parking is at a premium in Downtown Memphis, especially that close to Beale Street. The fellow gave up after about 10 minutes and we were able to get a room key. By the time I unpacked the bike it was nearly 7:00 pm so we just cleaned up and hit the streets looking for Charlie's Rendezvous, home of the best BBQ ribs on the planet and the reason we were in Memphis. Although I have eaten at Charlie's a couple times and knew more or less where it was, we couldn't find it! After circling the block once we ran in to a couple of ladies who were also looking for BBQ. They informed us that Charlie's was closed Mondays and showed us where it was! They said that they had gotten a tip that the second best rib place was A&R which occupied the first floor of the Econolodge. So back we went up the street to the Econolodge building to eat. Don't bother with A&R, if it IS second best it a way poor second. After the meal we walked to Beale Street and had a couple drinks while we listened to a live band at B.B. Kings Blues Club.
Tuesday morning it was time to go home. Again my Garmin Nuvi guided us quickly out of Memphis onto US 61 (The Blues Highway). We were amazed to see how well the Tunica casinos have rebounded from this summers flooding. This area seemed to be the most prosperous of any we had ridden through on this 1,600 mile trip. We cruised through Clarksdale and Cleveland on US 61 then a short hop on I-20 to get through Vicksburg. It was just past lunch time when we arrived at tiny Lorman, MS so we pulled into Mr. D's Country Store Restaurant for some of his delicious fried chicken.
We turned off of the Blues Highway at Fayette, MS for a more direct and traffic light free route home as it was now quite warm. Even cold natured Stacie was commenting on the heat. We pulled into or driveway at 3:30 pm. hot and tired but very content. It was a great trip all around. Good roads, good friends, good weather, good racing and good food. A BIG thanks to Moose and the Hoosier Squadron for their hospitality and arranging the MSTA group ticket buy! We highly recommend this trip!
by Ninja Bob
Paul Lefort of Thibodeaux planned Bayou Boogie II, putting together a route encompassing many of his favorite local area roads finishing with a fine lunch at his Presto Fuel truck stop on Hwy 90 near Raceland. We met for breakfast at the Waffle house in Sorrento. Attending were myself on my Kawasaki Concours 14, Paul on his Triumph Tiger 800XC, Dennis Hedrick, BMW 1150RT, Eric Babcock on his new to him BMW RT Police model, Tony Crowell and girlfriend Sharon on a Triumph Tiger 1050, Kevin Yeats, Honda ST1300, and prospective members Lynn ST1300 and Richie BMW 800 GS. Long-time member and past LA State Director Juan Quinton also stopped by to visit on his cool Harley XR1200.
After hearty breakfasts for all we headed west on hwy 22 across the Mighty Mississippi on the Sunshine bridge and onto Hwy 70 to Hwy 1 at Paincourtville. Thence on 403 to Paul's "Dead End" a very twisty section of road that suddenly turns to gravel before dead ending on the north end if Lake Verret. Paul herded us in an about face and then led us to 1006 and 401 to Atakapas Landing on Lake Verret where we rested and refreshed on a dock shaded by moss draped oak and cypress trees.
After the break we worked our way back to Bayou LaFourche turning south on 308 then left on 304 to Chackbay and twisty Choctaw Road. Next were the smooth high speed sweepers of Kraemer Road to Pauls truck stop, Presto Fuel. By now Tony and Sharon, Kevin and Lynn had all peeled off to return home for other commitments so it was just myself, Dennis, Eric, Richie and Paul to enjoy a delicious po-boy lunch at a discounted price! After the meal and a long chat we prepared to mount up when we noticed an old BMW R80 GS with German plates in the parking lot. We soon learned that the rider, Jürgen Teetz of Berlin was in dire need of new tires. He was on an extended 4 week tour of North America and had discovered his original equipment Continental TK knobbies were not the best choice for crossing the continent. He had left Texas that morning and on his way to New Orleans but felt the handling of his BMW had become unsafe. After a few calls around we found the nearest bike shop with suitable rubber was Hebert's Cycles in Baton Rouge. Since Hebert's was on my way home I offered to show Jürgen the way, so off we went to beat the 4:00 pm closing time.
We arrived at Hebert's a liitle after 2:00 and the helpfull team at Hebert's were soon mounting a set of Metzler Tourance dual sport tires on the R80. While we were waiting I had a nice chat with Jürgen who invited me to visit if I ever get to Europe. We borrowd the shop's PC and he showed me pictures of his bike collection and of his vintage racing exploits. I gave him an ITR and my email address.
Jürgen's english was only good enough for basic communication and we struggled a bit to converse but I learned that he had flown the R80 to the States in a crate to begin his 4 week ride. After New Orleans he planned to ride to Miami to visit a friend then head up the Atlantic coast to Ottawa where another friend would help him re-crate the bike and they would load it on a plane in Montreal and fly back to Berlin. I wished him a safe journey.
Hope you enjoyed this issue!.
Keep riding & smiling
Bob Chappuis, State Director and Editor