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December 2006 Louisiana HSTA Newsletter Bob Chappuis, Editor
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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Join me in welcoming our newest member, Ryan Babin of Shreiver, LA. Ryan currently rides an Aprillia Falco but is better known among the Southeast Louisiana Sportbike community for his lap times on a Yamaha R6 at tracks such as Barber and No Problem Raceway.
WELCOME to HSTA Ryan!

From the Editor

2006 has been a good year for the Louisiana Chapter. We are still small in numbers but way big in participation and FUN! While no one is keeping track of the numbers to prove it. I feel sure that our little group is among the highest in event (STAR, Regional Events and races) participation per number of members. A third of our membership attended STAR in Avon, Colorardo and we had one or more members present at Ride The Rio (Big Bend, TX); T-18 (Mena, AR); Daytona Bike Week; Bull Shoals (Theodosia, MO); Friends Of Freddies (Park Hills, MO) and both the informal and official Hill Country events (Kerville, TX). Additionally, three of our members participated in multiple track days at No Problem Raceway Park in Belle Rose, LA. And although we did have some off-road excursions and a crash or two or three, no one had to go to the ER! A full range of good, safe, two-wheeled FUN!

We attempted to schedule monthly lunch rides with limited success. These rides were not well attended but that is largely due to our small number and being spread around the state. Some members are just too distant from any central meeting place to make regular day ride participation feasible. If YOU are one of these there IS a solution - Organize your own local rides AND RECRUIT more members in your area! Speaking of which, Kudos to Paul Lefort of Thibodaux. Paul is responsible for three of our four new members this year! Thanks Paul!

Last month we featured an essay by new member Tim Smith. Tim has a remarkable talent for putting the riding experience into words and I plan to put that talent to use by starting a new regular newsletter section entitled "Why I Ride", starting with this issue. I think you will enjoy it!

The 17 year Louisiana HSTA tradition, Cajun Christmas, returned in 2006. The housing shortage caused by Hurricane Katrina's devstation forced us to cancel the event for 2005 but our loyal following returned in big numbers despite cold temperatures and winter storms. The event was once again a huge success. We had many of our great friends from past years attend as well as some great new faces. Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Ohio, Indiana, and Tennessee were represented. I had the honor of leading Moose and Santa Clause on the lunch ride and I was fortunate to be in the company of such outstanding and well prepared Sport Tourers! I was on the SV650 and it did not have the correct hookup for my electric vest nor heated grips as on my VFR. About 50 miles into our ride my fingers were literally frozen stiff. Operating the clutch and brake levers was becoming impossible and I was forced to pull into a convenience store to warm up. Moose and Santa came to my rescue with an extra pair of gloves and chemical heat packs that allowed me to continue the ride to the lunch destination. Jim Buckersly, TX also loaned me a heavy sweatshirt to wear on the ride back. Thanks guys! Read more about Cajun Christmas in an upcoming StarReview but for now enjoy a few pictures, taken by member Juan Quinton and myself:
Cajun Christmas 2006
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TRACK DAY NPR NOVEMBER 26

Paul Lefort, Ryan Babin, Tony Crowell and I rode the November 26 Tiger Track Day at No Problem Raceway Park. Members Bill Ellis and Kevin Yeats and Tony's wife and daughter Jenny and Olivia were present to spectate and give moral support. The weather was very cooperative and everyone had a blast. We invited Hyosung 650 rider Keith Johnston of Mississippi to share the HSTA pit and ended up recruiting him into the HSTA!

Tiger Track Day Nov. 26 NPR
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Why I ride…

by Tim Smith

Sometimes I have really wondered.
Tony told me " when you drop out of the mountains into Palm Desert, you will be descending into the pits of Hell" I didn't pay much attention to him, after all it had been in record heat that I had traveled all the way across the United States from North Carolina to California in the summer of 1995. Since I left home about 11 days earlier I had ridden in 90 degree -plus temperatures except for one day in Colorado. But as Fred ( aka Flyin' Fred) and I rolled into the Shell station near I- 10 in Palm Desert, at about 11 AM, the bank clock across the street read 118.

I bought my first two liters of water and crammed them in my tank bag. I found a water hose in the shop area of the station and soaked myself from head to toe and filled my helmet with water. I quickly mounted my CBR1000 and rolled out into traffic just in time to stop at a light, before I could enter the freeway. By the time the light turned green, I was completely dry and already very hot. They tell me that the standard concrete road surface will reach temperatures nearing 200 degrees in the sun, and that heat will radiate up dozens of feet above the surface. But to my dismay the surface of I-10 was NOT a light colored concrete, but a lovely shade of black asphalt. I had no way to measure the temperature of the air above the road surface, but I can clearly remember the stunning difference when I rolled onto the black surface, and how much hotter it was than the concrete. I cranked on the throttle to about 90 mph, but I could only make it only about 10 miles before I had to stop and drink water and refill my helmet. And so it went all the way across the Mojave Desert. Fred and I stopped every 10 miles or so to re hydrate, and over the course of the afternoon, I spent $80 to $100 on water. I am just happy there were adequate places to get water, but there was no escape from the heat, with the record temperatures all of the places we stopped were running very limited air conditioning, if at all, and there was no cool place.

As the afternoon wore on, I found that for short stints, I could ride in the shadow of 18 wheelers and get a moment of relief from the sun, but the turbulent air was like a blast furnace, and I wondered about my chances of survival. Even more, I worried about Fred; after all, I was the younger man, and a marathon runner, and I seriously thought I might be going to die here. But to my amazement, Freddie seemed to be doing better than me.

With my head tucked down and the speedo reading 100MPH, I was passed by a California State policeman that paid me no attention at all. I realized that there was no way he was going to stop in this heat. He was obviously ALSO in a hurry to get somewhere, anywhere, else. As we neared Arizona I saw the single light and the mirage-like shape of a motorcycle heading west into the desert. As he passed, I was astounded to see that the intrepid cyclist was outfitted in black leather and a black helmet. Maybe it was the heat, or maybe it WAS a mirage…or worse, some kind of motorcycling demon on his way back to Hell… otherwise, I am pretty sure he died shortly after we saw him, as there was no chance of surviving the heat in that black leather jacket. I gave him 4 minutes….maybe. ("Somebody back-east is saying 'why don't he write?' ")

Alas, Fred and I prevailed in the oppressive heat and made it into the hills of Arizona and cooler weather. And 2-1/2 days later we made it back to Louisiana, thoroughly exhausted. I rested for one day before continuing on alone back to North Carolina. With the day of rest, I found that I actually looked forward to climbing back on the bike for the ride alone.

My trip had started near the Atlantic coast, and I twisted my way through the hills of NC and Tennessee, I traversed the Great River road form Memphis to St. Louis. Crossed the Missouri river 4 or five times before rolling into the wheat fields of Kansas, and the corn fields and prairies of Nebraska. We carved the canyons and mountain roads of Colorado and rode in the falling sleet and snow as we crested the Continental Divide. The Canyon lands of Utah were ablaze with color as well as record high temperatures, and Las Vegas sparkled and shimmered like a ( stolen, i.e. "HOT") jewel in the desert. The California Freeways, like arteries pumping cars in all directions took us to the fog shrouded, cool Pacific coast. Here, we left Tony with his admonition about the desert and turned to make the trek back east. For the whole trip I rode just over 7000 miles in 15 days, and saw a pretty diverse slice of America, but it is that day in the desert that is burned ( forgive me) into my memory. OK, so maybe I shouldn't have planned a trip that would take me through the desert in July, but it was the only time of year that I could get away for two weeks, and if the ride took us to Tony's home in Oceanside CA., it was the only way home. The trip was quite an adventure, and it was one that I never would have taken in a car. I would only have made this trip on a motorcycle. It is the reality of a life changing trip like this one that makes me wonder. But it is the priceless memories and pride in my survival that endures forever, and answers the question….
Why I ride.

Upcoming rides

New Years Day Breakfast Ride 01/01/07

Baton Rouge IHOP, College Drive 8:30 AM

We began this tradition two years ago: START THE YEAR OFF RIGHT, with a breakfast meeting and ride if weather permits. This is a chance to discuss plans for the upcoming year. The HSTA offers more events to attend than is humanly possible so it is necessary to pick and choose. Some members have their favorite events to return to every year, others like to try somehing new. If you are planning to rack up some miles come to IHOP and share and discuss riding plans for 2007!

DONT FORGET!

If you have any changes for your personal information in the Blue Book, please send them in before January 15th. Send the changes to:

Dick Parker
19054 E. Cody Ave.
Parker, CO 19054
parkerrk1@comcast.net

Or:

HSTA
PMB #331
4040 E. 82nd Street Suite C9
Indianapolis, Indiana 46250-4209

That is it for 2006! Thanks to each of you who have participated in club activities. And special thanks to those who have helped out and offered moral support. MERRY CHRISTMAS and a Prosperous and Healthy NEW YEAR to all of you. KEEP IN TOUCH!
chappuis@demco.net (225)281-0799 (Cell).
and Ride Safe,

Bob Chappuis