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December 2007 Louisiana HSTA Newsletter Bob Chappuis, Editor
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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Join me in welcoming our newest members,
Caleb Smith of Ruston and Dave Dickson of New Orleans.
WELCOME to HSTA Caleb and David!

Turn One


Cajun Christmas 2007 was another great success. Despite much better weather than last year (actually near perfect weather) we had a slightly smaller turnout (about 35) but more than enough for another great, rollicking time. We had many of our old faithful returning members plus a few new faces as well with members riding in from as far away as Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee and of course Texas. New this year was a catered fried catfish dinner, flawlessly orchestrated by Drew Newcomer. In prior years we have caravanned to a nice restaurant in Monroe, 40 some odd miles away for Friday dinner. This has worked OK in the past but the after-dark ride on unfamiliar roads was inconvenient and just plain hazardous for motorcyclists, even in good weather. Drew did a fantastic job of lining up a local caterer who provided a sumptuous but economical dinner at our favorite Shelter #3 party spot. Not only did we solve our logistic problem without sacrificing great food the dinner allowed for folks to mingle and chat and Laissez Le Bon Temps Roulet much more than is possible in the confines of a restaurant.

Saturdays lunch ride was another success with good food and service at the Caboose Cafe, no accidents, only one encounter of the LEO kind (ticketless, Jim was able to trade his AARP card for a Get Out Of Jail Free card) The only problems were a couple worn out tires and a temporarily non-functioning starter on my SV650! Oh, yeah, there was Ashurst's usual "loose nut" problem but that is par for the course. We once again did not manage to keep the whole group together but everyone nevertheless found their way to Jena.

Of course the main event is always the Saturday night cookout and gift exchange. Don "Moose" Parrish and Steve "Santa Claus" Kirkendol performed brilliantly as Grill Masters and Stacie's Gumbo was once again the best in the Universe! 26 members participated in the gift exchange and the ensuing battle of the gifts was marked by acts of lowdown larceny, devious secret alliances & treasonous treachery. The photographs below say it all, enjoy...

Well, this is likely my last Turn One article. I always intended it as a spot for the State Director to run off at the mouth so I feel like Tim (especially Tim ) should take it over. It's just that he is already contributing so much to each newsletter. I hate to ask him to do more yet I'd also hate it if he discontinues his great "Why I Ride" articles. We will work something out and do our best to keep you entertained...

But in case this is my last Turn One I'd just like to say how much fun and how rewarding it has been to be associated with this group. If you look at Juan Quinton's Cajun Christmas photo gallery on our LAHSTA homepage you will find some shots, like the one here, of me holding a plaque that Drew presented to me during the cookout honoring me for my contribution to HSTA. I don't think I can really describe how much that means to me. The HSTA is truly my extended family. I have gotten so much out of these "family ties" over the years and it means very much to me to be able to have given a little back... Thanks Drew, and thanks to ALL of you who make the HSTA a family! Later...
Bob





Why I ride…

by Tim Smith

In a moment of weakness, I told Bob that I would take over the duties of State Director of the HSTA. Likely most of you are less than thrilled. Bob Chappuis has been a good leader, and like me, you probably wish he would continue on rather than leave it in these questionable hands. But I know that Bob really wanted and needed a break, and I am willing, if not very able, to take on the task for a while. ( until the "DRAFT BOB" signs start to appear) Without a doubt, I will need help, and input from all the members is really the best help we can get. The association is YOU, the members, it is all about what you want and need from such a group, no leader can determine what makes being a member fun and rewarding.
I truly love this activity we call Sport Touring. I love my motorcycle, and I love being able to share the experience of riding with others who feel the same way. This is why I agreed to take over as director, in the hope that it would engage me even more in the sport.

One of the things I will need to overcome, is the fact that most of the active members reside in southern LA, and I reside waaaay up north in Ruston. Up here, the days are short and weather is cold, and we are just entering the worst part of the year for riding. But I will still be trying to recruit new riders, I will be actively working to get more riders in North LA, because selfishly, I want some local riding buddies. I love you guys down south, but the hours between us prohibit weekend rides together. I trust that the Saturday lunch rides will continue for you guys, and I hope I can start some up here as well.

As I mentioned, the association is for you , the members. Please tell me about things you would like to do, or things you would like to see in the Newsletter or on the Website.

We have the goal to help make your Sport touring :
1. Safe
2. Enlightening
3. Fun and exciting
4. Memorable

So help me HELP YOU!
I have two e-mail addresses; the main one is tsmith@cedarcreek.com and I also use fastimmy@yahoo.com . My home phone is 318-247-8386 and my mobile is 318-801-4276

Happy Holidays and Happy riding!

Fastimmy (soon to be -Supreme Commander Fastimmy)

MEMBER CONTRIBUTION

Why I ride…at Night
By Tony Crowell Cub Reporter

Because it is hotter than 600 hells. That's the usual reason. And that is the reason I have started so many of my trips after dark. But, that's a good thing. Lots of riders eschew night riding altogether and they are really missing out on what can be a very pleasurable riding experience.

Many riders in the north complain about the short riding season. Southerners have a riding season too; it's every month but July and August when the heat and humidity make for miserable riding conditions.

My necessity for nocturnal trips started when I lived in San Diego, CA in the 90's. I used to ride home to Louisiana and beyond every summer. If you look at a map of the United States you will notice a large portion of desert lies between the cool, moist, coast and my intended destination. Having driven the various routes in an air conditioned car, I made a mental note to never to travel across it on a motorcycle during the time that Mother Nature turns up the thermostat to broil.

On most trips I would depart at about 10 pm. That would put me in the cooler, higher elevations of Arizona by the time the sun started to melt the asphalt behind me. Sometimes though, even at midnight, the heat would be most uncomfortable. I remember, going through Palm Springs once at midnight and seeing 99 degrees on the thermometer. Much better than the alternative of 119 during the day but still hot. If you don't think ten degrees is much of a difference when the weather turns hot, try it sometime. You will regret it.

I used to look forward to getting to the valley near Blythe, CA. It was there that the air would suddenly become cooler because of all the green stuff growing in the fields. Amazing how crops versus rocks will cool things down.

There are other advantages to night riding in other parts of the country. Ever ridden across West Texas between Pecos and Abilene? Much prettier at night. How about Montana or Wyoming at night? Talk about big sky country! You can see every star in the universe unhampered by city lights.

Out west, night riding can be lonely though. I once left West Wendover, Nevada at 1:00 am to start my trip back to San Diego riding Alt.US 93 / US93 down to Ely. For 120 miles I didn't see another human being. I did, however see a herd of wild Mustangs that ran across the road in front of me. And therein lies the reason that many riders skip night riding.

Critters, large and small. The enemy of the star gazing motorcyclist. I don't know if there has ever been a risk assessment study of the safety of daytime versus nighttime riding, but here is my take. There are many animals that live near the roads and plenty of impaired drivers, but some of that can be offset by the numbers of people who are not on the roads. A little old lady can't make a left hand turn in front of you if she is tucked safely in bed.

I do try to use caution however. When I travel from San Antonio to El Paso on I-10, I try to do it with some daylight present. Why? Because of the absolutely outrageous number of dear that kill and are killed on that particular stretch of road. Texas should allow deer hunting 24/7 and encourage the use of fully automatic weapons.

Like most sport touring riders I ride to certain places to enjoy the roads and scenery. Of course that is best done in daylight hours. However, living in deepest Louisiana, I have been on just about every road within a 500 mile radius. Therefore I can start my trips in the cool of the night and not miss any scenery. That usually puts me in the Ozarks or Smokies in daylight with more reasonable temps.

If you haven't ridden in the dark in a while, give it try on a nice summer night. There is nothing like riding through the cool air of Delta cotton field at 1:00 am during a full moon.

CLUB NEWS

Regional Vice President Retires
Jim Poulos, South Central RVP announced his retirement in early December. On behalf of the entire Louisiana Chapter, I want to give Jim our sincere thanks for all his help and encouragement over the years and especially his support for our annual Cajun Christmas event. THANKS JIM and congratulations on your retirement!

LAHSTA CAJUN CHRISTMAS 2007

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Photos by Moose, Juan & Bob. Click any photo for a full size version

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Many more photos are available at the top of our homepage
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UPCOMING RIDES

ANNUAL NEW YEARS DAY BREAKFAST & RIDE
MEET at IHOP at 8:30 1/1/08
3006 College Dr. Baton Rouge
(In front of Wal Mart Phone 225-218-8467)
Breakfast even if the weather precludes riding, come in your auto. If the weather is good we will have a short ride with the idea of getting folks back home for new years day traditional family activities and bowl game watching. This is as close as we get to a members meeting, (although that could change)an opportunity to talk about riding plans for the coming year, meet other members, give your input about club activities. As Tim, our new leader said, "the association is for you , the members." Tell us what you want! Tim probably will not be able to make this but I will have pad and paper to take notes and will make sure Tim gets a full accounting of any ideas, suggestions, complaints, gossip, etc..

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SWITCHBACKS
by Lee Nangle
I have been hearing a lot of noise concerning the HSTA and a possible name change. I t seems that many of the members would like to see the "H" dropped or replaced with something else. The reasoning is pretty sound, since it is now stressed that the club is not brand specific, and in fact the membership is quite varied in choices of motorcycles to ride.
It might seem easy to do, but I think there is a legal tie to Honda that is not so easily severed. This would have been established when the association obtained the right to use the Honda name. And even though they( Honda) has very little to do with the HSTA, they evidently have some ownership of the name. But cutting to the chase, I think if the membership votes for a change, then getting permission from Honda is little more than a formality (legal formality, that is).
As you might have guessed I have received many e-mails and letters asking me " Lee, what do you think?" Even though it is not in my nature to offer opinions, I will do my best to explain what I think about this issue. IT is about F-ing time! It hasn't been the HONDA sport touring association for a long time. You have to admit, you guys are not the most well-known group in motorcycling, most Honda riders I meet haven't even heard of it… and riders of other makes would assume it doesn't apply ( unless someone goes to the trouble to explain it) Face it, you guys have an identity problem. You should really be taking a more "shotgun approach" and look for support and interest among all riders. By dropping the "H" you could actively look for support from other manufacturers. And while you are looking for ways to improve, there has got to be something you can do to add some life and excitement to the group. I think I saw a set of leathers with a pocket protector at STAR. You gadget geeks have a blast riding, I will give you that, but at the end of the ride, the event seems more like a gathering of the Scooter Store riders instead of the "Scooter trash" you think you are. I was kidding when I suggested a burn-out competition, but some of the other ideas are not so "out there" You ride on the edge, your events could have more of an edge as well, they could be sexier, more Rock-n-roll. STAR could and should have much more of a party atmosphere. I was serious about getting bikini girls for the bike wash and charge for it. I was serious about the bands, and there are almost limitless ideas for contests for bikes and riders. ( like who has the ST with the most electronic gadgets ? ) If these ideas offend you, you probably are my Dad's age, and all of your riding gear is brown, but I am really NOT trying to offend anyone, it just sorta comes out that way. I am just an outsider looking in, and I think you need to generate excitement if your group is going to grow and attract younger riders. Heck, what do I know? I'm just a girl. Drop the "H" and add an "X" You know… Lee

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HSTA HOLIDAY GREETINGS FROM CANEY CREEK LAKE!

Photo by Randy Ashurst

That is it for 2007! 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!
(225)281-0799 (Cell).
and Ride Safe,

Bob Chappuis