|December 2009||Louisiana HSTA Newsletter||Bob Chappuis, Editor|
Cajun Christmas 2009 was really terrific, with a great turnout from all over the USA! It was actually snowing at Jimmie Davis State Park as most of us were arriving and unpacking on Friday afternoon. Although a bit on the cold side it was dry once the snow quit not TOO cold for some great riding and fun. Read my story below and enjoy the pictures.
I sold my Gas Gas JTX 320 Trails Bike and I am sad. I loved that crazy bike and felt so lucky to have the kind of back yard terrain that could put it's capabilities to the test. Unfortunately my skills were not up to the task and my old carcass is no longer able to sustain the punishment the Gas Gas doles out for failure. While I firmly believe that we should all strive to improve our skills each and every every day and welcome each new challenge as an opportunity to learn, we must all eventually acknowledge our limitations. At least the Gas Gas is now in the hands of a friend who will put it to good use.
MILES: One of my goals the last few years has been to attend more events each year and to rack up more total miles as well. Due to the recession I did not meet the "more events" goal for 2009 but mileage-wise I am right at my 2008 22,000 milestone and plan to break 23k before the year is out. The Stagecoach 500 is part of that plan and I hope some of you will join me for this event.
Cajun Christmas was another great success for 2009, with MSTA members attending from LA, TX, MO, KS, OK, IN, GA, PA and CA. Yes, that's one fron Pennsysvania and two (2) all the way from CALIFORNIA! We had 42 members pre-registered but a couple had to cancel and counting Drew's delightful mom and the Laderer's cute baby we still had 42 for dinner. Once again this year it was plenty cold and we were in fact treated to a nice 3 hour flurry of light snow as many of our group arrived and unloaded. Several arrived in pickups with bikes loaded in the bed but many, including those from farthest away, rode in on several different brands of motorcycle.
This year we rented one of the lodges to hold the Friday evening catfish dinner. The lodge has a large central open space with a living area on one side and a kitchen/dining area on the other. With some rented tables and chairs for extra seating the lodge is plenty big to accomodate 50 people. The lodge had a fireplace and Steve "Santa Claus" Kirkendoll, IN and Bill Van Evera, OK quickly had a nice fire going. J & H Cookin arrived 30 minutes early with delicious fried catfish and sides and we quickly rounded everyone up. Everyone except Patrick, who was still on the road and late for dinner! After the meal route sheets for the lunch ride were passed around and ride plans began to come together and the usual biker type conversations flourished. By 11:00 pm everyone had returned to his and her own cabin/camp to rest up for the coming day.
Saturday morning it was very COLD, yet riders seemed to be champing at the bit to get on the road. According to the digital gauge on Patrick's bike it was still only 28 point something at 7:30 despite the sun being out. My cheap analog gauge on screened back porch said 30. At any rate, the uncovered bikes were crusted with ice! The SV650 and I were not going anywhere just yet! My dilemma however was that I had worked hard to lay out a new lunch ride route with some reported nice roads I had not ridden yet and I really wanted to sample them. But I had to be back in camp early to prepare for the cookout and only an early (and frigid) departure would make both work. The plan I settled on was to take the shorter (90 miles) of the two legs to the lunch destination and then the shortcut back. Everyone seemed to be putting on cold weather gear, moving in slow motion, waiting for the sun to do it's thing. Finally, the ice slid off my gas tank, the analog guage said 34 or 38. I got out my brand new Warm & Safe jacket liner and gloves and got ready to ride. Jimmie Girton, Dave Moss and I headed out about 10:00 am. Patrick was already gone. What I got to see of the route was pretty decent, LA 155 has some nice sweepers as it meanders west and then south. We did encounter a road closure after about 30 miles but the detour was ok and shorter. We arrived at Grayson's before noon. Don Laderer was finishing up his meal and we sat down to watch. He told of getting "lost" due to GPS/ROUTE anomalies - he apparently rode around in a big circle before finally getting back on track.