December 2009 Louisiana HSTA Newsletter Bob Chappuis, Editor

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Turn One

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.

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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.

IMG_1111.jpg IMG_1112.jpg I wrote about Grayson's BBQ last month so won't repeat my accolades here. Suffice it to say everyone enjoyed his meal, the staff and locals were friendly and the prices could not be beat. Patrick was riding up as we stepped outside to saddle up. He had done the entire long leg and had good things to say about it. Our return ride was uneventful but seemed colder to me. I guess I was bored and wishing I had time for the three Cajun Sisters 123, 124 & 126 that made up the longer return route. (Don't bother Googling that, I just made it up). But I got back to camp just in time to prepare for the Cajun Christmas Cookout.

The lodge smelled like gumbo! I packed a load of supplies in the van, picked up Tim Cundiff, my volunteer cook and helper and headed for the pavilion. The large double grill was full of water and mud but we soon had it cleaned out and a charcoal fire going. Dave and Tammy Moss arrived early and Tammy set up the serving tables. Then a quick drive back to camp to pick up Stacie and the Gumbo (and jello shots).

By 5:30 pm hamburgers and sausage were coming off the grill and the tables were beginning to fill up with hungry folks. Tim and Drew did an awesome job at the grill and Stacie's gumbo was a hit as always. I went back for seconds but it was ALL GONE! The burgers got rave reviews and we ran out of hotdog buns so the grilled sausage was popular as well.

Due to the predicted cold temperature it was decided to return to the lodge for dessert and the Cajun Gift Exchange. I still can't get over how quickly a 40 person cookout can totally disappear in minutes and relocate when everone pitches in to help. Back at the lodge various desserts were enjoyed and adult beverages jello shots were consumed. With everyone's appetite appeased it was time for our famous Cajun Gift Exchange. There were 34 participants this year and some great gifts, including some fancy tool kits, high tech flashlights, expensive bike cleaning chemicals as well as some fine Bourbon Whiskey. There was even a set of historic motorcycle shop manuals, which Santa Claus was lucky enough to go home with! Some gifts were stolen for the maximum 3 times and went home with some very pleased owners. Santa being a celebrity and all, I guess no one dared steal his shop manuals, lucky guy!

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I plan to ride to Stockton, AL for this event on Wednesday, December 30 and there are so far three other members tentatively panning to join me. I will be heading across the Florida Parishes via highway 10 to Bogalusa and continue on MS 26 and backroads to Stockton, AL. Alternatively, if the weather is nice I will hit some nicer MS Backroads for a slightly longer and more scenic/adventurous route. The main meeting spot will be the Exxon station in Kentwood at 8:00 am and we can set a second rendesvous point futher east if needed/preferred. Distance from Kentwood to Stockton is somewhere between 190 to 230 miles, depending on the route we pick. My plan is to arrive by 11:30, eat, hang out and and mingle and be back on the road home by about 1:00. See details below from ST Owners dot com and Email me if you are interested

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MEET at IHOP at 8:30 1/1/2010
3006 College Dr. Baton Rouge
(In front of Wal Mart Phone 225-218-8467)
This is our one formal (as formal as we get) club business meeting, basically an opportunity to talk about riding plans for the coming year, meet other members, give your input about club activities. Ride or come in your car. Riders not planning to watch the bowl game or attend family gatherings may opt for an impromtu ride afterwards !
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That is it for 2009! 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. Your input - ideas, suggestions, comments, complaints - are vital to our club's success, KEEP IN TOUCH!
(225)281-0799 (Cell).
and Ride Safe,

Bob Chappuis