Hope every one had a good winter. I am looking forward to riding without my electric umbilical cord for a change! The leaf buds and spring blooms are bust'n out all over. They no doubt love all the rain we have had lately. Hope they have had enough because I sure have. LETS RIDE!
This ride had a good turn out and was very enjoyable. The weather was just about perfect. Riders included Bill Ellis, '98 VFR800 Tony Crowell on his brand new ST1300, Bobby Graham, '89 EX500, Ken Stewart, GSXR1000; his wife Joan Stewart, BMW R1100; her brother Mike Myers his wife on a Buell Lightning and prospect Chris also on a new ST1300. This group gathered at Starbucks Coffee Shop in Baton Rouge from where we proceeded to River Road. We navigated the broad bends of River Road from just South of LSU to Highway 22 near the Sunshine Bridge where we stopped for our coffee break at the Coffee and Beignet cafe at the tourist stop at the junction of 22 and 70.
Here we met up with long time members Kent & Evelyn Treas on an ST1100, Evelyn's son Mike Peeples on a BMW R1100 and ex Florida, now nomadic member John Watts. After good deal of tire kicking and lie telling we continued on 22 to our lunch destination at Taste of Bavaria near Ponchatoula. Along the way we met up with a group of about 100 sportbike riders coming from Denham Springs via Highway 16 to ride the S-curves of Highway 22.
Most of our group split up after a very pleasant outdoor lunch at TOB, but Ken, Joan and I took the scenic route back to my place in St. Francisville before they continued North to their home in Lake Rosemound. What a great day! In addition to the great roads and weather and good chow; I got to meet some new friends as well as visit with some old ones.
The picnic ride scheduled for Saturday, February 22 was washed out by rainy weather. For three days prior to the scheduled ride the area was plagued by rain or over cast skies and rain continued late into Friday night. The forecast promised an end to the rain by Saturday morning but it was apparently too little too late to encourage all but a few brave souls to attempt a ride. Ret and Ann Favret set out on their Goldwing 1800 and made it as far as Baton Rouge. Tony Crowell arrived at our place in St. Francisville ready to ride but feeling a little guilty about skipping out on some planned family activities. He found me staring gloomily at the white cord showing through the center tread of my 6000 mile old, supposedly "high mileage" Dunlop D220 rear tire. Ann and Ret had called from Baton Rouge to ask about the weather and I told them That I would be unable to ride due to the condition of my rear tire. They were dubious about the weather anyway and decided to stay closer to home. Tony decided to get some breakfast and call it a day. We plan to schedule another picnic ride in the near future and hope to have better luck with the weather.
March 5: I packed my Givis Wednesday night and loaded them on the VFR. I had a fresh Bridgestone BT020 installed on the rear wheel. The forecast for the Gulf Coast included a good chance of rain on Thursday but only a slight chance of rain was indicated for Central Florida over the weekend. With my new Garmin V gps loaded with a back road route from St. Francisville to Mobile, AL I set out around 7:00 am thursday morning heading East on HIghway 10. I made it to Bogalusa before the rain started. The rain was not that heavy but the slow moving truck traffic on Highway 26 was. The spray from the 18 wheelers engulfed me and cut visibility down to dangerous levels, making it impossible to pass. I followed a big tanker for about 15 miles at about 50 mph before I decided that I needed a new route.
No problem, I thought, the Garmin V has Autorouting. I picked a destination along Interstate 10 and pressed "GOTO". Bad move. The route that the GPS created went though the Stennis Space Center, the most direct route from where I was to where I wanted to be. Unfortunately, security at the rear gate would not let me enter the Space Center grounds and I had to back track all the way to I-59 and Slidell to get to I-10 before I could start making progress toward Florida.
At least when I merged Eastward onto I-10 the weather began clearing. I made good time to Tallahassee and then I-75 and arrived at my Motel in Gainesville at 5:30. A solid nine and a half hours in the saddle, stopping only for gas and once for a short rest. Friday morning after a pleasant ride across central Florida I met long time friend and Florida member Chuck Headrick at the Honda Display at Daytona International Speedway. I tried on some helmets at the vendor tents, we bought our Friday race tickets and then grabbed some lunch at nearby Sonny's BBQ. Inside the track we picked some grandstand seats protected from the rain and waited for the 250 GP and BMW Boxer Challenge races to start. The rain started instead and a prodigious rain it was. It stopped after about an hour and we spent the rest of the afternoon watching the DIS staff try to dry the track. We finally gave up at about 5:00pm and rode to Chuck's house. It was goof to relax and get caught up with my old friends Chuck and Frances.
On Saturday Chuck had some chores to do so I spent the day playing with my GPS and doing some exploratory riding (mostly trying to dodge the rain clouds) and checking out Pub 44 and the Cabbage Patch. As I had long ago had my fill of the stop and go traffic, loud pipes, and Harleys of Main Street, I decided to check out a couple of the infamous outlying biker attractions. These two are based around a couple of biker bars in the New Smryna Beach area. They are notorious for there "rice burner" demolition rituals and female wrestling contest. However, none of this was happening at the time I visited.
Sunday we arrived back at DIS early as we had learned that the 250 GP race rained out on Friday would be added to the front of the race slate on Sunday. Rich Oliver pretty much dominated the 250 GP but the 600 Supersport and Boxer Challenged was close and exciting from start to finish. Then the rain started again. We ducked under the grandstands for cover but the rain was so hard that the stands offer only modest protection so we stood around in our rain gear trying to be thin waiting to see if it would let up. After an hour it was obvious to all that there would be no more racing that day. I said my farewells to Chuck and Keith and headed towards home in a steady rain. A few mile West of Ormand Beach on State Route 40 the rain let up briefly then resumed with a vengeance and continued for about 70 miles. I again stopped in Gainesville for the night, arriving a little damp.
The Joe Rocket suit (ballistic 4.0 and ) boots (Rhino) worked pretty well considering the heavy rain. The toes of my socks and my wallet were wet and a few trickles had worked their way down the back of my neck. Other than that I was dry. For some reason, the pockets on the JR suit are not well sealed. The ride home the next day was uneventful other than getting turned around in Mobile and going a few miles out of my way again. I was sticking to my plan of trying to avoid Interstate highways as much as possible/ Instead of I-75 I headed West out of Gainesville on HWY 26 to US 19 which parallels the Florida West Coast from St. Petersburg to Tallahassee. This is a good four lane highway with some pretty scenery and little traffic and I enjoyed the relaxing cruise in good weather. I then droned on I-10 from Tallahassee to Mobile, exiting on the East side of Mobile bay and crossing it on HWY 90 instead of the tunnel. This was interesting as for the entire 35 years that I have been traveling to Florida I had never taken this route. It reminded me a lot of the HWY 90 area East of New Orleans.
Once across the Bay the highway system got very confusing with several changes of direction and I ended up riding through what must have been one of the oldest and wealthiest residential areas of Mobile, there were many awesome old homes reminiscent of Uptown New Orleans. I wasted some time in heavy traffic finding my way to US 98 and then at Lucedale, AL I missed my turn onto HWY 26 and wound up in Hattiesburg instead of Poplarville. I jumped on I-65 for a few miles to get back on track and then West on LA 10 back through Bogalusa, Franklinton, Greensburg and Clinton. I pulled into my driveway at about 7:30, a long day in the saddle again but at least this time I took time out for lunch and a couple of rest stops. The VFR performed flawlessly the whole trip. The Garmin V left a lot to be desired, or perhaps I should read the owner's manual?
Lets try the Natchez Trace PicNic idea again. With better weather it should be a great ride. Meet 9:00 am Bob and Stacie's place, just North of St. Francisville. Call, email or visit the web site http://www.staciechappuis/HSTA for directions.
I received the following email and am spreading the word. If anyone is interested let me know and I will set a time and meeting place for a group ride to Henderson.:
"I am writing to invite you and your club to participate in the Bon Temps Poker Run to benefit Camp Bon Coeur, a summer camp for kids with heart defects. Our campers range in age from 8 - 16 and they come to camp from across Louisiana. This summer, we will host our 19th camping session for kids from at least 14 different states. The Poker Run will be held at McGee's Landing in Henderson, on May17th. Registration begins at 8:00 and the cost is $15.00 per bike and $5.00 per passenger. The first 100 registered bikes will receive a t-shirt. There will be door prizes, cash prizes, $5.00 plate lunches, bands, a bake sale, an auction, food, fun and more. To learn more about Camp Bon Coeur please call us at 337-233-8437 or visit our website at www.heartcamp.com"
to learn more about the Poker Run, please contact the following:
This is at the new Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham. AL. Bill Ellis suggested that this would make a great weekend trip for the club and I whole heartily agree and as Bill says it is never to early to start making plans. If you are interested let me know . We will pick a motel and plan a route. Birmingham is only about 425 miles from the Baton Rouge area. A group from here can here can plan a route via Meridian, MS and rendezvous with groups from North Louisiana and the New Orleans area in Brookhaven or Meridian.
Sorry about the absense of pretty pictures. My digital camera broke. I have a new one on order, however so I expect to do better next time. THAT's IT for now. Hope to see y'all soon. KEEP IN TOUCH!
email@example.com and my telephone number is
(225)635-3171 Home, (225)281-0799 Cell
and Ride Safe,