Jan/Feb. 2008 Louisiana HSTA Newsletter P.1

Join me in welcoming our newest member,
Glyn Best of Bossier City.
Glyn rides an ST1100.

Turn One

by Tim Smith, State Director

I may have mentioned last year how I feel about winter...in case you missed it, I think it sucks like a Hoover. Sorry to be so ambivalent about it, I just have trouble expressing myself sometimes. Up here in the north, with no signs of the imminent global warming, my bike has been parked so long, I have a stack of firewood between the VFR and the garage door. OK, I am a sissy, about riding in the cold, I admit it, so I am hanging on till it gets warm. With 2008 comes some really good things to look forward to, STAR is in Kerrville, Texas April 6-9, there is a World SuperBike Race in Salt Lake City, Miller Motorsports Park, on June 1. Moto GP comes to Indy in September. We also look forward to many great weekend rides and trying to make as many HSTA rallies as possible.
As you saw in the STAReview, there is serious talk about a name change for the association, mainly about dropping the "H" since it really is not very accurate anymore. And, of course, the big news... Bob Chappuis stepped down as State Director, and I volunteered to give it a try, so I beg of you to be patient while I try to figure out how to do it.

I want to plan a meeting for the group, and get together as many of you as we can. I thought we could meet in Natchez, MS for lunch on Saturday March 1. (Look for the official notice elsewhere in the Newsletter.) I want to talk about some ideas I have about some LA specific rides or rallies, and hear from you, your ideas and suggestions. I hope that you may have gotten some enjoyment from the WHY I RIDE series I have posted for the last 18 months, I certainly have enjoyed the privilege of spouting off about motorcycles and riding and other related topics. I like to write, and I love riding, so it has been pleasure, and I plan to keep writing as long you let me. But I do think it is time to retire the WIR series in favor of something new. So between now and the next newsletter I will try to figure out exactly what that might be. I am also sad to report to you that Lea Nangle has moved back to her childhood home in Hawaii, and will no longer be submitting her "Switchbacks" column. I know I will miss her and her irreverent humor, and I will also be looking for others to step up and write for the Newsletter.

I expect Drew and Tino to keep supplying great ride reports, and also look forward to regular contributions from Bob ( the webmaster). The Newsletter is still his baby, and we could not possibly get it done without his major effort. I hope most of you can make the ride on Saturday March 1, and please let me know if it is a really bad time. And also, if the weather is lousy we could reschedule. I will always make every effort to accommodate the group. I am excited about the HSTA for 2008, it should be a great year of exciting riding and events.

Until I see you on the road, Hang on...and hang off.



by Bob Chappuis, Editor

Very little activity with all the cold and rainy weather so this will be a very brief news section. We had a handful of members get together for our New Years Day breakfast and ride but all were on four wheels except for myself. Tony Crowell, Bill Ellis and Kevin Yeats were all waiting for me at the IHOP. We had a nice breakfast and spent some time discussing our ride plans for 2008. We will have or usual group heading to the Texas Hill Country for STAR 2008 in April. If you have never attended a STAR it is high time you found out what you have been missing...REGISTER! In late may and early June group will be riding out to Salt Lake City, UT to attend the World and AMA Superbike joint event at Miller Motorsports Park and then take a Scenic Route home through Utah, Wyoming and South Dakota. We will be riding some famous roads and seeing some famous sights. If you are interested in either of these trips shoot me an email.
Tony Crowell, Bill and I had a great Tiger Track Day on January 27. Video documentation of our exploits can be found in the GALLERY at www.tigertrackdays.com. Bill, Tony and Ted Torres were back at it at NPR on February 11 with Tony experiencing his first track crash. Tony was not seriously hurt, bruises only but will no doubt remember his tumble and long slide in Turn 14!

A planned lunch ride for Saturday February 16 did not happen due to rainy weather, lets hope for better weather on March 1!



by Bob Chappuis
I am proud to be a "charter" member of the HSTA. I joined in the club's inaugural year, 1982 and I am member #67. Yes, I am bragging! ;-) Founder Dana Sawyer was a big influence on my early involvment in the Sport Toring aspect of motorcycling and I counted myself as a personal friend of his as well as of his wife, Lynn and their daughter Laura. I have indeed missed seeing them at the last several STARS since Dana's retirement from the sport! I feel I have grown personally along with the HSTA over the years. My association with many, many wonderful people within HSTA and especially my participation as a "volunteer" and "leader" have been incredibly rewarding and mean more to me than I can put into words. HSTA is my family. Motorcyclists are very special and HSTA is a very special family. And to celebrate all that HSTA means to me I have decided to re-live some of my past adventures within these pages while I can still remember a few hazy details. No trees will be harmed in the making of this saga and only re-cycled electrons will be used. So bear with me, this is the story of a Humble Sport Touring Amateur, my story. And it starts even before HSTA.

PART 1. How I came to Join the HSTA
The beginning. Every ending is of course a new beginning and when my first marriage came to an end in 1979 I knew right away it was time for a bike trip. (ALL divorces should be celebrated with a BIKE TRIP) My younger brother Jimmy and his wife Julie lived in Denver at the time so my destination was a no brainer. I would go visit them for a couple days and continue on to Rocky Mountain national Park for some camping and sight seeing.

But first I needed a street bike. All I had was my 1972 Honda XL250 (which I had purchased new in 1972). We called them "enduros" back then but it was a dual sport and although I rode it as much on the street as on the dirt there was no chance it was going to Colorado. So I checked the adds in the newspaper. I really don't remember what thoughts I had in picking out a bike. Probably nothing more specific than price and size. But I WAS a "Honda" guy way back then.

I ended up buying a used CX500C, an OHV transverse 8- valve V-twin. It had an old fashioned motor, push rods like a Harley but water-cooled and a shaft drive. So no chain maintenance worries. Not that I gave any of that a thought at the time!

I bought a rack/sissy bar and a huge duffel bag. I had an open face helmet, some summer gloves and a Dry Rider rain suit. That was my "kit". No jacket, not even a long sleeve shirt, after all it was summer, right? I would end up buying a flannel shirt at a K-Mart and using my rain suit top as a jacket when I got into the mountains elevations.

But the first part of my journey included crossing Texas and cold weather gear was the furthest thing from my mind. I crossed the Mississippi, heading West on US 190 then Northwest on 71 to Bossier City. I stopped off at the Torch Lounge to visit a friend and cool off, then continued to Texarkana and found a cheap motel. This was where I first learned about hot asphalt and kick stands. In the time it took to check in at the office the CX500's side stand sank into the soft parking lot surface and the poor thing was lying on it's side. No damage that I remember, but the electrolyte had spilled out of the tipped over battery and the engine would not start. 28 years later I am a bit amazed I was savvy enough to quickly diagnose and correct the problem. A refill with tap water and I was good to go.

Day two destination was Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Southeast of Amarillo, TX. By mid day the heat was ferocious. At 70 mph the 100 degree heat was like a blast furnace. My helmet had no vents and my head was hot, sweaty and itchy. I would periodically tilt my head back to direct the hot wind inside the helmet but the relief was only momentary. My summer gloves were open and I got a major case of sunburn on the tops of my hands. I finally arrived at hot and dusty Palo Duro and set up camp. Guess what? No water! I survived by making trips on the CX to the nearest store and bringing back bags of ice. I was totally alone in the campground, I guess no one else was dumb enough to camp there in August. There was a riding stable with activity during the day but other than that the park was deserted

When the sun went down the temperature improved and I was able to get a good nights sleep and wake refreshed. The morning was nice and cool and I decided to climb one of the rocky hills and take some photos. Then I packed up the bike and rode the canyon road that circled the park before departing. This was my first exposure to real "twisties" in my riding career. It was exhilarating and I was hooked for life, then and there!

The destination for day three was my brother's apartment in Denver. My morning hike had delayed my departure. What had looked like a 10 minute climb of course turned into an hour and a half! I did not get on the road until after 10:00 am and I was two hours behind schedule. I was expected for dinner at 7:00. The ride was uneventful but long and tiring. At least it was cooler in the higher elevation. However as I rode up Raton Pass I was very cold. I had to stop several times to add layers, including a shopping trip to K-Mart. According to the map, the ride was only 450 miles but it seemed to take forever. I finally arrived at my brother's apartment around 9:00 pm. Boy was I glad to see Jim and his wife Julie! Dinner was grilled pork chops. Delicious! I spent the next day exploring downtown Denver including the big art museum. Julie made a delicious meal that night of baked manicotti.

The morning of Day 5 I was off to Rocky Mountain National Park. I have camped at many state parks but this was the first National Park I had ever visited and I didn't realize you had to make reservations far in advance if you wanted a campsite! Damn! Well I was there and I was going to ride Trail Ridge Road, I'd figure out what to do after that. Well, TRD was fabulous, even with all the RVs in the way. I stopped at the visitors area at the top and took lots of pictures and bought some souvenirs. An interesting thing I will never forget was the plumbing. Back then they used circulating oil to operate the toilets because they could not keep the water pipes from freezing in winter. After my stay at the visitors center I continued my ride on trail ridge road. At the 12,000 foot altitude the CX500 was way down on power and felt as if it was struggling. As I worked my way up the grade I passed a jogger. I thought to myself, this guy is even crazier than I am! A bit later I stopped for some more pictures and the jogger stopped as well and struck up a conversation. He turned out to be one of the nicest and most interesting guys I've ever met. He was a concert pianist by trade and ran marathons for sport and he was training for the upcoming Pike's Peak Marathon. He was camping for a week and would run up trail ridge road every day. I told him about my camping plans and lack of reservations and he invited me to share his camp. Woo Hoo! We ended up sharing a meal with a couple who were camping in the next site, I think it was just canned ravioli heated up over an open campfire but it was delicious and it was a good time. The temperature dropped drastically after nightfall. I was lucky to be able to borrow a blanket as it dropped into the 30's! The next morning me and my new friend took his car and went sight seeing in the that beautiful park. One interesting scene we got to view was a coyote taking a baby wild sheep. I took many pictures with my instamatic camera but few of them have survived the years!

Even though it took three days to return home, I remember nothing about my return trip but I made it home safe and sound and with a love of the open road permanently in my blood. And with many, new things learned about motorcycle touring in my head. I had made many, many mistakes in a short time! Importantly, I now had a pretty good idea what kind of motorcycle I wanted for my next trip, the CX500 had to go. I began my search for my new Sport Tourer. And it wasn't long before Honda had my answer. Every motorcycle mag had positive if not glowing articles on the New V45 Sabre. I had to have one and soon I did. It was love at first ride so there was no hesitation when I read Dana Saywer's ad in the back of one of my motorcycle mags. My check was in the mail and soon I would HSTA member # 67.

Note: the best way to avoid my more of my wretched prose in future issues is to send in something of your own! Have a story you would like to share? Or a product review? Or an opinion about something motorcycle related? Or artwork/photograph? Send it and we will publish it!

Saturday March 1
MEET for lunch at 1130 am at The PigOut Inn, Natchez, MS
From Baton Rouge area: meet at McDonalds, St. Francisville, RIDE at 9:30


Be sure to visit the EVENTS page at www.ridehsta.com for any updates)


April 6 - 9
STAR 2008
Y.O. Ranch Resort
Kerrville, TX
Jim Buckerfield, Jim Poulos
Harry Hemstreet (970) 667-0460

May 9 - 11

Queen Wilhelmina Lodge
Mena, AR

(800) 264-2477
Becky Wing (479) 824-3413

May 16 - 18
The Round Barn Lodge
Spring Green, WI
(608) 588-2568
Ray Kang (612) 387-6501

May 23 - 26
Alleghany Inn
(888) 372- 2501
Sparta, NC
Galen Diehl (276) 647-3162

June 20 - 22
River City Ride
Comfort Inn
Carrollton, KY

(502) 732-6661
Gary Dehner (859) 223-9117
Don "Moose" Parish (317) 936-5818

July 31 - August 3
Nolichucky Valley Rally
Holiday Inn Express
Erwin, TN
(800) 304-7958
Rick Giddish (423) 245-5558

That's all for now.
Keep riding & smiling

Bob Chappuis, Editor bob@lahsta.com