|July & August 2008||Louisiana HSTA Newsletter||P.1|
by Tim Smith, State DirectorIt was exciting to see excerpts from our newsletter in the StarReview, it is nice to be recognized. ( even with the errors). Also in the StarReview, was the ballot to vote on whether we change the name of our association. It is not an easy decision, and both sides of the question have merit. As with most issues that concern me, I have done quite a bit of thinking about this one. And because I have this forum, I will share some of my thoughts. It is apparent to all our members that our group is not limited Honda, nor is it supported or sponsored by Honda. We have and continue to assert a good deal of effort explaining and "playing down" any Honda-only image. This is why so many are anxious to change the name to a more accurate descriptive moniker.
|The good and meaningful arguments for keeping the name, or at least the letters "HSTA", come from a desire to keep and maintain our heritage, our history, and practical reasons like the expense of changing all the logos and obtaining all new literature and products. I think I understand both sides.
Since 1982, I have owned and ridden 12 Motorcycles, ALL were Hondas, and 6 of them have been V-4 Hondas. ( 5 interceptors, and one Sabre) My personal heritage and history with Hondas is obvious, I love them.
I think our group is at a crucial point in time at which we need to decide what our future will be. I do not think we will lose our heritage if we choose to change the name, but hanging on to the name means one important thing. It means we are happy with the way things are. That we really are not interested in growing the association or attracting new and younger riders. Happily keeping our group one of the best kept secrets in motorcycling, and watching our few numbers get smaller every year.
Changing the name gives us the opportunity to:
Better describe who we are.
Not have to explain that we don't all ride Hondas - (and you are wanted and welcome)
Begin a new and exciting PR campaign with the NEW name.
Actively reach out to riders of all brands, and share the most fun riding experiences any of them have ever had.
A new name is no guarantee that the association will prosper, but I am afraid we know where we are headed without it.
|Just a couple of solo trip reports this issue Not much in the way of club ride reports for July or August. Only a fool would ride in 106+ heat index weather, right?|
For the second year in a row, it seems, I have decided to take a motorcycle trip during the hottest week of the year. But, the last few weeks at work had been crazy and I was ready to look at something different. So, when I found out I could have a three-day weekend, I started looking for places to go. Branson, MO is about 400 miles from home and I enjoyed a visit there several years ago. There are lots of things to do when you get there and there are some seriously good motorcycle roads between West Monroe and Branson. So, having a little knowledge about how to deal with the heat I set off to Branson on Friday morning, August 1.
I recently gave a talk on hot weather riding at my BMW club meeting in Shreveport. The first thing I said do was, "to start early." And this is what I did. I was headed to Arkansas by 5:15 am. I headed up LA 15 (a very familiar road) to Farmerville where I would continue north until I met LA 558 which becomes Highway 7 at the Arkansas line. Once I got to El Dorado I headed north on US 167 until I got to the home of Bear Bryant, Fordyce. I had looked at the map the night before and found a road (Arkansas 229) that I had never ridden before. I thought I would give it a try. So, once I found it, I headed northwest with the idea of taking 229 to Benton where I would pick up AR 5 which would take me west to AR 9 where I would turn north again. Well, things didn't exactly work out that way! I made a zig when I should have zagged (another argument for GPS?) in Leola, Arkansas and ended up going west on 46 which did take me to 9 - not a real problem. I headed north on 9 (nice road I had been on before) to Malvern where I picked up US 67 going north towards Benton.
I don't know what it is about Benton but I get turned around every time I get close! It happened again. I thought I was on a little road headed towards Congo, AR (and maybe I was, but I ended up making some kind of big circle.) I finally got off the bike and asked directions from a local who was able to get me headed in the right direction. Before you know it, I was on Highway 5 and turned northwest on a very tight and twisty AR 298. This is 14 miles of tight and twisty (like I said) and stops when it intersects AR 9 four miles below Paron, Arkansas. Well, at least I was headed north again and I had originally planned on riding north on 9 anyway (though there is no telling how much time I had wasted riding around in circles!)
Highway 9 is a well traveled road that has some interesting scenery along with more than a few sweepers that keep a motorcyclist interested. I stayed on 9 till I intersected US 65 a few miles south of Clinton. I could have opted for a little more challenging route than 65 but by this time the sun had climbed very well into the sky and I was riding in mid to upper 90s. I was feeling the heat so thought it would be a good idea to head straight for Branson and the relief of an air conditioned room (and besides I had tickets for a 5:30 show!) I had eaten a pretty large breakfast in Fordyce (another thing I have learned not too long ago is that if I ride a few hours then stop and eat a fairly large breakfast I am pretty good till supper and have no need to stop for lunch.) I wasn't hungry but did stop and drink some water on several occasions. I found last year that when it is hot I can stop and soak my t-shirt in water then put my perforated summer jacket back on and the air coming through provides a nice cooling effect for about an hour. After an hour (depending upon the heat, of course) it is time to start over again. I started doing this about 11:30 in the morning and pulled into Branson about 2pm. I had gone 415 miles and I was ready to get out of the sun and into a cooler spot. Cleaning up always gives me a second wind so I was ready to eat and go to my show later that afternoon.
On Saturday, I rode the Beemer only to get to breakfast and to the shows I had selected. I had purchased tickets via the internet prior to departure and found this to be a mistake. Because of the high price of gasoline here lately, the number of folks driving into Branson has lessened. This has made places to stay and show tickets more affordable for poor motorcyclists like us. A very decent room can be found for $35.00 and show tickets can be purchased by the savvy consumer for as little as $20.00 for some of the more popular shows. Well, another lesson learned. I found a great breakfast buffet for $4.99 and gasoline was less expensive than here in Louisiana. I generally paid less than $4.00 per gallon for premium which is what my Austrian motorcycle requires, of course. I went to five shows in the day and a half I was there and felt I had not gotten into the wallet too badly. Traffic on the main drag is problematic but folks are courteous and will let you in. I found out Saturday evening there are ways to avoid all the traffic if one will just do a little research beforehand. I was able to take a back road to my 8pm show and got there in about 5 minutes as opposed to the 30 or more it probably would have taken staying on Branson's main thoroughfare.
For all you gray hairs out there I did see Bill Medley (one of the original Righteous Brothers) and Paul Revere and the Raiders. Dick Clark's American Bandstand Theater and Café was right next door to my motel and there is a very interesting display of 1957 automobiles (1957 was the first year of American Bandstand for all you kids out there!) Branson is very much a family oriented vacation spot and there are lots of grandparents and grandchildren everywhere. Still, I do enjoy some theatrical things from time to time and saw everything from pig races to Broadway music and dance numbers. Sunday morning I was on the road at 5:45 am and the sun was up by 6. I took 65 south to Harrison and then got on one of my favorite pieces of pavement, Arkansas 7. I think most of us are familiar with this road but it doesn't get old. I encountered very little traffic and the morning was still cool making the ride and vistas very enjoyable. From Harrison to Hot Springs Village is a great motorcycle ride! No wind, no traffic, and no law enforcement were evident for the first 200 miles of my trip home. After a good breakfast I stayed on 7 till it intersects 5 and turned east towards I-30. There is a nice little road (128) that is an interesting 10 miles to Highway 70. I stayed on 70 till I turned southwest on the interstate with the plan being to pick up the part of 229 that I had missed on the trip north. Well, I missed it - zigged when I should have zagged again and ended up going south on I-30 till Highway 270. 270 did take me east where I did find 229 and turned south hopefully towards Fordyce and Highway 167. I made no more zigging errors and found Fordyce with no problems. 229 is a road to place in the memory bank. The traffic is sparse and while some of the road conditions are not great, they are not bad either. There are a few little towns along the path, but they don't really hold you up and there is gasoline available in some of them (and by this time it was time to drink and soak the t-shirt again!) I got home at 2pm with no problems and decided it was time to start thinking about some new tires. I did turn 50,000 miles on the BMW on the way home and plan on getting another 50K in less than the five years it took to get the first 50K. The weather was hot, but I dealt with it by starting early and hydrating in a timely manner. (For those that have them, camelbacks might be ideal for this scenario.) It was great to look at something different, I found a new route north, and Highway 7 is as good a ride now as the first time I rode it.
You may recall this picture from the August 2007 issue. Future MotoGP Champion Gabrielle Chappuis was born on July 19 of that year. The delivery room was in Wichita, KS 760 miles away. My VFR was comfy for only about 600 mile days; was 90,000 miles old and having electrical problems and gasoline was a lot cheaper. So I travelled to Wichita via the Gas Guzzler Express.
Now in addition to being a proud Paw Paw I am the proud owner of a Transcontinental Supersport Tourer, the all new Kawasaki Concours 14! Absolutely no excuse not to ride to Wichita. Except for the heat. Some of the hottest riding I've ever done was in Kansas, on the way to Avon, CO for STAR 2000. I wanted real bad to be there for Gab's 1st birthday but I wan't going to spend 350.00 in gas to get there and back. And night riding is my weak suit, I have poor night vison and it just makes me nervous. So as the Globally Warmed June sizzled on into a Hotter July I checked the daily temperatures along my route and pondered whether I could handle the heat.When the birthday party invitation arrived in the mail my resolve stiffened. I knew it was only a courtesy invite, no-one really expected me to make the party from this far away. That's probably what finally convinced me to "just do it".
I carefully considered my route options. As much as I hate Interstate riding, with nearly 800 miles to cover in one day I knew I had to include some to avoid too many hours in the saddle or riding in deer country after dark. I ended up with a mostly secondary road route to Fort Smith, AR via Natchez, MS, Farmerville, LA, Arkadelphia and Mt. Ida AR then to Tulsa via I-40 and the the Muskogee Turnpike. Then more secondary roads through OK and KS and finally US 400 to Wichita.
I left St. Francisville at 5:00 am, riding slowly on US 61 in the cool dark, wary of deer. At daylight I picked up the pace to about 77 and made good time until I got to Arkadelphia on AR 7. The northbound lane was closed for construction and they had not bothered with detour signs. As I left my route the GPS started recalculating what I assumed was a detour around the construction. But I had failed to plug in the necessary waypoints that every savvy Garmin user knows must be imbedded in a route to defeat Garmin's perverse (for bikers) routing logic. After about 10 miles I realized I was on my way to Little Rock. So I tried a "shortest route" recalc and that looked very promising but that was only wishfull thinking. After about 10 miles north on a great rollercoaster back road the GPS wanted me to turn onto a county road that I would not even attempt on my KLR. So I had to backtrack to Arkadelphia and from there I asked the GPS to show me the way to Mt. Ida in order to get back on my route. So 40 miles and nearly an hour wasted before I was back on track!
US 270 is lots of fun but by now it was very hot. I stopped to re-hydrate and check my route and then continued on to Fort Smith. I did some baking in the heat at several stop lights in FS and was glad to get onto I-40 where I could maintain steady forward progress! The Muscogee Turnpike was practically deserted and I made up some lost time, I think the speed limit was 75. But some of the time gained by high speed was lost at each of three toll plazas as I did not have exact change and had to wait in line. It was fairly painless getting through Tulsa and on the other side I took OK 11 as suggested by Tony instead of US 75. A bit twisty, little traffic and some interesting scenery. At Pawhuska I continued northward on OK 99. In Sedan, KS I bought the cheapest gas I have seen in several months. The Motel 6 was on US 400 on the east side of town and was a welcome sight as I rolled into Wichita at 7:10 pm. The GPS odometer said 803 miles. I had stopped only for gas plus once to rehydrate.Saddle time 12 hours 42 minute; total ET 14:39. I wasn't really sore and not all that tired. The only real problem had been the heat. My onboard thermometer actually registered a high of 110 F. I won't claim that was accurate as after extended riding I think the Concours 14 monocoque frame gets "heat soaked". But I saw many 102s and 103s at bank signs along the way and I am confident the riding environment was in the 104/106 range for most of the afternoon. In decent weather a SaddleSore 1000 would be no problem on the C14!
I spent most of Saturday visiting with family and attending the birthday party that was held at a nice city park. Saturday evening I returned to the motel to plan a better return route and get some sleep before a 4:20 am departure. I knew the return trip would likely be even hotter unless I enountered rain. I would take advantage of the relative safety from deer offerred by the Kansas Turnpike and I-35 and then continue the mile eating pace on the Cimmaron and Indian Nation Turnpikes to Hugo, OK. From there it was 271 through Paris and Mt. Pleasant, TX and I intersected I-10 south of Marshall. Then I-49 at Shreveport to LA 177 near Evelyn, then 71 to Clarence where I hit 84 which took me to Natchez and my finaL LEG SOUTH ON 61. It was cooler riding through the woods than on I-49 and there was not much traffic and very few stoplights to contend with. The more open sections of 84 on the eastern side of the state were mighty hot and humid and I stopped to rehydrate and cool off a few times. I ate icecream sandwiches for lunch and an afternoon snack and lingered in the Air Conditioned stores a while.
The return trip was much better than the trip out and I was pleased with the route and have saved it for future trips to Wichita. It came to about 760 miles covered in about 13 hours. The Concours 14 is now a proven long distance transport as well as a fun and capable curve carver.
Here is a history in pictures submitted by our fearless leader featuring bikes and riders from many years (and pounds) ago.
|8/30/08 @ 11:00AM Welcome Center - Natchez 640 South Canal Street – Box D Natchez, Mississippi 39120|
This is a combined HSTA and LA Concours 14 riders event. Originally proposed on the C14 forum as a Louisiana C14 get together, it has expanded to possibly include riders from as far as Houston and Alabama and who knows where else? and non-Concours riders as well. Lunch at the Pig Out Inn in Natchez. Riders from the southeast will meet at McDonalds in St. Francisville. More details will be posted at www.lahsta.com and via email.
That's all for now. Keep riding and smiling....
Bob Chappuis, Editor [email: bob@this here domain]