|May 2007||Louisiana HSTA Newsletter||Page 1|
A lot of news and activity to report. Our state membership is small but very active! Two members (Kevin Yeats & Bill Ellis)
each completed their first track day and two (Kevin & new member Dennis Hedrick) went down hard suffering injuries requiring hospitalizations, both are fine now.
Four members, myself, Tony Crowell and Bill and Sherri Ellis attended the 4th Annual Natchez Trace Picnic Ride and Drew Newcomer and new member John Thoms both made rides to the Texas Hill Country.
Details on all of the above below PLUS reports on Barber, Cherohala MC Resort and the HSTA North Georgia Classic of last month.
LUNCH RIDE SATURDAY MAY 19
Fourth Annual Natchez Trace Picnic Ride
The weather turned out to be about as close to perfect as one could hope for. Why more folks did not show up is a mystery to me! (except of course for the above mentioned injured members and John Thoms who was exploring the Texas Hill Country on his FZ1) Four of us, Tony Crowell, Bill & Sherri Ellis and myself, met at the McDonalds on Highway 61 in St. Francisville and traveled some nice country roads to Natchez, MS where we gassed up and bought some fried chicken and drinks. Then on to Rocky Spring Picnic Area via the Natchez Trace Parkway. The trace was as beautiful as ever and there was virtually no traffic nor park rangers to interrupt our progress. We enjoyed a pleasant lunch at a picnic table under some shade trees at Rocky Springs before exploring some more Mississippi back roads on the way home. About 350 delightful miles!
Tony Crowell, Drew Newcomer, Bill Ellis and I try not to miss the annual AMA races at beautiful Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, AL. We made the inaugural event in 03, were back in 04, missed in 05 (I did at least) but were back for 06 and 07. We stay at a motel in the Cahaba Heights area and know a "secret" 20 mile twisty, back road route to the track that avoids the traffic jam of the Interstate route used by most of the 75 or 100 thousand weekend visitors. This year we talked Kevin Yeats into joining us and he and Tony met me at 8:00 am Friday morning at the Exxon in Kentwood for the start of the adventure. From there we took MS & AL back roads up to I-20 near Homewood, AL. We made good time in great weather, stopping in Meridian for lunch at Applebees. One more gas stop and we were soon in Birmingham, checking into our rooms at the LaQuinta.
Tuesday morning I set out alone after seeing Tino off for home. My route was North out of Tellico Plains on TN 360 to Vonore then East on US 411 and South on TN 74 to the Tail of the Dragon. I took a wrong turn on the way to Vonore due to an absence of highway signs and the usual Garmin map error and had to pull off to get my bearings. I too hurriedly flipped up my flip-up chin bar and broke the pivot mechanism! I could either close my visor or my chin bar but not both! This would prove later that day to be a non-issue however.
I had a great time on the Dragon, I saw only a handful of bikes and little other traffic. I was never overtaken but passed a dozen or so Harleys and Wings and a trio of young You-yu on Suzukis. (Educational Bonus: You-yu is Chinese for "SQUID" according to the fortune cookie I ate at lunch today.) Two Gixxer 600s were being led at a snails pace by a Katana! I followed for a few turns and then continued on my way. At Robbinsville I entered the Skyway to head back to camp. The first couple miles were dry but as the elevation rose it began to rain steadily and above 3000 feet it was like riding in a rain cloud, visibility was no better than 50 feet, at times less. I slowed to a crawl. It was impossible to see through my face shield so up it went, the rain stung my cheeks for a bout 15 miles. It was nearly too scary to go on but I figured it would be just as dangerous to stop. I was at least able to maintain enough pace that nothing was catching up. Or maybe I was the only fool crazy enough to ride in those conditions! Needless to say, I have no photos of this leg of the ride!
Once I got back down below 3000 feet all was good! No rain or fog. I stopped for a pulled pork samich at Cherohala Crossing and also bought a rib plate to take back to camp for supper. Very good Bar-B-Que! As I paid my bill, the owner of the Crossing told me about a nice waterfall a few miles from the restaurant so I backtracked a bit before returning to camp to check it out. I was not disappointed!
I was really happy to ride the Cherohala Skyway under good conditions after such misery on Tuesday. From Robbinsville I contuned on NC 143 and 28 past the towns of Cheoah and Stecoah, passing by the Kickstand MC Campground. It looked like a pretty nice place to camp but my destination was the Blue Ridge Motorcycle Campground at Cruso, NC, a couple hundred miles ahead on the Blue Ridge Parkway. This was the site of one of the 5th STARS and the 3rd that I attended and I wanted to re-visit. I would not make it there, however. Thunderstorms and rain were predicted for the whole area on Thursday and I was concerned about getting safely from Cruso to Helen Georgia via mountain roads in bad weather. I got of track due to another GPS error and stopped to get my bearings. My cell phone had a voice message from my old friend Chuck Headrick, FL HSTA member. He and his wife Frances were camped at Unicoi State park in Helen in their newtravel trailer and I decided to make track for Unicoi. I turned South onto 23 at Dillsboro, riding through Dillard, GA home of SE-STAR and to Clayton, GA then 197 and 356 (great roads) to Helen.
Unicoi SP is actually right next to Helen and it is a nice park. I found Chuck & Francis' camp site but they were not home so I found a really nice tent site nearby and set up camp. A little brook ( it was actaully named "Little Brook") burbled right along the edge of my site. It proved to be great for lulling me to a peacefull sleep for the next two nights.
I strolled down the road to Chuck & Frances' site and they were back from wherever. It was great to see them both and we relaxed in there super nice travel trailer and caught up with old times. They had some steaks to grill that night so I rode into town and bought some beer and brats. Make a note" " Betty's in Heln has GREAT Brats!" Betty's also has a great selection of imported and microbrew beer.
I had broken camp and packed up prior to the days ride so on our return to Helen we went straight to the Motel 6, event motel for the North Georgia Classic, admirably hosted by Georgia State Rep Eric Lawson (VFR owner)and some able helpers. We registered and I unpacked and secured a beer supply and commenced some tire kicking and comradery with several old friend and some new. President Brick, Editor-in-Chief Tosh Konya, VP Trey Hall, FL SD Sam Ulbing, KS SD Will England, Ken & JoAnna Murray, Owners/Instructors of Atlanta Motorcycle Schools and many others. Friday night was a free burger and brat cookout and was great fun. The Motel 6 was a great spot for an event, up on a hill overlooking some of the town, with several restaurants and a liquor store and other reailers within walking distance (and ONLY great roads in every direction!)
Saturday Chuck and I again road together, re-riding soome of the better roads from Thursdays wet ride in the dry and and in the opposite direction and adding 64 up to Franklin and Hayesville, a stop for lunch at the marina in Hiawassee then 69 and 17 back to town.
Saturday night we ate at a Mexican Restaurant across the street and returned to the motel parking lot for awards and prizes at 8:00. Some great stuff was gievn away and just about everybody got something. I turned in early since I had a long trip home. I left Sunday morning at about 7:00 am Eastern in good weather,75 and 129 to Gainseville, GA, then 400 some odd Interstate miles to Pachuta, MS. From there it was MS back roads, 18 to Raleigh, 540 to Mendenhall, 43 to Silver Creek and finally 27, 438, 38 and 10 to home. About 630 miles in about 11 hours. My total trip mileage was just over 2000 miles. What a great trip!
Why I ride…
by Tim Smith
...or musings from a V-TEC virgin.
Five HSTA members participated in the Tiger Track Day at No Problem Raceway on Sunday, May 6. Kevin Yeats rode his first track day on Tony Crowell's Yamaha FZ1; new member Dennis Headrick was riding his third track day on his Honda 919; TTD regulars, Tony Crowel and Bob Chappuis and Ryan Babin were there as well. There was a big turnout with several new riders in attendance. For some reason or another the day was marred by several crashes. Unfortunately Kevin and Dennis were included in that number, going down hard and requiring medical attention. Kevin crashed in session 4 if I recall, the first session after the lunch brake. He failed to negotiate turn 1, the fastest turn of the track and went down. He receieved attention from the EMS at the track and an ambulance ride back to the HSTA pits. He was in considerable pain and had an obviously badly fractured collarbone. Final diagnoses after X-Rays would add three broken ribs.
Tiger Track Days management efficiently retrieved and deliverd the damage FZ1 to us and helped Tony and I load it into Kevin's truck. We packed up the rest of his stuff and while Jenny Crowell drove Kevin to the hospital we drove to Tony's house. It would not be until Monday or Tuesday that we would learn that Dennis crashed exiting turn 6 during the next session! He received road rash and a cut on his arm that would require stitches. However, staff at the track observed some episodes of loss of conciousness following the crash and fearing head trauma it was decided to life-flight him to a Baton Rouge Hospital. Evaluation at the hospital however indicated no head or brain injury.
And last but not least our Bill Ellis also participated in his first track day on Monday, May 21.
|* * * * * * * *
June 24 - 27 STAR 2007
Crowne Plaza Resort Asheville, NC
(800) 733-3211 Harry & Beth Hemstreet (970) 667-0460
* * * * * * * *
|August 3 - 5
Nolichucky Valley Rally|
Holiday Inn Express Erwin, TN
Rick Giddish (423) 245-5558
|August 24 - 26
Mail Pouch Fly-By
Best Value Inn
506 Pike Street Marietta, Ohio
(800) 526 5947 Jon Campbell (513) 932-3341
Mark your calendars and look for details soon in your in-box and on our website.
| June 10 Tiger Track Day
TIGER TRACK DAYS
NO PROBLEM RACEWAY
Belle Rose, LA
|LUNCH RIDE FOR JUNE
Tuesday June 26 Wheels Through Time "The Museum that Runs"
Maggie Valley, NC
Free entry every day with your STAR wristband
Lunch served: 11:00AM~1:00PM
That's all for now. Heep riding and smiling....
Bob Chappuis, State Co-Director and Editor email@example.com