|May 2011||Louisiana MSTA Newsletter||Bob Chappuis, Editor|
2011 Blue Books are out, hopefully you have received yours. The Louisiana page shows we now have only 16 published members (I believe we have 2 more who have elected not to be included in the Blue Book for privacy reasons (Witness Protection Program and Ex Wife troubles)JK. Yes, our numbers have dwindled somewhat but those who remain are dedicated Sport Tourers. It is becoming hard to schedule a lunch ride these days because on any given weekend it seems half of our members are out on a three day road trip! We have three ride reports for the month, but April got by me without a lunch ride getting scheduled, so no RTE report.
Personally, I have been riding a lot but not with the club. Much of it to visit my mom & dad at their assisted living facility in Mandeville, a 100+ mile one way trip. I try to take a different route every time. There are a zillion roads between here and there! Paul Lefort and I did get to the T-23 Rally in Mena, AR and had a great time but that report will wait til next month.
Soon it will be time to pack for STAR 2011. As always, Louisiana will be well represented at this premier MSTA event. I can't post the numbers as the registered list is no longer published (yes, due to privacy issues) but I know of at least 10. Nationally there are over 400 registered, and it's not to late to add your name to the list. See ya there!
by Drew T. Newcomer
Spring has officially arrived in the South and it was time to get the new K bike on the road. With a newly installed Corbin, I was anxious to put some seat time - literally and figuratively - on the bike. After a very long workday on March 24, I headed west on I-20 headed to Texas on Friday morning. Weather was sunny and the temperature was nearly perfect. I rode west towards Canton, Texas, home of one of the largest flea market/swap shows in the tri-state area.
Wanting to circumvent the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, I turned south on Texas 198 to Phalba and on to Mabank City. It was here that I got lost (and therefore, kept with a long held tradition of getting "turned around" at least once on every trip.) I missed my 334 exit but quickly was back on track with the help of a local that headed me in the right (westerly) direction to Texas 85. From Gun Barrel City to Ennis, Texas 85 wandered through the countryside with bluebonnets lining the way.
I joined the main highway 287 in Ennis and headed northwest through Midlothian and onto Mansfield, Texas. Just north of Mansfield, FM 1187 took me west to I-35W where I turned south for a few miles and my destination of Burleson, Texas and the Best Western.
I didn't get up early on Saturday (probably having something to do with the very large margarita I'd had the night before!) but I did eventually find 1187 west to US 377 and south into Cresson, Texas. It was a little breezy but there was not a cloud in the sky. The Lone Star Classic is sponsored by one of the local Texas Norton Clubs and this was the first year that an AHRMA (American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association) was ever held in Texas. The Motorsports Ranch in Cresson, Texas hosted this year's racing/Vintage Bike Show. The track is approximately 27 miles southwest of downtown Ft. Worth. The track seemed to be in good shape and offered plenty of challenges to the racers present. There was no one good spot to view the races so I tried several different spots before finding one I liked best.
additional comments by Dave in italics
Thursday April 21
Me and the Algiers boys, Dennis Hedrick and Dave Dickson met up at a Shell station off of Bullard Ave. in New Orleans East. Dennis was hesitant to meet at 6:30am in N.O. East. . . something about the possibility of bullets flying. I told him the only thing he was going to see flying was my ST1300 pass his BMW RT1300, hah, I wish! Anyway, we departed N.O. east and slabbed it to Mobile and I-65. We exited the I-65 slab at Evergreen Alabama, exit 93, and took back roads to Opelika.
Normally, Dennis has had his second breakfast at this point. We didn't even have the first one yet. I actually heard Dennis' stomach growling. We added about 90 minutes to the trip with a side road excursion. " The journey is the adventure", so it was welcome. We slowed for little towns and little town cops. I had stripped the accessories off my K1200RSport in an attempt to trade it in for a new 2011 blue BMW K1300S a few days earlier. That didn't work out as the new management at BMW of Baton Rouge work out its policies. As it turned out, on a dark note, that was a good thing for me. So, I was without my radar detector. But both Dennis and Kevin had theirs and just to be safe, we rode the speed limit.
Anyway, as I was saying, we were getting hungry. My Zumo found some out of business restaurants so we stopped at a gas station for water and junk food. Dennis fired up the store's microwave and quickly !! ate a Castle Burger. We inquired about an eatery and were told we had just passed the best place in Alabama to eat.
We stopped in Dozier, Al and had lunch at the Amazing Grace Café. I had fried chicken, smothered squash, mash tators, lima beans, corn bread and lemonade. Why did I eat so much with still so far to ride, cause it was deeeeelicious . At Opelika, it was slab I-85 to Atlanta. I followed Jill, my Zumo voice, into the heart of downtown, but now it was 4:30pm and traffic was bumper to bumper to bumper. Once in traffic, I bee lined it to the HOV lane. The HOV had saved me; otherwise, I think Dennis and Dave would have killed me for leading them this way. We probably only lost 20-25 minutes. While riding thru Atlanta, I saw one guy eating a hamburger, one guy texting, one woman putting on eye liner, one guy smoking a joint, and everyone else were on their cell phone.
I actually saw one person who was just driving. Or maybe he was dead. Creepy.
We arrived in Helen at 6:00pm eastern and checked into the Riverbend Motel. The sultry motel desk woman told us to eat anywhere except the "Troll". We walked a ˝ block into town and found closed restaurant after restaurant. So we wandered around and ended up next to a bridge and a roaring river. After we cleaned up, we walked the short distance to Main Street and ate supper at the Troll Tavern lounge. We sat outside next to the running water of the Chattahoochee River. The food was okay, but the German beer (Erdonger Weissbier Dark), ambiance, and company were great. A long day's ride, two large beers . . . .and I slept like a baby.
It had rained during the night and we woke up to wet roads. Dennis and I hoofed it into town to find that the coffee shop opened at 11:00 AM. So we walked back to the motel, saddled up and rode about one mile to eat.
Being in no hurry to ride wet roads, we had a big breakfast at Helen's Country Cafe. I had the western omelet, grits, bacon, and toast. Our ride started off by heading south a short distance on Highway 75 to Highway 129. Highway 129 north to 19, 19 southwest to highway 60. Highway 60 to Suches, Morgantown and Copperhill, TN. Highway 60 becomes 68 in Tn which we took to Tellico Plains. In Tellicio, we stopped at Nut N Fancy where I had peach cobbler with ice cream and Dave had apple cobbler. Our ride so for had been very good, all the roads were dry, light traffic, and the weather was perfect. Next up was my all time favorite road, Cherohala Skyway, 50 miles of sweeping curves. After Cherohala we headed to Deals Gap Store. Dave and I took a break and Dennis rode the Dragon.
Kevin graciously took a break to watch me to see if an ambulance would be necessary after all. In the middle of a 20 MPH turn, maybe I decided to lean over farther to see how much lean was left. I don't have knee pucks, but I think I was going to go until I heard the peg scrape. Or maybe it was an unseen rock or a handful of leaves, but something stole my traction and the rubber quit meeting the road. The lowside was SUDDEN and surprisingly violent. As I hit the pavement I felt a rib cage distorting blow and next as I separated from the bike I rotated violently from my left side to the front of my body. I was doing 40 MPH and not slowing down as fast as my bike. I put my hand out to stop the pending revolutions and instantly knew that I should have tucked my open hand into a fist, especially the thumb part. I briefly watched the pavement sliding by about one inch away from my eyes as it ground down my new helmet's face shield. I picked up my head and finished the slide into the grassy shoulder. I popped up and walked back to my still running bike and shut it off. The grass and dirt were keeping the clutch lever in. I was in six gear and nearly through riding the Cherohala and I was basically just riding leisurely. I wasn't accelerating hard. I wasn't riding beyond about 7 out of 10. I started to pick up the bike, but my ribs and thumb were aching and I didn't want to aggravate the injuries. A couple of cars passed and two Harley riders stopped. Then Kevin and the two Harley guys righted my bike. Someone must have called the Federal Park Rangers who showed up about two minutes later. They asked me several times about the ambulance and my general being. I downplayed the deal and inhaled deeply to see if the ribs were broken or just bruised. There was some pain, but not a 10. My thumb was in place. The bike started up and I rode toward the Deal's Gap motel/gas station/ diner. Dennis was waiting up for us about 3 miles up the road and said "Hey, where have you guys been"?
Dave and Dennis decided to spend the day with their wives hanging out in Helen and taking in the sights. Tony and I started the day off with breakfast at the Huddle House. With full stomachs, the two of us headed out of Helen on wet roads to Highway 19/129 and Blood Mountain. Once north of Blood Mountain the skies cleared and roads dried up. After Blood Mountain is was on to Tellico Plains and the Cherohala. In Tellico Plains we stopped at the Tellico Motorcycle Outfitters where Tony dropped some coin and bought a very nice Olympia jacket(see picture). The rest of the day was pretty normal, Cherohala, Deals Gap, Dragon, Highway 28 south to Franklin, US 23 south to Clayton, US 76 West to Macedonia, and Highway 17 south into Helen. Again we gathered as a group ate supper at the La Cabana Mexican Restaurante. It was Dennis' birthday and the Hedrick's consumed several pitchers of beer and Margarita's.
Helen, Georgia is like part of the Epcot Center at Disney World in Orlando. It is quaint and cute. The cool dry mountain air was terrific. Helen is basically a "main drag" town, but there are many interesting touristy things to do. Horseback riding, river rafting, hiking, fishing etc. The food was actually great everywhere we ate. We walked around the entire town, waded in the river, collected rocks, bought junk food and souvenirs. I tried not to show any pain as I didn't want to worry my wife. We ate delicious German food and drank German beer. I ate the most delicious Ruben Sandwich I have ever had. (And that is saying something because I have had them in New York City and in Miami Beach before it went Hispanic)!
I departed Helen at 4:10am central time solo. I decided just to take the quick and easy way home. Straight to Atlanta, I-85 to Montgomery , I-65 to Mobile and I-10 to New Orleans. I stopped twice on the way home, Montgomery and Biloxi. I arrived in my driveway at 1:10pm. 1705 total trip miles.
This area of North Ga, Western NC and SE Tn is just great for Sport Touring. It is only a day's ride from South Louisiana and offers great roads and tourist attractions.
Dennis and I rode to Montgomery and my wife and his family followed in the car. I had to fly out to the Middle East the next day so I left early Monday morning then fly 18 hours to Qatar. It has been a month now, I am back from Qatar and I ordered all new BMW parts, which totaled a surprising $149.16. The well-engineered frame sliders worked perfectly. I finally get to go the Doctor's on Thursday and I will find out what I will do about my injuries. My thumb is still swollen and blue, probably broken. My sternum and ribs are not attached on the left side anymore. To say that I was uncomfortable for the past month is a fair statement. I was wearing leather and carbon fiber gauntlet gloves. I was wearing thick tall leather steel toed boots. I was wearing leather pants. And I had on a Cortech mesh jacket that has leather elbows, shoulders, back and chest. The gloves did their job. The carbon fiber knuckles, wrist sections etc. were worn away in places that I didn't remember sliding on. One place on the boots was worn down to the steel toe. The pants were not damaged. The leather patches on the jacket were scuffed but not damaged much. Where the mesh hit the highway though, … it disappeared like cheap pantyhose. But I was un-scraped. No blood. No raspberries. I do wish that I would have had on a Bohn chest protector.
I do love this sport. I have to evaluate if I am sane enough to keep doing it though. I have some time…
Stacie and I are leaving Friday for STAR and will stop for the night about halfway and I am looking for a good spot along a non-Interstae route. Any suggestions?
from the national website