|November 2011||Louisiana MSTA Newsletter||Page 1|
Cajun Christmas 2011 is just around the corner. Preparations are well under way and we again have riders coming in from as far away as California. Riders from Indiana, Missouri, Georgia, Oklahoma and Kansas are also registered and the host members will again be far outnumbered. The long range weather is looking to be sunny and cool, perfect for a Christmas party! There are still several cabins available at Jimmie Davis State Park so it is not too late to join in the fun. See detailed info at the end of this newsletter.
The riding weather has been mostly fabulous and we have a couple of ride reports in this issue. Drew Newcomer submitted a report on his solo trip to the Midwest and Paul Lefort has a report on the Hill Country Ride, which he attended along with Dennis Hedrick and Eric Babcock. Thanks guys!
I made a nice trip the last weekend of October, 1600 miles round tript o Wichita, KS to visit family. No formal lunch ride this month as most members were busy with familiy activities but you can be sure I am taking advantage of this great weather and racking up plenty of local miles. Hope you are doing the same.
|NEW MEMBER WELCOME
We welcome William "Bill" Amsden of Pollock, LA.
Bill rides a Honda ST1300.
Hoping not to repeat my ill-fated spring trip in which I was almost blown away (literally, where I was almost blown off the road!) I headed east via I-20 on October 7 heading to Birmingham and Barber Motorsports Park. The ride to Alabama was uneventful and I checked into my La Quinta room after six hours in the saddle.
Saturday morning dawned without a cloud in the sky and a visit to the museum at Barber never disappoints. While much of the display remains constant, there are always new and different things from the last time visited and it is easy to spend the better part of a day perusing the hundreds of motorcycles on display.
After several hours in the museum it was time to visit the vendors and watch some of the races that were part of the 7th Annual Vintage Motorcycle Classic taking place on arguably America's best racetrack. It was entertaining to watch motorcycles that are nearly 100 years old circle the track. Some of the races in the larger displacement divisions were quite competitive and it was a treat to watch former champion Kevin Schwantz race (he came in second.) The afternoon in the low 80s was quite tolerable in the shade and the requisite number of t-shirts and postcards were purchased before leaving the track.
Sunday morning's weather was similar to Saturday's and I headed north up I-65 to Kentucky to see an old flame. Now, I generally hate riding on the interstate but there was little choice on this day and I was able to navigate through Nashville without difficulty. I have learned that if you do have to ride on the interstates in a major city, Sunday is the best day which to do it. I arrived in Bowling Green, Kentucky in the early afternoon. I was able to have a nice visit in Bowling Green (and yes, that old familiar pain was still there!) and was headed toward northwest Indiana on Monday, October 10.
The William Natcher Parkway took me to Owensboro, Kentucky where I crossed the Ohio River and found US 231 which runs almost due north. I rode north to Bloomfield, Indiana where I turned northeast on IN 157 until I intersected IN 59 and turned north to Brazil, Indiana and continued until I turned west on IN 36 and rode into my destination of Rockville, Indiana, in Parke County. There are more covered bridges in Parke County than any other county in the US. Some of these bridges are quite old and have a good bit of history attached to them. More than a million visitors attend the Parke County Covered Bridge Festival every year, I was told. I was in Rockville the weekend before the festival so I was able to find a room with no problem. I had enjoyed the color change on today's short ride of 260 miles.
Having never really been to Illinois, on Tuesday morning I headed south on US 41 for about 25 miles then turned west on 163 into the farmland. I turned south on Ill 1 following closely to the Indiana border until I turned west on 14 at Carmi and rode through the corn and soybean fields to Benton where I turned south on Ill 37 to Marion. In Marion, it was time to head further west and Ill 13 took me through Carbondale and on to Murphysboro where I turned south on 127 through the Shawnee National Forest. This was the highlight of this day's ride. There was little traffic and the soybean and corn fields gave way to rolling hills and pines mixed with hardwoods. Near Anna, Illinois I turned southwest on 146 which took me to my destination of Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
The original plan was to head further west on Wednesday, October 12, but weather was not cooperative, so after visiting the local Beemer shop (Grassroots BMW in downtown Cape Girardeau) I headed south on US 61 headed towards Memphis. I rode on old 61 as long as I could until finally it gave way to I-55. Clouds were gathering as I approached Memphis, but I was able to find the Horseshoe Casino near Tunica, Mississippi before rain arrived later that evening. The best room of the trip was in the casino and aside from the purchase of a few postcards and the buffet; I lost no money at the slots or tables!
The predicted rain passed by during the night and was gone by morning. I completed my trip home on the Old River Road, Highway 1 to Greenville, where I crossed the Mississippi River into Arkansas. I found US 165 about 12 miles west of Eudora, Arkansas and this old familiar road brought me back home. I had a nice trip of 1661 miles and while more roads were straight than twisty I did ride through a part of the country I had never been to before. And, that is always an enjoyable experience. The Gerbing's that were packed, stayed packed for the entire trip. The only rain I had to deal with came at night when I was comfortably in my room. What a nice trip. I will put new tires on the bike and be ready to hit the road again - SOON!!
The last event on the MSTA calendar turned out to be a great time for all with absolutely beautiful weather and great road conditions. I was itching to make a second trip on my Tiger 800XC after a great ride to the Buddies of Bruce event at the end of September in Cape Girardeau Missouri. That ride on some fantastic roads had me wanting more after the little Tiger proved to be more than capable in the twisties.
With a cool front approaching and work slowing at the end of the month, I decided to leave on Thursday afternoon to get some miles down. The trip along I-10 to Winnie Texas was, well, the usual heavy traffic boring ride. The front came through overnight while I slept leaving little evidence in the morning, which was perfect timing in my opinion. It was chilly the next morning at 55, not all that bad but the winds of 15 to 25 out of the north were a chore. I had planned to get part of the way to Kerrville on I-10 before wandering off north of San Antonio to explore new scenery. Turning north in Sequin on Hwy 46, I went on to New Braunfels where I turned onto River Road along the beautiful Guadalupe River. This road twisted and turned following the picturesque river lined with vacation homes, parks and tube rental businesses. This led me to Hwy 2673, 3159, 311, Spring Branch Rd, Pittman Rd and then to 473 W. Pittman Rd was somewhat entertaining with nice sweepers and elevation changes. Hwy 473 led me to Comfort and I-10 where I picked up 1341 to Kerrville. If you have never been on 1341 it is an amazing little road that is a must for your list.
In Kerrville Friday evening I met fellow Louisiana MSTA members Eric Babcock and Dennis Hedrick at the Y O Ranch and Resort Hotel, who had made the trip in one day braving the rainy cold front passing through the New Orleans area during their departure. We also met up with the Louisiana Chapter's only honorary member Jimmy Girton from Kansas. Friday evening we enjoyed a great prime rib buffet at the host hotel before an early bedtime for some rest after our long day.
Saturday morning greeted us with temps in the upper 40's and blue skies. The wind had dissipated and it promised to be a great day of weather for riding. We met at 8:30 and headed to Destination Cycles of Kerrville just around the corner from the hotel where they were hosting a free breakfast taco and coffee event. It looked like just about all the riders stopped by, as the parking lot was full of bikes and the food was going fast. The "tacos" weren't too bad either. Dennis purchased some glove liners to help with the chilly temps as Eric browsed and I ate. I think we were taking our time hoping the sun would warm things up outside. We decided to do the Three Sisters or Twisted Sisters loop, which is the best ride in hill country with the most concentration of curves. Leaving Kerrville on Hwy 16, we headed south on this twisty road to Hwy 337 and west towards Leakey. In Leakey we stopped to warm up at the very cool Frio Canyon Motorcycle Shop and get a cup of coffee in the Bent Rim Grill inside. It has a well-stocked riding gear and novelty shop with walls of posters, parts and memorabilia. There were a mix of Harleys and sport bikes seeming to coexist for the moment. After our coffee, we left westbound on twisty 337 to Campwood, where we picked up my second favorite road of the day 335. Then on to boring 41 east before turning south on my favorite road of the day Hwy 336; a twisty rollercoaster of a ride with incredible western scenery along the Rio Frio River. It doesn't get much better.
After fueling up in Leakey we rode back east along 337 to Hwy 187 north and our lunch destination the Lone Star Motorcycle Museum. The Ace Café had great burgers and beautiful antique bikes to view. This was a fantastic collection of mostly British iron that could keep you entertained for hours. From there it was back north on 187 to 39 that twist along the Guadalupe River and more fun. Once back in Kerrville, I decided to stop by Wally World to pick up some hand warmers for my ride home Sunday morning anticipating departure temps close to 50 again. Jimmy graciously accompanied me to stay out in the parking lot to watch my bike and gear. Thanks Jimmy. The banquet was well done and the BBQ was delicious. Most of us commented on how well this event was put together and organized as compared to others attended. There were plenty of door prizes to go around including some very useful waterproof writing tablets. ? I actually won a book, "Motorcycle Camping Made Easy" by Bob Woofter. But I already know how to make camping easy; it's called Super 8! Don't worry; I get plenty of camping with my two sons in Boy Scouts.
Dennis, Eric and I made the trip home together from Kerrville leaving Sunday morning at 7 am, heading east on I-10 in the beautiful and cool weather. It was still almost totally dark when we left with just enough light to silhouette the hills and highlight the blinking red lights of distant towers. It was one of those moments that make a trip so memorable. We kept a nice steady pace with minimal stops hoping not to waste much time with 600 miles to get home. All in all it was a great trip that is sure to be on the list for next year.
Paul W. Lefort Jr.
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That's all for now.
Hope you have a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving holiday
Bob Chappuis, State Director and Editor