|Oct/Nov 2006||Louisiana HSTA Newsletter||Bob Chappuis, Editor|
|It has been a full but hectic fall riding season for the Louisiana HSTA! I have been busy attending HSTA events as well as repairing my crashed VFR but am finally finding time to get this overdue newsletter together.I am pleased to present the following fine articles contributed by two of our North Louisiana members. Thanks Tim and Drew!|
It is something we experience all the time and I have to admit that it is one of the really cool things about riding a motorcycle. Whether it is at a restaurant, a gas station, ball park, or church parking lot, almost everybody stops to watch us when we ride in. Yep, it is being the center of attention that gives me just a bit of a rush and makes me feel…well, proud. We motorcyclists are a bold bunch by nature, I guess, and it is fitting with our collective and individual personalities to relish the attention.
How many more times when on the bike, have you been drawn into conversations with complete strangers at a gas station? We attract curious people with questions or stories of themselves or others who also ride, or those who would like to ride. In fact the rarest event I see is no reaction at all. I just about always get acknowledgement, and it is almost always a positive experience. Although, I do occasionally have a bad interaction, with no apparent reason, I almost always evoke some visible emotion in those around me when I am on the motorcycle.
Maybe it is what we represent; freedom, adventure, rebellion, or maybe even danger. Maybe they would like to be us, or be LIKE us. Or it could be how we look. Sport riders adorned in leather and helmets could resemble warriors, or even super heroes, you have to admit…..that is pretty cool.
I am pretty sure that MotoGP riders inspired the appearance of the Power Rangers.
So are we Super? Are we better than our 4 wheeling counterparts? Maybe we are.
Maybe we are because we have to be, to exist. Oh, it doesn't make us better people because we ride a motorcycle, of course, but it sure makes us more interesting. And since we get all that attention, since people are watching us, we really need to be aware of how other people see us. Being a super hero comes with responsibility… how we ride, might make a big impression on someone who is watching.
So I will keep stuffing my swelled head tightly in my helmet, and wrapping my ego safely inside my leather. And I will revel in the dozens of smiling, waving kids on the school bus, the teenager hanging out of the car window to get a better look, and the circle of men in business suits, gathered around my bike in the parking lot. Sure, I love to ride, it is a thrill every day, but I still have to admit that it isn't ALL about the ride. I like the attention. Just one more reason….why I ride.
I was more than ready to get out-of-town when October 6 finally rolled around. So, up early to drive to Shreveport to catch a plane to Dallas, to catch a plane to Miami, to catch a plane to Madrid, and finally to catch a plane to Malaga, on the southern coast of Spain. Having traveled with Edelweiss before, I had been told the Andalusia tour was a good one so several months ago I decided to reward myself (for what, I don't know, but it stilled seemed like a good idea!) and return to Europe to ride.
The flights to Europe went without a hitch and I arrived on time to Malaga and was met by my German tour guides, Harald and Martin. We went to the base motel and I met my tour companions for the week, five Americans and two Germans. After a briefing on the morning of October 8, we all mounted our bikes (I chose a BMW GS 650 for this trip) and headed north into the "Montes de Malaga." The scenery was spectacular as we moved north with vistas of Malaga and the Mediterranean Sea behind us. Everything from wide sweepers to hairpin turns was part of the route to the city of Granada, where we spent the first night. Arriving in Granada a little before 5 pm, we toured the Alhambra, a building built by the Moors in the 1200s, and later used by Christians after taking it over in 1492.
The next morning we ride up into Sierra Nevada and enjoy the panorama of 14 peaks over 9000 feet high. Coming down out of the mountains we headed toward Antequera and enjoyed great roads and endless olive orchards. Ten percent of the world's olive oil is produced in this dry, arid region.
The third day the landscape changed as we rode west and pine forests replaced the ubiquitous olive orchards. We finished a great riding day in Arcos de la Frontera where we stayed literally at the highest point in town and enjoyed the view of the valley below.
On the fourth day, six of us decided to not ride and we took a train into the very old and very historic city of Seville. In Seville, we visited the Alcazar Cathedral and the Real Alcazar. This massive cathedral was begun in 1401 and was intended to make the largest possible statement about Spain's future religious and political rule. The Real Alcazar construction was begun in 1364. It was in this building Columbus came to seek approval (and monetary support!) for his expeditions to the New World.
Day 5 and it was time to ride again. We rode along the "Costa de la Luz" to the southern most point in Spain, Tarifa. Here the Atlantic Ocean meets the Mediterranean Sea and the African coast is easily seen in the distance. From Tarifa, we headed back into the mountains to finally come to a stop in Ronda, which is home to the oldest Bullfighting ring in Spain.
The final riding day is the shortest but it did not disappoint as we rode in the foothills on our way back to Malaga where we returned to the base hotel and returned the bikes. The final dinner was a great end to a great week of riding.
I really enjoyed this trip. The roads were great and the weather cooperated fully. Only one morning was cloudy and that quickly cleared up and one morning was very breezy but we rode out of that as well. The accommodations were the best I have ever had on an Edelweiss tour and the food was good as well. As in all my Edelweiss tours, the tour guides were more than willing to bend over backwards to try and accommodate any and all participant requests. Since becoming part of the European Union, many of the roads have been improved and the riding takes you from the beach into the mountains and back again. Of course, history is everywhere and the architecture is quite unique in this part of the world.
Eight Louisiana chapter members attended this annual HSTA event held in Northeast Missori. Myself, Tony Crowell, Bill Ellis and Kevin Yeats rode up over Thursday and Friday, hitting some good twisties in AR & MO on the way up, with an overnight stop in Hardy, AR. Paul Lefort, Scott Toups, John Thompson and Ryan Babin trailered up with a visit to St. Louis on the way. Friday night we enjoyed a cookout, followed by a presentation by Paris to Dakar participant and HSTA member Tim Hall and generally had a hoot socializing. Saturday we set out at 9:00 to ride a 300 mile loop the organizers had devised including most of the best twisties in the area. A couple old friends of mine from Indiana and Kansas joined us so we had a group of 10. Our bikes included ST and FJR 13's. an FZ1, a Hayausa, Aprilia Falco, 06 R6, 650 V-Strom and and me on my old VFR.
Paul and Scott had to make room for one more on their trailers as I crashed the VFR at about mile 250 of the 300 mile ride. Luckily I was only mildly battered and bruised. I could have rode home but the VFR had a hole in the right side cover and had puked about a quart of oil. Paul rode back to the motel and fetched his trailer and made room for me and the VFR. We were having a great ride all day up until the crash, we had a good fast group of riders, great roads and great weather! Despite my crash I had a great time.
The YO Ranch Resort in Kerrville, TX was again the destination for some of our Louisiana HSTA'ers as the Texas gang once again put on a great Hill Country Ride. Bill and Sherri Ellis trailered their VFR and FZ6 while Tony Crowell and I rode over. Tony took the V-Strom for the trip as his new FZ1 was in the shop. I rode my freshly repaired '99 VFR. The weather was wet but the friendly comradery and excellent accomodations at the YO made the trip worthwhile.
Long-time honorary Cajuns Steve "Santa Clause" Kirkendoll of Indiana and Jimmy Girton of Kansas joined us for our Saturday Hill Country Ride. The light drizzle rendered the roads slippery and despite everyone exercising a lot of caution Steve took a spill on his V-Strom, resulting an a tweaked ankle and busted wind screen. Luckily he was able to ride home and although the remainder of the group continued on to Leakey and the Frio Canyon Motorcycle Shop to re-group, the weather seemed unlikely to improve and after a rest we all opted for a safe return to base. This allowed us to watch LSU beat Tennessee in a heart stopping last 9 seconds win so the day was not all bad!
We also had more time for socializing prior to the excellent buffet banquet put on by the YO. Door prizes were given away after dinner. Our fine Texas hosts had gathered numerous door prizes. including a bunch of great items donated by Aaron Zimmermann of legalspeeding.com and I felt sure I would win something but as the last door prize number was
called out I realized it was not to be. The final prize however was the 50/50 raffle and as the number was called out I could not believe my ears! I had won the $320.00! WooHoo! A funny thing about that number... just about exactly what it cost me to repair the crash damage to the VFR suffered at the Friends of Freddies event the month prior!
It is not to late to reserve a cabin. So far we have 46 HSTA members from LA, TX, AR, OH, MO & IN planning to attend this years Cajun Christmas. There are still three (out of 17) two bedroom cabins available. In addition, one of our returning Texas members has a cabin to himself and is interested in sharing. Contact me if you would like to share cabin space/expense with Craig.
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