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Oct. 2007 Louisiana HSTA Newsletter P.1

Turn One

They say that the big Major Life Events (Marriage, Divorce, Relocation, New Job etc. are major stressors that have a big impact on our well being and ability to function. Well for me a new Main Ride ranks right up there near the top. My 99 Honda VFR has 90,000 plus miles on it and 'though I truly love that machine, I knew it's time was coming. But I decided it would be cool to take her to the 100,000 mile mark before replacing.tnIMGP3043.JPG 500x400

All seemed well with the old viffer as I made big plans to attend the popular Friends of Freddies rally with my good riding buddy Tony Crowell. We would leave a couple days early so we could enjoy a big juicy steak at the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, TX and I could make a side trip to Wichita, KS to visit my new granddaughter. But during our September lunch ride I noticed my charging system was working intermittently. I managed to limp home and ordered a charging system wiring subharness being offerred online as a fix for the VFR's infamous electrical system gremlins. It was scheduled to arrive in Mondays mail and we were scheduled to depart for Amarillo at 04:30 Wednesday. It arrived on time, I installed it Monday night and all appeared fine. But half way home from filling up at the gas station Tuesday evening the viffer suddenly stopped charging again and then just plain died on me at speed. I called Tony and regretfully canceled my trip. Time to move on. I had checked out the new Kawasaki Concours 14 at my local dealer the week before. Tuesday at lunch I went by and it was still there, waiting for me. From all the magazine reports and specifically the recent Motorcyclist comparison test, this bike looked like it may be the one I have been waiting for. I picked it up Thursday, Oct. 11. After 550 miles of chasing Tony and Tim on our Bonnie and Clyde Ryde Oct. 13 I am pretty sure it is!



We have a great newletter for you this month with ride reports with pictures from both Drew and Tony on their FOF experiences, as well as our regular features from Fast Timmy and Lea Nangle. A sincere thankyou to each for these contributors! Also a big thanks to Tim Smith for planning the first annual Bonnie & Clyde Ryde. I thoroughly enjoyed it and took the opportunity to try out and break in my new Concours 14. A shame more members did not take advantage of the perfect weather and Tim Smith's intimate knowledge of some sweet North Louisiana roads. A big thanks to Robert Bashaw, South Arkansaw State Director for joining us for lunch!

Later...
Bob





Why I ride…

by Tim Smith




Why I ride.

I've ridden these roads 500 times, they are nothing special to me anymore. And compared to roads in other parts of the country that I love so much, these don't get me very excited anymore. They aren't that curvy, they aren't paved very well, and the scenery is….well it is North Louisiana. Let's just say I don't get held up by tourist in motor homes and travel trailers. It has been really hard for me to get enthusiastic about riding locally. I want to ride frequently but my heart and my imagination ride off to Arkansas, or North Carolina, Kentucky or Colorado, and when they do, the rest of me doesn't really want to blaze the hills of NOLA ( that is North Louisiana - NOT New Orleans)
But I want to thank Bob, Tony, and Drew, who came up to ride with me on the Bonnie and Clyde Ryde, because suddenly, leading them through these familiar hills caused a spark in my riding brain, and it was once again exciting to ride these boring old roads. It almost felt like 20 years ago when we were blitzing these state roads and cutting our riding teeth for the first time.
So what does this say about me? Well, I guess it is something I already knew, that riding is simply a lot more fun when it is shared!
And especially fun when it is shared with riders who have the same passion for riding and share a common enthusiasm for what motorcycling can be.
As I progress with bringing my 19 year old son into my world of sport riding and touring, I struggle with emotions that are battling for control of my thinking. I have fears, just like those of his mother, about helping him to ride on the streets. They are not a very safe place for inexperienced riders with limited riding skills. And because I love him dearly, it is with trepidation that I proceed.
But stronger still is the emotion I feel about being able to share the riding experience with my own son, to watch him, to teach him, and to avail him of all my own experience in riding and all the aspects and joys that I have come to love. Giving instruction that will make his rides safer and more enjoyable is a responsibility that I crave.
My rational mind tells me that as an adult, he will ride whether it is with me or without me, and I thank God that he wants to ride WITH me, that he wants me to show him the way. He also wants to share a lifetime of riding, and he respects my abilities and yearns to learn from me.
So I look forward to thousands of miles riding with my good friends and now, also with my son. I can imagine that every road now will become new as I ride them the first time with Caleb, getting to explore the country for the first time…AGAIN! I can't think of better reason…

Why I Ride.

Fastimmy

Remember: Loud Jackets Save Lives.

RIDE REPORTS

SEPTEMBER LUNCH RIDE

Despite fabulous weather there were only 3 riders enjoying the great roads between St. Francisville and Natchez, MS. Tony Crowell and John Thoms, both on Yamaha FZ1's met me at McDonalds in St. Francisville. We bs'd for a good half hour waiting for possible stragglers, then crossed the Mighty Mississippi via the ferry and proceeded up Highway 15, hugging the river for much of the way to Vidalia. (This was where the VFR began exhibiting its bizarre neuroelectrical dysfunctions) Crossing via the big span at Vidalia we turned left on Canal St. for the short run to the PigOut Inn. We were the first of a goodly crowd of bikers to arrive (and the only sporty ones). The weather on the patio was delightful, BBQ was delicious and the company impeccable, what more could nayone ask for. The return trip was via some of our local favorites: Liberty Rd and Saukum Gap. WooHoo!

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FRIENDS OF FREDDIE


by Drew Newcomer
After being an HSTA member for nearly nine years, the stars finally aligned so that I might attend Missouri's "Friends of Freddie" event. I have wanted to get to this rally for a number of years, but for one reason or another, could never make it. So, when I found out a week before I would be able to go, all I needed was good weather. And good weather is what I got.
I left West Monroe about 5:15 am on October 5 and headed up Highway 165 into Southeast Arkansas. There is a lot of farm country in this part of the state and I rode past many cotton fields that had been picked and modules waiting to be taken to the gin. I rode into Forrest City on Arkansas Highway 1 then headed north on Highway 246. This was the best part of the ride north. Good pavement with some nice highs, lows, ins and outs. I continued north on Highway 163 to Jonesboro. 163 was not a bad road but much more "vanilla" than 246. From Jonesboro, I rode to Corning, where I picked up US 67 which took me all the way to my destination of Farmington, Missouri. I arrived 10 hours after I left West Monroe and had ridden 480 miles.
Rosener's Inn, the rally base hotel was full as it has been for years every time the HSTA has an event here. The guys from Missouri came back to Rosener's after hosting the event at Farmington's Tradition Inn last year. I stayed in a Motel8 down the road about four miles from Rosener's.
Friends of Freddie have a brat roast on Friday evenings and I didn't miss that. I was pleasantly surprised to find fellow Louisiana HSTA member Tony Crowell who somehow had found a way to get from Baton Rouge to Southeast Missouri by way of Oklahoma. Tony and I visited with other HSTA members. There were over 100 attendees but Tony said he had been to this rally in the past when even more riders were present.
On Saturday, I deviated from the ride plan and rode towards Jackson, MO and into the Trail of Tears State Park. I was unaware that the Cherokee Indians that had been forced from their homes in Georgia, Tennessee, and other places crossed the Mississippi River near Jackson on their way to reservation land in Oklahoma. In Missouri, roads are identified by letters instead of numbers and the roads "OO", "N", "H", "KK", etc., offer the motorcyclist much entertainment. I did see the practicality in GPS however, as I constantly had to stop and consult my map. At one point, a homeowner mowing his lawn asked if I was lost (I had pulled into his driveway.) I told him yes and he was able to get me headed back in the right direction, in this case north! After visiting the Trail of Tears State Park, I headed north on Highway US 61 - an avenue very familiar to us in Louisiana and Mississippi. When highway 51 intersected I turned right and crossed the Mississippi River into Illinois. One of my life goals is to ride in the 48 continental states on a motorcycle. So, having never been to Illinois on a motorcycle, I took the first opportunity and found the home of none other than Popeye, the Sailor Man.
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After saying good-bye to Popeye I headed back to Missouri and Farmington and the banquet that waited at Rosener's. I rode 200 miles and enjoyed every bit of it. The meal Saturday night was very plentiful and Tony and I visited with folks from Ohio and Missouri. Unfortunately, we learned of two accidents that occurred earlier in the day, underscoring the fact that our hobby does have its' downside at times.
Sunday morning I was on the road at 7am and pulled back into the ole home place right at 3pm. I came south on 67 all the way to Little Rock then south on 167. Coming home I seem to twist the throttle a little more than going away. While the temperatures were 15 degrees above normal for this time of year, it was not overbearingly hot and the trip going and coming home were very enjoyable. I hope the stars will align correctly for me again, and I can repeat my trip to "Friends of Freddie."



FRIENDS OF FREDDIE


by Tony Crowell
Friends of Freddie could not come fast enough for me this year. Always one of my favorites, I just couldn't wait until Friday to head north from Baton Rouge so I devised a plan to leave early. But where to go? I could go the Smokey Mountains then turn left for MO. I could ride around the Ozarks. Both, great possibitiles. But I had done both of those rides a thousand times. No, what I needed was a good steak and what better place for a piece of charred cow than the big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas.

I told Bob Chappuis of the plan and he immediately said "let's go". So the plan was set. We would meet in Livonia at 0430 and ride to Amarillo on Wednesday, then onto Bob's sons place in Wichita, KS on Thursday, then onto FOF on Friday.

The night before blast off, Bob called and said that his aging VFR had finally succumbed to one of the many thousand of electrical gremlins that haunt VFR's (including mine), so he could not make the trip.

So at precisely 0400 on Wednesday I mounted the '05 viffer and headed out for the big Texan. Then at precisely 0401 I stopped with my first problem. I couldn't get my XM satellite radio to work. It would be a long ride across Texas without entertainment. I fiddled with wire a few minutes and it came to life. The next pre-mature stop would occur only 15 miles from BR. I live in the city where the temps are at least 10 warmer than the surrounding sugar cane fields so when my thermometer said 55 instead of 65, I had to stop again and put on some more stuff.

Onto I-49 for the mind-numbing ride to Shreveport. Not ten miles up 49 and less than and hour and a half away from home I start to fall asleep. Damn! This does not bode well for a successful journey. I pulled in for gas at a truck stop, threw some water on my face and was away again this time feeling pretty good. Continuing onto Alexandria in the dark I noticed a Cracker Barrel just opening at 0600. Time for coffee and a warm up. I was now beginning to wonder if the Big Texan would be closed by the time I arrived from BR as it is 804 miles from my house to the steak house. Coffee and flap jacks consumed, I now knew I had to recover some serious time lost. It was daylight now and I was wide awake.

Next stop was Waskom, TX, just across the border. Perfect spot to get out of some cold weather gear as it was now in the 70's with the sun at my back. I made good time on I-20 until Canton where the sun had disappeared and left me with ugly, low, dark clouds. First a couple of cars, then, all the easatbound traffic appeared to have their lights and or windshield wipers on so I knew I had to duck in somewhere fast to prepare for the rain. I stopped under gas station cover and suited up. I rode in a very light rain until Dallas where the sun came out and baked me even though the roads were still wet with large puddles due to the deluge that had occurred prior to my arrival. The day just wasn't going as well as planned.

I made it to Denton where the pavement was dry, refueled, and went back to summer gear. As the temps were now in the high 80's. Heading due west on US 380 out of Denton another meteorological occurrence takes over. Wind! Howling out of the south-southeast. I struggled to stay in one lane until I reached US 287. Now the wind was mostly at my back which made the ride to Wichita Falls very nice. After refueling at Wichita Falls I still have 224 miles before Amarillo, and with tail wind I shouldn't have to fill up until there… yippee!

After all the unplanned stops I rolled into the parking lot of the Big Texan at 1830. After a quick shower I strolled across the parking lot where I consumed a 20 ounce T-bone steak. Delicious! Leg one of my FOF trip was over.

Leg 2. Now what? Can't go to Wichita. A scan of the Rand McNally shows that US 60 heads east- northeast out of town and runs across northern Oklahoma and into Missouri. With no particular destination in mind I decide I'll wing it and look for a little mom and pop motel somewhere in Northeastern OK. I left Amarillo at 0730 on Thursday morning with temps of 55 and looking directly into a bright sun. I thought I would go blind even with dark shield and sunglasses. After reaching Pampa, the road jogged a little more northeast and the problem was solved. This is also where the road got interesting. If you look on a map there is nothing remarkable about US 60, however from just outside of Pampa to Canadian the road had some big sweeping turns and interesting scenery as you travel toward OK.

Just after entering Ellis County, OK. My radar detector started going crazy. Not because it picked up anything, it just went nuts and I could not turn it off with the on-off switch. I could see for twenty miles and there was nothing anywhere to set it off. As it turns out it was just the detectors way of saying I have had enough! Too many dusty and rainy road trips have finally killed me. I took the batteries out which finally shut it off and continued east. After about ten miles I came upon a car pulling a small trailer with everything they had ever collected in their lives, all haphazardly affixed to this dilapidated trailer, it made the Joad family look like Mayflower Van Lines.

I knew I couldn't follow this rig long without something going airborne and killing me, so I pulled into the passing lane and began my pass. It was here that I noticed a pick up truck and a car with some sort of roof lights affixed coming toward me. Not wanting to break the speed limit which had dropped from 70 in TX to 65 in OK. I eased back in front of the Joad's car, all under the speed limit and within the passing lane.

Imagine my surprise when the car with the colored lights slowed, activated those same lights and pulled me over a few miles down the road. My first thought was, "maybe this guy is just bored and wants to look at my cool motorcycle". Or, "maybe I was actually a one two miles per over the limit and this guy is a super hardcore law man". Any way after chatting briefly with the Deputy he told me I was going to slow to pass and that the Joad's had to apply their brakes when I passed them. Wow! This is a new one for me. Anyway, after about 10 minutes he returned with a warning ticket which I gladly accepted and continued my journey. Before I could get out of Ellis County, I encountered three more deputies; pretty impressive for a county with a population of under 4,000.
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Now the wind is really picking up again. I had to ride almost the entire length of OK at or near a 45 degree angle. Very tiring. After a long, hard day, and with only 5 miles to go before I found my motel, a bee flew down my jacket and stung me on the stomach! That's it; I have endured enough for one day. I parked in front of the Route 66 motel just outside of Afton and asked Mrs. Patel for a room. This was the highlight of the day. A very nice room for 45 bucks and located next to a nice café where all the local farmers and their families seemed to gather.

Friday morning I noticed some humidity in the air which I had hoped I would not see again until returning to the Humidity State (Louisiana). The temps were nice though, and the ride to Park Hills from Afton was un-eventful. I arrived there about 1330 and parked in front of the same room that I had last year next to the office. As luck would have it, Jim and Ginny La Point also had their old room from last year and it was right next door to mine. I thought for a while that I would be the only swamp dweller at FOF, but I saw Drew Newcomer at the weenie roast. He had ridden up from LA on his BMW. I joined the La Points on the Saturday morning ride and got to watch as Ginny put her new Triumph Street Triple through the paces. From my viewpoint it looked like that both she and the new bike handle the curves with much aplomb.


One of the members of our small group had a minor mechanical problem with his BMW that cut our route shorter than normal but we still had a great time on the roads we did ride. As for my own bike. I had squared the Michelin Pilot off coming across TX and OK so handing the curves was a little funky feeling to say the least.

At the banquet that night I thought I might actually win something, maybe for long distance rider. That category never even came up, so my sixteen hundred mile trip to FOF meant nothing to anybody but me. So, as with all HSTA events I left empty handed as usual. Maybe some day I will be rewarded as biggest loser and win a new bike at STAR.

I awoke Sunday morning fighting the dreaded big "D". That's right Diarrhea. Not the malady you want to be afflicted with when you have a 656 mile ride home. I left at 0745 and arrived back in BR about 2000. Much later than normal but with many emergency restroom stops along the way. All in all a good trip and the last big trip of the year.


TIGER TRACK DAYS OCTOBER 11

Bill Ellis, Ted Torres, Tony Crowell and myself all participated in the October 11th Tiger track day at No Problem Raceway Park with near perfect weather.
I believe everyone improved their best lap times, from the comments I heard. I know Tony and I did as our lap timer said so.
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UPCOMING RIDES
EIGHTEENTH ANNUAL CAJUN CHRISTMAS
Friday & Saturday November 30 & December 1 Jimmy Davis State Park. (AKA Caney Creek Lake State Park) To reserve a cabin or campsites, call 1-877-CAMP-N-LA (877-226-7652). or reserve online http://www.crt.state.la.us/parks/

It might be tough to top last years great event BUT WE WILL! According to the online reservations only 6 of the 19 cabins are still available. Payments for Friday's catfish dinner (see below) are also coming in and I am expecting a record turnout. NEW THIS YEAR: We will have a catered dinner Friday night at the park. $11.00 Pre-Preregistration REQUIRED. Menu will include catfish filets, fried or boiled shrimp, corn fritters, turnip greens, french fries or baked potatoes, homemade hushpuppies, cole slaw, peach cobbler and iced tea. Online Pre-registration is now available until November 20. You can pay with a personal check or securely online with PayPal but we must have your payment by Nov. 20 to reserve your dinner.

Also, I have invited all members interested in Cajun Christmas to join our LAHSTA Yahoo Group and we now have several new members. Feel free to use of the group message board for cabin sharing and planning for Cajun Christmas.
HSTA NATIONAL & REGIONAL EVENTS
(AMA SANCTIONED)

All the listings below are linked to informational websites, please click!
November 2 - 4
Texas Hill Country
Y.O. Ranch Resort
Kerrville, TX
(877) 967-3767
Ken Bowen (214) 533-6276
April 6 - 9, 2008
STAR 2008

Y.O. Ranch Resort
Kerrville, TX
Harry Hemstreet (970) 667-0460



SWITCHBACKS
by Lee Nangle

I am no whiner, but there are just some things that irritate me so much I want to bite the head off a big duck. Can we just agree that a motorcycle has two wheels? I don't like side car rigs at all, but at least some of these leave the motorcycle part in tact, so it could be saved if we take the damn contraption off. I would never want to drive a bike with a sidecar, and I would absolutely rather hitch-hike naked than ride in one of the awful things. OK, I know I might offend some riders with my strong opinion, but SO WHAT! Sidecar rigs do have some tradition and history, like how they were used in WWII on both sides, I love history, and I have enjoyed studying the history of motorcycles, and bikes used in the war are of great interest to me. But could someone please tell me why anyone would take a brand new GoldWing, a magnificent motorcycle, and turn it into one of those mutant 3 wheel things? I apologize in advance, but the one word that first comes to mind when I see one is "morphadite" ( that is clinically hermaphrodite to the more scholarly of you) which is something that exhibits both male and female genitalia. It is sorta one thing and it is sorta another, you never can be sure. For heavens sake, why wouldn't you just get a convertible?

I make no apologies for my opinion, I am a two wheel freak! If it ain't on two wheels, it ain't a motorcycle!

Before you all start looking for an address to fire off an angry E-mail….here it is lsbbikerbabe@yahoo.com there isn't anything I'd like better. Whether or not you are angry and you think I am suffering from cranial/rectal inversion, or you are reading this and thinking, this girl is pretty smart and maybe has a pair of her own dimorphic parts. Either way, I wouldn't mind hearing from you. Or maybe there is something ( about bikes) that is bugging you, and you want to know what I think. Well you can bet I won't be shy about telling you.

Hey, I am NOT just a pretty face, or POA on a motorcycle, at least not to any you sport-riding old-guys. Between the "old-fart club", the Little Debbie Race Team(yak) and the drivel that SLOW-timmy writes every month. I can't understand why I want to be involved with organization. Hell, I am still waiting for an invitation to join up. And another thing….I hated that picture on my old track bike. I'm gonna send Bob a new one.

Until then, keep wishing you could ride like me, and…

Keep Spankin' it!

Lee

That's a ton of stuff for one newsletter! I am going to save the write up and pictures of the Bonnie & Clyde Ryde for next month.
Keep riding & smiling

Bob Chappuis, State Co-Director and Editor chappuis@demco.net