|Oct. 2011||Newsletter of the Louisiana Chapter of the Motorcycle Sport Touring Association||P.1|
Absolutely fantastic riding weather is here! A quick trip to the pharmacy turns into 113 miles of smiles! Stacie and I made a 1400 mile trip to the inaugural Buddies of Bruce event in Cape Girardeau, MO, and we did not see a cloud the whole five days! Read about this trip and new rally venue below. We also have an Arkansas ride report from Drew Newcomer and a report on our October lunch ride to the Bar-B-Que Station in Independence.
Our annual (since 1990) Louisiana Chapter weekend event, Cajun Christmas, is just around the corner. Time to reserve your cabin! Online registration is up, see full details below.
by Drew T. Newcomer
Unseasonably cool weather came to north Louisiana the week of September 3. After a brutally hot summer, the weekend after Labor Day provided almost ideal conditions for a ride. So, on September 8, I headed up the very familiar Highway 15 to Farmerville, then on to Arkansas 7 and El Dorado. I stayed on 7 until stopping for a burger in Arkadelphia, where I picked up Highway 8 (one of my favorite roads in the state.) Highway 8 intersects 27 in the small village of Norman. Heading north on 27, I enjoyed the cool temperatures to Danville, Arkansas where I turned west on 10 for a short ride to Havana. With the weather being so nice, I turned up 309 and headed up the Mt. Magazine road to check out the new lodge at the top. What a treat and what a nice facility! All the cabins and lodge rooms look towards the east with a great view of the valley below. (Going to have to come up for a weekend at some point!)
After admiring the scenery, I continued north on 309 until I turned west on 22 which took me to my destination of Fort Smith where I would watch the Saints fall one yard short of the Green Bay Packers.
Cool temperatures met me on Friday morning and I headed east on I-40 until I turned north on the old Highway 71 which would take me to the home of the Razorbacks, Fayetteville. This was a very enjoyable ride as there is very little traffic since the new I-540 interstate carries the bulk of vehicles now. I turned east on 16 once I got to Fayetteville's outskirts and rode a few miles to 74 where I continued east on 74 till turning north on 295. 295 took me to Hindsville, where 45 north took me to 12 which eventually met the famous Pig Trail, highway 23, which took me to my weekend retreat of Eureka Springs.
A few clouds were present on Saturday morning but I headed west on US 62 headed toward Bentonville, with the intent on visiting the BMW dealership there. With rain on the horizon when I arrived in Rogers, I turned back east on 12 crossing the picturesque Beaver Lake. What a nice ride. 12 meanders through the countryside and I intersected 127 and continued east until, once again, I found the Pig Trail twelve miles south of Eureka Springs. I did not have to deal with any rain, but the clouds continued to roll in and made for a somewhat overcast afternoon.
The clouds were gone on Sunday morning and needing to get back home I rode US 62 south to I-40 to Little Rock to 167 south to El Dorado and on back home. Temperatures had warmed up and the last 90 miles were fairly warm, though not intolerable by any means. It was nice to finally get a chance to ride in one of the most popular motorcycle areas of the country. Though I have been to this area a number of times, it remains one of my favorites because it is easily accessible within a day and the roads never disappoint. Wouldn't be surprised if I didn't get back up to northwest Arkansas before the chill of winter appears.
by Bob Chappuis
Stacie and I are always eager to explore a new destination so when it was announced that Friends of Freddies, which we have doen in the past, would be renamed Buddies of Bruce and reloacted to Bruce's hoetown of Cape Girardeau we made our plans and reservations. Thibodaux member Paul Lefort was ready for a trip as well. He suggested Bull Shoals but I easily talked him into Buddies of Bruce instead. New Orleans members Dennis Hedrick and Eric Babcock would be last minute joiners. We were all set, I had new tires for the Concours and installed a rear Shinko Raven and was debating on whether to put the Michelin Pilot Road on the front or wait.
But the week before departure I ran over a softball sized chunk of concrete on a country road and bent my rim! A frantic search turned up a used one on Ebay and I jumped on it. New ones were $500+ at the discount sites! But the promised date before departure delivery date came and went and Plan B went into action. The 99 VFR was prepped and ready to go I just needed to swap the big Givi topcase, sheepskin seat and heated gear hookups. Forget the overdue fork seal and steering stem bearing replacements, those could wait! The only question was how would Stacie react to the news we would be touring on the old war horse? Almost 4 years ago we had moved up to the roomier, more touring oriented Concours 14. But trooper that she is she never flinched! Road Trip ON!
Route? Last month we rode up and down the east bank of the Mississippi to Indy and back. So I plotted a route through Arkansas. I-55? Are you kidding me? The "Blues Highway" to Natchez, MS, across the river on US 84 to Ferriday,US 425 to Wisner, then LA 17 to Delhi with a gas and lunch stop at a Subway. Then on to Epps, Pioneer and Kilbourne and into MS.Between Epps and Pioneer we saw the Poverty Point State Historic Site we had visited several years back. The site has been greatly expanded since then so we will go back, it is a fascinating visit.
At Eudora, AR we joined US 65 then US 165 at Dumas to De Witt then state roads to Brinkley, AR our first leg destination. Brinkley turned out to be not much of a destination town. We had the drab Econolodge all to ourselves until about 6:00 pm, then it filled up with work trucks. We put on our swimsuits, made drinks and hit the pool. Except the pool was closed! So we chilled on our front stoop and watched the working stiffs shuffle in. It is GOOD to be retired! Later we did walk to Los Pinos Mexican restaurant and had a top notch meal. An unusual name for a Mexican restaurant and their menu was not typical either, but the food was great. "Los Pinos" (the pines) is the official residence and office of the President of Mexico, located in the Bosque de Chapultepec (Chapultepec Forest) in central Mexico City.
Friday morning arrived with cool weather. We put on our electric liners and Stacie her electric gloves. By the time (6:30 am) I peeked out the window to see if the VFR was still there the motel lot was again almost empty. After a minimal breakfast and waiting for the suns warmth we headed north on US 49 at 9:30 - Fargo, Hickory Ridge and Waldenburg then a gas and lunch stop in Jonesboro at Backyard Burgers. I had heard they make really good burgers and wanted to try it. It did not compare well to MY backyard! At Paragould we turned right onto US 412. Finally at Hayti we ramped onto I-55 for the final leg into Cape Giradeau. The rally motel, the Victorian Inn was in my Garmin Nuvi 500 and set as the endpoint of our route but as we crested a hill and the Nuvi said we were there, we weren't. This is not unusual for Garmin's maps. Even if a Garmin point of interest is not out of date (out of business, name change, etc.) it is often out of place by a tenth to a quarter of a mile. No problem, I would just ride around the area until I found it. But unknown to everyone, the Victorian Inn had just changed ownership and the signs now said "Auburn Place"! After riding around in traffic for 2 miles, my 12 year old V-Four engine overheating, I finally remembered that the overflow motel, the Holiday Inn Express was right across the parking lot from the Victorian. The HIE is a highrise and easily visible and I now rode right to it.
We were early and I didn't see any bikes in the lot but as we pulled into the entrance Missorians Steve and Sandy Ballew pulled along side on a ZX14 and said welcome. We quickly checked in and as we unpacked, bikes started rolling in in twos and threes. Soon we were shaking hands and hugging numerous old friends. Registration was quick and easy, MSTA had a nice room set aside on the second floor just above the lobby. Paul, Dennis and Eric soon arrived as well and good times were roll'n. After chill'n and chat'n for a while the LA tribe plus Kansan Jimmie Girton walked over to Olive Garden for a fine meal. Then back to the motel for more chill.n and planning Saturdays ride
Saturday morning temperature was in the 40's so we delayed departure until 9:30. By that time it had warmed up to the mid 50s. I had the route loaded in my GPS so I was initially the leader with Paul in tow on his TRiumph Tiger 800XC follwed by Dennis and Eric on their BMW RTs and Jimmie on his Concours 14. Heading west on K we were soon into the low hills and extent of the coolant lost during the VFR's overheating episode the day before soon became obvious. Much more than I had thought. I could not run more than 4000 rpm without the temperature gauge climbing above 230 degrees. Everybody passed me as I was working the GPS looking for the closest place to get some water. Paul was now leading and the group and made a wrong turn and we all met at a rural intersection with a church and a couple houses nearby. I stopped and explained my problem. Eric had a couple of pint bottles of water and we put those in. ERic also notice there was a creek beside the road, down an embankment and hidden by the weeds. I climbed down an filled the two bottles with some remarkably clear creek water. Less than half a bottle of creek water and the radiator was filled. After about a 30 minute delay we were back on the route.
We soon came to the lovely little village of Marquand (pop. 267) which was having a car show/country fair. Someone (not Dennis) wanted to stop and look around so we did. There were some very cool restored antique and muscle cars as well as some street rods, even a 505 HP late model Corvette. There were also crafts booths, a country music stage and most importantly a huge mobile smoker producing and incredible aroma and pulled pork sandwhiches. Since we were already on our second long stop in the first 50 miles of the 235 mile loop I suggested we make this our lunch stop as well. Everyone agreed and the BBQ pork was top notch.
After lunch we enjoyed one great rode after another A, C, K, 34, really so many great roads I can't remember now which were the best but two would rank among the best I've ridden for just pure riding pleasure. I can only recall one that had a bad surface.
We were back at the motel in plenty time to relax before the banquet which was a short walk from the Victorian. Food was good and almost everyone won a door prize, mine a Nomar T-shirt. Sunday morning was predicted to be in the upper 30s early so Stacie and I spent some time planning our apparel accordingly. The VFR does not have enough juice to maintain a charge with both of us using all our heated gear. Luckily it did not get below 40 and by 9:30 it had warmed up to 55.
For the first leg of our ride home I retraced the last quarter of the previous day's lunch ride, K to Gordonville, F to Whitewater, T and 51 to Zalma Z to Wappapello. We broke off from the loop south of Wappapello Lake, on through Loma Linda then US 67 (Plank Road in Baton Rouge) to Pocahontas, AR then US 62 to Imboden, AR state roads to Cave City, US 167 to Little Rock the I-530 to Pine Bluff, for our final night on the road. We stayed at a Nice Comfort Inn and walked to A red Lobster for dinner. Being Sunday, many area restaurants were closed and there was a wait for a table but it was well worth it. We had a terrific waiter and the food was great.
Monday's ride home from Pine Bluff was short and without incident. We stayed on US 425 instead of 165 though Monticello, Hamburg and Bastrop and a gas stop and Waffle House lunch in Rayville, LA. At Gilbert we backtracked Thursday's route thorugh Natchez and home. 1419 miles total for the old Viffer.
The inuagural Buddies of Bruce event was great fun. The organizers did a fine job, they promised a great venue and great roads and really came through on both. We plan to be back next year!
by Bob Chappuis
October 15, 2011
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(RSVP/REGISTRATION FORM - Please REGISTER if you are coming!)
Information Sheet: Twenty First Annual
CAJUN CHRISTMAS 2011
|New this year, we will have a Chili dinner Friday night at Lodge 18.
Saturday we will ride some of the best roads that Louisiana has to offer with a lunch stop at Grayson'S BBQ joint in Clarence.
Saturday night we will have our Christmas party and cookout at Lodge 18 featuring huge Hamburgers, Cajun Sausage, Hotdogs, and Gumbo and refreshnents. BYOL or beer!. The festivities will conclude with the Cajun Gift exchange .
Meals are $11.00 each (Friday and Saturday nights)
Online Pre-registration is now open!
CLICK TO REGISTER and/ or PRE-PAY.
Pre-Pay deadline is Nov. 25!
That's all for now. Keep riding and smiling....
Bob Chappuis, Editor [email: bob@this domain]