November 2005 Louisiana HSTA Newsletter Bob Chappuis, Editor


October Lunch Ride

by Bob Chappuis

We had a great turnout for the October lunch ride after a lull in activity during September due to the hurricanes. Stacie bailed out at the last minute due to a real estate client requesting a house showing so I headed out a little early on the VFR for the South meeting spot: McDonalds in St. Francisville. Despite being early, Bill Ellis and Tony Crowell were there already on their 1300s (Honda ST & Yamaha FJR) Then in very quick succession a Suzuki GSXR1000, another Honda ST1300, an ST1100 and a GoldWing 1800 all rolled into the lot. The Gixxer belonged to my West Feliciana buddy Ken Stewart of Lake Rosemound and the 1300 belonged to Kevin Yeats of Hahnville. I was delighted to see that the 1100 was piloted by long time member and past Louisiana State Director Kent Treas of Destrehand and the Goldwing belonged to Ret and Anne Favret of Metairie. I have enjoyed many great rides with both Kent and Ann and Ret in years past but had not seen either in quite a while!

The group took several minutes to get acquainted and re acquainted and yak about the usual biker stuff before we saddled up and set out on the meandering back road route I had devised for the trip to Natchez. Historic Natchez is only 60 miles from St. Francisville via highway 61 but I was able to pack in an extra 40 miles of some of the most scenic and/or twisty roads in the area. We headed South a few miles on 61 and turned East on 965. Then 7 miles Northeast to Highway 10 where we headed West again to Bains Rd for another short hop to Sage Hill Rd. This is where it started getting GOOD. Next was the 44 curves in 7 miles of Jones Vaughn Creek Rd. Narrow but good pavement with just a bit of sand and gravel in a few curves. This put us back on 10 for a short blast East again to 421 and 967 all the way to Woodville, MS. We eased on thru Woodville and headed North on 61 just a few miles to the turn off for MS 563. Another hilly twisty road and it had just been repaved two weeks earlier. Woo Hoo! Everybody later agreed 563 it now one of the most fun roads in the area! From 563 we turned North for a few miles on 33 then left on Liberty Rd which took us all the way to Downtown Natchez and the Pig Out Inn. There were a few bikes in the parking lot already and several more arrived after us. Mostly cruiser riders and dressed in jeans and T-shirts, they seemed under dressed and out classed by our group. We grabbed a couple of tables in the open-air area and ordered up some delicious Bar B Que. Everyone was happy with their meal. My ribs were not as smoky as some but were very meaty and quite tasty.

After the lunch Drew, Kent and the Favrets went their separate ways while the rest of us crossed the river and rode the West bank home, riding the various highways that follow the Mississippi South. Ken peeled off at New Roads and rode the ferry and I chased Bill and Tony down to Port Allen before crossing the river and heading home.

Great day, really good to see Ken Treas and the Favrets again. Thanks for coming out to ride folks!


Tony, Bill and Kevin and myself were back on the road the following weekend for the Hill Country Ride put on by Texas members Joe Paolili and Michelle Achorn in Kerrville, TX. All except Bill met Thursday morning at the McDonalds in New Roads for the ride out to Texas. We headed West on highways 114, 112 and 28 to Leesville. There Tony split off North to visit his parents in Mexia Texas while Kevin and I crossed the Sabine River a little further South on Highway 8. After some fast food in Jasper, TX we made our way to Huntsville, TX and the Econolodge, our stop for the night. On arrival there we were greeted by Florida HSTA members Chuck Headrick and Sam Ulbing, a couple of lucky, retired old wanderers. We all enjoyed a tasty and abundant Mexican dinner at the restaurant next door. The place was only open 3 days and did not yet have a liquor license. However, with a little persistence we managed to wrangle three rounds of complimentary draft beer to help wash down the tasty vittles.

Friday morning the four of us departed after a meager, complimentary EconoBreakfast and continued West Southwest to San Marcos where Tony was waiting to rejoin us for the remainder of the trip to Kerrville. Just West of San Marcos we rode a section of the Devils Backbone which was a disappointment but turning off of 32 onto 473 we found ourselves on a typical twisty Hill Country back road and had some great fun before arriving at the Y.O. Ranch resort in Kerrville.

Bill Ellis arrived soon after we did having left baton Rouge early Friday morning. We quickly checked in and unloaded and had a great buffet lunch at the motel restaurant. By then bikes and riders were starting to accumulate and we had a great time talking to old friends and just hanging out in the parking lot, the beautiful and comfortable lobby as well as in the bar. There were quite a few VFRs in attendance along with many STs and a wide variety of sport and sport touring machines of all types. The Texas group was there in full force including Jim Poulos, Max Hendrix and Brad and Cinda Mobley. Great to see those folks again! The amazing Don Clark of CA was there in his usual prime form as was HSTA Prez Brick Brickner, also shining brightly! I was also happy to see my old buddy Jimmy Girton of Kansas who I usually only see at STAR.

Despite getting "crowned" with Clark Friday night I was up early with everybody else ready to enjoy the challenging Hill Country roads. We had arranged to meet up with new recruit Pat Coleman of San Antonio Saturday morning in front of the motel. Pat is an online friend I had made via the VFR email list, although he now rides a CBR929. I had mentioned my plans to ride the Hill Country and he had offered to show me some roads. In return I invited him to join HSTA and attend the HCR. He had already heard lots of good things about HSTA and no arm-twisting was needed for him to join! Pat arrived right on time and after a quick meet and greet we all headed to Destination Cycles a couple miles away for free breakfast compliments of the dealership. There we met and chatted with many more HSTA'ers while we enjoyed some delicious breakfast burritos, doughnuts and coffee. We ran into Steve "Santa" Kirkendoll who decided to ride along with us on his highly customized 650 V-Strom. Also riding with us was Jimmy Girton on his ST1100.

During the riders meeting Friday night we had learned that recent and ongoing construction work was adversely affecting some of the route planned by the HCR organizers. However Tony and Pat put their heads together and came up with a route for the day that would avoid the problem areas yet include the good roads and we set out for Fredericksburg with Pat in the lead. Outside of Fredericksburg Pat located an obscure ranch road that undulated and twisted tightly through the hilly countryside for several miles. Tony and Kevin were feeling a little friskier than I and passed me and began closing up on Pat who upped the pace accordingly.

Photo by Sam Ulbing

Photo by Sam Ulbing

Next we got onto some high-speed sweepers and the pace was such that the 650 twin was straining to keep up. Next 16, then 337 after a stop in Leakey. At one point on 337 we came upon a road patch that was not yet cured. Everybody got squirrelly but all stayed on the road and shiny side up. About half way along 337 the blind curves and cattle guards began to get the better of my concentration and I let the CBR and 1300s get away out of sight. Soon after, I rounded a bend to see Kevin standing knee deep in the weeds on the side of the road with an odd look on his face. I slowed and as I pulled along side I looked down and to the left and there, upside down, was Kevin's ST. He had gotten behind in his steering; distracted by a warning sign, a moment's lapse of concentration and the 1300 was in the ditch. Kevin was unhurt except for a bruised hip. Three of us pushing and Kevin working the throttle and we managed to get the machine back on the road. The damage was all cosmetic and the ST proved to be road worthy. Kevin was done for the day however and, to be prudent, I insisted on following him back to the Y.O. via the safest route. Pat, Jimmy and Steve continued on the planned route. Kevin and I rode back to town at a very sedate pace and without incident. Tony opted for an early return also but via some more interesting roads. We later heard that Pat, Jimmy and Steve had really enjoyed the rest of the days ride.

We relaxed around the Y.O for the rest of the afternoon and then were among the first to get seated for the banquet. Then we got so busy gabbing we missed the call for chow and were last in line. The TexMex food however was in ample supply and was delicious. Some of the best fajitas I have ever had plus enchiladas and I think baked fished, Spanish rice and pinto beans and some delicious sopapillas. Some nice door prizes were given away and I won a T-shirt!

The next morning the Louisiana gang headed out at daylight for the long ride home mostly via Interstate 10 while the Florida duo planned a slightly later departure for a less hurried ride home. I sure envied the retired duo! Our ride was uneventful other than for a few rain sprinkles and the usual horrible, discourteous drivers between Lafayette and Baton Rouge who seem to think the left lane is a Rest Area. Oh, yeah… can't forget about the genius in the Houston HOV lanes going SLOWER than the congested traffic in the regular lanes!

Oh well, we made it home alive and mostly intact. The Hill Country Ride has always been a well organized event and Joe and Michelle and their helpers did a great job in 2005. The roads and scenery are different and definitely worth the trip but our great Texas HSTA friends are what will always bring us back!


by Bob Chappuis

Photo by J. Daigle

Photo by J. Daigle

My name is Bob Chappuis, I'm a Trackaholic. Or as Tony would say, "It's like pure heroin!" Paul Lefort got me hooked on track days and now I've got Tony addicted. We did our first NPR track day together in July 2005, sharing time on my SV650S. Tony was instantly hooked despite his extreme discomfort on the cramped SV. He vowed to return on his roomier 650 V-Strom. Our planned return in August was postponed by hurricane Katrina. The next scheduled track day was Monday, November 14 and Tony and I were there before the gates were open!

As much fun as it had been to let it all hang out on a challenging road coarse such as the Grand Bayou Circuit at No Problem Raceway on previous dates, the fun is doubled when riding the track with your favorite riding buddy on a similarly powered machine! Oddly enough the V-Strom seemed more than capable of holding it's own in acceleration despite a significant weight handicap (politically correct terminology) However the SV had it covered in the handling and rubber departments. However, with Gonzo "FB" Crowell on board the Wee Strom was never far behind and managed to sneak past a few times, cleverly positioning some back markers between us! Although there were a few off road excursions, including mine, for the first time since I have been to Track Day at NPR there were no accidents with injuries.

While a spirited or even a sedate ride on back roads through the countryside is still wonderfully satisfying and I will always be eager and ready for the open road and far off destinations there is nothing else quite like testing yourself on a racetrack! Once you try it you'll be hooked!

Here is a short On-Bike Video of your humble editor made by Tony Crowell with his ubiquitous digital camera!

Fast guy about to pass Bob

Bob about to pass Tony

Long shots by P-Tool

J. Daigle


Sunday November 27

Tony and I will be riding at No Problem Raceway and we invite everyone to come out and watch. There are some nice roads on the way to the track. If interested meet at Starbucks on Corporate Blvd at 9:00 am. Possible routes: College/Lee to River Road South to the Sunshine Bridge then River Road North to White Castle, South on 69 and left on 996. OR cross River on Old Bridge, Highway 190 to Livonia, East on 411 and 77 to Plaquemine, South on 1 to White Castle, etc.

I will load up my van with extra chairs and an icechest with drinks and stuff to make sandwiches. Email me to let me know you are coming so I will have an idea how much to bring. OR.... pickup some Popeyes chicken in Plaquemine on your way!

LUNCH RIDE Saturday December 17

TENTATIVE: Meet at 9:00 am STARBUCKS on Corporate Blvd in Baton Rouge
for a ride to Taste of Bavaria in Ponchatoula.

STAR 2006

Avon, Colorado
June 18 ~ 21, 2006
888-325-6343 ~ 970-949-7700
110 miles w. of Denver on I-70 at mm167

I'm REGISTERED, are you?



KEEP IN TOUCH! chappuis@demco.net
and Ride Safe and happy Thanksgiving to all!,
Bob & Stacie Chappuis

Photos not attributed are by Bob Chappuis or Tony Crowell