|Volume 1, Issue 5||June & July 1999|
STAR 99 REPORT
|By Ninja Bob ChappuisWell, I didn't win the VFR so I am going back to the 'Ninja' nickname. ('Concours Bob' just doesn't have that ring to it) This issue will concentrate on reporting the terrific fun that was had at STAR 99 in Marietta Ohio. Attendance set a new record, 460+ and my guess is that a new record was also set in the 'smiles per mile' category. The weather was beautiful for the length of the event. Although possibly a little warmer than average June temps for Ohio, the upper 80's highs were a nice break for us southerners used to mid nineties. The Ohio guys did a nice job of organizing the event, despite the difficulty of accommodating such a large group. Attendees were spread out among 5 or 6 motels all within a ½ mile stretch of highway. A friendly Honda dealer was within walking distance and provided service and excellent discount prices on accessories. This dealer, Haas Honda, also provided the space for our awards banquet! STAR 99 was attended by several from the Louisiana group: myself and my girlfriend, Stacie Leger, Ken Treas and Evelyn Carbone, Bob Hennessey and his wife Donna and their son Bobbie and Mark Glazer. Mark was on his new Yamaha Venture, Ken & Evie were on the Wing, the Hennessys trailored and Stacie and I were on the venerable '86 Concours|
|.. Stacie and I left Baton Rouge early Saturday morning and enjoyed a pleasant ride to Chattanooga where we stopped for the night after 570 miles. Sunday we were actually cold for most of the trip due to an apparent cool front and the higher elevation crossing through Tennessee and the Virginias. After another 525 miles we were checked in at our motel and registering for STAR 99, my 8th such event in my 17 years as a member. Monday morning we set out with a small group to sample some of the highly touted motorcycle roads of Ohio and West Virginia. We were not disappointed! We encountered mile after mile of twisties rivaling the DRAGON of Deals Gap, crisscrossing mostly through beautiful green farmland with some wooded areas. The countryside was very hilly with constant elevation changes. One challenging feature was the frequent blind crest which often concealed a sudden direction change. At the pace we were riding the front end would get light and I found myself trying to guess which way to steer, not wanting to have to change directions in mid-flight. One wrong guess cured me of that bad habit after I performed a bad imitation of a motocrosser in a lock to lock cross-up.|
|The roads were indeed challenging and I heard of 6 crashes during the event. Monday's ride totaled 250 miles and at an average speed of only about 50 mph lasted most of the day. We were all pleasantly exhausted as we returned to our motels. On Tuesday, Stacie and I decided to head out on our own. We followed another of the several ride routes provided by the organizers but soon lost the trail due to a wrong turn and decided to just explore the countryside at a leisurely pace. The locals all waved cheerfully as we rode by. I think they enjoyed the invasion of well mannered bikers. Tuesday night we rejoined our Monday riding companions at the Levee House Café, reputedly one of the better restaurants in Marietta. Again, we were not disappointed.They even did an excellent blackened rainbow trout dish! Wednesday was another group ride day, this time to "the Wilds" an exotic wildlife preserve much like the one we have here near Folsum, Louisiana. Once again the roads were outstanding. Today we let Randy from Georgia lead since he had complained that Mondays furious pace allowed for no photo ops as the scenery was nothing but a blur. Randy certainly led us down some interesting side roads, and after consultation with some locals we actually found our way to "The Wilds".The 90 minute tour in an old school bus was hot and a bit boring unless you were a wildlife preservation activist. Our group agreed the park does not have enough species or specimens to warrant more than a 30 minute tour. However, we made it through the tour in good spirits and headed back to Marietta in time to freshen up for the membership banquet|
|The featured speaker for the banquet was Dave Despain. Despain is a true motorcycle lover and an excellent speaker. He seemed to truly enjoy being with us and had some interesting points to make. Although I amsure he is now a safe and responsible rider, like most of us HSTA'ers; he gave the impression that he was quite a hellraiser in his younger days. The "dining hall" provided by Haas Honda was a little cramped and warm but the excellent food made up for it. We managed to get all the Louisiana group together at one table. We feasted on generous helpings of good old home style cooking. Before and after the meal, a seemingly unending supply of door prizes was giving away, culminating with Despain picking the winning VFR raffle ticket, the owner of which was present. But it wasn't me, darn-it! OH well, maybe next year.|
|The next morning Stacie and I returned the way we came. The ride from Chattanooga to B.R. was about 80 % rain, but there were no major traffic delays or other problems. All in all it was another fabulous STAR! Start making yourplans for STAR 2000 in Avon, Colorado .|
This is a non-event, and we're just there to relax, have fun, and eat too much. Its not necessary to have a motorcycle; but, for those of you who would like to explore Cajun country, thats the best way to do it...provided the weather cooperates. Weather conditions have varied in past years from bright sun (with or without occasional rain), bitter cold (30 degrees and lower) and/or pouring-down rain. We just never know. Bring spouses, children and cars/trucks, if you wish, but you will for sure want to participate in this fun-filled Christmas caroling and fellowship. To be sure we have sufficient cabins reserved, PLEASE CONTACT THE PARK AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AT (318) 363-2403. Tell them youre with the HSTA group, and ask for one of the cabins in the cul-de-sac (#1 - #7), if you want to be near the Saturday night festivities. These cabins (as a courtesy) are being identified for our group, but we have to act fast. The park is unable to guarantee cabin numbers, however, in years past has tried to consider preferences of our members. Please help make this work by calling early. The park begins accepting reservations for the fall on July 6.
There is a two-night minimum for weekend accommodations. Check-in time is 4 p.m., but they will let us in earlier if cabins are ready. Checkout time is 2 p.m. on weekdays and 4 p.m. on Sundays. Small cabins cost $45/night and accommodate two couples (two bedrooms, a shared kitchen and bathroom). Stoves, refrigerators and ovens are in every cabin. Larger cabins, which sleep six, cost $60/night, and camping ($12/night) is also available. Advance deposits are required (VISA/MasterCard is accepted) and must be received at the park site within 10 days of the request (except regular campsite reservations) or the reservation may be cancelled. Should your plans change, you may cancel your reservations with full refund if requested at least 14 days prior to the reservation date (except for regular campsite reservations). Cabins are supplied with pots, pans, dishes, utensils, sheets, pillows, pillow cases and a blanket for each bed. There is central air and heat in the cabins, and a small grill outside which uses charcoal (Charcoal is not provided). Ville Platte, LA, which is 7 miles away, has grocery stores, a few eating places, and several churches, if youre staying over until Sunday.
Entrance gates close at 7 p.m., during the winter season, but an attendant is on duty until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays for camper and cabin check in.
Essential to bring: Flashlight, towels and facecloths (bath & kitchen), food, drink, dish detergent, and bath soap. Food suggestions: Items for meals, munchies, and drinks for before and after we park the bikes. Nice to have: Bug spray, extension cords, drop lights, charcoal, clothing to accommodate hot, cold and/or rainy weather.
The gift exchange is fun to watch, even if you do not choose to participate. Each participant must bring a gift valued at $10. Its a fun way to exchange gifts economically (NOTE: A sense of humor is absolutely required). This is how it works:
Purchase and wrap a gift WHICH WOULD BE APPROPRIATE FOR EITHER A MAN OR WOMAN, valued at $10, but do not identify it with a To or From. We will pick numbers from 1 through however many people participate. THE PERSON WHO GETS #1 IS THE REALLY SPECIAL PERSON FOR THE NIGHT. He/she gets to choose first any gift from the stack, and later gets tomake the FINAL gift choice. Person #2 can either steal #1's gift or choose a wrapped gift from the stack. Person #3 can steal #1's or #2's gift or choose a gift from the stack...and so on. Once a gift has been stolen three times, it is considered dead and is no longer available WITH ONLY ONE EXCEPTION: After the last person has taken his/her turn, THE PERSON HOLDING #1 MAY STEAL ANY GIFT FROM ANYONE, EVEN IF IT WAS PREVIOUSLY PRONOUNCED DEAD BECAUSE IT WAS STOLEN THREE TIMES, EXCHANGING HIS/HER GIFT FOR THIS FINAL CHOICE. With this last exchange, the activity ends. From experience, we know that rules/procedures may become unpopular when one is clinging to a beloved gift. Please remember that our only purpose in stating them months ahead of time is to promote fairness and equity, consistency, and fun. Dont worry. Your frendships will survive.