December 1999 Louisiana HSTANewsletter Page 1

CAJUN CHRISTMAS – CHICO ‘99

By Bob Chappuis, editor

The 12th annual La HSTA Cajun Christmas was onceagain a success and I believe a great time was had by all. This year’sevent marks the end of my first year as newsletter editor and Bob Hennessey’sfirst year as state director. The two Bobs managed to pull off Cajun Christmaswith lots of help from the park staff and good advice and support from Juan and Beryl Quinton. The park reported 11 cabins booked by HSTA members. I don’thave a count of total attendance but I do know there were 21 names in the hatfor the wacky gift exchange drawing. We had a good showing from the Texas groupwith six members attending and Steve, "Santa" Kirkendoll of Indianaalso joined in the festivities.

Many of the group arrived on Friday afternoon. Stacie and Imet prospects Joe and Deborah in Baton Rouge and rode to Livonia on Highway 90where we stopped for lunch at Joe Dreyfus’ Café. Joe’s ispretty famous for his cuisine in this part of the woods. We had no troublegetting a table at noon on a Friday but I hear that if you go for the eveningmeal on a weekend get there before 6:00 PM or be prepared to wait an hour ortwo! We had a delicious lunch and then headed for the park. We took a scenicroute, leaving straight, 4 lane 190 at Krotz Springs and followed the Atchafalaya River on highway 105 up to Melville where we turned West on Highway10. We ran into a little rain just outside of Ville Platte but it let up by thetime we reached the park gates. After unpacking we visited with other members,making new acquaintances and catching up with old friends. When suppertimearrived we headed into town and had a good meal at the Jungle Dinner Club, siteof our group dinner at the first Cajun Christmas 12 years ago. The food, andthis time the service, was good but I was looking forward to the next evening’scookout.

Saturday was overcast with rain threatening all day long butseveral of the group managed to get in some short rides while other went intoLafayette to shop. Reports of the 2000 CBR1100xx at the Honda shop sounded

enticing. Santa, are you listening? The rest of the day wasspent decorating and gathering firewood for the evening’s festivities. As darkness approached charcoal grills and the campfire began blazing and rich,

savory scents filled the air. As usual, there was anabundance of various delicious edibles. The Texans and even the New Orleanscrowd seemed a bit dubious of the grilled gator sausage but most gave it a try. Donna Hennessey’s red beans and Juan’s fried turkey were also popular. The picnic table was crowded with food and drink. I tried to sample a bit ofeverything since it all looked so good but there was just too much!

Following the feast, everyone gathered round a pile ofgifts for the Wacky Gift Exchange. There were some very nice gifts and theusual shenanigans ensued. I almost came home with a nice folding outdoor chairbut had to settle for a consolation gift: a fifth of Crown Royal. As usual, everyone had a good time and ended up with I nice gift. (more or less). Therain gods graciously held off through the gift exchange but shortly after thegroup began singing Christmas carols, the clouds let loose. I think a coupleof HSTA'ers were a bit off-key and the rain gods felt compelled to "drownthem out". Some of the group re-convened in the shelter of Bob and Donna'sporch and continued singing. Others headed for the peace and quiet of their owncabins. Not much later the thunder and lightning came and then the lights wentout in Chico. Now what? Stuck out in the middle of the woods in a cozy cabinwith no lights, no TV and no sound but the pitter patter of the rain on the tinroof! Oh well, think of it as a chance to catch up on some sleep, or …whatever.

The rain and the out-of-staters were gone by the time we gotup Sunday morning. We said our good-byes and the four of us headed home, thistime via Marksville, Highway 1 and the St. Francisville Ferry. Deborah and Joe joined us for the ferry ride and then turned south for Baton Rouge. Cajun Christmas 99 was a great time, join us next year for Cajun Christmas 2000!

SUNDAY RIDE

The first Sunday of January is New Years Day. I think theremay also be some other significance to this day also. At any rate, many of usmay have plans so we will move the ride to the second Sunday for January. Also,since winter is now here for real we will meet at 11:00 am instead of 9:00 toavoid the morning chill. The meeting place will remain unchanged: Shoney’sin Covington.

BIKES FOR SALE

Juan Quinton has two bikes up for sale: his a 97 VFR (V4 750) with 2000 miles for $7200. Beryl's VTR 250 Interceptor is also available(2800 miles): $2600 If interested E-mail Juan at bcquinton@msn.com. For those who do not know Juan, you should be advised that he is a maintenance FANATIC!

UPCOMING EVENTS

If anyone is interested in scheduling a ride in the Baton Rouge/St. Francisville Area during February, contact me by phone or e-mail. Suggest a Sunday, a meeting place and time and I will try to publish it in the next newsletter. Also, let me know if you have Daytona Bike Week plans youwould like to share. Stacie and I hope to go but our plans are on hold untilwe get confirmation from out-of-town relatives coming in for Mardi Gras. FatTuesday coincides with Bike Week this year. I wish somebody would revise theirschedule!

Digital images by Joe Levraea