3rd Quarter 2016 Louisiana MSTA Newsletter Page 1

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LATE! Yes, I am even having trouble getting a quarterly newsletter out on time! Here is the deal: I can't do this all by myself, I need some member contributions or this is not a club newsletter, just the Bob and Stacie Travelogue. I've been doing newsletters since 1999, monthly until 2010. That is a lot of newsletters and the majority of the content my own. I'm not burned out on editing the newsletter, just burned out on writing! It is kinda interesting to see how my writing style has changed over the years (but sadly I can't say it has improved any. LOL) At any rate it has gotten to be like squeezing blood out of a turnip so for this newsletter to continue I need member input.

OK Nag time over. Third quarter includes just STAR 2016 this year since our STAR trip was not over until July 4th. So I have my writeup of me and Stacies' STAR experience. I just finished writing it and I am amazed at how quickly I forget details and that certainly makes the writing difficult.

Other activity last quarter included a group trip to the 19th annual Ozarks Bull Shoals Rally attended by myself, Kevin Yeats and Tony Crowell. My writetup of that trip will appear elsewhere. There were other member trips as well...

Hopefully with good riding weather upon us we will put together some lunch rides. I am just back from Wichita KS for my granddaughter Loralai's 4th birthday. I had planned to camp on the way up at Lake Dardenelle SP but thunderstorms washed those plans down the drain, motel in Clarksville instead. Planned to camp at Bonham State Park, TX on the way home but a record heat wave spoiled that. Next up is NOLA Motorsports for a track day on the YZF-R3! Hope you enjoy the newsletter. Ninja Bob

Welcome to new member Paul Thibodeaux of Greenwell Springs. Paul is long time rider and has ridden with us in the past. We look forward to riding with you again soon!

STAR 2016

By Ninja Bob

The ride to Vermont from Southeast Louisiana for STAR 2016 would not be a short one but there was never a moment's doubt that we would make the trip. STAR has become our primary annual vacation and the ride there and back is half the fun. Our early STARs together saw some longer days including some 600 to 800 mile days to Avon, Colorado but those days are long gone. We have more time off and our bones are older so we like to average about 300 miles per day. The shortest route from home to Stratton Mountain Vermont is 1520 miles so we'd take 5 days, actually 5 and a quarter - leaving in late afternoon after Stacie got home from work.

Departure: Tuesday, June 21
So June 21 about 6:00 pm we were ready to roll a quick 110 mile run to Hazlehurst, MS. Checking the radar app on my smart phone mounted to my right handlebar I noted a small but heavy thunderstorm coming right down my planned route on LA 67 between Clinton, LA and Liberty, MS. No problem, I just rode around the storm veering 20 miles to the west through Norwood, LA and Gloster, MS. That added 6 miles to the ride but it was worth it not to fool with rain gear.

We arrived at the Rodeway Inn. It was a run down dump but only $52 and walking distance to restaurants. I had chosen it over the nearby Super 8 because it had a pool. The pool was drained and locked however. No matter, we were ready to eat by the time we unpacked. We walked a short distance to Los Parrilleros and had an outstanding Mexican meal after a couple of tasty margaritas. There were two highly modified and well worn adventure bikes parked in front of the motel lobby with foreign plates but I never saw the riders.

Day 2, Wednesday, June 22
Our longest day of the trip, 403 miles stretched to 421 due to a road closure on the Natchez Trace. The first leg was a stint on I-55 to get us to the north side of Jackson, MS where we'd pick up the trace. Here my lack of familiarity with my new Zumo 390 tripped me up. It works very differently than my old Nuvi 500. I got off route when I picked the wrong ramp at a complex intersection and when Zumo asked if I wanted to recalculate I pressed yes. Big mistake. I still don't understand how the Zumo recalculates but I knew I wasn't going to add 40 miles just for missing a ramp! I killed the route and zoomed the map out until I could see Ross Barnett Reservoir, a big body of water. I knew from a previous trip I needed to be on the road that follows the northern shore of the Res. In a couple of minutes I was on the Trace and making a mental note not to let Zumo recalculate!

The Trace was nice, as always. Little or no traffic, gentle sweeping curves and nice scenery and the best part in the heat of summer the trace stays a few degrees cooler than most main highways due to being shaded by trees for much of the day. We exited briefly for fuel in Tupelo, MS then made our way out of MS and clipped the northwest corner of Alabama and into Tennessee. About 20 miles into Tennessee we had to make a detour as the Trace was closed for replacement of the bridge over Little Swan Creek on the south side of Meriwether Lewis National Monument, adding 10 miles to our route. As a test I let ZUMO recalculate when it objected to me following the orange detour signs. Zumo wanted to add 40 miles to our route! Maybe I'm doing something wrong, Garmin can't have screwed up this badly!

We got back on the Trace at US 412 and continued to TN 7 where we had to exit to reach our destination for the night, Murfreesboro, TN. After a very short run on 7 we turned onto Leipers Creek Road a fairly sketchy little path which fed onto Mobley's Cut, even sketchier. All that to get from the Trace to TN 840 which got us into Murfreesboro where we checked into a Sleep Inn. We stayed free with points earned with the Choice Privileges program. The Sleep Inn was walking distance to an Old Chicago Pasta and Pies . We had some good pasta and pizza and they had a good selection of beers.

Day 3, June 23
Thursday's route was 385 miles, initially eastward through Tennessee on TN 90 and US 70 to Crossville then I-40 through Knoxville. East of Knoxville we got on US 25 into North Carolina through Cherokee and Pisgah National Forests and US 19 to the Blue Ridge Parkway. We exited the Parkway at NC 18 for the final leg to our destination for the night, the Alleghany Inn in Sparta, home of the popular annual MSTA TriSTAR regional event. The Inn was very nice, located in the heart of town. We had a great evening meal at BAYWOOD BOYS BBQ walking distance from the Inn. I later learned the Baywood Boys also cater the MSTA event banquet. The place seemed to be very popular with the locals.

Day 4, Friday June 24
On Friday we got back on the Blue Ridge Parkway and rode it into Virginia. At Meadows of Dan we turned onto Jeb Stuart Highway and then followed some obscure back roads to George Washington National Forest where we resumed on the BRP to Shenandoah National Park and the Skyline Drive. We stopped for gas in Rocky Mount, VA at a new to us Sheetz station where they had a touch screen fast food ordering system. We tried it out and got a great (for gas station food) breakfast. The cool thing about this system is you can order a totally custom made to order meal without the typical hassles. Entering Skyline Drive there is a fee to enter Shenandoah NP but I took advantage of the opportunity to purchase my lifetime old timers pass for ten bucks (which covers passengers)! We caught some light rain on Skyline but stayed dry in our rain gear. The Drive was quite scenic and the wet roads made the low speed limit a non issue.

We turned off at US 33 then north onto US 340 to reach our motel for the night in New Market, VA after a 302 mile ride. The Quality Inn where we stayed also housed the JOHNNY APPLESEED restaurant, complete with a goofy ten foot statue of Johnny at the entrance. The restaurant has been in business for 35 years serving "Southern Style Cooking in a relaxed country atmosphere".

Day 5 Saturday June 25
Saturday morning we left New Market via I-81 as far as Front Royal, then backroads, crossing the Potomac River and cutting through tiny pieces of both West Virginia and Maryland, including Antietam National Battlefield, before entering Pennslyvania; back on I-81 from Hagerstown, MD to Chambersburg, PA. Although I generally try to avoid them, I figured the Interstate was the best option through densely populated Maryland. That proved to be the case for Pennsylvania as well as we zig-zagged our way across the PA farmland, not making good time. We eventually reached the Susquehanna River and followed it on US 11 to our Quality Inn in Wilkes Barre, arriving around 3:00 pm after a 307 mile ride. After checking in we walked over to the TGI Fridays for some adult beverages. We returned later for a nice evening meal.


Day 6 Sunday, June 26
On Sunday morning we got out of town on I-81 and rode up to Dunmore, PA and exited onto US 6. At Carbondale we got onto PA 171 then 370 to the Delaware river. We crossed the Delaware into New York and followed the river on NY 30 along the northern border of Catskill park. At Colchester the river widened into the Pepacton Reservoir. This seemed to be a big fishing and vacation spot although very rustic. The road was winding and rough but scenic. We continued north on 30 to I-88. We navigated the Interstate system though Schenectady and Albany, emerging on NY 7 and crossing into Vermont. We arrived at Stratton Mountain and the Black Bear Lodge around 2:30 after a short 280 mile ride. We were greeted by the STAR greeters with a bottle of cold water and then greeted by a bunch of old friends from far and wide, including fellow Louisiana members Kevin Yeats and Paul Lefort and son Paulie. Chris Laderer, one time LA member and his dad Don of California, Keith Danielson of Michigan and Jim Girton of Kansas were also there and would share many good times and miles with us

The Black Bear Lodge proved to be a fine venue for STAR. Our room was quite comfortable and the general layout of the facility was congenial with a pleasant parking area for outdoor mingling and a comfortable lounge in the lobby with friendly bartenders. Dining options just a short walk up the hill were limited due to the ski resort off season status but the food was good and the prices reasonable.

Sunday evening our group walked up the hill to the village and Mulligans for a fine evening meal. Others ate at Table 43.1 in the lobby of the Black Bear which reportedly had good food but a very limited menu. If I recall correctly they did have a nice MSTA special with an Angus burger and a local craft brew but I did not try it. (I did sample a few local craft brews and their selection of Bourbon.) I think I already mentioned the friendly Bartenders.

Day 7 Monday, June 27
Monday of course we rode one of the provided routes. The printed route maps were not much use according to our printed map users as they lacked highway numbers. In the absence of our usual fearless leader Tino, it fell on me to lead the group, since I had the routes downloaded from the MSTA website loaded into my Zumo. We chose the Mt. Greylock route and it wasn't bad, probably the best of the bunch. In general the roads were on the mediocre side compared to quite a few other STAR venues I've attended.

The Greylock route took us south through Green Mountain National Forrest on 100 which is a main area highway and made up a part of most of the routes. We crossed into Massachussets and to Mt. Greylock State Reservation and up a narrow winding run to the top where we were rewarded with a nice view. We lunched at the Bascom Lodge deli which was rustic and amazingly laid back. It took a while to get our sandwiches but the wait was pleasant and the food worth it. The return ride was mostly a backtrack and the round trip totalled 150 miles.

Day 8 Tuesday, June 28
Tuesday was the lunch ride and we all made the ride despite an ominous weather forecast for the afternoon. Accordingly we made an early start making time for a souvenir stop at the cool Weston Village Store on the way despite a lengthy stay at the store we were among the first to arrive at the Lookout Tavern in Killington, VT, the lunch stop. The restaurant was nice and the food tasty.

The ride back on US 7 was congested and disappointing. Arriving back at Stratton Mountain by 1:00 pm we had only ridden 115 miles for the day and the threat of rain had evaporated. So we looked at the route maps and decided on "Loop 1". It looked good on paper but we continued to find ourselves on gravel roads! After about 20 miles of gravel we concluded it must have been a dual sport route. We abandoned the route and worked our way back to the lodge on paved roads. WE did manage to stumble onto a couple good paved roads. Tuesday night we returned to Mulligans for another fine meal.

Day 9 Wednesday, June 29
On Wednesday we rode loop 3, or most of it, totalling about 150 miles. This started out on 100 south again like Monday then west on 9 to West Battleboro where we I ran up and down the Connecticut River on US 5 and then I-95 trying to avoid the traffic in Battleboro. We did avoid the traffic but went about 20 miles out of our way! The going was slow due to traffic and we cut the route short at Rockingham and arrived back at the Black Bear in time to pack up for the return home and freshen up for the banquet.

We enjoyed the banquet, the food was good and we didn't have to wait for it. The guest speaker was great and the highlight as always was the bike raffle selection. The winner of the 2016 BMW F800 GT, Rich Grabowski of Michigan was a hoot. He gets the prize for most excited STAR raffle winner. If I am not mistaken this was his FIRST STAR!


Day 10 Thursday, June 30
Thursday Stacie and I headed for home but our trip was far from over. Some of the roads we would ride on the way home were way better than the Vermont roads. We left Vermont the way we came in, through Bennington and then Albany. But from Albany we rode I-87 south to NY 299 then US 209 to East Stroudsburg, PA and Interstate 80 west to Valley, Pa crossing our inbound track and the Susquehanna at Berwick. From Valley it was backroads westerly to State College, PA home of STAR 2001, total miles for the day 396. We could have stayed at the STAR host Ramada Inn but I opted instead for Quality Inn because a Greek restaurant was within walking distance. I am addicted to Gyros. The place was called "The Greek" but I was disappointed in the Gyros plate. I have eaten Gryos plates at about 20 different Greek/Lebanese restaurants and they are almost all basically the same when it comes to Gyro plates with the slices of lamb and beef mixture carved form the vertical rotisserie. Although they claim to be authentic, the Greek's Gyros was different: thin strips of lamb and beef more shredded than carved and the flavor was not up to par. But overall the dining experience was great. The building was perched at the top of a hill and the dining room was on the second floor with a nice view and the decor and atmosphere was great as was our college student waiter. One oddity at the Greek was they would not serve alcohol, perhaps a local ordinance. But there was a wine store on the first floor and our waiter went downstairs for us and bought us a bottle to go with our meal.

Day 11 Friday, July 1
Friday's route was 330 miles and would take us briefly though Maryland and through Canaan Valley, Monongahela national Forest and Davis, West Virginia home of STAR 1996. The roads through Canaan Valley and the Monongahela NF were the best of the trip, rivalling the best in the North Carolina and Tennessee. We stopped for lunch in Davis, which is a quaint little town, at a really cool family owned Italian place located in a hundred year old steam ship office. The decor and atmosphere was amazing and we had a table where we could see the cooks at work in the kitchen making pizzas the old school way. And the pizzas were amazing! After lunch we rode through the towns of Cowen and Camden which were on our route. These are two of the towns that had suffered record flooding just the prior week. We were amazed by the 10 foot high piles of debris on the side of the highway. A sight that has become all to familiar...

Our destination for the night was Fayatteville, WV. The Quality Inn was located in a residential area of Fayetteville and a pleasant, shaded .8 mile walk through an old, upscale neighborhood to Pies and Pints, another nice place to eat. Although the pizza menu was amazing it did not quite compare to what we had had for lunch. The beer selection however was fantastic. Belgian Abbey ale is one of my favorites styles of beer and I ordered a Trappistes Rochefort 10. One of the best beers I've ever tasted and 11% alcohol.


Day 12 Saturday, July 2
Saturday, we rode 358 miles to Athens, TN starting with more great back road twisties in West Virginia and Virginia. We stopped for lunch at a Huddlehouse in St. Paul, VA and ate our only mediocre meal of the whole trip. We rode US 11 from Kingsport TN to Knoxville then Interstates 40 and 75 to Athens. Our Super 8 was next to an Applebee's and we ate well there.

Day 13 Sunday, July 3
Our final full day on the road was 351 miles to Meridian, MS. and we rode I-75 the whole way. Boo! We stayed at a Days Inn and ate at a Logans Steakhouse and enjoyed some good steaks.

Day 14 Monday, July 4
On independence day we arrived home after 250 miles of back roads through Mississippi. Total trip mileage 3922 miles. Another great trip, another great STAR. Next year Colorado Springs! See you there!


TEXAS HILL COUNTRY Oct 28 30 Kerrville, Texas
(MSTA official event)

YO Ranch Resort
2033 Sidney Baker
Kerrville, TX 78028

Judi Rowe
469-879-2066 (I think Tony, Kevin and Rod are going to this)

Tellico Plains, TN October 21 23, 2016
(Just for fun event)

Street and dual sport riding around Tellico Plains and in the Cherokee National Forest
Rustic or RV camping and cabins available at Cherohala Mountain Trails Campground
(Cabins and RV sites sold out, campsites available)
32 Reliance Rd
Tellico Plains TN 37385

Coordinator: Bill Wilson vfrcauv@yahoo.com

Ride SAFE and don't forget to VOTE.
Keep riding & smiling

Bob Chappuis, Editor