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Fourth Quarter 2016 Louisiana MSTA Newsletter Bob Chappuis, Editor

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!





Turn One

Another year has just about gone by. It has been a crazy one in many ways and I am not quite sure what to think about it all.

I sold my VFR 800 that I had owned for 16 years and put 135,000 fun miles on. It was a classic and still ran great but just no longer had a place in my stable. I replaced it with a Yamaha YZF R3 a really fun track bike. We did a track day in October and it was great to get back on the track. I am hoping to get back into track days on a more regular basis. I also put in lot of road (and some offroad) miles this year, getting close to my 31,000 all time annual high at 30,432 with 8 days to go. So I guess its been a good year.

Last month I ranted/whined about not getting any newsletter input from members. Well you listened and came through. We have road tales from Rod Fors and Tony Crowell both about the Texas Hill Country Ride and photos contributed by Kevin Yeats. THANKS Y'ALL!


Later...
Bob




TEXAS HILL COUNTRY RIDE

By Rod Fors

I wanted to get to Kerrville a couple days ahead of Friday, 28 Oct, the official check in date so I could spend some time seeing old friends and doing a quiet tour. With that in mind I headed out about 7AM on Tuesday for what I hoped would be a quick trip into Houston and a lunch break. As I left the neighborhood in Destrehan I knew speed was going to be kept low. I saw 6 people getting tickets between my house and LaPlace (about 10 miles). Must need an infusion of money in the parish treasury. End of the month and bills were due maybe. As I got on I-10 to head west things did not improve until Lake Charles. Never the less, I made Houston by 1300 and met 2 old friends at Clay’s on the west side for lunch. I only made it to Sealy that afternoon and called it a day.

Wednesday I headed North from Sealy to intersect Tx 290. I have a friend in Brennan to visit for lunch there which always involves at least a cold beverage while trying to get his old Sportster going. After failing that, I headed out 290 so I could avoid San Antonio getting to Kerrville in time for dinner with other friends at the Elks club for dinner. I won’t avoid San Antonio again. I hit the outer edge of Austin at 1500 and didn’t clear the city until 1730, the time I expected to be in Kerrville. Then there was road construction on Tx 16 starting at Fredricksburg to just north of Kerrville. Next year I will plan a better route and check road conditions.

Thursday was a good day. Rode out to Luchenbach stopping at some old friends house and a couple wineries on the way. My plan was to meet up with an old Army pilot who rode out from Tucson on his ST; supposedly his last road trip. I had made plans to meet him in Dripping Springs at the Barber Shop. My timing was perfect; he was turning right into the parking area as was turning left from the other direction. Had a good lunch there headed back to Kerrville where he would spend the night with me before heading back to Tucson. I wanted to get to Kerrville before dark-thirty to avoid Bambi and his friends but still managed to have fun on FM 743, even with the late setting sun in the eyes. Only had 5 does to contend with that I saw. One near miss.

Friday morning I got my pilot friend pointed in the right direction while I got checked into the Y.O. Ranch, the event hotel in Kerrville. I heard from him that night and he has decided to keep his bike and try to make the Kerrville ride with me next year. Also met up with Kevin and Tony in the bar at the YO after going out on a small tour of some really great roads in that area. Moose and a few from his part of the world showed up also. Dan Thomas did not make it this year.

Saturday started with a big burrito and doughnut breakfast at the local bike shop just near the hotel. After breakfast Dave Moss (Tenere, Tyler Tx), Scott Sneddon (BMW also Tyler Tx) and I headed out to do the Three Sisters route. Dave led as he was most familiar with the roads having spent a lot of time out there. We lucked out and were contraflow to most other traffic so didn’t get stuck behind the usual Harley tourists. Dave made the ride interesting by keeping the pace fun and knowing where the local sheriff hung out. We did see some riders after taking spills but aid was already there and we moved on. Saturday dinner was a good spread put on by the hotel and as much as you wanted. A lot of door prizes were handed out. Ninety-two registered riders this year. Not sure but I think that is more than last year.

Sunday I waited for daylight again to avoid Bambi and friends. It gets light later than here as it’s on the west edge of the time zone. Anyway, I needed to get home to prepare for the onslaught of trick-or-treaters on Monday. The trip home was 9-1/2 hours with lunch stop and gas stops.




TEXAS HILL COUNTRY 2016

By Tino

October is one of my favorite months. Even in the steamy swamps of south Louisiana, the weather in the 10th month is as about as perfect as it gets. The oppressive humidity is down; along with the temperature, and it’s usually the most rain-free of the 12.

With this in mind, it wasn’t hard to make the decision to head to the Texas hill country for the annual MSTA get together. All the usual LA suspects were busy except for Kevin Yeats who was able to receive a yard pass from his wife in order to go. However, he chose to trailer a perfectly good motorcycle to Texas. I fired the BMW 1200GS up on Thursday morning and headed west north-west, through the sugar cane and cotton field’s en-route to my sister’s house located about 90 miles south of Dallas.

Northwest up I-49 to just south of Natchitoches, I decided to take a shortcut over to LA 6 and then cross Toledo Bend Reservoir into Texas. Now, being from Louisiana I’m used to rough roads and bad pavement, but even I was surprised at the condition of what was partly LA120 and then a succession of parish roads. The path went from smooth asphalt to rough road to smooth dirt to deep sand, then back to nice dirt, then five different forms of pot- holed and deteriorating pavement that was so bad I couldn’t tell what it originally consisted of.

Once in Texas, I enjoyed a smooth, somewhat curvy ride most of the way to my sister’s place near the small town of Teague. Well, that is, until I got to her long, dirt, driveway that actually resembles a motocross track complete with whoops and ruts! After this day of riding, I reached back and patted myself on the back for choosing an adventure bike with long-travel suspension.

After a nice visit with my sister and brother in law, I headed west and southwest just after daylight with temps in the mid-fifties and beautiful blue sky… sun at my back. There is much to love about Texas. A beautiful state with plenty of good roads, scenery, BBQ and some of the most loyal and proud-of-their-state citizens you will find anywhere. And to top it all off, some of the best speed laws in the country. If lane splitting were legal it would be almost heaven.

I only had about 250 miles to travel to Kerrville on Friday so I decided to find some of the small Farm-to-Market roads that were nominally headed in Kerrville’s direction and see what they had to offer. As it was, I found some gems that would get me to my destination quite nicely.

US 84 west out of Waco is quite boring…but it does take you to the little town of Star where you can find FM1047 south. It would take me south to FM’s 581 and 580, through Bend, Texas and onto Cherokee at TX16. All the aforementioned roads are scenic, decently paved, and take you through a very lovely bit of Texas countryside.

Having skipped breakfast, I was frantically searching for a Mom and Pop place to eat when I realized I was but a scant few miles from Llano and BBQ. By the time I arrived in Llano, Coopers was packed so I went just about a block up the road to Inman’s BBQ which satisfied me immensely.

Kevin meanwhile was stuck in his pickup truck trudging through SanAntonio traffic. The reservation at the Y.O was in his name, so I slowed my roll and decided to take FM965 off of 16 toward Enchanted Rock. Good decision...very nice road and scenery.

As it turned out my little scenic detour delayed me just long enough for Kevin to arrive, check in and get the keys to our room. Almost perfect timing. After unloading, we headed over to the lobby where we met fellow LA rider Rod Fors. We then retired to the bar to await registering and drink, what turned out to be significant amount of alcohol (for me at least).

The weather Gods continued to bless us on Saturday when Kevin and I departed for the three sisters and other great roads. The worst part of the ride was the stop and go red light to red light saga through Kerrville. Once out of town though and the curves and scenery will make you forget all about that.

There was however one more obstacle to overcome… the enemy of all motorcyclist…DEER. According to some reputable sources the deer is the MOST dangerous animal in North America when it comes to killing humans. I believe this whole heartedly as I came within just a few feet on three occasions of hitting one of the evil creatures.

We made our way along the river and then down TX187 that runs across the top of the hills toward Lost Maples. That seemed like a good place to stop, have refreshment and ogle the tons of motorcycle riding by. Ogling done, we continued west on FM337 toward Leakey. On the way, we had our photos taken by the guy from TXMOTOFOTO in one of the curves.

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Normally we stop for BBQ at the Hog Pen in Leakey but we find that it has disappeared. Oh well. Onward and upward…literally. Up FM336. Great road, weather, scenery…all was going well until we rounded a right hand corner and saw a motorcyclist standing beside the road and giving us the universal symbol to slow down, which unfortunately can only mean one or two things ..Someone has crashed…or there is some sort of road hazard ahead. Sadly, the former was the case. It appeared as though a cruiser rider had gone down with what appeared to me to be serious injury. There were about 10-15 people assisting so we just said a prayer and kept rolling. I never heard what caused the crash nor the extent of the injuries.

From there we continued north to TX41 then over to FM335 south to Barksdale/Camp Wood. This is where we found a hot dog stand in the middle of nowhere. Nice little place geared toward the motorcyclist. Back on FM337 our great day of riding continued past the photo guy again then onto TX16, It was here that Kevin received some divine intervention. After turning north onto 16, there was a small car between us.

Anyway, as I am always on the lookout for things that may ruin my day, I spotted a State Trooper parked on the shoulder facing us. Kevin, either did NOT see the Trooper or simply decided ignore the fact as he passed the car over a double yellow line directly in front of the Trooper. Luckily for Kevin, the Trooper seemed more engaged in working on his car's computer terminal and missed the whole illegal affair. Heaven, once again, had smiled upon Kevin.

Back into the hills we rode. It had been a while since I had ridden 16 north and I had forgotten about the tight switchback corners. They provided me the only excitement of the day as I went in too hot and almost brake checked Kevin who had remembered them and mastered the turns prefectly. We made it back to the hotel safe and sound and performed the ritual of every rally; shower, rest up a bit, walk around the parking lot looking at the fine machinery and then going to banquet and not winning anything. EVERY person at our table won something but us. This happens on such a regular basis that we ALMOST don’t want to win anything now in order to keep our streak alive! Maybe someday we will win a trophy for biggest losers! The banquet was awesome anyway, got to see lots of old friends and really that’s what this is all about!

We decided to stay an extra day and ride a couple of different roads and some more of the same. Sunday morning provided more of the same great weather, roads and …deer! Tons of them! We rode northwest on FM783 to Harper and then a brief stint on US290 to FM479 that brought us to Junction. We were riding south on US377 out of junction when we met several cars and motorcycles that gave us the unmistakable signal that some form of revenue enforcement was awaiting us around the next curve. Well, much to our surprise there was no black and white, but instead an 18 wheel truck parked SIDEWAYS across all lanes of travel...plus the shoulders. The mystery was why? There were no businesses around and seemingly plenty of better places in which to turn a truck around. I just chalked it up to a driver who just didn’t give a crap if someone hit his truck.

US377 was very scenic for the most part, but then straightened out near Rock Springs. Not to worry though; one my favorite roads in Texas lay just ahead. TX55 south of Rock Springs is a wide, 4 lane curve machine that descends down a scenic canyon on the way to Barksdale/Camp Wood. It’s not a long road but it is a FUN road. We decided to take 335 back up to TX41 at Barksdale in order to run it in the opposite direction from the previous day. Different perspective and all that don’t ya know.

Just as we were turning back north, a gaggle of chrome clad Harleys entered the road ahead of us. Great, now we have to find a place to pass 10 pirates chugging along this beautiful road. Kevin was leading and after about of mile of following the Harley Fergusons, signaled to pull over. I thought he was going to let the boys in black get ahead but as is the usual custom of my tiny-bladdered friend; he just had to pee. After some 5 or 6 minutes of relieving himself and creating yet another small river, we continued north. The leather vest gang was stopped at the intersection of 335/TX41 when we arrived to turn east. I can only imagine the conversation they had as we arrived. “Them big ol’ dirt bikes sure are slow”. On the contrary Pirates, only Kevin’s urinary activities are slow… and frequent.

TX41 could not be more boring but we have to return to Kerrville, so we endure it all the way to FM1340 that follows the north fork of the Guadalupe River. Awesome little road. The fun soon ends as we approach Ingram on TX39 and the never ending, unsynchronized stop lights of K-Town!

By the time we arrived back at the Y.O. The parking lot, once filled with the sights and sounds of MSTA bikes and riders was reduced to an empty space only occupied by me, Kevin and one guy loading up a ZX-10 on a trailer. How sad.

Kevin loaded his Triumph Explorer on the trailer and began packing for an early morning blast off. My plan was to leave at first light sometime after 7 am. About 330 the next morning, I heard what sounded like a giant rat rumbling about my room. It of course was Kevin preparing for the ride home in his Adventure truck. He departed at 4 am. As I was wide awake I decided to tempt fate and leave early also, knowing very well there were thousands of deer waiting to kill me.

I departed at 5:02 am on I-10 east driving lights blazing! I stopped counting deer when I reached 25 after about 20 miles. But now, a new and just as deadly hazard has made an appearance. FOG!

Always the optimist, I kept thinking I would be through with it in a few miles. WRONG! It lasted until San Antonio where it cleared nicely until Luling. I pulled into Buccee’s for gas and to let the sun come up and help out with the fog. Which it did NOT. I rode in about 40 yard visibility until Sealy where I gave up and found a Huddle House Restaurant in which to avoid impending death. By this time, the trailering Kevin was in Lafayette.

I was able to catch the end of rush hour through Houston and use the HOV lane that made for a very speedy trip through the big town. Now for the worst part of the trip. Houston to Baton Rouge is completely devoid of ANYTHING resembling decent scenery. It’s always the most miserable part of any trip to my west. And… as if life decided to give me the big giant finger, once you make it across the ugly expanse, one has the great honor of crossing the mighty Mississippi River into Baton Rouge… at a leisurely 2 miles per hour.

You can’t go wrong with a trip to the Texas Hill Country during good weather. We are already looking forward to next year’s meeting. Now if I could only convince the Texas legislature to allow deer hunting 24/7, life would be truly be great!

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UPCOMING EVENTS

STAR 2017 Colorado Springs, Colorado

A week earlier this year. Stacie and I are registered. STAR 2017 will take place June 11-15, 2017

Online Registration

2017 REGIONAL EVENTS

Below are 2017 regional events with confirmed dates

Tri-Star May 26-29 -- Sparta, North Carolina

BIG LYNN LODGE RIDE July 21 - 23 -- Little Switzerland, NC

OZARKS BS RALLY Sept 8 - 10 -- Theodosia, Missouri

Texas Hill Country Rally October 27 - 29, 2017 Kerrville, Texas





For event details check out the RideMSTA website: MSTA EVENTS


2017 OFF ROAD EVENTS

Eldon Rix asked me to post these MSTA "Just For Fun Events" and Eldon says "Call right away" to reserve a cabin or campsite at Moab!

Scan



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That will do it for 2016! I enjoyed riding with all of you this year and look forward to to seeing you in 2017. MERRY CHRISTMAS and a Prosperous and Safe NEW YEAR to all of you. KEEP IN TOUCH!

and Ride Safe,

Bob Chappuis