September 09 Louisiana HSTA Newsletter P.1

Turn One

We have a great newsletter for you this month! Member ride reports on the MSTA Bull Shoals event by Drew Newcomer, the non-MSTA Pike's Peak MotoMarathon by Dave Dickson and our September lunch ride by yours truly, all with nice pictures, off course. From all accounts,the Colorado MotoMarathon series certainly sounds like a not for the faint-of-heart, hardcore sport touring event but as usual the MSTA Louisiana chapter was represented well! Closer to home, Newcomer braves a flea attack to bring you his report on the great riding and fine event that Ed and Linda Young put on in Missouri. And I offer up my report on our lunch ride to Not Your Mama's Resaurant in Livonia as well as a product evaluation on a usefull riding accessory.

As I write this, I am enjoying the cool weather that has finaly arrived and prime riding season is in full swing. Several popular MSTA official regional event opportunities (listed below) are on tap plus our local MissLou Halloween weekend ride. Don't miss out, attend an event! Also, it is time to reserve a cabin for Cajun Christmas, details below.



Web footed riders go to the mountains

by Dave Dickson

The broad alpine valley between the distant Rocky Mountains gave us an attack helicopter's perspective. The law had no place to hide. The cool dry air was clear, mountain clear, almost magnifying the panorama. No trees, the road rising in both directions as if we were in the bottom of a shallow bowl. Pilots call it CAVU, ceiling and visibility unlimited.
I glanced in my mirror, I could feel the diamond hard glint in Dennis' eye. Our BMWs were running hard and strong, reveling in the upper part of the power band as we sped on the vacant wide shouldered two lane road. I could 'hear' him thinking, "Let's catch those sons of bitches".

We've ridden together enough that pantomime communications are second nature. We simultaneously turned up the heat. Faster. We could now see them up ahead like dots on the distant highway. Four miles, three miles, really screaming across the empty arid land through the thin air, two miles, one mile… We let our speed bleed off some, not to pass them… 140, 130, 110 falling in pace with them at 100.
They caught sight of us in their mirrors and thought, "Wha…? Who are those guys"? I pulled up next to Mike's GS riding side by side in formation and signaled, "Let's eat", pointing to my mouth. He motioned to me to go next to Paul and ask him. I rode up next to Paul and pantomimed again. He made an "ok" with his fingers. But lunch wasn't in their plans. The Pike's Peak MotoMarathon was on. Stopping to eat isn't part of the leaders' strategy. These guys were at the top of the standings from the previous event. Locals versus the flatlanders from sub-sea level Louisiana, and they were veterans. As it turned out, they were again to eventually prevail, but not without good friendships forming. There was a warrior's recognition and respect of mutually talented riders. We all stopped briefly, at an abandoned ghost town gas station. Knowing that we caught them and not knowing us yet, Paul solved the competitiveness of the situation with a friendly, "Why don't we all ride together"?

Dennis and Paul are probably the best BMW RT riders in the country. The look of the RT is upright and touring oriented, but in the right hands they made them perform like Yellow Wolf on his 'Wing.

Dennis BMW R1200RT, Eric Kawasaki ZZR1200 and I BMW K1200R Sport had ridden 1,240 miles up from New Orleans in the two days prior to this. "Damn, Texas sure is big". Tired, but excited, we checked in at the Pikes Peak Motorsports dealership in Colorado Springs. Some introductions, some replacement parts, a visit to the onsite motorcycle museum and then we were off to the nearby PPMM event motel for the night. By the way, I purchased the most expensive front brake pads in North America, still cheaper than bad pads, though. $164.80 with a 20% discount for two sets of OEM pads and I did the labor. Yeoowwouch!!
That night was the rider's meeting in Colorado Springs where we met the organizers for the first time. Mike Disney BMW R1200GS and Paul DiMarchi BMW R1200RT made all of us feel welcome with a glass of dark red wine and tire kicking conversation. They said, "Everyone will be leaving about 7AM", all the while they were planning to leave at sunrise a half hour earlier. They weren't using their best poker faces though and we knew what was up. Eric and I struggled with our GPSes to get the route right. Being dog tired and in the wrong time zone added to programming difficulties. By Day Four we were smooth at it.
John Metzger and newly fiancée-ed Katie showed up pulling a trailered Suzuki VStrom and all the paraphernalia for the road-rally type of event. There would be no timed start because after the next day's maps are handed out, you are free to leave whenever. Only the final check-in time is recorded each day. There are no prizes, other than satisfaction. At the riders meeting that first night, John handed out the route sheets with the check points. Pikes Peak, stop and take a photo of your badge number and the elevation sign at the top, next it was off to Cottonwood Pass, same there, shoot and scoot.

The first morning of the event started eventfully. When we exited the interstate headed for the first check point of the day, Carl Honda ST1100, a participant, excitedly pointed to Eric's bike doing a frantic arm waving semaphore that baffled all of us. Eric had failed to entirely close his left hard bag. As we left the motel and headed south on I-25, Eric started the Hansel and Gretel "don't get lost routine". Pieces of clothing littered the left lane for miles, including his wallet. Doing cross country rides, we have found that keeping your wallet and phone in baggies is good cheap rain insurance. As it turns out, a baggie will keep the contents of a high speed ejected wallet all in the same place. Russ Harley Davidson VRod, Dennis, Eric and I were lucky to find and retrieve all lost items without incident. That cost us a half hour of riding time. But fate smiled warmly for our good deed because the Park road to Pikes Peak was closed until 7:30 AM. The other early morning riders were all waiting at the gate with the other traffic. Eric generously paid the search party's fees to use the Pikes Peak Mountain road. The park rangers waved us up to the front and let the waiting motorcycle group enter first. We didn't hold up any traffic. The Peak was a chilly 31*F. The early morning run up the paved section was like Arkansas on steroids, the final section, on packed (mostly) dirt roads, was an adrenaline producing tense 40 to 50 mph excursion to the sign at the top of the world. The view was aerial.

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Nearly all of the twenty or so participants were wearing electric jacket liners. I used to think wind chill factors were for wusses, but there is merit to it and real meaning for a motorcycle rider. I have to tell you the truth, Gerbings saved my butt.
We caught the leaders soon after Cottonwood. Then we motored on to two more checkpoints and finally to the Holiday Inn Express in Gunnison. That was to our base for the next three days of the MotoMarathon.
The first official day ended with an intense canyon run west on Highway 117, then a short run west on 50 past Gunnison to Crested Butte and back to the Holiday Inn Express in Gunnison. On desolate 117, the road would just seem to end in a sheer cliff face until at the last moment the road would reveal a hidden turn sharply exiting the narrow canyon one way or another.
There is a certain beauty in four motorcycles negotiating turns in a canyon with Blues Angels precision. Zip, zip, zip zip. On the wide high speed sweepers we would all be leaned over simultaneously like synchronized swimmers, on the tight turns we sequentially lean in for "the line" right, left, right, left…
At check in, our newly formed foursome was eight minutes ahead of Carl, the next rider. After the remaining group straggled in, we were off to the chewy steakhouse. For some reason, they proudly advertised that they used choice steaks. I explained to the young waiter, Evan, "There are three grades of meat. "Select" aka road-kill, "Choice" which is supermarket meat and Prime, which is what you should get in a Steakhouse". Other than chewy, it was good food but conversation is the better part of dining in Colorado. In New Orleans, food and conversation are neck and neck. Joining the three of Southerners at various meals were Paul, Mike, Warren Harrison Ducati Tri-Colo, Carl and Scott Miller BMW K1300GT. Days two, three and four led us through the most beautiful passes and mountain riding I have ever have seen. Aspens and cottonwood trees cover some areas, evergreens cover others. The cottonwoods and aspen have snowy white trunks with small round shaped leaves which quiver in the wind. The bottom sides of the leaves are much lighter than the top. The September date of the ride meant that many of the trees were beginning to show the vibrant colors of early fall. Brilliant yellows, painful reds and edible oranges were mixed in with the greens. The firs were rich dark green. Some of the valleys were treeless and covered in low shrubbery. The pungent heathers were almost intoxicating with the heavy perfumed scent they produce in the early morning hours. Turkey buzzards marked fallen animals, suicidal chipmunks tried their luck with traffic and tragically a fox was hit by some motorist. We saw deer at roadside and elk in the distance. One several occasions we slowed to a near stop for cattle and sheep grazing at the highway's edge. One morning two fine looking horses were trotting down the road. Rider's who started later said the sheriff and all the deputies were rounding them up as they slowly passed.
The MotoMarathon covered 1,400+ miles of legendary highways. The Million Dollar highway, Ouray (Switzerland in America), McClure Pass, Independence Pass, Molas Pass, Silverton, highways (in no particular order) 133, 92, 145 149, 50, 24, 285, 160, 64 (in New Mexico), 17, 82 and others in south central Colorado were ridden hard in the cool dry air. For those of you spoiled by continuous good weather, remember my reference point is the hot humid muggy summer heat of New Orleans. In New Orleans we measure annual rainfall in feet which typically ranges between five to six.
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PICT5206.jpg We were surrounded by mountains reaching over 14,000 feet daily. On the subsequent days, we passed Wilson Peak 14,017', Mt. Wilson 14,246', El Diente 14,159' the Ivy League mountains of Princeton14,197', Harvard 14,420' and Yale at 14,194', and about 10 others over 14,000 feet.
This brings up the altitude sickness thing; Eric had a touch of it the first day. On the second morning in the mountains, I was on the verge of selling my motorcycle and snow skis and never coming back to the mountains. I was thinking it even wouldn't be too bad just to drive off a cliff. The guys convinced me to drink plenty of water, much more than I thought I could without throwing up, and voila, in about two hours I was almost euphoric because I felt so much better. Getting dehydrated when the humidity is so low is evidently a lot easier than I thought.
Paul and Mike slipped by Dennis and me while we were being detained on a no radar detector indiscretion giving them a lead they kept. And while I am talking about equipment, let me mention tires. Eric and Dennis had mounted fresh Michelin Power Road 2's and I tried for the first time Bridgestone Battleaxe 021's. The grip and wear on all three were very good. I generally burn up tires faster than either of them, but on this trip the wear seemed about equal. These are both dual compound rear tires. Only Eric tried some rain riding for about five minutes on I-25, and I guess they did okay. On the third day, John slid on some slick new pavement and broke his VStrom and his arm. So, on the last day, check point proof was required but the check in time was eliminated because John and our timing crew (Katie and their sons) would be off getting X-Rays and a cast.

The last day was run at a relaxed pace west on 50 from Gunnison to northwest on 92. Scenic 92 runs cliff and mountain-like along the Blue Mesa Dam and gorge. We stopped at a tourist turn out and just appreciated the beauty, the serenity and marveled at our luck with the weather. Although over the four days it had rained, snowed and hailed in the area in passing widely scattered showers, it had not done so on us. Then we headed north on 133 to "Bonedale" (Carbondale) then southeast on 82 to lunch in Aspen at the Hotel Gerome for a $20 burger. After lunch, we gassed up with Aspen gas at $1.00 per gallon higher than anywhere else in Colorado. I would have been disappointed had it been otherwise.
Highway 82 led us over Independence Pass and that, my friend, is a spectacular road. It is easy to run out of superlatives when talking about motorcycling in Colorado. Sharp turns, beautiful vistas, mouth gaping drop offs, elevations that Louisianans can only fantasize over, all made the long trip worthwhile. We passed only 3.6 miles from Colorado's highest peak, Mt Elbert at 14,433 feet which book ended us with La Plata Peak at 14,345 feet. It was a wonder we could breathe at all. The final leg was east on 24 which took us back to the awards dinner at Pike Peak Motorsports BMW, Ducati and Harley dealership in Colorado Springs. Thanks Rob, for your help and support.
The MotoMarathon attracted a certain sophisticated rider group who appreciated the danger and the thrill. Most were on BMWs. Ducati, Cativa, Harley (VRod), Suzuki and Honda were represented individually and there were a couple of Kawasakis. And then there was Steve on the bright yellow CanAm riding and riding like the Energizer Bunny. When we stopped for gas or eats, three wheels would motor on by.

Dennis, Eric and I met many fine people and enjoyed ourselves immensely. The trip home was cooler than the trip up. We had faced temperatures over 103*F on the way up, "Damn, Texas sure is hot" and on the way home it didn't get hot until the second half of the second day in southern Louisiana. The timing of the trip was perfect for my work, but not so for another event we wanted to make, the MSTA (Motorcycle Sport Touring Association) SE STAR in northern Georgia. While we were gone from home, it had rained about one, one foot that is. Being outside during the daylight hours for eight days across four states and back, 4,089 miles, we were lucky to have not been rained on once. Actually, so lucky that I bought Lottery tickets and I won enough to pay for the lottery tickets. For me, that's damn lucky.

Twistin' through the Ozarks

By Drew T. Newcomer

I had not ridden in southern Missouri in quite sometime so when the opportunity arose to attend the Motorcycle Sport Touring Association's Bull Shoals Rally, I knew I wanted to attend. On a clear Friday morning I was headed up LA 15 to Farmerville and eventually to El Dorado, AR before the sun came up.

The road to Arkansas is pretty uneventful and is one I have traveled a number of times. Heading up 167 into Sheridan, I turned northwest on AR 35 heading toward Benton. I like this road that eventually takes me to AR 9 while circumventing Little Rock. I had a milestone on this trip as this was the first time I successfully found AR 5 in Benton without getting all turned around and having to backtrack to find where I was supposed to be. I headed west on AR 5 (though the signs will tell you that you are heading south to Hot Springs) until I intersected AR 9 where I turned north. 9 is a pretty ride through some rolling hills and it is a road I have enjoyed several times before. 9 intersects US 65 at Choctaw and I turned north on this major thoroughfare to Marshall where a very motorcycle highway 27 takes one to Harriet, AR where an even more motorcycle highway 14 awaits. I headed up 14 to Yellville, and continued north until I turned toward Missouri and Bull Shoals Reservoir on US 125. While this may not have been the shortest route to my final destination of Isabella, MO it was the route where one crosses the reservoir via a free ferry. I was the only passenger going north but there were several cars and a couple of motorcycles waiting to come south as the ferry approached the northern landing.

.The rolling hills of the Ozarks do not stop as you cross into Missouri. 125 continues north but on this day I turned east on US 160 to find the rally site at the Theodosia Marina Resort and my cabin which was a mile further down the road. Bull Shoals Reservoir was completed in 1952, the same year as the cabin I stayed in. And, I think the mattress in my cabin was the original as well. While not the fanciest of accommodations it certainly wasn't the worst I had ever stayed in and after Friday night's weenie roast, sleep was not a long time coming after a very enjoyable 400 mile trip

The Bull Shoals Rally organizers, Ed and Linda Young of the MSTA provided very nice packets to the 100 attendees. Routes were highlighted with suggestions for various rides. Not wanting to spend the entire Saturday in the saddle (I figured I was due a nap at some point!) I chose a route that would provide me with about 200 miles worth of Missouri countryside. I started west on 160 until I met MO 76 at Kissee Mills. I turned north to Ava, MO where I turned west on MO 14 to Sparta. At Sparta, I turned south on 125 (yes, the same 125 that I crossed the ferry on) and let me tell you this is a ride any motorcyclist would enjoy. It has plenty of ups and downs lefts and rights and very little traffic. There are no problems with road conditions except where some new asphalting is being done. 125 crosses 76 on the way back to 160 where I turned east heading back to my home base of Isabella.

On Sunday morning, there were still plenty of good roads to be ridden, so I headed east on 160 until I turned south on US 5 heading toward Mountain Home. In Mountain Home, I had a very enjoyable large breakfast (this would benefit me later) then headed south out of town on 201 to AR 341 - known to many local riders as the "Arkansas Gap." 341 is 25 miles of twisties and many motorcyclists have been bitten here by either the road (on the day before a rider was air lifted out via helicopter) or the local authorities that lay in wait for unsuspecting sport bike fanatics. I didn't have to worry about either. Two miles into 341 I had to stop and put the rain gear on. As I headed south I dealt with the curves and the rain but couldn't complain. I had the road to myself at 7:30 on Sunday morning. 341 comes to an end intersecting our old friend 14 where I turned west until intersecting AR 263 near Big Flat. Now, as soon as you turn on 263 you are met by a "Steep and Dangerous Curves" sign. I had never been on 263 before and road the 30 or so miles in the rain until I turned south on 9 which took me to highway 16 at Shirley, AR. From Shirley to Clinton was nine miles where I hooked back up with US 65 on into Conway and eventually I-40 and Little Rock.

I had originally planned to ride a different route home but because of the weather I thought it best to ride the route I was most familiar with. I eventually pulled into my drive about 2:15 that afternoon after riding in rain for all but about 45 miles of the 390 mile ride. Still, there were no complaints about the trip (well, maybe - I seem to have some flea bites on my ankles that I can't help but wonder if I picked up in my 57 year old cabin!) I rode some roads I had been on before and some that were new, and all that I hope I will ride again in the not-too-distant future. Arkansas/Missouri are not that far away and lend themselves easily to a great three-day weekend trip.


Only three members attended the September lunch ride despite great weather. This was a route suggested to me by member Dennis "Hotrod" Hedrick during out August lunch ride. A route we have run often in the past but with a couple new loops I added for interest. One big advantage to this route is that it can start at a meet-up location more convenient to our increasingly active New Orleans area members without inconveniencing our Baton Rouge area riders. I originally set the ride for Saturday but after receiving no positive replies and learning the LSU football game would be broadcast at 11:00 am I decided to switch to Sunday. However one of our regulars was offshore, another in West Virginia while two others had family obligations.

We met near Donaldsonville at Sunshine Casino and Truck Plaza at the western base of the Sunshine Bridge. Dennis [BMW 1150RT] and Kevin Yeats [Honda ST 1300] were waiting for me when I arrived a few minutes early on My Kawasaki Concours 14. After a little breakfast and conversation and waiting for any late arrivals the three of us headed southwest on Highway 70. A bit west of Paincourtville and Bayou Lafourche we turned off onto 996, the road to No problem raceway park, which has some nice clean pavement with several good curves along it's 6 miles length. Then south on 69 back to 70 at Grand Bayou passing through Bayou Corne and Pierre Part, deep in the heart of the Cajun Country.

When we reached the Intracoastal Waterway the GPS instructions were unclear and we crossed the bridge and followed the waterway north. End of the World After a few miles the pavement turned to gravel and we backtracked and re-crossed the ICW. At that point we discovered we had reached the "End of the Earth". At least that's what the sign said, in reality we were still some 15 mile north of Morgan City and 40 miles from the Gulf of Mexico. But we were trying get to Plaquemine, the back way, and we were in fact back on track, heading north along the east bank of the ICW on 997. A few boatyards and fish plants provided some sights along the otherwise boring road. We soon reached the south bank of Bayou Plaquemine and turned right, following highway 3066 to downtown Plaquemine. 3066 has a few cute little twists but is too residential for serious carving that had to wait for the opposite bank of the bayou and HWY 77. We crossed the ICW again and continued on 77 to Grosse Tete and Rosedale, crossing the bayou again to 411 and on to Maringouin and finally Livonia. A short zip down US 190 brought us to our lunch destination, Not Your Mama's Restaurant. Not's is a spin-off from Ma Mama's in nearby New Roads. The large, new building sits by itself on 190 beyond the east end of town. The menu has a good selection of sandwiches and entrées. The prices are high with an 18% gratuity added in but the food and service were worth it.

At the conclusion of our meal we all headed home our separate ways, I think we all wanted to cheer Ben Spies on to another double win in World Superbike. Kevin headed down downriver, Dennis opted for Interstate 10 and I took LA 78 to New Roads and caught the ferry. MY timing was off and it was hot waiting at the top of the levee amongst all the cages with their A/C and motors running, but better once on the boat and underway. Another good LA MSTA lunch ride safely completed. As always, good roads, good food and most of all good company


Fieldsheer LID PACK BAG

Ever since I started regularly commuting to work on my motorcycle about 5 years ago I have thought about finding a way to conveniently carry my helmet for the walk from the parking spot to my office, but never got around to actually adding something to my kit. In 2007 our departments's move to a downtown highrise in with parking at an adjacent parking garage increased focus on finding something. My walk is now about twice as far and through various doors and security card swipes and I often have other stuff to tote so it would be nice to have both hands free. Over the course of the last couple years I have intermittently searched the web for something suitable. I have never been a backback fan so my first thoughts were an over the shoulder sling type bag but found nothing much available in that style. I found several backpack type bags but all were too big and bulky for my needs and the only other option was a plain helmet bag with hand straps which did not fit my hands free requirement. When my searches came up empty I actually considered making my own sling type bag and also researched pricing of a custom made bag by the lady that makes the custom tank bags. However my sewing skills are rather poor and I found the custom options too expensive. I gave up for several months but renewed my search back in early summer and finally found the Fieldsheer Lid Pack.

This bag is reasonably priced at $30 and sized just right for a large HJC Symax II. I think the Symax II, like most flip-up helmets is fairly big as helemts go so mots helemts should fit. The bag is made of the typical cordura type material and comes in a choice of black. A double zipper main opening makes inserting and removing your helmet fairly easy once you learn correct way to orient the helmet.
The Lid Pack is fleece lined to protect your helmet finish and faceshield. The back straps are simple, adjustible 1 inch wide unpadded items. They look as if they might lack in the comfort department but the relatively light weight of a helmet makes that a non-issue. The bag also has a small zipper located on the bottom so that you can stash small items such as gloves, camera, etc. INSIDE your helmet and have easy access without removing the helmet itself.



Arkansas By-Way Boogie
October 9 - 11, 2009
Paris, Arkansas

Etowah Adventure
October 16 - 18, 2009
Etowah, TN

Texas Hill Country
November 6 - 8, 2009
Kerrville, Texas




The plan is to ride some good back roads up to Vicksburg and stay the night at the Battlefield Inn. This is a motorcycle friendly motel with an excellent restaurant and lounge on premises that we have stayed at before. The lounge features Karaoke on Saturday nights and I am told to expect some wild Halloween costumes. Should be a HOOT! I will lead a Baton Rouge Area group and the NOLA area group can either join us or plot their own route. Hopefully the North Louisiana members will join us as well. Sunday we will explore some northeast and central LA roads on the way to Grayson's BBQ in Clarence, LA, approximately 200 miles. On our return south we will hit highway 126!

Optionally, members who have not toured the battlefield park or ironclad may choose to do some Civil War sightseeing.





Check out previoust years Photo Galleries/Slide Shows

photos by Juan Quinton
photos by Moose
photos by Ninja Bob

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Répondez S'il Vous Plaît

(RSVP/REGISTRATION FORM - Please REGISTER if you are coming!)

Information Sheet: Nineteenth Annual

Friday & Saturday

Jimmy Davis State Park. (AKA Caney Creek Lake State Park)
To reserve a cabin or campsites,
call 1-877-CAMP-N-LA (877-226-7652).

The spacious, two bedroom cabins $90/night, sleeps up to 8 people with 1 queen bed in one bedroom, 2 bunk beds in the other and 1 queen sofa sleeper in the living room. Cabins all have a fire place, full kitchen with coffee maker and microwave. There are also 2 four bedroom lodges that sleep 12 in case you want to bring the whole volleyball team

This is a non AMA-sanctioned Just For Fun HSTA event and the idea is to relax, have fun, eat too much and ride. We don't care if you come in a four wheeler; the weather can be a bit cold and/or wet but there are always some hard core bikers who will brave the elements. After all, this is Louisiana: how cold can it get? But if the weather looks bad and you don't like to ride in the cold or wet pack family into your pickup or SUV and come have fun.

We will again have a catered dinner Friday night at the park held in one of the large lodges.$11.00 Pre-Pay is REQUIRED for the catered meal. Tentative Menu includes fried catfish filets, french fries, cole slaw, dessert and ice tea.

Saturday we will ride some of the best roads that Louisiana has to offer with a lunch stop at the approximate mid-point
Saturday night we will have our Christmas party and cookout at picnic shelter #3. Hamburgers, Cajun Sausage, Hotdogs, and Gumbo and softdrinks will be served. BYOL or beer!. This year we are charging $11.00 per person to cover the Saturday night meal and are requesting pre-registration in order be sure to have enough food. The festivities will conclude with our traditional Cajun Gift exchange. For more details please visit the Cajun Christmas website

That's all for now. Keep riding and smiling....

Bob Chappuis, Editor [email: bob@this here domain]