Mike Jundt | State Newsletter Editor
North Central Region
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January’s meeting with guest speaker Bill Carr
Squadron members Chris and Diane Hancock made the trek up from Evansville to the north side of Indy to give us a training session on Garmin’s much maligned Basecamp. With any new software, the learning curve can be steep but Chris’s hands on session helped some of us over the hurdle. Thanks to the Morgans for supplying the classroom and arranging for a pizza delivery.
Dave Edinger’s latest project, a British Raleigh motorcycle, is slowly moving in the right direction. He’s managed to finish the foot pegs, built a trick spacer for the decompression release and finished the wiring aside from a couple connectors for the regulator and the tail light that are on order. The magneto is mounted, brakes working and oil lines to the top-end are being finished. Next step is finalize the carburetor mounting, build some carb cables and try to breathe life back into this old classic.
Interesting membership stats from MI-MSTA editor Gregg Mitchell
In 2014, the total membership of the Michigan Squadron increased by 35 members, up from 215 the previous year to 250 at the close of December 2014. Fifty-one new members joined the MSTA, 41 of which were recruited by existing members. We had 16 members who failed to renew. Percentage growth was 16.7%, making 2014 the 7th consecutive year of double digit gains in membership. I expect that the Michigan Squadron will remain the largest in the MSTA when National announces their membership numbers at STAR this coming June.
Tragically and sadly, three of our members, Bruce Schott, Gary Gulick and Cecil “Lou” Lucas, lost their lives in motorcycle accidents over the past year.
Our membership in West Michigan has continued to grow and is expected to continue doing so under the leadership of our new State Co-Director “Banjo” Bart Reiter. He has established regular monthly meetings and the attendance at those is on the rise. At the end of December we had 29 members in West Michigan up from 15 the previous year.
As I have stated in the past, a better gauge of how well a Squadron is doing needs to be based upon participation together with membership growth. The chart below shows that our participation levels fell off a little in most areas this past year. This drop off is very similar to what happened in 2012. Despite this small decrease in participation, the information shown in the chart reflects a dynamic, enthusiastic group of people who are involved with each other, the Squadron and motorcycling in general. Our Squadron is thriving and with the participation and help from our membership, I hope that 2015 will be a great year with lots of activities and riding enjoyment for everyone.
South East Region
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“NoGutsNoGlory” submitted an article for riding the Talimena National Scenic Byway. This might be an enjoyable ride if you are attending STAR 2015
If you want to enjoy fall colors and you live just north of Dallas, TX, you can either go to the hill country and see the Lost Maples area or you can get out of Texas altogether. The Lost Maples area in the Texas hill country is an amazing area − between the Texas Red Oaks and the Bigtooth Maples the fall colors are spectacular. The state park’s website has more information. It is called Lost Maples as it is far removed from any other maple forest and no one is really sure how all those Bigtooth Maples ended up there? If you need a fall color fix in mid to late November this place is hard to beat.
But that’s not what this ride report is about. Instead of heading south to hill country, three of us headed north to ride the Talimena National Scenic Byway. The Talimena National Scenic Byway is very unique as it runs atop the ridge of the Ouachita Mountains, which is one of the few mountain ranges in the USA that runs east-west, instead of north-south. It is approximately 54 miles long and runs between Talihina, OK and Mena, AR, hence the name Talimena. Both towns are nice but I prefer Mena so we rode north to Talihina to start the trail there and then spend the night in Mena, AR.
This road was designated as a National Scenic Byway in 2005 and since it runs on the top of the mountain ridge, it provides spectacular scenery along with plenty of twisties and elevation changes. This short 54-mile stretch includes 22 scenic vista pull-outs and 13% grades − it’s an amazing ride!
We rode out of Plano and headed northeast to Paris, TX. From there we took Hwy 195 towards the Red River and the Oklahoma state line. This little stretch of road is populated with some stunning farms and ranches and old growth trees covering the road as you leave Paris. It is a great ride that I wasn’t expecting as we were still in the flats and couldn’t even see the mountains yet.
After you cross the Red River you go through Idabell and end up in Broken Bow, OK. At this point it was time to stop for an early lunch and to fuel up as there aren’t too many fine dining establishments in Talihina. Turns out there aren’t too many fine dining establishments in Broken Bow for that matter. Either that or our GPS and cell phone apps both found all the out-of-business restaurants in the entire town. The one restaurant we found, that was still in business, turned out to have great Mexican food − thank goodness we all liked Mexican.
After a leisurely lunch, we headed north past the Beaver Bend State Park. We are finally getting into the hills with lots of pine trees, but not much color yet. As we continued north, finally we hit some color as we headed towards Talihina. Just outside Talihina is where you pick up the west end of the Talimena National Scenic Byway. Coming back from Talihina heading towards Broken Bow, we stopped for gas and asked the Park Ranger, who was also there getting gas, where is a good place for lunch? He says “Right here, at the gas station.” And I say, “Really?” He says, “Yes, they have the best BBQ around.” OK, so they are the only BBQ around, and yes, it was very good. The shed to the right of the bikes is the smoke shack. Smelled wonderful and tasted even better!
We had a great time doing this trip and plan to do it again this year. However, my friend’s wife recently underwent major surgery on one foot. Once that heals she gets the distinct pleasure of having the same operation on her other foot. Since she won’t be riding for the rest of the year, maybe I’ll grab the Triumph and make a day trip out of it. It’s about 500 miles RT but if you leave early it makes for an incredible trip!
From South Florida director Van VanSteelant:
The weather reports this year seem to be in a foreign language!! I don’t know what they’re talking about!! We’ve been struggling with whether to turn the A/C back on…
So, did you take advantage of the best riding weather in the country?? We had two tremendous RTEs this month. You’ll catch up with the Central ride elsewhere in our Gator Tale. Hint, it was terrific!! As for the South ride, we had a bit of threatening rain to deal with. Depending on where you started your ride, you might have been soaked, or in partial sunshine!! For the Eastsiders, we started on damp roads, encountered a misting out in the Glades, and “endured” overcast skies the rest of the day! A total of 12 riders and four drivers made their way to Roland Martin’s Tiki Bar in Clewiston. A good turnout for such a southerly destination!! We had some new faces as well as a farewell visit by Woody and his lovely bride. They will be returning to New Zealand for a few years after 12+ years here operating yachts for the very well-heeled!! The weather probably contributed to the laid back nature of the Tiki Bar, as the “shiny bike” crowd kept their chromed beauties in the garage!! We all had a great time, good food and service, and another successful 50/50 raffle! Alan Berry took home $21, and we added $21 to our total, now at $487.00. Thanks to all who participate!!
From the central Florida crew:
January 10th was a cool, sunny day for 21 riders & 3 passengers who met at the Castaways restaurant in Astor. Attendees were from Leesburg, Lakeland, Plant City, Winter Park, Wildwood, Melbourne, Vero Beach, Valkaria, Flagler, & Deland. We enjoyed lunch outdoors overlooking the St. Johns River. Merchant member, Tim Vipond donated some Amsoil door prizes.
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From California is news of their annual tradition, Return to Paso Robles IX, April 17-19, 2015.
The Melody Ranch Motel is again our home base. it is reported to be built on the site where Jesse James and his brother Frank stayed in hiding from the law for two years. The Melody Ranch, 939 Spring St., is centrally located to wineries, vineyards, pubs, restaurants and backroads in every direction! Although the block reservation has expired, there may still be rooms available. Contact the motel directly at 805-238-3911. Our rate is $84/night plus tax, a AAA discount offered. Alternatives include: 1 block north Paso Robles Inn, 1103 Spring Street, Courtyard Paso Robles, 120 S Vine Street, 12 blocks south, one block east at First Street At Highway 46 Junction about 1.5 miles north: Best Western Plus Black Oak, 1135 24th Street, Adelaide Inn, 1215 Ysablel Street, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Paso Robles, 2455 Riverside Avenue.
On Friday, April 17, the Buttons will host a wine tour outing, so please email John at email@example.com if you want to participate so that they can rent the van for designated driver transport and make reservations at the wineries. The van will leave Paso at 9 AM to visit 3-4 wineries, stop for lunch and return to Paso Robles by about 4 PM. Each participant is responsible for lunch expense and share of the van rental, which was about $20/person last year. Saturday will include suggested routes to ride, maybe even a new road or two, and a lunch stop to regroup. The Buttons are working on new dining locations for Friday and Saturday evenings. See you there.
On March 7, 2015 Nick Zarras with BMW Motorcycles of Las Vegas group rode on a 320 mile Death Valley ride from Las Vegas to Shoshone, Bad Water, Artist’s Drive, Dante’s View and Furnace Creek,
California. See the full report on page 19.
On March 14, 2015 Nick Zarras with the Motorcycle Awareness Riders Safety (MARS) group rode on the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in
coordination with the California Superbike School. Free training slots were available for early morning training bike sessions.
On March 21, 2015 Nick Zarras and the MARS group rode to the Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch track Pahrump, Nevada for a BBQ and group ride on the track.
On March 30, 2015 Nick Zarras and Gary Kozlowski rode as part of the pregame show of the Las Vegas Outlaws Arena Football at the Thomas and Mack Center, in Las Vegas, NV. We came in with The BMW Motorcycles of Las Vegas show team with the Outlaw Dancers on the back of the bikes. We made a corridor for the players to enter through and added noise for the show.