Another long winded ride report because I spend too much time alone, post-pandemic.
I don't know if you're like me, dear reader, but we could be talking about the Russia/Ukraine war, and I could slip "scooting" into the conversation. So it's safe to say that everyone knows it's my passion, and of course it's off putting to some people.
Well, a couple of months ago a co-worker texted me to let me know that he had jumped through all of the hoops, and got his Motorcycle Endorsement, and he had a new bike in mind. Granted, it's not a Vespa, but I fully understand his decision to purchase a new 400cc Kawasaki Z... imagine Ninja with less plastic. It's a beautiful bike and he's smart to start with a machine with restrained power.
We've touched base a few times since, and he has asked some good questions, and I feel good about sharing what I've learned so that he doesn't make some of the same mistakes that I've made. Also, it turns out that we both are on the same work schedule with alternating Fridays off. And so it happened that at the last minute we planned a ride together last Friday.
Another aspect of my stories that I hope the reader appreciates is the geography lessons about New Orleans and environs. Travis and I sat adjacent to each other for about 5 years, pre-pandemic, but we live in different cities, and between he and I is a lake with a 24 mile bridge. The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway or simply "the Causeway" is still the worlds longest continuous bridge over water. For us, it's not a novelty or a tourist attraction, it is a necessary freeway connecting a bedroom community to the City. Okay, fair enough, it is a novelty the first time! I know a lot of riders that haven't ridden it for one reason or another... fear and loathing being the most common reasons. The speed limit is 65 mph, and it is closely monitored. I think the police will issue speeding tickets somewhere between 70 mph and Mach 1! I tend to maintain 60 to 65. My best technique is to tuck in behind a panel van or big SUV and try to stay in their draft. There is almost always a crosswind. It shouldn't surprise anyone that there are humps along the way to allow boat traffic to pass safely underneath, and there is one hump that includes a draw bridge, complete with steel deck! I don't know many drawbridges that exist on a 65mph highway, where drivers have 12 miles of momentum. It also helps to know that I've been apprehensive of draw bridges since I was a kid. The first time I rode a motorcycle across a steel deck at speed, I thought i was going to lay it down. It's only in the last year or so that I've gotten comfortable.
In previous conversations I had asked how far Travis had explored his part of the state. Not much as it turned out. He has less than 1500 miles on the odo! I had mentioned riding to Nyla's Burger Basket, and so that's where we decided to go Friday.
I would have never heard of Nyla's, except it was mentioned in some other rider's ride report. I think it was a bonus location on a long distance rally. The burgers are good, and it is just across the state line in Mississippi, so that's a psychological win-win. From Travis' to Nyla's is about 60 miles, perfect for a burger run.
After lunch, I asked if he was a fan of Lynyrd Skynyrd... turns out, not so much. Regardless, I told him about the Crash-Site-Memorial that was only about 15 miles away, and off we went. After the memorial, he wanted to show me the curvy roads that he typically rides, and off we go again, this time with him in the lead. Louisiana, south of the interstate is flat cypress swamps, but north of the Lake, it is hilly piney-woods. The roads around Bogalusa are nicely twisty, with gentle rises and falls. Travis, for a novice rider, was taking the curves at 60+ like a seasoned rider. Of course we got behind cars that were in no hurry, so that put a damper on our fun. Regardless, it was some really nice riding. Eventually we made our way to Folsom for coffee and a bio-break. Again, nice windy tertiary roads. By the time we left Folsom, the sun was low in the sky, so adventure riding was over and time to head home. The Northshore has had a population explosion since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and traffic is awful! We limped along until Travis pulled off for home, and I sat through multiple red lights on my way to the Causeway. By the time I paid my toll the sun was setting, and I had to ride those lonely 24 miles home in the gathering gloom. Just kidding, it was actually pretty pleasant. The crosswind had died down and the clouds had cleared. I have aux lights on my scooter, and the the only animals that dart in front of you are sea-gulls. Ah, but there is a difference between the northbound and southbound spans... on the southbound side, you feel every expansion joint, so 24 miles of tha-thunk tha-thunk. I'm surprised that more drivers don't wreck on the southbound span with that rhythm lulling them into sleepiness.
By the numbers, for me it was almost a 10 hour day, with 2 1/2 hours of down time, so a solid 7 hours of riding, and right at 300 miles for me, and about 200 miles for Travis.