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2 For 1 Story Special: The Break-in and The Grand Tour (Louisiana style)

Editorial Note: This article was first published in May of 2004.

By Matt M.

Well here it is. A little story bout a swamp dog and his motorcycle. You all know what spring does to motorcyclists; well I guess I fall in that category. Some of you seasoned members might remember me when I was with you; tall, skinny, not young, not old guy (think of a good looking Joe Joe with light brown hair and a little more of it) riding on the little blue rocket; Yamaha YZF-R1. I hope they are fond memories, because mine are.

This April (2004) I got the itch, you know the bike-buying itch. So I traded old Blue in for the Beast. Amazingly enough it is a totally different animal, it has very bad manners. The beast is a 2004 Suzuki GSXR 1000. I think some would agree. I started to get to know it a little better a few days after I took it from the dealer. It seemed like the perfect excuse to get some new PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and visit all my family. And as Forest Gump would say...So I did.

The day after Easter I set out from my home here in Bossier City, Louisiana on the Break-in tour. My first stop my sister's house in Plano, Texas just north of Dallas. I would 'cop a squat' or 'grab a rack' at her place that night and go to the well know Moto-Liberty motorcycle apparel store in Dallas the next morning. On the way there I ended up on the I-635 loop around D/FW right at rush hour. OH MY G_D! Not used to that. I tried light speed so I wouldn't have to see the cars. The stay went well, I arrived just in time. My niece had made refrigerator surprise! It was delicious. The next day, to avoid the traffic on I-635 I did the yuppie thing and PAID MONEY to drive on Bush Toll way. It reminded of Bush, flat and empty. Haha Moto had everything you could want. I picked a nice mesh summer jacket and matching pant all with approved CE armor.

So with business done I took off to see a friend of mine on the way to my other sisters house (I have 2 sisters and 1 brother). My friend lives in Durant, Oklahoma. He is the editor of the Durant Democrat daily paper. I strolled up into the paper office like an old west cowboy with all the ridin' stuff on. We talked and had lunch and I was on my way again. Next stop my childhood hometown of Antlers, Oklahoma. (pop. 2500) I visited some friends around town and went to dinner with the sister.

The morning of the third day was here and I was on my way to Tulsa town, because my brother lives just west of Tulsa in Locust Grove (his wife's hometown). I was going to watch my nephew play t-ball, visit my bro and see an old school buddy in Tulsa....So I did. I tried to get my first bike service in Tulsa but that didn't work out. As you guess I am already past 600 miles. After lunch with brother and old friend we picked the bike up from the sorry dealership and filled up and set out again.

I was going south the long way this time, the back roads, the nether regions, pastures, prairies, hills, curves, the breath of scenic highway one and Talimena Drive swept past my cheeks.... because I was going south not east. I literally drove past it. On this leg of the journey I took the only highway picture of the trip at Robbers Cave S.P. I arrived back in Antlers, Okla. well before dark. Open roads no traffic! Teleportation?

Day five, Antlers, Oklahoma to Shreveport, Louisiana. Driven this many times before. It's alright until 30 miles north on Shreveport the roads start getting rough and the tiny ship gets tossed (if you know what I mean). Home safe and sound with only 2 close calls the whole trip from people without eyes. Awesome! 1200+ miles, 5 days.

Now on to the SANDOLLAR M/C Grand Tour of North Louisiana! I figured if I could stay in the saddle from the previous trip the Grand would be a piece of cake. This does require planning! Some letters are hard to find and some towns I went through didn't have signs or postal centers. Luckily the route was less than two tanks of gas, seeing as how it costs almost $10 to fill with super unleaded now. Hey, this isn't my truck!?

I left Bossier City mid morning heading east on Interstate 20. 20 minutes later I get off onto old Highway 80 at Dixie Inn(D). One down. The next hour and a half was on highway 80 going to Ruston. (R). Along the way I pass through Minden (M), Taylor, Gibsland, Arcadia (A), Simsboro (S), and Grambling. In Ruston, I also get a shot of LA TECH University. (L). From Ruston its south down highway 167. Passing through Clay(no sign), Ansley (A), Quitman, North Hodge (N), and Jonesboro. At Jonesboro turned west on highway 4. I drove through Lucky but was not, no signs! In Castor (C) I stopped for lunch and fuel, the only place in town with both. Drove through Ringgold because I had the R already and intersected highway 71 at Loggy Bayou (L). Now it was time for the out of the way letter (O) which was 60 miles north Loggy Bayou in Oil City. In Oil City I took pictures of the Louisiana Oil Museum and for good measure to finish the day I went another 12 miles to get the Louisiana border sign, even though it doesn't count. Just for good measure. The most fun about this was passing the same people all day after stopping to take pictures. I suggest this for everyone! It's makes a great day. This took me 6 hours and around 200+ miles.

motorcycle parked in front of the Robbers Cave State Park sign
Robbers Cave State Park

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