Natchitoches Crawfish Run and Jazz Festival
April 15, 2011
The Crawfish Run has been an annual event for the Lone Star BMW Riders
for many years.
Tom and Shalinda started it off with their family ties to
Natchitoches, LA, and it has now become the largest destination weekend
ride of the year for the club.
Deb and I met the group Friday morning at
the designated start. We had planned to have breakfast, but the morning
started with dropping my wallet and cell phone in the dog water (no
snide remarks from you). Once we made it to the start, we talked a bit
with the 20 or so other solo and couple riders. We then split into
smaller groups to make the journey east into Louisiana.
definitely a social ride. At one point, a GPS showed we had been riding
for 3 hours and stopped for 3 hours. Quite a change from my normal
style of riding. But, it’s all good. We stopped in Palestine for fuel
and lunch at Ryan’s (way too much food).
As we were crossing over the Toledo Bend Lake bridge, Tom
radioed back that we would have to drop the speed as we entered
Louisiana with their 55 MPH speed limit and officers that like to
It wasn’t much earlier that Graeme, Keith and Terri’s son
passed us by. We Rodriguez a few miles into Louisiana and saw flashing
lights and three motos on the side of the road. Dang.
We met up at the
motel, and not much later Graeme, Keith and Terri’s son rolled in and showed their Louisiana State Highway Patrol performance awards.
Travis showing me his KRS gear shift lever he ground down on a tight turn passing one or our club groups.
We rested and cleaned up a bit, and then took the trolley arranged
by the club down to the Crawfish Hole for dinner.
Deb and I are not too
keen on the idea of sucking heads and eating tails, so we went for the
Right next door was the drive-through daiquiri store for a
pina colada desert. I’m not too sure that cold drink was a good idea
once we got back on the trolley with its open sides and the cool evening
April 16, 2011
Debbie and I decided to stay pretty close to Natchitoches on Saturday
and tour the plantations south of town along the Cane River. It was an
educational and relaxing experience.
Our first stop at the Magnolia, we
had our personal tour-guide, Jo Ann, who is finishing up her PhD in
Though the idea of slavery is not humane, it appears the
slaves here on this plantation at least had well-built housing to get
out of the weather. Jo Ann said that the records show the French
plantation owners paid careful attention to keeping the workers healthy.
They also invested heavily back into the production of the plantation
in contrast to the eastern US plantations, where profits were spent on
elegant mansions and lifestyles.
We passed by the Melrose, and stopped
at the Oakland for another tour.
Both of these plantations were handed
over to the National Parks in the 1980’s after the families were having
difficulty maintaining the buildings that were over 200 years old. The
original owner’s family still lives in the Magnolia house, but the
Oakland house is open for tours. There were no sturdy slave quarter
houses left on the Oakland, but we learned that some slaves lived below
the Prud’homme family house. There was even a trap door in the
children’s room for a nanny to enter and take care of the kids.
We rode back into Natchitoches and had a late meat pie lunch at Lasyones, and walked the riverside shops afterwards. LSBMWR club members started appearing along Front Street, and started sharing their stories of the day’s ride.
The jazz and RB festival was getting into a full swing below us, and Deb and I eventually made our way down to the riverfront and listened to the zydeco bands. We hung until late to listen to music and enjoy the fireworks across the water, and grabbed a ride back to the motel in Tom’s dad’s massive Lincoln.
April 17, 2011
Deb and I are turning into the new Armando and Paula.
We dragged out of bed Sunday morning to see most of the club packed up and heading out. We were waiting to ride back with Tom and Shalinda, but Tom wanted to spend some more time with his family before heading out. By the time we were packed up, Herb and Judy had just mounted their bright red Ducati, and the timing worked out fine for us to ride the more direct route back to the Dallas area. We parted ways west of Shreveport where Deb and I headed on down Hwy 80.
We ran into Thomas and Carrie, and Andy and Alicia in Marshall. They had left one hour before us, and had taken the winding back road route, and were making their way north with a big group up to Jefferson. It had been years since I was on 80, and even though we wanted to get back reasonably fast, and avoid I-20, Hwy 80 was a pain. There were yard sales, flea markets and way too many traffic signals in all of the towns along the way. OK, Scott, I believe you now. I’ll take your suggestion next time around…