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.
This was 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 enforce that.
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 catfish idea.
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 temperatures.
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 history.
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…