Dec 19th started out as a cold and overcast Sunday. I don't know why that would surprise anyone because it seems like every year for the annual Gumbo/Bonfire ride, it is. This year makes the 6th year that Peggy and I have hosted this ride. It is one of the high points of our holiday session. We start preparing weeks in advance with the most important detail being the cooking of the gumbo. This year like the ones before, we try to calculate the amount of food we needed to prepare. I don't think we've ever turned anyone away from the kitchen with an empty bowl, we have come close, but not yet. We arrived at the appointed location (Big K at the intersection of La, Hwy 51 and Hwy 61) to find Lyle and Ed already there. Before long the parking lot was cluttered with 28 bikes, 40 members and guest. The turnout was great.
Around 11:00A.M. we mounted up and headed out. Peggy led the first group of 12, or so bikes, with the rest of the group pulling out around 5 minutes later. We took Airline Highway (61) North to Reserve La. where we jumped over to the River Road (hwy 44) and road upriver to Lutcher La. where the largest number of Bonfires are constructed. Lutcher is the self proclaimed "Bonfire Capital of the World" I don't know how many bonfires they had this year but it was impressive. After parking the bikes, we climbed up the river levee to inspect the teepee shaped monuments to Pere Noel (Santa Claus). Before long, the group started to turn on their hosts, clamoring for food (just kidding). We headed back to Reserve (just about 10 miles back down River Road). By the time the second wave arrived at my house parking was at a premium. Our wide, but short driveway and open garage soon filled to capacity and a number of bikes had to park on the side of the street (next year I'll talk to my neighbor about also using his driveway as well).
It didn't take long for everyone to find their way into the house and start a line with bowls in hand. After everyone had been fed, we gathered in the den so we could sing "Happy Birthday" to Lyle Grims. Dec. 19th was his 70th birthday so we celebrated with a cake. To make this years ride even more special, Kelly Garrison from Hebert Cycles was on hand to give Lyle his BMW 700,000-mile award. Congratulations Lyle! Here's wishing you many more miles and happy years.
Bon Fire Christmas Eve Night