Sunshine State of Mind
September 2011

The Legend of Nacogdoches & Natchitoches -

Natchitoches awoke with a start. Instantly on guard, he held his breath and listened intently to the sounds of the forest. The warrior cast a furtive glance towards his young wife, who lay peacefully asleep next to him. Just outside the earthen lodge, a mockingbird perched himself high in the pines, singing melodies that perfectly replicated a cardinal's song. Becoming aware of the pain in his chest, Natchitoches carefully released the air from his lungs, and then slowly filled them with winter air.

It was but two moons past that a small party of Lipan Apache ventured into the pine tree forest and stumbled upon the Caddo village that Natchitoches and his family called home. The memory of that fierce and deadly encounter was fresh in his mind.

Slowly, with the stealth only a true warrior can muster, he pulled the bison hide away from his body. The dark haired brave swung his legs out wide from his bedding, silently slipping into his moccasins. In one smooth motion, with the grace of an elk, Natchitoches was balanced on the balls of his feet with battle-axe in hand. If the Apache did come back, the villagers had vowed to be ready. Once again the Caddo would send the murdering Apache back to the desert plains, yelping like the dogs they were.

Pulling the bison hide back that covered the single doorway to the lodge, Natchitoches carefully peered out only to see his twin brother, Nacogdoches, standing with his arms stretched out to the morning sun, absorbed in silent prayer. Natchitoches exhaled sharply through his nostrils as he flung the furry curtain out of his way and stepped from the lodge into the crisp morning air. He absently became aware of the icy wind and briefly thought he should have put his leggings on. Noticing that Nacogdoches' legs were bare, there was no way that he, the second son of the tribal chief, would show weakness by wearing them.

The simple fact that Natchitoches was born but a few heartbeats after his fair-haired brother has been the wasp ever present in his braided locks. He would always be the number-two son no matter how well he was treated by his family and friends. Just the thought of

always following, never leading, forever living in the shadow of his older brother, kept him precariously balanced near the precipice of dark rage.

Nacogdoches saw his brother exit from the lodge, a scant distance from his own. With a wide smile, he lifted his hand, palm forward in friendly greeting. The older brother knew that his twin was very competitive in all dealings with him and welcomed it. He felt it made them both better human beings. Nacogdoches loved his brother very much and hoped that whatever discomfort lived in his heart would leave Natchitoches, allowing true harmony to prevail between them.

Today was a special day. On this day, the brothers were to meet with their aging father, the tribal chieftain, who had previously spoken of sending them on a great quest. Both sons loved their father and mother. It had always been that the young people of the Caddo nation respected the older members of the tribe, their wise council sought out in all matters of importance. This promised to be a great day for the young men. As it turned out, this would become a pivotal day that would significantly shape the rest of their lives.

The aging and sagacious chieftain sat comfortably on a low perch made of bison hides and deerskin. He carefully sipped the hot corn and raccoon broth that his wife, the one and only love of his life, had diligently prepared for him. The gray-haired leader knew that there would always be a struggle for leadership between his two sons. To avoid a terrible conflict in the future, that potentially could tear his tribe apart, he had come to a very difficult decision. It was to be today, this very morning; the great chief of the Caddo would reveal his plan to his sons that he hoped would insure peace and harmony within his tribe.

Just as the Chief swallowed the last of his breakfast he looked up, sunlight bursting into the typically caliginous room, as his two sons tried to simultaneously enter the earth covered hut. The old man suppressed a grin as he shook his head, beckoning the young men to sit before him. As usual it was Nacogdoches that managed to slip in first and sit before his father. In the blink of an eye, Natchitoches sat cross-legged beside his brother. As one they bowed their heads towards their father as a sign of respect. Wide-eyed with anticipation, the young men looked up at their father as he began to speak.

Page 2

"I have thought long and hard on this, there will be no discussions after you depart," the elder stated.

The sons looked at each other expectantly. An agreement passed between them, the signs of which could only be perceived by those that had spent many years in their company. Their father was pleased as he recognized the unspoken pact between his sons; he proceeded.

"Natchitoches, before the next new moon you will set out facing the morning sun. You and your wife will take everything you own and travel for three days. After finding a suitable spot, you will camp and soon after build a hut. It is there that you will hunt, farm and make babies for the rest of your days. You will become a great chief of your tribe. You are free to lead anyone from our tribe that wishes to join you on your journey."

"Nacogdoches, you will do as your brother is about to do with the exception that you will put your back to the morning sun. You will also walk three days, finding a suitable spot, where you will establish a home and a village of your own. Those members of our tribe that wish to go with you have my blessings as well."

"My sons, I love you both; your mother and I will miss you very much."

The sons, Nacogdoches and Natchitoches, both saw the wisdom in their father's words and arose as one. Natchitoches held back, letting Nacogdoches exit the hut first.

When the sunlight found the dark-haired brave's face, his smile beamed brightly for all the tribe to see. The people had gathered outside the chieftain's hut, curious about the outcome of the family meeting, where decisions made would change the complexion of their tribe forever. Upon seeing the smiles on the faces of Nacogdoches and Natchitoches, a collective sigh was released as they looked at each other, nodding their heads in approval, extolling the virtues of their wise chief.

From the top branch of the tallest pine tree, a mockingbird mimicked a whippoorwill's mating call. The people knew this to be a good sign, a time of change, a time for good-byes.

Both sons did as they were instructed. In Louisiana, there is a beautiful town by the name of Natchitoches. Not too far across the border in Texas, you will find the "Oldest Town in Texas", Nacogdoches.

The Legend has been told in various ways. Even though I have never read the legend, I understood the story and
wrote this "Legend" based on my own imagination. Was there really an Indian Chief with two sons, separated 100 miles from each other? It is possible -

East Texas -

I rode extensively in East Texas for three events. I had been to the Longrider's event before and expected it to be old school and a lot of fun. The Oldest Town in the West Rally I am not so sure about. I doubt seriously if I would go back unless they changed the style of the event quite a bit. The area's lodgings jack prices sky high. The rally grounds have a fenced in area where the bands play. You cannot bring your drinks in or out but must buy them from the event folks. The bike games reminded me of a long cattle shoot, not much wider. It may be your cup o'tea. This old boy is not looking to make a town or their citizens rich while being herded like a milk cow.

The Boo Rally, in Jefferson, TX was a totally different experience. This annual rally aids Camp I'm Still Me in providing opportunities for children who are burn survivors - Camp I'm Still Me dot com.

The town opens its heart and arms to bikers from all over. Some of the rates might get raised, I don't know, I did not see the gouging like some other events in the area. I know the food I ate was the same price as the locals pay.

There are so many beautiful, tree-lined roads in East Texas; I don't know where to begin. What I discovered, after searching high and low, is that the area is covered with greenhouses. Many of the name brands you see in stores, where plants are sold, come from the greenhouses in East Texas. You will also see a great many chicken businesses as well. When I talked to old Doc Watson in Paxton, TX, he told me that chickens were the foundation of the economy in his area.

What it boils down to - options. There are plenty of great events as well as wonderful roads to ride in East Texas. I stayed in the Atlanta State Park for the Boo Rally and I do not hesitate to recommend it. What a beautiful, well-kept secret that park is.

Buckaroos - it is time to take Amana to the shed and fix her up a little. I have some road tar to scrap off the pipes. I had a lot of fun on Talimena in July. It seems I may have drug those pipes just a little. Stay tuned to the Daimler's Folly and future SSOM's; I'll tell you more.

Ride em if ya go em!

Bonus PIX

Atlanta State Park
Road in to Atlanta State Park

East Texas Road
East Texas Road

Atlanta Campsite
Campsite at Atlanta State Park

Atlanta State Park Lake
The Lake View at the Park

Buddies out riding at OTT Rally
Riding out from the OTT Rally - Great Roads

The beginning of FM-1

Some of the exciting places to visit.

East Texas Hothouses
East Texas Hothouses

Paxton Texas
Paxton Texas