Four hundred and fifty Infractions
The July 01 moonride set several records. To start with, there was a whopping total of 15 riders that appeared for this Fourth of July event. There would be the youngest rider ever, three women, a brother/sister team, father and sons, a married couple, two brothers and more rookies than veterans. Thirty wheels rode off into the record book.
The selection for the ride was the Seaside Challenge Loop. This ride combines some of the most potent forces known to the Bikin Fools. On one end of the scale, the pounding white surf of the ocean offers the most dynamic, primal influence known under the moon. At the other end of the moon bikin experience, the rider finds him/herself deep in the utter quietude of the sheer blackness of the redwood forest floor (perhaps wondering where is the trail?).
The ride started at the Pomo campground. For many the ride started days before when they decided to commit to the event. Something about the moonrides titillates the sense of adventure and awe. Several people in attendance were not riders. They were happy camper friends of the riders, sharing in the festive mood, the grandeur of the Redwoods, the seaside and sharing the thrill of being way, way on the outside of the "law".
Jim "magnet for trouble" Korte nudged the excursion towards the legal line by making sure the law enforcement people knew of the encampment. He not-so-innocently started chopping wood, a big no-no in the campground. Immediately park types were on the scene. Not only was there to be no chopping, but fires were not permitted. The concept of no dinner after the ride is a tough one to handle.
The logistics of the ride caused the masses to travel in two groups. When the ride wasnt starting quite fast enough for Jim K., he simply bolted for the rock. The rest of the contingent followed. At the eleventh hour, Kelly had yet to decide whether to do this thing or not. She finally took the leap and danced with the Bikin Fools on the stage of great fun and beauty in the light of the moon. Ultimately everyone made it to the rock. Even the campers walked out to this beautiful spot at the edge of the Pacific. By this time the Bikin Fools had accrued an impressive list of possible legal infractions.
No fire crackers
Scaring Tandoor dudes
Class II explosives
This brief list is only a partial assembly of what a crazed park officer might come up with. Multiplied by fifteen, the resulting tally approaches 450 violations! The number closely calibrates with the top of the funnometer scale. On this Fourth of July, the funnometer was stuck on max.
From the rock the nearly two dozen people migrated down to the bluffs that overlook the Pacific. The bluffs stand nearly eighty feet above the surf below. Two shadows were seen picking their way down the treacherous face of the bluffs. The moon was well into the night sky. The clouds that had previously threatened to dampen the light had totally dissipated. The moon beamed bright upon this happy scene.
Suddenly a colorful explosion happened at the edge of the bluff, followed by another and another. The sky, sea and bluff were brilliantly illuminated with the intense colors of the fireworks. The display was fantastic. The fiery balls exploded just in front of the jazzed onlookers. Dozens of rockets, flares and smokers danced at the edge of the ocean. The sight was awesome.
Somewhere in a cloistered bureau, an officer of the law might have a career high record writing up the ticket for this show. It was worth the risk. The sense of joy and freedom that was part and parcel to this moonlight adventure made the effort worth while. Outside of the fireworks, the Bikin Fools were treading very softly upon the earth, affecting no one while enjoying the benediction and company of La Luna.
Thirty wheels again rolled along the bluffs. The surf below resonated with the beat of the heart and the tempo of the breath. The elements conspired to elevate the senses. Now the bikers were focused on the path, relaxed by the beauty and rewarded with the good luck at having slipped the surly bonds of normality. It is such places that award the attendee with grace and a beautiful lifelong memory. The moon was high overhead giving bright light to the path. Though subdued, it was easy to navigate along the flat, smooth trail.
Soon however, the serenely beautiful trek along the coast gave way to the parking lot at Shell Beach. With all fifteen accounted for, the merry band of cyclists began the climb into the mountains. It was not the longest climb ever, but it definitely got the heart thumping. When the top seemed at hand, more pitches carried the bikers higher. Then patches of woods appeared. The view from the top of the terrain was spectacular. The ocean was visible in the distance and the coastal mountains unfolded to the north. This part of the ride became more and more remote. It is the kind of place where a mountain lion would feel at home. Ask Kelly.
The two packs made a final meeting before each rider would undertake the tricky and unique task of riding back to the campground. To accomplish their mission each person on their own would have to ride into the "void". Few riders ever have a chance to do this. It seems nutty. But when the rider entered the redwood grove virtually all light disappeared. The clues available to the eye were almost zero. One could only rely on the ability to sense the path. The steep downhill pitch, the wooden footbridges and the occasional potential for a "highside" dispelled any chance of boredom. The sensation was other worldly. The more one could relax into the blackness, the easier it became to be on the trail. The more tense one was, the more difficult the passage. Occasionally just enough light occurred to be seen as a fuzzy glob in the distance. At one point the moonlight broke through the canopy and was perceived as a spotlight, it was way to bright for the moon.
"There is a path." Dr. Js words reassured as he transited invisible only a few feet away. The woods became softer and cooler as the needle carpeted forest floor provided a quiet surface to ride on. The path snaked through the big trees. It was possible to feel the path. Subtle changes in texture and noise defined the edges. "There is a path."
Eventually voices were heard in the distance. The end was close. Finally the path opened to the light and dumped the rider out at the parking lot. The lot became busy with the riders, all giddy from the unique adventure. Despite Jim Kortes attempt to attract the authorities, a fire was started for the evenings festive meal. All of the attendees were hungry from the ride and associated exictement. Given the late hour, it seems that the rangers were long gone. The dinner proceeded with an amazing array of culinary goodies. No one was left hungry.
For the people camping, their only task was to get horizontal and join the sandman for a night of peaceful sleep. For the others who were driving home, they had to face the very difficult task of staying awake on a drive that seemed to go on for hours. Actually, it took less time that the drive out to the coast, but the tired minds and bodies had to struggle to stay awake. It didnt work. Both Jake and Mike managed to catch some Zs while motoring home. Fortunately, the sleep was short enough for the driver to stay in the vicinity of the highway.
The ride was classic. It was populated by a great gathering of souls. They shared the spirit of the night, the rays of La Luna and the attendant blessing of fun. The weather cooperated with an offering of near perfection. Once again the Bikin Fools came away from the event with gratitude and a sense of having "escaped" the doldrums of life.