The Bikin' Fools



Bear – Beer?

A coincidence?

December 28th was a delightful, lazy holiday. It comes right between the big events of X-mas and New Year’s. It is during the period of least light, the depth of the retreat of solar energy and the height of lunar energy. It is during this time of the year that normal activities have subtle, but significant rewards.

"Hello!" Eric said, "Hi Linz, waz up?"

"I was thinking of trying to get a bike ride in today." Lindsey reported. "I’m on vacation, sort of, and have most of the day to do something."

"Let’s try the Lost Link trail again, the one we missed on our first effort at the McGuire ridge run." Eric suggested.

"That would work. There is the Bikin' Fools approved brewpub at the end of the ride." Linz stated with a notable up-spike in interest.

It was set. The ‘Fools would take a car to Middletown for some reason, then drive back to Montesol for the trek to the Ansel Ridge. Linz and Eric had tried this ride before. The result was negative. The route on the topo was never contacted. Subsequent to that effort, Eric and Jake Schneider made a run at it, only to come within a few yards of the stealth road before abandoning the effort. In that search, they coincidentally ran into 86 year old George Livermore. In the conversation that followed, George indicated that there was indeed a very steep road up the hill in question.

With that information onboard, Linz and Eric headed up Van Ness creek, past Wildwood and made the turnoff to the old, abandoned orchard. At the orchard Eric insisted that the route went essentially up the creek bed. The two trudged heavily up the rock strewn, berry covered creek. Trees and brush covered any path that may have ever existed. With no sign of hope, the two simply tramped uphill having accepted the fact that they may well have to boony thrash to the top of the terrain before contacting the jeep road to White Point.

Lindsey’s eyes seem to be pointing in different directions. Eric accepted this as hop deficiency. Yet Linz was guided by an invisible force that steered him through the woods in a direction that made little sense. Eric followed accepting any direction that was mostly uphill. Within one hundred yards Linz stumbled onto the Lost Link trail. A coincidence?

The trail wound its way up the side of the steep terrain. For a half-mile or so the two trekked up the sheer side of the mountain.

"Aha!" Lindsey exclaimed.

"What is it?" Eric queried

"It’s the road!" Linz yelled back to Eric.

"What road?" Eric thought.

It was the intersection where the two had stopped on the previous passage to White Point. Then they had wondered if this was the direction downhill. Now they knew for sure. After a short brake to defrag the sensory strunods, the duo trudged uphill towards Ansel Ridge. After a couple of miles of undulating terrain, the two came to the Lost Valley junction. Downhill from this point is the Bateman creek drainage. A short discussion ensued.

"We could take the hunting camp route to Middletown." Eric suggested, knowing that it would be mostly downhill, but slightly longer. It would also require several miles of riding on Butts Canyon road.

"Beer!" Linz argued.

"Did you say ‘bear’?" Eric asked.

"Where?" Linz said.

The original plan was to ride the McGuire ridge road. Its improved status allows a faster transit of the miles from White Point to Middletown. Time was becoming a factor. The winter sun was fading towards its western resting-place. The two began the final leg of the journey. The ride was fast where the caterpillar had been. It was only the new water bars that slowed matters. The terrain quickly passed under the knobby tires. After a short downhill the route climbed up and over the area of mining. This area had been mined some years ago. It was now a lifeless, barren area of rocky ground. Shortly past this feature, the climb to McGuire peak appeared in the distance.

"Whoa!" Eric exclaimed as he skidded to a stop. Linz slid to a stop right behind Eric. Both gazed across the valley at a very large black bear in the middle of the road. The bear heard the commotion and stared at the Bikin' Fools. Linz could see his brown muzzle. The critter spanned most of the road. This was not a small creature. Mr. Bear didn’t pause long. In a few seconds he turned and vanished into the thicket next to the road.

"Bear – beer? Beer – bear? A coincidence? I think not!" Linz stated dramatically. The sighting raised the pulse of the bikers. There had been sightings of bear prints in the mud all over this territory, yet one had never been seen. Part of the issue with seeing the critters has to do with the fact that one must keep his attention on the trail to avoid stackage. Ninety-nine percent of the vision is employed in surveying the trail ten to twenty feet ahead of the biker. Only when one looks up or stops is he likely to see any game. They are usually hear the biker far in advance and disappear. In this case, the two just happened to look up at the right moment.

The trek up the extremely steep McGuire peak was now aided with extra adrenaline. The sun was beginning to near the horizon. There would only be time for a short safety break at Bear Meadows on the western flank of the mountain. Then the bikers would descend the next couple of miles as they homed in on the beer part of the bear-beer saga.

At the Mt. St. Helena brewery Linz and Eric discussed the ride. It was full of serendipity for the two adventurers. Though not a monster ride, it contained several huge elements, not the least of which was the pizza and beer that tastes so good after a thrilling, fun bike ride.