The Bikin' Fools



Tony’s Birthday Romp


April 28, 2000 marked thirty-six years since Tony first opened his eyes and saw the world around him. Today, Tony would awaken groggy and tired from the previous day’s 60-mile road ride and subsequent massive dose of electrolyte therapy.

About nine in the morning the phone rang; "Hello," Tony said,

"When do you want to leave?" Eric asked.

"Soon as possible, I gotta pick up my boy at 6:30." Tony said.

"The ride around the lake should take about four hours." Eric said, "So with a couple hours of driving time, we should hit the road soon."

"My seat post bolt is stripped," Tony said with some frustration.

"Take it to the bike shop." Eric offered.

"What time do they open?"

"Someone is usually there around nine."

Eric dashed over to Tony’s and they went off to Palisades Mountain Sports to take care of the seatpost dilemma. Mike Dunn tapped out the stripped piece, put in a heli-coil and sent the two off towards a day of high adventure. Joe was just arriving at Tony’s when Eric was about to head off to meet with Lindsey. Eric hastily gave Tony directions to Lake Sonoma and split.

Lindsey finished up the last few items of defragging his morning, called the deli for a Lindsey sandwich and was ready for another day of great, mountain bikin’ adventure. It was a cool but otherwise perfect day. The sky was clear and the visibility was unlimited. As Eric and Linz headed towards Lake Sonoma, the thought occurred to Eric that his directions to Tony might have been slightly brief.

The plan was to meet at the parking lot on the other side of the ‘big’ bridge. That, in addition to the ‘Canyon road’ part of the directions would put Tone and Joe on a wild, scenic tour of the Geyserville/Cloverdale part of California. The timing was not too bad however, as they had left before Linz and Eric. Finally the two groups convened, made quick plans to eliminate part of the road ride. One car was left at the end of the trail and the other was taken past Liberty Glen to an undisclosed location high above the lake.

The first part of the ride was on a steep dirt road. It descended for nearly 1000 vertical feet before bottoming out at the first of two hunting camps located along a stream. The stream was followed towards the lake until the steep-ness of the canyon eventually spelled; "the end of the road". The walls of the narrow ravine had slide some time ago and taken out the old road. A huge snag of twisted logs, rocks, brush and muck blocked the way. The four carefully picked their way across the logjam with Joe checking the depth of the muck when he teetered off a log. It was up to his knee. They threaded across the near vertical hillside just above the creek. All had attempted to keep their feet dry. But, at this point it was a fruitless endeavor. There was too much water in the stream, and, the stream had to be crossed several times before reaching the second hunting camp.

At the second camp, the four Bikin' Fools took a safety break to enjoy the beauty of the deep woods, the quiet and the unfolding great day of bikin’ on Tony’s B-day. Wild flowers abounded, birds sang and the crisp cool air was teaming with sweet scents of the wilderness.

Upon leaving the camp, the four embarked upon an improved road that led to a gate. Near the gate a small motor was running. It appeared to be associated with a well and although a vehicle was spotted in the background, no one was seen. After crossing the next gate on the trail, the signs of civilization began to fade again. There were no fresh tire tracks on the road. The group proceeded for a mile or so, crossing several gates in the process. It was in this area that Linz and Eric had taken a questionable turn last year. This time the Bikin' Fools would take the single track which lasted only one hundred yards. Then the route headed uphill. Joe, in the lead with his reputation for getting lost, managed to find the stealth turn that the others might have missed. From that point the trail was delightful. It was smooth and well defined. It traveled for a mile or so, over the hill and down the other side. A paved road finally was seen. The trail emptied onto the road. There were notations written on the surface; "Vet halfway, Lunch break" with arrows pointing two different directions. It was surmised that a foot race had been held here. An obvious trail exited the road just a few feet downhill. Soon, however, the trail led to Strawberry Creek. Another crossing had to be made, and the trail had to be found on the other side. Again serendipity visited the group. The trail appeared easily. This was in direct opposition to the original effort of Linz and Eric who struggled for hours in this area.

Tony’s timetable had been a consideration all day long. Had it not been for the seatpost dilemma, there would be time to relax, but all day, there was the sense that time should not be wasted. So the troupe, now established on the trail, didn’t have to worry about adverse L-factor "What time is it?" Tony kept asking. Eric always responded with "We’re in good shape."

Soon the Old Sawmill Campground came into view. The troupe was well on its way around the lake. It was time for lunch. The group came to a beautiful stream cascading down through the lovely woods. They stopped there and consumed food and lounged just long enough for Tony to ask; "What time is it?"

Near Buck Pasture Campground the bovine herds that dwell nearby had seriously torn up the trail. With the earth being trashed as badly as it is, its amazing anymore that anyone eats beef, considering how much damage and resources those dumb animals represent. One has to wonder who is dumber; the cows or the people who eat them.

The next part of the ride took the Bikin' Fools around a couple arms of the lake. Deep in the recesses of the side trips, Redwood groves stood in awesome majesty. It is in these special places that the spirit is called to the fore. The presence of the towering giants lends wisdom, peace and generous offering of the spirit to anyone who is open and available. A moment was taken to honor the Mother Earth and her generosity in supporting humankind despite man’s best effort to trash the planet.

Island View was the next point to pass. A photo op was taken. The crew stopped only long enough for Tony to ask; "What time is it?" Another L-Factor spot was the turn off to the car. On the previous ride, Linz and Eric were in a total nighttime blackout. They had to feel for the trail and ended up on a road they had not intended to be on. Yet, this road was a great saving of time for Tone.

The four cyclists grunted up the long steep hill and arrived at Lindsey’s car. The time factor was critical not only for Tony, but also the closing time of the local brewpub. Tony and Joe drove up Rockpile road to get Tony’s truck while Eric and Lindsey rode the bikes directly to the brewpub. It was on this stretch of riding towards beer, that Lindsey morphed into Greg Lemond and sprinted with such gusto that he left (a hard riding) Eric wheezing in the dust. They arrived at the brewery just in time to have the lady announce that it had just closed.

"Could we buy a sixer to go?" Lindsey asked.

"I’m sorry," She said with resolve, "I’ve just totaled out the cash register."

"Could you ask your boss?" Lindsey said sensing a possible catastrophe.

"OK," She said and left.

Linz and Eric sweated out the next few minutes. After a long day of riding, it was inconceivable that they would have to go beerless. A sharply dressed young man appeared.

"What would you like?" He asked as the doors of pleasure began to burst open in the minds of the flogged bikers.

"A sixer of Pale Ale and a big bottle of Stout." Lindsey said, his frown turning to a big grin.

The helpful manager produced the fluids that would cap the day of great adventure. The two rode down the drive of the Lake Sonoma Winery and Brewpub and waited for Tony and Joe to return from the car shuffle. When they arrived, Joe and Tony headed immediately for Kelseyville and Eric and Linz drove back to Santa Rosa. Tony would just barely make it to his destination, being only ten minutes late.

It was a huge day for the birthday boy. Despite the trials of getting started, the day proceeded well. Everywhere that there was a choice, the correct one was made. The day was one to remember. It combined great adventure, a little risk and twenty miles of gorgeous single track through the deep boonies of Northern California.