Bountiful Harvest


This month contained the Harvest Moon. The bikin’ fools would reap an enduring supply of adventure in an epic trek across the high terrain between the emergency call phone, near Rattlesnake springs and Middletown. Ten riders and two dogs made up the group. Sebastian drove from Portland, Michel from Berkeley, Jim K. from Healdsburg and Dr. Die from Santa Rosa. Shawn would finally get to ride a mt bike again. His Bullet was fresh from the shop sporting all new moving parts. Tone’s path to participation opened up for a rare appearance. Morgan accompanied his master Azul who had a date for the evening, Shana. Eric, Mike and Daytona Carlin (Kevin) made up the rest of the group.

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Tunin' up for the event

This ride would tap into topography that has been a bumper crop of adventure. The event began with pizza and beer and Eric’s place. Plans to cook dinner in the bush were deemed undesirable due the lingering fire season. Recent rain had not completely ended the potential for disaster. This month would be a formidable candidate for the van stuffing award. All ten bikes, ten packs, ten riders and two dogs stuffed into the vehicle. The vehicle represented a CHP’ officer’s potential bonanza. There would likely not be enough sheets in his book to properly cite the Cirque du fol.

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Tone was so stoked, his hat caught on fire

The ride began on pavement. Immediately it shot into the woods. The darkness and quiet set the stage for this extraordinary event. Quickly the pavement yielded to a jeep road. A series of steps led the bikers into the deep folds along the creek. A short discussion ensued about riding the trail or staying on the jeep road. For practical reasons the bike wad and dogs stayed on the road. Once into the hinterlands, past all of the nuisances of civilization, the sense of benediction took hold. At the orchard the group took a break. The moon was just beginning to peak over the tall terrain to the east. Silvery shafts of bright moonlight burned through the tops of the tall pine trees surrounding the meadow. The far side of the meadow was nearly bright as day.

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Shana and Azul runnin' with the pack

A long arduous climb ensued. The very, very steep trail defied passage. Eventually it made the predicted switchback. The trail leveled slightly. Again the group found a place so profoundly beautiful, it required a stop. The trail along the steep mountainside opened up from the trees and brush yielding a stunning view of Mt. St. Helena. The cool fog spilled over the pass from the Napa Valley and swirled just below the vista spot.

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Climbin' to Glory

The route soon connected with the ridge road. Now the journey got to travel in the full view of La Luna. The nearly white ground in spots made the passage very easy. The group rapidly covered the miles along the high ridge. The view towards Creepy valley was clear and crisp. Again the route entered the woods for a pleasant section before arriving at the point. The trail was in excellent condition beyond the mine, though some loose baby head sections made for some challenging descents.

At the bottom of McGuire mt. the road had recently seen a massive amount of passage by bulldozers in a recent fire. The steepest climb of the day was up to the west shoulder of the mountain. The good news was that the encroaching vegetation will not be a problem for several years in this area. Eventually all of the pack made the tough climb. From this point, the ride would be mostly downhill.

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Ze French connection

The only L-Factor of the night came in the area of the old burn zone. The scheduled left turn didn’t seem to appear. The pack fragmented and began a general swarming maneuver towards the west. This risky action was rewarded when the ‘leaders’ found the desired path. Now the route experienced a series of short climbs with longer descents all the way to the barbed wire fence.

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Dr. Die leads the pack up the last climb

The journey returned to the area of civilization. The road after the fence crossing was well traveled and frequently visited, at least in daylight hours. The final steep descent lasted for a mile. Morgan ripped out of sight with Jim K. not far behind. Eric had failed to mention that there was a gate at a very inopportune location near the bottom. Morgan successfully stopped and began to scout the options when Jim barreled around the corner. Jim’s harsh application of brakes had two results. One, it slowed him slightly. Two it provided the physics to launch Jim over the bars and into the gate backwards. More physics translated into frenzied activity in Jim’s nervous/pain system as he lay in a heap in front of the deformed gate. It was only when “Cold Beer!” was yelled repeatedly into his ears that he displayed any signs of life.

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"Hey Shawn, poke him and see if he moves"

Five hours and many hard miles later, the Cirque du Fol exited the hinterlands, crossed St. Helena creek and pedaled the 100 yards to Eric’s place. The ride was a cornucopia of mt. bikin fun and adventure. It covered booniferous areas that are seldom trodden by humans. The moon was brilliant in her roll of providing the guidance for this outing. The yield from this harvest moon will provide bikin’ nourishment for many moons to come.