The Bikin' Fools




The Chosen Few


Oct. 1st, ‘01was the night selected for the ride. This date was changed at a late hour and thus sloughed off a few of the regulars. When the final count was tallied, six bikers were present for the event. Jim Korte would provide navigation across the terrain he frequented as a kid on a motorcycle. Shawn reinforced the navigation, while Lindsey, Mike, Sean and Eric followed.

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Sean headed towards sunset

The plan was to start from Scott Hickey’s land past Mountain Home Ranch. This parcel sits at the edge of some very burly terrain between Franz Valley and Calistoga. Due to the dry conditions there would be no barbecue. In lieu of a hot dinner, the Bikin’ Fools chose to bring copious quantities of beer. This would lessen the likelihood of fire. While waiting for the extended car shuffle to occur, Eric, Sean, Shawn and Jim redistributed part of the beer load from the packs to temporary internal storage. This would help define the evening as a fun and unique event.

The six lunatistas departed civilization and dropped precipitously down the steep terrain into the creek drainage. The trail that was advertised to be mostly a hike-a-bike turned out to be mostly rideable. Exceptional darkness defined this part of the ride as the deep canyon eluded the rays of the still-low moon. Lindsey discovered on two occasions that the dark areas adjacent to the trail were not shadows, but ‘black holes’ that lead downward to sudden pain. Damaged, but not broken Lindsey managed to morph the protesting nerves to power. Once back on the trail, Lindsey motored at full military power until an unfortunate ‘highside’ toppled the hapless Linz many feet downhill into the duff.

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mike on the trail

Dr. J. had hiked the trail in the daylight on an earlier mushroom escapade. He warned us that the trail ended up in someone’s back yard. When we got there, Jim suggested a run through the adjacent vineyard, but the herd instinct led the bikers to follow the stream. It quickly deteriorated into massive berry bushes and hidden, steep drops. Several short sorties didn’t indicate an easy extraction from the mess. To further complicate matters, Dr. J. insisted that we needed to "go towards the moon". Generally not bad advice, but in this case, serious L-factor tainted the navigational effort. Finally a vehicle transited the road, giving the fools a badly needed clue.

Finally on the road, twelve tires hummed the Hallelujah chorus as the titillated bikers headed to Joe Montana’s place for dinner. Joe had other plans and couldn’t be with us for dinner, but we had a nice time at his place anyway. The mostly liquid meal paved the way for a successful assault on the towering terrain that faced the half dozen guys.

The notorious water crossing was dry. It wouldn’t have mattered to several of the bikers. They had dabbed in water on the first part of the ride. The climb began in earnest. From the creek to the top of the terrain is nearly fifteen hundred vertical feet. There were no slackers. All climbed with such vigor that most experienced incipient bikin’ euphoria. That is the state where the body is so energized that one slips into the high pleasure zone, just past the ‘I’m dying’ zone.

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In hot pursuit of the trail

Near the top, the terrain came out of the woods and commanding views of the entire north bay opened up. Mt. St. Helena stood sentinel to the north. Fog and mist stood to the west while lights as far as Cloverdale twinkled surrealistically in the distance. Now, in altered state, the Bikin’ Fools began to commune with the special presence available in this unique place. There was a very strong sense of being above life, or beyond the ordinary. Likely, a potpourri of influences contributed to the special feeling. The influence of the mystical light of the moon, the oxygenated brain, the accelerated heartbeat and beer teamed up to offer passage to this very special happening.

A false summit strained the resources. It had been several hours since this event commenced. Now the bodies began to tire. The peak had passed and thoughts of the end began to flood the mind. When the main route seemed to jet downhill, Jim announced that we needed to traverse across the hill. It made some sense since we recognized the spot where we had launched the Roman candle on a previous ride. From that point, however, the route became sketchy. It seemed to go towards a wrong drainage with the potential to dump the fools in Larkfield, many miles the wrong way. A scouting mission towards what seemed like the right direction proved fruitless.

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jim entering a black hole

In the confusion of the moment, the riders simply started riding downhill. As the bikers descended down a great deal of altitude, the path remained in doubt until a meadow with a streambed was recognized. Shawn and Jim concurred that we had been to this spot before. Now it was a matter of riding out the rest of the distance. Finally Mark West Springs road came into sight and the bikers had only to pedal up to Lindsey’s pad. Lindsey changed hats instantly and became the gracious host for needed beer and munchies.

The ride was simple, long and filled with the usual drama associated with moonrides. With a smaller number of riders, it seemed somewhat quieter. When the final car shuffle was complete, the six lunatistas returned to normality.