The modern and the ancient meet in the mystical night
The ride decision happened only moments before the ride. There was talk of the East Portal ride to the Church of the Holy Spoke, but the massive car shuttle issue was not resolved. KVR was also promoted but the promoter turned out to be a not show for the evening. Finally someone mentioned the old standby; the Mount St. Helena Downhill. (MSD) This route has been out of favor for some time due to the poor condition of parts of the trail. It is only advisable to ride at a certain time of the year, this being the one.
Obviously brewed for the Bikin' Fools
The ride was somewhat anticipated by many, but in the end only seven loyal fools made the call to try to please the lady of the night. Tone brought his buddy Bad Bob, Dr. J. was the chauffeur again, Dr. Die made a pilgrimage to the holy land, Shawn loves the MSD and Michel brought appropriate beer.Perhaps the orbs were on vacation or she just wasn't quite in the mood. Before the ride even started, two lifetime bored members canceled their appearance. Lindsey and Jim K. not-so-graciously backed out at the last minute. When the ride did start, Michel's drivetrain tried to tie itself in a knot. After a half hour delay and Eric loosing his camera, the ride was finally ready to proceed. A search didn't reveal the camera.
Last photo of ride as Michel prepares to trash his drivetrain
Once underway, despite no camera, the ride proceeded well. The main group waited patiently at Robert's old homestead until the laggers rejoined. The ride then proceeded down Silver St. to the Ranch Road and out to the Napa River. The evening was nothing short of spectacular. The temperature was downright balmy. One could have ridden in shorts and a jersey. The sky was brilliantly clear. The moon seemed tinted with a blue light. The wind was warm and, for the most part light. it blew off shore keeping any fog well out to sea.
The group stopped at the river to cook dinner. The river was dry.That is unheard of for this time of year. Always in the past the river has flowed steadily starting no later than early December, usually in November. Now, in January the riverbed was so dry that making a fire was risky. Plenty of dry wood was available and quickly an adequate fire was daved into service. The meal was good. Somehow not having a fire-truck size slab of Beef Waddell on the fire made the scene somewhat ordinary. None-the-less Porto Bella mushroom, steak and other goodies made the repast satisfying and unifying.
The section from Turk's head was anticipated to be badly overgrown, yet by some force of the universe (cowboy on quad), the path was passable. The group wheeled down to the alternate meeting place, stopped momentarily then rode on. The earth was perfect for the wild descent. The soft ground had just enough moisture to yield the best grip. All seven contenders cleaned the drop to the side hill trail. This trail was nearly perfect also. The route through the woods passed with speed and without difficulty, even just before the vaginated tree, where the cows have created a mountain bike booby trap.
After the hike-a-bike around and over the big hill the seven sped across the landscape to Haney Flat. There the group split into two factions; The cruisers and the Dammed. Mike and Michel could not resist the temptation of the spillway at Lake Guisolfo. The others could. Aside from Shawn loosing his front brake, the riders rode without further incident to the finish.
All that was left was the car shuffle, except for the nagging feeling that Eric had about the camera. It was not far up the trail that the group had stopped to adjust clothing. It had to be in that process that the camera vanished. So, after dropping Mike off, Eric once again ascended the RLS trail. After two switchbacks where the riders had stopped, Eric searched. For several minutes no luck. Then, Bingo! There it was.
HELLO, PURPLE DOTS
The ride, like other things in life was good. It wasn't the greatest ride ever, but it swelled the sense of gratitude for being allowed an audience with La Luna in the special church setting. The riders were in bed at a reasonable time and Eric got his camera back. Not bad at all....