Dinner in Church
Seven worshipers made the pilgrimage to the Church of the Wholly Spoke to reaffirm the bounty, the beauty and the power of being able to overcome punishing obstacles on the path to Glory. Seven parishioners were in receipt of the divine benediction that comes with unswerving faith to the path (single track). Two Altered Boys headed up the long, tough trail in advance to prepare the Church for the inaugural event of the year 2007. Tone, who also worships at the House of Brown and Dave who occasionally impersonates God generously gave their time and spirit to continue the faith even in the absence of many, otherwise loyal parishioners.
One of God's many water color paintings
Absent for nearly ten years, Travis returned as the prodigal son. He has shared in the deep history of the Wholly Moonistry . He was present when the burning bushes appeared. He innocently and eagerly volunteered for the ride off the edge of the earth and he was there when the seas didnt part. Mount Senior Johnson presided over the flock. The flames from his Wholly Robe would ward of any evil spirit. Another welcomed returnee to the flock was Chris. He and his single speed had graced events many years ago. Dr. Die braved impending physical disaster by riding through a case of the flu. Eric was on hand to document the event for any disbelievers who might conclude such sorties into the realm of the unknowable might be considered heresy.
Tone, in direct conflict with better judgment, elected to attend the Church despite working the night shift. He would have enough time at the end of the ride to S.S&shower before reporting to the package pounding at UPS. The two (Dave and Tone) left early to get a head start on the wood collection. Despite cancellations from the congregation, the usual factors restrained the rest of the crew from leaving any where near the appointed hour.
Trav and Chris headin' to Church
The sky was alive with the mood of winter. The air was cool. A serenely beautiful offering of wispy, whimsical and sensuous clouds graced the darkening sky as the sun set. The moon, with stylish poise entered the event. The light for the evening was slightly diffused, but bright. It bordered perfection. To accommodate the transport of Miss Swift, the attendees regrouped at the trailhead. The long, arduous climb towards heaven finally began, somewhat later than ideal.
The Vision Quest (squinting for the line) proceeded well. Several stops for clothing adjustment extended the ascent. At each station of the climb, the pilgrims offered thanks and gratitude for being included in the special venue. Each in their own way made offerings, some in devotion, others in blood. At the saddle there was discussion of leaving the bikes and proceeding on foot. This option in the past was greeted by a visitation of evil spirits, who found it necessary to heap all the bikes into the bushes while the parishioners attended service. In addition the conditions were so nice that most of the terrain could be pedaled.
Finally upon reaching the Holmes place at the top, the forward personnel whistled to the advanced contingent, who should have been at the Church. No reply from across the canyon was heard. Several minutes of confusion reigned as the group tried to decide what happened. Did the Altered Boys go to the Deck Cave? Hummm
Miss Swift ever vigilant over her flock
It mattered not. The mission would continue. The bikes were parked at the foot trail and the group began the fifteen minute trek down the steep ravine and up the opposing side. Along the way they gathered wood for the campfire that would cook the food, heat the bodies and warm the spirit. Near the Church, Mike heard voices. It was first believed that he was divining the Wholly Spirit. Perhaps he was experiencing an out of body event, which would come in handy later in the ride.
Upon arrival at the facility, it was obvious that the Altered Boys had left the Church. They had managed to generously collect a huge pile of wood. By shear generosity they chose not to burn the wood, but wait for the rest of the congregation to arrive before using the not-so-easy to gather fuel. Again voices were heard across the canyon. It is not sure what was said. But clearly, Daves booming voice indicated a raised level of consciousness.
Chris: "You cannot get higher than this!"
The group feasted on a limited menu. The absence of the Rolling Deli contributed to the dearth of cuisine. None-the-less the five faithful ate the body of C.H.R.I.S.T.* and drank the beer version of his blood. The extra dry wood blazed with great heat. It provided warmth and a chance to dry clothing items soaked with sweat. The temperature in the cave was pleasant. There was little to no breeze. The moon painted the opposing hillside with pleasant pastels that peacefully pleased the eye.
The fire that warms body and spirit
Upon completion of the special event at the Church, the five pilgrims returned to their bikes. The descent down the Oat was, for the most part, uneventful. Miss Swift thought it fun to chase a fox down the trail. The scampering critter passed within inches of both Mike and Chris as part of its escape plan. It worked. Miss Swift returned breathing hard, but smiling.
Wasted but joyful rider of the Wholly Spoke
At the bottom the group gathered for a brief time. After some pleasant banter each headed off to the rest of their lives with the infusion of spirit that only the combination of La Luna, good friends and great luck can offer.
*Church Homies Repast In Special Times
P.S. The two contingents never saw each other on this event. It was for a good reason. While the five couldnt quite figure out where the Altered Boys had gone, it turns out that they missed a turn on the way to the Church and ended up DEEP in the wrong drainage. They would spend several hours boonie thrashing while simply trying to get back to the Oat. They ended up several miles north, near the turn-off to Bear Valley before they reconnected with the Oat. By the time they made it back to the area of the Church, they were so spent and exhausted they could only crawl to the Holmes place where they built a life saving fire. They rested only long enough to gain the strength to return to civilization. Yikes!!!