Eric’s Six-O


Feb. 23rd marked two significant events. It was the night of the Full Moon Bike Ride (FMBR) and it was the day that marked the completion of six decades of Eric on the earth, a miracle in itself. Eight other core lunatistas would convene to celebrate the day. It started early with lunch at the Calistoga Brewing Company.

Shawn, Lindsey, Eric and brew master Randy begin the celebration


The troupe then moved to Shawn’s place for a further incursion into the realm of partydom. Meanwhile Sebastian was motoring hard from Portland to share in the delights of the Lady of the Night. His heroic effort would add an immense amount of energy and enthusiasm for the event.


The celebration gains traction at Shawn’s



The call was for the group to meet at “six at the shop”. As the afternoon grew later bodies began to appear. A call was placed to Sean Large. Despite a heavy workload at the home front, he would make the ride. Ryan Gracy, contrary to good sense went macho and shucked aside a nagging knee injury to participate. Jim Korte generously made an appearance in the middle of the week, putting at jeopardy anyone near his backhoe the next day. Fortunately for Michel he was on vacation and would not have to explain his disheveled and weary appearance in class the next day.

Around six o’clock Eric’s phone rang. “Hello”

“Nor, Dad.” Austin said from the Sierras, “I’m just driving over the summit looking at one of the most beautiful moonrises I’ve ever seen. It is full and clear, there are pastel, wispy clouds coloring the sky. Donner Lake is reflecting the light and the snow cover amplifies the whole thing.”

“Nice,” Eric replied, “We’re just getting ready to head out on the ride.”

“Cool,” Austin said, “We’ll be heading out on the cross country skis in a few.”

The bikin’ moonride would have a sister contingent in the high Sierra on this incredible February night. Attention turned to the east in anticipation of the appearance of the moon. It was still just below the hills and would soon make a spectacular arrival in clear skies, the likes of which hadn’t been seen in weeks due to the wet California winter.

Tanya wishes the gathering crew good luck


A sortie was made to Cal-Mart for food. Final adjustments were made and the crew, plus Swift the dog, loaded into Mike’s space shuttle. The ride would require only a minor car shuffle. The plan was to ride up to the ridge of the Maacama’s and then descend into the Moon Valley several miles from the starting point. It was known that there was plentiful wood available for a nice fire at the pre-selected spot.

Getting Loaded


After the short car exchange the ride began. The nine riders headed up the hill in darkness. The moon was still low in the sky and the first part of the path was on the shaded side of the hill. After a relatively short climb, the contingent reached the ridge and were bathed in the full light of the moon. The crew took a brief break at a rock outcropping and marveled at the view. The sky was clear. Fog covered most of the area to the west at an altitude slightly lower.

A mysterious cloud wafts over the bikin’ fools


The ride proceeded to the next required stop. This would be the area just before the drop into Moon Valley. At that point the fog had increased and was much closer. As the bikers looked on, the fog began to spill over the hills and towards the event. However it remained clear along the descending path of the ride. The riders descended the fun and tricky path towards the secret turnoff. There was some gnashing of teeth as the brush and rock took advantage of the flesh of the moonriders. The light was good and transit was unimpeded, aside from the scraps and scratches from the local inhabitants. Forward Navigation Specialist Shawn found the stealth turn from the path to the secret route. The group proceeded across the wet terrain. Passage was scenic and fun. The group made progress to the stream. There was fear of high water, but it did not materialize. The stream crossing was easy and the group entered the deepest darkest part of the ride.

Exactly in the most remote part of the ride, far from civilization, Eric’s phone rang with a distinctive tone that indicated Austin was calling; “Yo, pops, what’s happening?”

IMG_0783.jpg (863658 bytes)

photo by Ryan

Eric connects with Austin calling from a moonlight ski-ride

“Nice,” Eric replied, “We’re deep in the woods having a great time. What’s going on with you?”

“We’re at the warming hut,” Austin replied. “The moon is huge and the scene is serenely beautiful.”

“Yea, we’re looking at the same moon, it’s great.” Eric said.

“Happy birthday, Pops.” Austin said.

The group proceeded the rest of the way to the dinner spot. Wood was ample and a fire was quickly lit. To add levity, Eric produced several bottle rockets and sent them skyward, each with varying results, each entertaining.

Bikers prepare for dinner


A grand assortment of food nourished the riders. There was Portobello mushrooms, steak, seasoned zuchini, baked apples and desert. The fire warmed the spirit and provided entertainment. Two bottles of champagne appeared and several rounds of sipping the bubbly grape juice followed. There was no shortage of beverage. Perhaps it was the champagne, but a phenomenal round of farting began. It ranged from the popular ‘dual tone’ blast to the scary whisper. The fun was going out of control.

When the bodies and food were sated, Mike produced the grand daddy of bottle rockets. It had sustained some damage enroute and was of questionable airworthiness. It was anyone’s guess as to what might happen.


Mike and Sean pre-flight the spacecraft


The rocket, by this time, had a very short tail. This widened the range of possible flight paths.

…three, two, one…


The rocket performed pretty well. That is, it didn’t hit anyone or scare the dog. Its trajectory was shaky at best but it managed to twirl skywards into the moonlit sky before exploding with a remarkable ‘ker-boom’ that echoed off the surrounding terrain.

The rocket’s red, white and blue glare


In seemingly no time, the bikers had finished with dinner, the fire had been ‘Daved’ and all that was left was the return trip on a more civilized road. The ride was a huge success. Not only did the core lunatistas make the call, but so also did the weather by providing the only clear night in several weeks. It was among the great rides under the watchful eye of La Luna.

The fire of the imagination