Flat City

and the

Stoned Rover

The Forward Navigation Specialist (Shawn) would be missing on this mission. His input was sorely needed to help confuse the operation. His keen sense of direction would have added extra chaos to an out of control situation. The ride started, as usual, at the Calistoga Brew pub. A heavy dose of electrolyte enhancement tuned the participants for an evening of being utterly lost, while exactly on the correct trail. Eight riders braved the concept of finding a route to Lake Hennessy from Los Posadas. The previous attempt at this notion put the Bikin' Fools deep into the tight folds of the coastal mountains, often standing at a dead end, staring into the darkness.

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Riders on a mission

It was Lindsey's call for the ride. He had in mind a swimming event, however nobody considered that he might have meant the swirling confusion that surrounds many of these late night episodes. Sean Large, and Dr. J. represented the Calistoga contingent, Michel motored from Berkeley, while Sebastian made another heroic journey from Portland. Austin, Jer and Eric were the Middletown group. The bikers met at the shop and prepared for the event. Lindsey spent an inordinate amount of time proving that, at least, half a beer cube would fit into his newly designed "Pilsnerback". A moderate car shuffle was required to place the vehicles and riders in the proper places. Eventually the eight bikers exited the van and began the trek towards the highly compromised zone. The ride proceeded nicely on course for the first several hundred yards. The CDF facility appeared on schedule. So far so good. Shortly after the known landmark, Sean suggested a parallel single track.(parallel universe) From that point to the end of the ride, it would be pandemonium. The single track was cool, however when it dumped the crew onto a road, it was anybody's guess as to which way to go. The first procedure was to perform the required 360' lost circle maneuver. Naturally this hard-to-perform event came with four flat tires, as if some divine influence was trying to suggest something.

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Austin with two of the six flats

Once over this annoying event, the group muddled generally downhill, passing a residence with no dogs, or dogs smart enough to know that there was no threat from this group. The narrow, leafy slot through the forest eventually came upon a more traveled drive, then to a very nicely manicured road that lead to another residence and a winery. The group was again halted by the sense of debilitating confusion. Some scouting occurred. Adding to the ambiance someone suddenly shouted "CAR!". The bikers immediately took cover and the vehicle sped past, unnoticing or unwilling to acknowledge the presence of eight lost cyclists. The riders found themselves at the beginning of a vineyard. Another "CAR!" alert sounded and the riders vanished again into the rows of wine grapes. No car appeared and the riders attempted to gain navigational traction. The only option was a gate that lead out of the vineyard into the woods. Shortly a wide road headed off, and up to the ridge. It seemed like a good bet, knowing that the proper route had to go down a ridge. Shortly it quit leaving the group struggling for a sense of direction. There was an aversion to going too far to the east. That was the downfall of the first attempt to navigate this route.

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Sean goes tubular

Again back in the woods, and going a questionable direction the group found a road that went in a very favorable direction. For several minutes the ride proceeded well. It began a steep, winding descent. It was shortly into this section that Sean discovered that his tire was going flat. An extended break occurred while Sean fixed the tire. A few beers circulated around the circle. Linz broke out a turkey drumstick, Sean offered fresh fruit, Eric had brownies.  When the fix was finally finished, the group began to proceed. Eric, Michel, Austin and Jer were the first downhill. Eric stopped to make sure everyone was together and heard Lindsey's voice still above him in the woods; "I've got a flat." Another lengthy delay happened while Lindsey fixed his tire. Eventually the group reconvened and moved forward. The road improved immensely and had the look of a well used driveway. After a short, steep drop another intersection came into view. The group stopped and discussed the merits of each possibility. Austin mentioned that this place looked familiar. One choice was to drop into the woods, the other was a less traveled ranch track that led to a gate with the sign; "Beware of Dog" Little did we know that man's best friend would guide the group to glory.

The choice to descend into the woods was made amidst great skepticism. Shortly a residence appeared to confirm Austin's suspicion. The Bikin' Fools had been there before and this was the point of a grim departure from the proper route. The bikers reversed course and eagerly crossed the fence and proceeded downhill. The lightly used road intersected with a major drive. It was obvious that a turn downhill would lead into the valley and out. But Linz, not happy with convention, insisted on going not only uphill, but 180 degrees in the wrong direction. Eric went limp and moaned. Five of the eight riders took another option uphill and refused to come down. Eventually all of the riders went to the top of the hill and were greeted with a very unusual sight. Atop of the bald hill with a commanding view of the Napa Valley and the East Bay stood a mini Stonehenge arrangement of large, square rocks. On the top of the southern most rock was a life sized sculpture of a Golden Retriever, lying as if in wait for his master. It was a striking moment bringing a greatly needed sense of calm to the group. It was at that moment the group knew that all was OK, that the universe was back in harmony and the lunatistas could celebrate the moment with the glory and joy that springs from the well of eternal beauty under the sweet, soft lumens of the Lady of the Night, La Luna.

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Heartfelt homage to Rover

With the lake now in view, the riders proceeded on course. The faint road turned to a better road. Again Linz seemed to head in the wrong direction Yet shortly along, the road crested a hill and gave a commanding view of the foothills in front of the lake. The road turned to pavement. Again Linz, seemingly directed by some mysterious force went in a direction that seemed counter intuitive. Yet as the road twisted and wound through a theme park of McMansions, it became obvious that the road would deliver the riders to the promised landing. When the road eventually exited onto another road with a yellow line, it seemed strange. Yet, it turned out to be only a few yards from the cars. What had started in confusion and descended into chaos ended perfectly. It was only at the finish that the riders knew that they were on course the whole time. It was a startling metaphor for life itself. What a ride!

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Happy Lunatistas buoyed by grand adventure