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Dave sets the stage for the January moonride


Well, it had to happen. It would be a stretch to think that a ride on Friday, the 13th would be anything but normal. The bikin’ fools put the concept to the test and found mixed results. Eventually 11 riders would appear to tempt fate on this notable day of the year. The weather was forecast to be a factor all week long. The call was for rain by 6:00, yet the partly cloudy sky did not yield any precipitation by the time all were, more or less, ready for the start of the event.

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Dynamic skyscape at the beginning

Dave (going-for-it) Frame volunteered to trek to the Church of the Holy Spoke in advance of the ride party, even though the destination had not been called. There was a raging debate about where the ride would occur. Dave headed up the Oat around 3:00 giving him time to get to the Church in the daylight and to gather wood for, what he hoped would be an event. Due to the impending inclement weather, several lunatistas offered the Harbin Option as a more suitable ride for the conditions. Many factors were considered including the car shuffle.

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Pre-ride briefing

In the end the triumvirate of dog, car shuffle, and Dave-on-site swayed the swarm towards the Oat. Michel motored hard from Berkeley. He had missed the past three moonrides to hang with his young son Lucas and show, at least, some responsibility to his gracious, capable and beautiful wife. Leticia and Luke likely were awakened several times during the evening with psychic messages of distress from Michel as he managed to end up with the part of the ride that terminated in chaos.

Morgan arrived in his new Ford Locomotive well tuned and ready to derail the entire ride. His insistence on riding Los Posadas found no fertile ground. Blank stares was the most positive response that he garnered. Even Azul was staying in the shadows as Morgan made his case.

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Morgan's motorpool

The ride started well enough. All made it to the bottom of the Oat. From that point the ride began a process of fragmentation that would eventually separate the bike wad into several groups. The destination was clear and known by all except Wes and Alfredo. In the end, Shawn, Lindsey and Alfredo were victims of getting ditched. Tony was ‘en feugo’ as he led the pack up the rugged trail.

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So far so good...

The predicted rains had not started. In fact the sky was a mix of long, thin clouds and clear air. The light on the path was generous and ample for the passage. The robust moon was well into the night sky as the eleven riders and two dogs made their way up the glorious Oat Hill Mine Road. A cap cloud hung on Mt. St. Helena and the sky off to the west was more ominous and foreboding.

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Still going...

At several places the mob regrouped. However as the miles passed, the riders became spread out along the trail. At the saddle, Tone, Eric Ryan, and Wes stopped and parked the bikes in the bush as planned. From there they would walk the very difficult upper section. There was a slight sense of urgency. Dave had now been at the cave, in the dark for several hours. He would not stay there forever.

“We should probably get up there.” Tone said.

“I’ll think we’ll wait and make sure everyone else is coming.” Ryan said.

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Tone hoof's it towards the Church

With that, Eric and Tone set out. They hiked the upper section in about the amount of time that it would take to ride it. It took seemingly little effort to climb the badly deteriorated, rock field that once was a steep mining road. On the bike it takes enormous effort to ride. Once over the top and past the orchard, Eric let out a loud, shrill whistle. Immediately a voice from across the ravine called out. Dave was still there. Tone and Eric walked past the Holmes place to the area of the fallen tree and headed into the ravine. The open area narrows towards the bottom but hooks up with the orchard trail. From there they bumbled along until the big open triangle. At that point the trail is utterly stealth. One must know the way. It would never be found at night.

“Bring some wood.” Dave’s voice boomed out into the night.

That was easier said than done. The final approach to the cave requires the use of all four appendages at points. There are slippery, steep rocky sections under the trees. The trail makes illogical turns and twists. None the less, Eric managed to drag one little stick along. Dave was delighted. There was a chance that no one would have showed up. The cave is deep in the wilderness. There lurk all sorts of interesting things in the night.

Shortly after Tone and Eric, Wes and Ryan arrived on scene. Within a few minutes Mike appeared. Nobody else would arrive, even though their voices seemed virtually at hand. It remained a mystery to the cave dwellers as to what happened to the rest. There were loud shouts from the woods. The crew in the cave yelled encouragement and directions. The shouting and voices grew fainter. Then nothing. Eric decided to return to the trail in an effort to find the lost souls. After nearly twenty minutes of hiking, it began to rain. No further contact was made.

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...and the rain began to fall outside

The little fire served the campers well. Food was prepared and clothes dried. The enormity of the cave allows one to walk around a large area. Small pyrotechnics entertained the group. Everyone had an ample meal including Miss Swift. Eric was clever enough to bring a can of food for her. She would need the energy just as the riders.

Somewhere around 11:00 the crew began to gather their items for the return. It was now raining steadily. The temperature was mild and the wind was calm. The atmosphere, though wet was pleasant. The six hikers made the trek through the tricky wooded section and with only a couple of bad turns made it to the grassy hills. Once back on the Oat, it was a matter to trudging the few miles back to the bikes.

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The alien bike pile, done by the same people who do crop circles

A surprise awaited the six. The bikes were not were they had left them, rather they had been heaped into a giant bike pile. A subtle statement from the others? Tired legs were glad to be back on the saddle. The descent was easy and uneventful until the rollers turn-off. At that point Mike suggested the easier route. The only possible issue was the dog. Eric and Tone offered to take the dog and Oat, releasing the others to ride the rollers. However, all decided to simply go down the Oat. Mike would regret that decision as he stacked on the very last turn at the bottom.

For sure the ride was interesting. As no one seems to have perished, the spell of Friday the 13th is deemed myth. In fact, the ride was epic in many ways. Starting with Dave’s daring, solo sortie to the cave. Epic anarchy controlled the entire scene starting with the choosing process for the ride. The ride started in the brightest light of the night. La Luna was generous, rotund and opulent at the beginning. As the evening wore on she slipped behind the cloak of storm, yet always giving enough light to get the bikin‘ fools safely home.

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Bikin fool's in the mist