The Great Crossing
This ride was scheduled for the previous month, but due to a variety of circumstances it was postponed. The universe patiently waited for all of the factors to line up. Linz and Shawn discovered on Google Earth a new exit from the standard water event at Lake Sonoma. Tone was in for this ride. He seriously needed an audience with some Lunacy, the best antidote for smoothing out some of life's bumps. Sebastian provided full throttle for adventure, having just climbed down from the snow-driven peak of Mt. Adams (12,000 ft). Shawn whipped the bullet into shape. Lindsey boasted of having several working gears on the Bo-Ti. Mike replaced a worn out wheel bearing with a generous daub of grease and declared it trail worthy. Eric, having missed the previous moonride was eager to commune again with the temptress of the night.
Tone admires his new baby (cheaper than diapers)
The group of six met at the shop and made the final preparations for this month's assault on normalcy. The marine mode would again consist of the known sketchy air mattresses. Four people rode in the van while Sebastian and Linz cruised the Beemer. Lindsey's car was parked at the Eastside Viewpoint and the loaded van traveled to the Island View parking lot. On the way the Park Ranger was seen going the other direction. "Great," Mike declared, "We don't have to worry about the law." In the past, meetings with rangers have always been questionable at best. Usually they find it necessary to tell the fools that they can't do what they are about to do anyway.
It took a short while to get ready. After the usual fussing and adjustments, the group was ready to ride. The sun had set and the evening light was rapidly fading. A rare set of headlights could be seen on the road approaching the parking lot. Shawn suddenly declared; "It's the Ranger!" The official vehicle pulled into the parking lot and stopped abruptly next to Mike's van. "Let's run for it!" Mike declared. But the group wasn't ready to get shot at.
The ranger got out of the vehicle with the usual air of authority and asked firmly, "Are you coming or going?"
Simultaneously two responses occurred; "We're coming." said one, "We're going," said the other.
Undaunted the ranger proceeded to blow the minds of the halve dozen, expecting the worst, riders.
"I've seen horses go out at night, but never bicycles." He said. He then gave a short lecture on the trails and facilities of the park. The lunatistas were so unprepared for a benevolent authority figure, they had no response. Six blank stares met the rangers remarks. "Have a great time," he said then left.
The world's most friendly ranger
Dazed and confused, the riders began the evening. The first part of the trail is a delightful descent to water's edge. Then the ride climbs and drops for a mile or so until the first required safety stop, the Island View overlook. The moon was fully up and shining brightly. The riders whooped and hollered at the moon. Happy campers at Island View campground returned the call of the not-too-wild variety.
Riders arrive at the Island View overlook
It took a short period of time to travel to the embarkation spot. There began a discussion of the water route. Shawn and Lindsey lobbied (demanded) that the flotilla head for the deep recess in the lake. Eric pleaded for a shorter, direct run to Madrone Point with campfire rings. There, he reasoned, the trail could be accessed by bicycle. The plea fell of deaf ears. Six air mattresses were assembled in two layers. Then, one by one, the six bikes and six heavy packs were precariously placed on the tippy bike barge. Bubbles could be seen and heard exiting at least one of the flotation devices.
Preparation for the crossing
The swim began with two powerful drivers moving the bike heap. Shawn and Lindsey brought swim fins and were able to move the teetering tower of bicycles at a rate so fast, the others had to work hard to keep up. They were on a mission and clearly not headed for Madrone Point. The swim to M.P. is no easy undertaking. Despite some calls for beaching, the two steadfastly moved the sinking mass further towards the boondocks. It now became a race to see if the whole mass would go to the bottom before reaching the desired far-off beach. Concerned swimmers watched as the mass sunk lower and lower into the dark water.
Safe on the Further Shore
Now moving at a snail's pace, the floating disaster reached the mud flats at the end of the lake's arm. Although the water was quite warm, getting out of it was cold. There was shivering. A discussion followed about dinner. Would there be a fire? The group was not in a designated area for campfires and it was the height of fire season. Yet, there was no wind and there was a broad area near the lake with no grass or fuel to catch fire. Quickly several armloads of dry tinder materialized. The fire blazed quickly, dried cloths, warmed bodies and cooked several delicious culinary items.
Mike fans the flames
Upon completion of the dining event, the discussion turned to the phantom trail. This was new territory. The credibility of the Forward Navigation Specialist was on the line. Would a trail appear? The group climbed the steep, grassy hillside. The cool, stiff bodies warmed. After what seemed a relatively short climb, bingo the trail appeared. the trail had unfortunatley been recently bull dozed making the ground soft and hard to ride. Along the edges and sometimes in the middle the ground was firm enough to pedal. Now the group had to identify the one left turn that had to be made in order to find Lone Rock Flat.
Lindsey's custom flipper rack
There were numerous single track trails that led from the main jeep road. Shawn insisted the proper turn would be another jeep road. Eventually he was able to retain his FNS status when they came to a distinct intersection. There was some confusion with the sign. It seemed to indicate that the proper direction actually headed back to Madrone Point. A short sortie in the other direction fixed the confusion and the group proceeded to climb the new road to Lone Rock Flat. The ride took little time and came out where advertised.
Linz' body language indicating a degree of weariness
All that was left was the thrilling dash down the steep Rockpile road to the car shuffle. The fog was just beginning to form and created some nervousness as the riders jetted at speed into areas of very limited visibility. Bambi ran along side of the riders for a while before deciding to go his own direction. Linz and Mike performed the car shuffle while the others vegged in a state of weary bliss. It was a great ride. It met all of the requirments for a journey of the mind, body and spirit to flee the constraints of normal living as we know it and journey briefly to the further shore where the flood gates of joy and abandonment pour open under the gracious light of the Lady of the Night.
Was it good for you, honey?