The Bikin' Fools


Happy Campers


The November ’03 Full Moon was teaming with energy and excitement. The weather forecast called for rain, hail, thunder and lightening. As if that weren’t enough, there was to be a full lunar eclipse. The original plan was for a coast run. This easy, pleasant romp past the dynamic Pacific ocean is one of the bikin' fools favorites. However, there was dissention within the troupe. Eric lobbied for a Harbin run, the normal default for bad weather. The group of people willing to camp diminished as the weather deteriorated. Perhaps the deciding factor came from the youngsters who seemed set upon the Pomo loop. This would be Lilly’s first moonride and as such she didn’t want to be involved in an epic, all night boony thrash in some remote, wet, lost location.

Eric’s effort to change the venue failed in the face of the worsening weather. The die was cast and 12 people began to converge on Mike’s shop as the day ended. The sky was dark, foreboding and producing steady rain with periods of intense squalls. The moon was in the earth’s shadow when it was scheduled to rise. Normally on the day of the full moon, the day’s afterglow blends seamlessly with the subtle, yet bright lumens of the night Lady. On this date, the day ended early and pitch blackness replaced the gloomy gray of the storm.

Sean (large), Shawn, Mike, Eric, Jim K., Cirrus, Lilly, Morgan, Lucy, Hasan, Lindsey and Michel eventually convened at the Pomo Campground. Azule represented the canine contingent and would be present for part of the ride. His aversion to fireworks would modify his evening’s plan. By the time the dozen riders reached the starting point, the weather had serendipitously changed for the better. On the drive to the coast, areas in the sky began to lighten and stars appeared intermittently. The light was not only adequate, but generous in the mostly cloudy night.

The mob of moonlight maddened marauders pedaled furiously towards the Sizzling Tandor. The previous appearance of the bikers at this remote restaurant brought concern to the nervous employees of the customer-less facility. On this evening the restaurant had business and the cyclists didn’t linger. Azule had set a new two-mile record for fast four-footed passage. He was able to stay abreast of the fast flying riders who were pedaling with enthusiasm, eager to be on another delicious mission of moonlight lunacy.

The next brief stage of the ride continues on pavement to the Goat Rock turnoff. From this point the excursion departs the road and drops down a smooth, grass lined path. Lindsey shredded with abandon that surprised everyone including himself. Not known for speed, Linz flashed the hill so fast no one recognized him. “Who is that?” The group convened at the rock to honor the evening and La Luna. The participants took the time to gaze skyward at the marvelous display that was offered by the sky and moon. Roiling clouds tumbled past. Brilliant clear spots in the sky offered unrestricted passage of the bright full moonlight to descend upon the grassy bluffs. The scene was surreal.

It was at this point that the pyrotechnic phase was executed. One, size large, bottle rocket was successfully launched skyward. The report high overhead was Azule’s cue to return to base. He wasn’t seen again until the gang arrived back at the campground. In fact he wasn’t even missed for a half-hour. After the rocket launch the pack departed immediately for the pleasant trek across the ocean bluffs. The smooth path provided ideal cruising in the ever-changing light of the night. Only a couple of spots required technical skills, or in the case of most, walking through the deep ditches that lead to the ocean. At one point several lunatistas were backed up waiting to descend several steep steps. The sound of a rapidly approaching bike raised eyebrows. The skidding sound of a wheel stopped followed by a split second of silence then followed by the unmistakable “whomp” , a sound similar to a large sack of potatoes being dropped.

“Sacre Bleu” The Frenchman posed in a heap on the ground for a moment.

“You OK, Michel”

“O’ yes,” He said, although the tone of his voice indicated otherwise.

At Shell Beach Azule's absence was noted. The group split up. Seven bikers forged ahead while Morgan and Cirrus back-tracked in an effort to locate the a.w.o.l. dog. Michel, Jim and Eric remained at the parking lot while the rest of the riders continued towards the campground and the attendant groovy ride across the hillsides and into the deep, dark redwood forest.

Eric decided to change a slow leaking tire while waiting. Upon completion the dog chasers had still not returned. They decided to ride back towards the rock before returning to the mission. Part of path is now a wooden sidewalk. This narrow walkway provided an opportunity to shred at speed and cover much ground, though sketchy with a wet, slick surface. The walkway was elevated several feet off the ground making for epic stackage potential. No one did. As Eric, Jim and Michel began to return, Cirrus and Morgan appeared. They had not found Azule. Morgan felt certain that he would likely retrace his steps and find the campground. At any rate, the bikers had only one choice; to proceed.

The climb from the coast is fairly long and aspires to nearly five hundred vertical feet. It is in the open for the first part of the passage then dips into wooded areas before finally dropping into a dense forest that excludes nearly all moonlight even on a clear evening. The trail becomes faint then invisible. It requires using senses that one doesn’t normally have. The trail was soft, smooth and pleasant so long as one didn’t take an excursion off the beaten path. Part of the trail was on a steep hillside, threatening life and limb. Only a couple of technical items challenged the riders. For the most part the effort was to say on course, a task that was not easy in the deep darkness. Having several bodies and some familiarity with the route was helpful.

Eventually the dozen riders all made the transit successfully. The world had changed for the bikin' fools again. The magic of the moon, the camaraderie, and the challenge of the night conspired to elevate the senses of all involved. Azule seemed slightly subdued, but his resourcefulness guided him safely back. Beer and good will flowed freely. Eventually six people departed and six happy campers stayed to enjoy the quietude and beauty of the wilderness night. The weather was unsettled and rain occurred occasionally. As the campers settled into bed, thunder rumbled in the background. It would go one for an hour, but never got close.

The ride proved once again of the power of the moon and the softer side of life. It underscored the faith in letting go of preconceived notions and to allow the universe to shower benediction upon the lucky attendees of this unusual and rewarding experience.