The Bikin' Fools
Law and order
With Jim Korte at the controls, anything could happen. One had the unsettled feeling that trouble was brewing.
Jim had campaigned for this ride for many weeks, ever since he did it in the daytime with Jason. The claim was that a ride could be had from Armstrong Woods State Park to Healdsburg. Armstrong woods is one of the few groves of old growth redwood trees that still exist on the face of the earth. The entire north coast was once covered with these magnificent giants. But the lust for cheap lumber outweighed the intrinsic value of these incredible creations of God.
Many who live in the area are familiar with the memorial grove section of the park. Relatively few however know of the back country associated with the facility. There is a campground reachable by car and a couple of hike-in campgrounds.
Due to the lengthy car shuffle required, it was determined that fewer riders would be better than a major mob. Eric and Mike shuttled cars to the brew pub in Healdsburg where they were met by Lindsey. This action was designed to A: have transportation at the end of the ride and B: to talk the pub into staying open late that night.
Five lunatistas assembled at Mikes shop. Some confusion reigned. It was uncertain which vehicles were going. When the dust settled, Sean, Shawn and Jim were driving towards Guerneville with Mike and Eric on board. Shawn and Eric would stop and pick up Lindsey. Eventually the half-dozen lunatistas arrived at the park.
The towering old growth redwoods provided inspiration for the evenings outing. There is a sense of calm and order among the giants, unlike the confusion that was about to occur with six Bikin Fools and the ranger. It started as the three vehicles finally found the ideal place to park. All emptied out of the cars and began to prepare for an evening in the woods, riding on some of the nicest paths and trails in Northern California. Although the sign said "No Bicycles", this usually meant; "Dont let anyone see you." Once away from the pavement, it is rare to see anyone. However, just as the group was nearing the departure, a police cruiser approached from below. It sported five antennas, a full light bar, spot lights and a nerf bar. This vehicle was ready to do war in Watts. It seemed wholly out of place in this pristine setting. None-the-less the ranger immediately locked onto the group. He pulled up and announced that there was no parking allowed where we were and further, that there was no bike riding permitted one hour after sunset.
Mike and Jim after failed negotiations with the law
The crew huddled for a revision of the plans. Parking seemed to be the big issue. The crew decided to drive to the campground, rent a space and take off from there. All of the bikes and bodies got back into the vehicles and drove further up the road to the Bullfrog Pond Campground. Jim was the first to arrive. He disappeared into the far reaches of the camp. The others selected a spot near the entrance and began preparations again.
As fate would have it, the ranger appeared again before the lunatistas could escape the confines of the "road more traveled". In most parks the authorities never get very far off the beaten path, in part due to the fact that most tourist dont either.
This time the ranger stopped his assault cruiser, got out of the car and an confronted the lunatistas.
"What is it that you are intending to do?" He asked tersely.
"Were wanting to ride our bikes for a while." Someone offered.
The ranger again quoted rules associated with bike riding.
"Can we park somewhere besides in a campsite?" Mike asked.
"What if we rent a campsite." Shaw added.
"Hold it, Hold it, Im getting too much information here." The ranger said with some note of exasperation.
"Technically you could rent a site, but people drive from mars to camp here." Then the ranger floored the crew by stating; "Youll have to let your conscience be your guide."
Counselor Johnson trying to keep the bikin' fools out of jail
Well Hells bells. The Fools have always been guided by their conscience. And it has never failed to provide the proper action and attitude. Unfortunately, his comment was meant to apply to the parking situation and not all of the rules that are broken on any given moonride. In fact, the Bikin Fools are likely guilty of over one thousand violations of the "law". If Officer Cricket had the slightest notion of what we had in mind, he would have called for a backup. Yet the moonrides have never violated any human being (outside of earth contact by riders), done any property damage or intended in any way to trespass on any ones parade. The fools have been sacrosanct in all aspects of the moon gatherings. These outings have always been a positive reinforcement of the divine in each of the Bikin Fools. This unique and rare experience has a direct line to the extraordinary, to the higher man.
As the discussion ensued, Eric snapped a photo. The ranger was looking obliquely to the camera and didnt quite get what happened.
"That was strange," He said and looked around, "Dont know what that was."
The flash photo was a risk. Who knows? The stressed ranger could have been on the verge of going postal, pulled out his gun and start blazing away. Instead the discussion continued. His point was lame at best. It was a classic case of authority running a fruitless control trip. The Fools basically know that they had only to wait until the ranger made his point (whatever it was) and left. Finally he did leave.
Within moments the six lunatistas were streaking down the trail towards the "illegal" single track that awaited to take the crew to the next violation of rules. Clearly these are simply bad rules. Single track (hiking trail) is the ideal venue for mt. bike, cross-country shredding. The drop in lasted for the better part of a mile. Then the single track lead for another delightful couple of miles. The track criss-crossed the stream several times. The possibility for wet feet became a reality early on. Great effort was made to avoid the wetness for the first couple of crossings, but soon it became evident that it was unlikely that anyone would survive with dry feet. Now the only question was; how good are the socks? Will they perform wet? Soon everyone was trying to ride the water crossings, some were successful, others not.
Wet or not, it mattered little at this juncture. The campfire was only minutes away. The trip down the single track was so much fun that the crew nearly passed the ideal spot for dinner. Only Jim knew of the stealth turn off to the hike-in campground. The crew set about gathering wood, relaxing and preparing for another special culinary event. Lindsey got things rolling with sushi. Shaw prepared organic veggies, there was sausage, tri-tip, baked potatoes and corn on the cob. There was lots of firewood available. It appeared that few had visited this remote campsite recently. The fire was "Daved" hot enough to make the fire ring glow red hot. Lindsey took advantage of the heat to melt his socks and shoes in an attempt to dry them.
The hot fire soothes the souls and soles
With renewed vigor, dry feet and distance from Ranger Cricket, the Lunatistas again set off for more moonlight adventure. Although the moon was had been up for a couple of hours, it was still low in the sky making the passage through the woods on the north side of the terrain very sketchy. There were many miles that had to be ridden in void vision. This phenomenal technique defies common sense and allows any rider with faith to transit areas that really dont have enough light to navigate in the normal way of using sight. It requires that one let go of the ancient concept that one must see in order to progress.
Eventually the crew arrived at a gate that was designed to stop tanks. It had several large diameter, steel skewers sticking out. Why this paranoid structure existed was the question of the night. Perhaps a bored, clever welder had too much time on his hands. At any rate it didnt slow down the rolling experience of the Bikin Fools. The jeep road improved at this point and the water crossings became culverts and bridges. Now the feet would be safe from any further dousing of water, although everyone at this point had soaking feet. There had been too many, deep crossings. Several crossings were deep enough to cover the wheel hubs.
Mike navigating the non-trail
Now late into the ride, the bikers schlogged uphill towards Mill Creek road. It was uncertain where the dirt road would intersect with the pavement. According to Jim, it would be about ten miles from Healdsburg. In fact, the road appeared much closer than expected. The rest of the ride was on rolling terrain. Most of the riders experienced cold feet and the higher speeds didnt help much.
All of the Lunatistas arrived safe and in good order at the cars. Despite all of the rangers, legislators, lawyers and other nay sayers, the event was a roaring success. Not only did the bikes not disturb anyone, no one was even seen once off the pavement in the park. Officer Cricket likely wondered what was going on. Perhaps his shift ended shortly after the encounter with the Bikin Fools. For his own mental well-being this would have been a merciful resolution to his simplistic, stratified thought process. Lindsey and Eric had the luxury of going directly home while the others had to perform the lengthy car shuffle. As always, the moonlight experience offered an evening of great fun, abandonment, harmless law-breaking and healing under the watchful rays of La Luna.