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Matt deftly cleans another technical obstacle

Let Them Eat Bread!

Fuzzy at large - another view of the ride   

Were The Police Involved?

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Michel presents the "Sac Squatch" plaque


It was Lindsey’s call for a moonride. He didn’t hesitate to call for another, but rare brewpub to brewpub event. This ride would attract a hefty crowd of lunatistas, massive amounts of electrolyte replacement beverage and the involvement of the entire Calistoga police department.

Thirteen cyclists would take a perfectly normal day and turn it into chaos. It didn’t take long. Within seconds of the start, the group managed to fragment.

“Do we have everyone? Eric (A.D.) asked.

“ I think we are the last.” Jim offered.

With those reassuring words this group headed towards the bike trail. However, upon arriving at this local feature, it was expected that the forward contingent would be waiting for the rear guard to form up into one giant rolling gaggle. No one was there. Humm…

“I think they said they were going to the Cali-Inn.” Tone offered.

A phone call was placed to Linz. When he answered, the background noise indicated he was not in the boondocks, but in the bar.

“OK, see you in a minute.”

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Tone and Large, part of the lost contigent

A.D., Tone, Jim K. Eric (Fuzzy), Michel and Auriah turned and headed back. They didn’t get far when two more stragglers were observed also going the wrong way. Kevin and someone joined up and rolled with group B to the Inn where the first reunion of the evening took place. There was thinking among some that this stop would be for a quick beverage and then the dash to St. Helena. Michel didn’t get that message and ordered Freedom Fries. This would prove to be prescient. A: By the time anyone could get the mob scene towards the door, Michel could have eaten a 7 course dinner, and B: Time was ticking down at the kitchen in St. Helena.

But wait, word got out that Michel had ordered food. A cancellation order was filed. There would be no fries to power the Frenchman. He would have to endure this epic event on grit alone. Well, maybe a few dozen beers, rum and tequila also. It was a small miracle that the group was able to exit at all. The mood and demeanor of the troops had notably changed by the time the merriment spilled into the streets of Calistoga. A short urban assault followed as the energy began to nudge the funnometer into the yellow zone. Several riders caught air off curbs and generally had too much fun as the mass rolled down the relatively empty Washington St. There was only one car in the distance behind the pack.

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Looks like the coast is clear now!

There is a gate at the end of Washington St. The pavement continues as a bike trail. As the last riders reached the gate and rode through the narrow bike lane, the car was much closer, and in fact pulled right up to the gate. Not thinking much about it the riders continued until, the car was behind them again, this time with flashing lights and the speaker demanding that: “Pull over, that includes all of you.”

As the group was a little strung out, it is possible that someone might not have heard or understood. It didn’t really matter. No one stopped except Dr. Johnson. He only stopped because he was the last one. A.D. continued for a short distance and decided to return in solidarity to his ditched comrade as did Lindsey and Large.

After some negotiation, a compromise was found. The officer insisted that the trail is closed at night, admittedly a dumb law. He went on to mention that there were many bad laws such as the law against marijuana. WHAT? But his job was to enforce the law and we had to turn around. Not a problem, The bikers agreed and left. Within moments the event could continue. The segmented posse returned to the trail and joined with the outlaws. The entire company made their way through Sterling Vineyards and on to glory.

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Lookin' like a real ride

The rest of the ride would be a series of amoeba like moves through a variety of vineyards. The ride was nearly level with the exception of one creek crossing. This feature actually required some effort to scale an eight foot, scruff-covered bank, scramble across river rock and repeat on the other side.

A flat tire slowed the blob. A phone call was placed to the brewpub to find out when the kitchen would close. It was already closed. Panic ensued. O’ Ma Gosh. A sense of urgency followed. Would they get there in time to drink beer? A new plan was quickly adopted. The ride would detour to the highway and make a beeline to the brewpub. It took only a few minutes for the pack to arrive. To their joy the bar was alive and well.

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Lunatista's skillfully negotiate the tricky aspects of the moonride

Pitcher followed pitcher as the party revved up on the high octane party fluid. Someone asked about any bar food. “We can serve bread.” The bar mistress said. Enough bread followed to feed Somalia. A dozen baskets with butter appeared for starters. As the evening rolled on, more bread continued to arrive. It was surreal. However, with only beer to consume, the bread and butter tasted pretty good, for a while. Dr. J. had managed to bring along a large chunk of salmon and Michel had chips. It matter little as the party raged on.

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One of 25 loaves of bread


Eventually there was a call to return. The happy revelers finished with some tequila shots and hit the road, minus Neil who got seduced off the ride. The pack was down to eleven, still enough to cause embedded confusion at any moment. The navigation was flawless as the group selected the longer option. There was no time limit. The long range commuters would suffer an exceptionally late evening.

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An oft repeated scene

The ride finally rambled back into town, across the closed bike trail and to the shop. One by one the attendees vanished into the night. Dr. J. and A.D. were nearly the last to leave. As they pedaled out of the shop another pair of headlights appeared. The police car stopped, the door opened and Officer Tim demanded to know what the two were up to. It took only a few minutes for Officer Tim to determine that the streets were OK with the two bicyclists trying to get home. It was generous of the P.D. to add their energy and wisdom to the event.

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Debriefing session

It was an atypical ride for the lunatistas, There was no wilderness setting. The night was an offering of zany cheer, some riding and lots of fun and abandon in the gentle lumens of the gracious lady of the night.