"Hey Boss, where're ya goin'?"
The October moonride will go down in the annals of MMBR as a first. The first time no one showed up for a ride. The stretch of never-missed moonrides spans nearly twenty years. Like all in the universe, nothing lasts forever. For me, the occurrence of the full moon comes as a somewhat mixed blessing. Becoming a creature of habit, I mostly like to go to bed around 10:00. Some deviation is fine, but the prospect of the 2,3 or 4 in the morning rides brings as much dread as joy. Bad sign, I know. But cut me some slack. It takes days to recover (without a heavy RedBull infusion).
Another very important factor is that it will be impossible to match the magnitude of past events. Those days are history for the Bikin' Fools. This is not to say that pleasant, fun times are no longer available. They are. And such an event did occur on Saturday evening. Jim Korte was the last holdout for a ride. He and I usually are able to shame each other into doing something. In the past we have logged a decent history of great rides. But on this night, the fatal words were spoken; "I'm bailing, dude." Lindsey was actually willing to ride, but the lack of a coherent plan (usually not a problem) and any riders allowed him to look like a hero at home on a Saturday night by passing on the ride. Having sat at home all day in training mode for the ride, I needed to get some exercise. I decided to ride out to Harbin.
Skating Fool at sunset
I took my touring bike. It is four miles of pavement to Harbin Hot Springs from my place. I rode several blocks before passing the high school. I didn't expect the moon to be up quite yet, the sun had just set. But as I looked towards the east, a flush of magnificent beauty rushed into my being. The scene was so unexpected and yet so phenomenal it stopped me dead in my tracks. I fumbled for my camera, hardly believing my eyes. The moon was well into the sky. The day had been blustery and clouds were present. A layer of silvery gray clouds underscored the brilliantly shining orb. The entire effort to get off my ass and outside was worth this one moment.
A window to serenity
I pedaled past the high school football game and out to the "Y". There the road splits. One goes to Big Canyon the other to Harbin. Now I was out of sight of town. The wind howled fiercely. The trees sang and sometimes shouted. The air was alive with energy and spirit. It was the changing of the seasons. No cars passed. I traveled in the darkening light towards the resort. Now warmed up, the magic began to work. Simply being up on two wheels can be reward enough. Yet I was blessed with a smooth road, no traffic, a brilliant moon and a symphony of sounds from the spirited wind.
Riding into the zone
The two miles passed quickly. Only one car drove by. When I reached the Checkpoint Charlie, my plan was to turn around. The guard house is well lit and the attendant has an unobstructed view of the road leading up to the gatehouse. However the young lady had her back to me while helping someone at the opposite window. I kept going. She never saw me. I never heard; "Hey YOU!" It was now black in the shadows where I disappeared rapidly. Now I didn't have a plan. But I felt like riding some more. I continued uphill. I rode past the parking lot and considered a dip in the pools. I continued to the Annex. I decided to ride up the road some more, past the last dwelling.
Me and my faithful touring bike
I came to a large field. The dry grass made it seem very bright. The wind continued to roar. I realized that I had achieved 'moonride'. I had arrived at a place very unique and marvelously beautiful in its mysterious way. A place far from the ordinary drone of living, of constant chatter, noise and drama. I found this powerful, but short moment to be refreshing, invigorating and cleansing. I simply hung out for perhaps a half hour.
A brief audience with La Luna
It was mostly downhill back to Middletown. The ride was exhilarating as the speed was frightening. The one short climb was exceptionally easy and the last dash to town was uneventful. It was a ride, unique in itself but far from the raging, romping days of thrashing for hours in the woods, or transiting vast amounts of real estate. But it helped me to keep the fire of adventure burning in the hidden canyons of my mind.