Fuzzy heads into the boonies
Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!
Joy's photo Gallery
Ten bikin fools volunteered to celebrate both the full moon and Eric (Fuzzys) birthday. By the end of the ride, the first light of the next day would find the crew dazed and confused as they tried in vain to reconnect with some sort of identifiable reality. Fuzzy lured the Calistoga contingent with an offering too fantastic to resist. His idea was to ride from Inverness over the coastal mountains to the ocean.
Tone volunteered to drive from Calistoga. His crew-cab truck would herald in a whole new era of comfort for the drive to the ride. The weather was predicted to be an issue. There was a prediction for rain later in the night. It was initially thought that the ride would be well completed before the onset of any moisture. Besides, the history of moonrides has a strong component of the skies parting. The only parting from this ride would be sanity.
Sebastians trek once again would be rivaled only by an Arctic Tern. Only days after summating Mt. Hood and not yet fully recovered, he drove to Calistoga to be part of this epic event. Lindsey fine tuned the Bo-Ti for another romp across great adventure. Mike would be encourage to NOT bring fireworks on this ride as the birthday boy didnt want to spend his special day in jail. Eric (A.D.) came along to document this tall tale.
Fuzzy somehow convinced Lorna that this ride would be do-able for her novice skill level. In a better world he would be indicted for attempted bodily harm. Yet, even through a near death experience during the ride, she remained curiously positive, happy and energized. Russell, racer and veteran of the infamous Tuesday Night Rides, thought somehow that this could be fun. His stunningly beautiful Moots would see speeds slower than thought possible.
Ma Bell heading into the wilderness
Joy and Nix, husband and wife team, volunteered their marriage to undergo a test of strength. Somehow they have developed a tight relationship that would weather this unique challange. Without her presence there would have been no joy whatsoever. Nix, musician and clever guy, presented A.D. with a bike bell made from an old-school Bell Telephone. The high quality brass bell would toll all night long for the salvation of the souls destined for a journey beyond beyond.
The ride started at Lisas pad, though she and Heidi had wisely left town upon hearing of Fuzzys grand idea. Ten riders quickly congealed into a moving blob and headed up the hill.
Take your time. Joy warned, Its about 45 minutes to the top of the climb.
The idea was to try to get through part of the wooded section in the daylight. It would be yet another concept to go down the idea hole without any real chance of fruition. The group happily climbed the pavement towards the ridge. The cheerful group made decent progress. Eventually they reached the gate that would come into play later in the ride. From there a short dash down the pavement led to the beginning of the single track.
Joy in the night
Fuzzy and Joy conferred about the route. Once in agreement the riders headed into the darkening woods. The sun was not to be seen. It was not only veiled by the overcast and spotty rain showers, but also by the fog layer at the coast. The sky offered its best attempt to block the moon completely. It created an unusual (for the moonrides) atmosphere of marginal light. As the majestic coastal woodlands became dark, the mystical quality of the environs grew to Alice in Wonderland levels. The tall trees whispered secrets to the wind. The mist swirled about the bikers. The trail became nearly invisible, yet there always remained a ribbon of shining path always perceptible when nothing else was there to guide the rider.
The riders proceeded for an indeterminate time. It was early in the ride and all was going well. The group proceeded at a reasonable pace. Everyone was warm and excited to be on this glorious mission to celebrate Fuzzys b-day and to pay homage to the Lady of the Night. At the view spot the group took a safety break. Normally this spot is one of intense vistas and eye-popping beauty. For this group, the visibility extended slightly past ones nose.
Fuzzy leads the pack to glory
It was now dark. The last lumens of the sunset had vanished and the light was pure Luna. The light was subtle yet adequate. It offered enough information to stay upright and on the trail. Mercifully there was not enough light to see some of the hazards along the way. Although the trail was smooth all night long, occasionally there were places that offered anyone (and Nix in particular) a chance to cascade off the trail and perform a human rag doll maneuver for several hundred feet down over nasty rocks.
The soft light of the evening created an environment that exists in no other realm of the human experience. The combination of being in a beautiful wooded environment and the limited light created a sense of being in an other world. The limited vision allowed the other senses to be enhanced. From time to time the trail passed under enough trees to nearly cancel all the light. Only a faint tunnel could be gleaned from the darkness. Night creatures sounded their calls. Deer, elk and other critters occasionally could be faintly seen through the mist. Serenity seeped into the consciousness. At times the rest of the world faded away.
Into the dark
Eventually the ocean could be heard in the distance. The long descent to the shore contained enough challenges to keep everyone attentive. The effort was enormous at times to navigate an otherwise easy trail. The ride was now several hours long. Lorna had made a heroic effort to get thus far. Despite her unrivaled enthusiasm, a mutiny occurred within her body. Her blood sugar counsel voted to strike. There would be no more energy until she agreed to go home and never try this again. Lorna managed to somehow overrule this situation, ate some life-giving nourishment and pressed on.
The trail at the bottom of the mountain intersected with the coastal path. The new trail was wider and easier to ride. The ten proceeded to a campsite. There was some more discussion on the subject of where to build a fire. Joy once again provided the guidance. The group proceeded further along the bluffs above the ocean until the trail virtually touched the ocean. There the group easily found plenty of wood to start a raging fire.
Tone experiences sausage issues
The fire was more than welcome. It was the source of life for many in the group who were wet and wishing they were home. The intermittent showers had dampened the surface of the beach but it did not prevent the intrepid scouts from building a very nice campfire. The assortment of food was sufficient to refresh the waning bodies and spirits. Several rounds of Capt. Morgans and Fuzzys special elixir helped enhance the dampened spirits.
Lorna had somehow manage to smuggle along several cupcakes and candles. The wind prevented lighting the candles. It mattered little. Fuzzy was presented with the token cake and the usual bad rendition of Happy Birthday to You. Even though it was well after midnight and no longer his birthday, it mattered not. The festivity was fun, light-hearted and sincere.
Eventually the group stirred from their restful state and began the task climbing back over the mountains. Joy and Fuzzy conferred about the route. This part of the ride was alleged to be near the territory of rangers. Silence and stealth were requested. It seemed a little strange to the veterans who have come to know that the rules change at night. Authority is a daylight activity that isnt well versed in the world of La Luna.
A good sign
The correct route was found easily. The long trek uphill began. Light rain occasionally visited the riders. The trail was accommodating. The single track was smooth albeit narrow in places. For the next hour and more, the riders set into their own paces and made steerage towards the promised land. Along the way each got to ride by themselves at times. This strange experience offers the hapless bike rider a chance to face their fears and to have counsel by themselves with the mountain lions. It was often possible to think that one had taken the wrong trail, even though it was not possible. Others had stretched out along the several miles. If a rider stopped, it was possible that they could not hear anyone else. There was no visual reference. It was up to ones brain to deal with it.
It was well into the quiet hours of the night as the riders crept up the tall mountain. Bodies were powered by faith, hope and fatigue. The mind had long ago turned to mush. Despite the adversity, the cold and wet, the fears both real and imagined the riders found themselves in an extraordinary environment totally unique to the human experience. The combination of exercise, the wilderness, the darkness and the camaraderie yielded a sense of subtle benediction. It gave the riders a special portal to the glory that dwells where few seldom trod.
As the riders who were not first arrived at the parking lot along Limantour road, they were greeted with a most welcome sight. The first of the pack had started another fire, knowing it would be a while before all were present and accounted for. The fire, which was comprised solely of pine needles, offered a blessed relief from the wet and cool night. Eventually the whole group was again reunited.
Warmth in the late night
The bulk of the ride was over. Now it was a simple matter of riding on pavement back to Lisas pad. Yet this seemingly simple task would provide the event with two of its most significant episodes. First, during a routine stop in the middle of the road, Nix managed to T-bone Joy. That was bad enough, yet Nix was not satisfied with a routine crash. His right foot refused to be released from duty at the pedal. Had this incident occurred anywhere else it might have even go unnoticed. Unfortunately Nix was at the edge of a huge drop-off. People watched in horror as Nix disappeared over the hill, tumbling as if trying out for a Hollywood stunt job. The couple moments of silence following were harrowing. Yet the veteran of hill tumbling managed to return to service.
Next it was Tones turn to entertain the troops by missing the cut-off. He errantly thought others were ahead of him as he rocketed down the long steep hill in the wrong direction. The rest of the group convened and waited for Tone to realize his error. It didnt happen. Finally the others decided on a plan, which would have been different had Tony not had the keys to the car. Mike and Sebastian waited at the intersection for his return, while the others returned to Lisas to get a car to look for the errant UPS driver.
Weary riders share the fun
Tones extend-a-ride added another several miles to his evening. All of those years of delivering packages finally paid off. His sense of direction led him back to Inverness where he recognized the road to Lisas. He arrived at exactly the same time as the others.
All that was left was to try to get home before the light of the new day. It wouldnt happen for the Calistoga crew. Despite an interesting demolition derby seen on the freeway, the Calistoga group pulled the curtain on the event just a the sun tickled the horizon. The ride qualified for epic+++. The group, the route the lousy weather all conspired to push the event over the top. Many are called, few are chosen to be part of the mystical realm beyond the confines of normality. It was a grand evening replete with the life affirming qualities that are so brightly illuminated by the generous Lady of the Night.
Last vision of the night