The Moonlight Mystical Mavens
June 07 moon event
The moon peaks thru the bushes
There was a dearth of riders for the June full moon. However five bodies did make an appearance and only four would finish the ride and only three stayed together for the entire event due to bogus navigating by A.D.
Lucy gazes at the fading rays of the day
Michel earned the most hearty award by showing up from El Cerrito. Lucy had made the drive from Humboldt while Jim K., Kevin and A.D. merely showed up. There was an extended period of discussion between A.D. and Jim as to what ride to do. Jim pressed for a Knights Valley event, while A.D. insisted on a default, easy-rider type outing. A.D. carried the day with the plan to ride Diamond Mt./Kortum Canyon. This all road event sent Jim's eyes rolling as if to indicate the choice was lame at best. However, A.D. insisted that the ride would be cool, and it was for most.
Dinner was excellent
The dinner hour lasted at least two hours. The usual meeting time was long before sunset. There was plenty of time visit Cal Mart to buy food and charcoal. The coals were encouraged to get hot in a hurry with the application of A.D.'s leaf blower. The sausage, corn, steak, chicken and whole onion simmered as the participants exchanged pleasant banter and whiled away several hours. A discussion of Teva's and their lack of styling seemed important. Ride options were pressed further by Jim.
The happy crew at the beginning
The summer moon would be late in its arrival. With the summer solstice only a few days past, the moon would be the lowest in the lunar ecliptic of the year. Diamond Mountain faces north. It would be dark. The good news was the absence of any technical riding. The ride is also in the redwoods, giving a mystical, ancient quality to the evening.
The pack heads out, still together
The ride started with a short urban assault down Washington St. This time the police would not be involved. The group rode with abandon to the bike trail and south towards "Ding-a-wheel" lane. Jim's first encounter with the 'voices' started at Sterling Winery as he insisted upon going the wrong way. This lasted only a few moments and he returned to the fold. The group turned north on 29 amidst a flood of holiday weekend traffic. Jim timed his turn across the lanes to Diamond Mt. road to coincide with an onslaught of traffic while the rest of the group waited for a break then turned onto the virtually abandoned country road. No more cars would be seen for the rest of the night.
Michel, A.D.(photo dude) and Lucy ponder Kev's whereabouts at the top of the climb
The area was very dark. The otherwise bright moon was hiding behind the mountain and would not be seen for the next couple of hours as the riders began the long arduous climb up the beautiful, wooded mountain. The redwoods freely offered hospitality that welcomed the souls to their ancient, wise and noble domain. Only one dog barked at the bottom. Although there are several residents on Diamond Mountain, only a few hints of civilization would been sensed for the entire evening. Kevin was the last rider, trailing a slight distance behind the others. However, when A.D. failed to navigate properly and took the leaders up Butler's driveway, Kev took the proper turn and, unknowingly, passed the others. Jim indicated that the group was on the wrong road. A.D. wasn't sure and investigated. Sure enough, they would have to descend to the split and take the right road. Jim heard the voices again. While the others continued up Diamond Mt. Road, Jim bailed.
Zee Frenchman escapes the confines of 'reality'
Now there was some incentive to ride with some purpose; to catch up with Kev, who still thought he was behind everyone. Would the group catch Kev before the downhill, when there would be no chance to catch him. The glitch in navigating happened significantly up the hill. Michel, Lucy and A.D. rode steadily without any breaks to the top of the ride. No Kevin. There was no way to know if he had turned around or met Jim or had gone on. The three took an extended break while the bull frogs bellowed out their love tunes in the nearby pond. Eventually sated with the glory of a significant climb in a beautiful setting, the three left the confines of pavement and proceeded down the untrammeled portion of Sharp Rd. The dirt trail offered real challenge for the moonriders. Although mostly in OK condition, the dirt trail occasionally offered ditches and water bars in the light starved downhill. The overall condition was pleasant enough that the intersection with Kortum Canyon seemed to happen quickly. Another shorter break was taken to extend the immersion in the special arena.
The next portion of the ride consisted of two short climbs on dirt, then pavement all the way to Calistoga. Kortum Canyon offers spectacular views of the Napa Valley as it skirts the high vineyards of Diamond Mt. The knobbies sang the Hallelujah Chorus as the remaining three rocketed down the road. Suddenly a shower of sparks lit up the road under Lucy's bike. Soon Michel joined frivolity and dragged his cleats to create a blazing comet under his feet in the darkness of the lower Kortum Canyon. Despite the danger of setting northern California ablaze, the three laughed uncontrollably at the quirky folly.
The Fools create their own light show
Another short urban assault happened as the riders proceeded back though town amidst the midnight revelers oozing from the bars. They rode to the shop and found the charcoals from the dinner were still hot enough to roast marshmallows. Both Jim and Kevin's vehicles were gone indicating they had survived. The three spent a little more time winding down form the event before calling it a moonride. Though subdued and not epic, it was a ride that satisfied the urge to depart normality and spend a few precious hours under the tutelage of the gracious La Luna. She rose behind a silken veil and was mostly hidden from view, yet her influence was profoundly felt and appreciated by the mavens of another version of moonlight madness.
Full circle for riders and the barbie