October Surprise


For the first time in nearly 15 years, there was no mention of a moonride at all. It seemed to be the confluence of "been there, done that", work commitments and whatever excuses others harbored to deflect the temptation to venture into the night. The cooler fall weather may have influenced some, it was near freezing on Monday morning when troops rallied for the day. Although the day warmed nicely, there was thought that the ride could be in very chilly conditions. Only the three geezers of the association were willing to take on the ride that was to be Linz's B-day event a month earlier.

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Shuttle prepares for another launch

The ride was to transit the newly legalized east portion of the Oat Hill. It would require a gargantuan car shuttle when no drivers volunteered to deliver the trio to the remote trailhead. The road from Aetna Springs travels steeply uphill for five miles before coming to the trailhead just a couple hundred yards from the Blue House. In the past, the house has been home to certain agricultural pursuits, making one's presence in this area tenuous at best. On this night there was little sense of danger. There appeared to be no lights at the house and no indication anyone was even present at the isolated dwelling.

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The ride begins

Mike and Eric pedaled the first one hundred yards before noticing that Linz was already missing. Mike returned to find that Linz had a Red Bull explosion in his pocket and had to deal with the results. The first action was to chug the remaining fluid. That action would enhance Linz's pace. The three sneaked past the blue house and proceeded to a clearing just west of the danger zone. They took the first of several breaks. The most notable aspect of the evening was the very warm and accommodating temperature. The moon was high in its fall ecliptic and uncommonly bright.

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Linz demonstrates the proper use of the CamelTap

The ride proceeded westbound on the fabled mine road. The surface rock in the eastern portion of the ride was nearly white and provided excellent visibility for the riders. There was little wooded area to block the luxurious lumens of the moon. The ride proceeded swiftly to the base of the northern 'cone', a landmark feature of the area. The three took a break near the stone structure that has the appearance of a shallow grave. Perhaps a less lucky mt. biker finished here.

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Rock so white, it appears as snow

The three continued past the Bear Valley turn-off to the wind cave. This was another prime spot to take a break and soak up the beauty of the night. This location is extremely remote. No signs of civilization are visible. Only an occasional passing jet liner hints that there is something else going on in the world. The riding was mostly easy, the route was known and the warmth of the evening combined to push the experience into the superlative degree.

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We're having fun now

The scenery between the wind cave and the Holmes place is nothing short of spectacular. It is part of the reason some locals never go anywhere. It doesn't get much better. The ride across the top of the terrain was smooth and swift. At the Holmes place the mission took another break to soak up more grace from the universe. The descent down the Oat was uneventful, though never easy. Another required break occurred at the Rock. The lights of Napa Valley twinkled far below. The temperature remained unseasonably balmy.

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The Rock

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Mike and Linz shred the Sunset section

There was a short discussion about taking the rollers option at the bottom. However the fading energies of the riders pushed the decision to simply finish on the Oat. The riders hit the pavement around midnight for a total of four hours on the ride. All that remained was the monster car shuttle. it took another 45 minutes to get back to the vehicle. The riders were in bed before 2:00 a.m. It was a partially subdued ride in wonderful conditions. The dearth of riders did not blemish the glory of La Luna and her unconditional grace. The ride continued 15 unbroken years of homage to the Lady of the Night.

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At peace in the universe