The Bikin' Fools


Parting of the Clouds



Monday, December 11th dawned wet and cold. The previous evening had seemed to be the perfect time for a moonride. Yet in the benevolent aura that surrounds the Bikin' Fools, the wet, dreary conditions would again yield to the joy and abandon that occurs when the clouds part.

Seven Bikin' Fools braved the torrential weather that pelted down on Calistoga. Dr. J. was in Hawaii twenty four hours earlier. He needed a good ride to wipe out any jet and vacation lag. Sebation flew in from Portland for the event. He felt right at home in the soaking conditions.

Two vehicles drove to Lindsey’s place, joined with Linz and proceeded to the coast near Jenner. Operation "Sizzling Tandoor" was put in motion. First several vehicles with seven people parked and loitered in the lot while the staff of two at the empty restaurant nervously kept an eye on this group of questionable hooligans. Actually the group was waiting for Michel, a snippet of information the Tandoor dudes could have used immensely. Finally two of the vehicles left while Eric and Ryan stayed to connect with Michel, who had never been on this ride. The Tandoor dudes relaxed slightly. After a long wait, Eric and Ryan also left to join the beginning of the ride. The Tandoor guys breathed a big sigh of relief. Their restaurant is in a very remote are, but with a beautiful view of the Russian River and the ocean in the distance.

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The crew assembled at the campground. The ride would be an easy one. All of the dinner preparations did not have to be carried. The seven riders filed back down the road to the Sizzling Tandoor. Again concern gripped the restaurateurs as they had no numbers inside in case this mountain bikin’ mob turned bad. Little did they know the Bikin' Fools were not only not a threat of any sort, but were a floating energy field of great and wonderful high times.

After an extensive tarry, the troupe reluctantly moved on, having not connected with Michel. The next bit of the ride was an up hill stint on pavement. At this point it was impossible to notice that the moon’s appearance between the clouds was brighter and longer. The rain had since relented and the clouds had thinned. Now they parted with a seductive grace that beckoned the ‘fools to enter the kingdom.

Once off of the pavement, the tires sank ever so slightly into the coastal sod. The path was soft between the tall stands of native bunch grass. For nearly a mile the trail continued towards the ocean, stopping at a popular climbing rock. This outcropping stands near the ocean’s edge and offers ideal climbing conditions in the summer. The natural amphitheater provided an appropriate setting for a moment of meditation and reflection. The beauty that had unfolded was striking. The clouds, now fluffy puffballs, danced past the moon in giddy abandon. The ocean surf rumbled in the background.

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Yet, there was a mission on hand. The platoon maneuvered to the edge of the high bluffs at the water’s edge. While two sentries stayed on high ground, five others descended down a precipitously steep and sandy sheer wall. This is likely something that wouldn’t have been attempted in the daylight. (Often too much information is inhibiting) There is a small, semicircular beach at the bottom of this descent. There the technicians quickly set about preparing this evening’s pyrotechnic offering. Several festival balls, a barrage of XL bottle rockets lit up the night sky.

As quickly as they had moved in, the rocketeers ascended the hill, jumped on the bikes and briskly pedaled off across the bluffs. The path curved and swept across the scenic flat land. Every so often a ditch would appear and offer a mild challenge. Aside from these minor occurrences, they only other challenge was to not ride into the dark areas that often looked just like a shadow. These black holes sometimes contained a giant portal to the rocks and waves below.

With little hesitating, the Bikin' Fools continued to the pavement. The only climb of significance occurred at this point on the ride. It lasted only a half mile or so. Each turn of the crank offers more and more scintillating views. Now the ocean was seen in the background, the moonlight illuminated the plains and rugged coast below. Once on top of the terrain, the sense of escape again filled the minds of the bikin’ bad boys. One could not help but feel that they were cheating, that they had mistakenly got "first class" tickets to this event. The natural environment under the bright light of the moon was serenely peaceful and energizing.

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However this was not the end of the ride. The Black Forest was yet to come. This unique chunk of woods has the capability to block nearly all of the light anywhere. You could even turn on a flashlight (not allowed on moonrides), know it’s lit and still see nothing. So this gives the fool an opportunity to ‘feel’ the path. Shawn was doing an exceptional job of navigating the course. Then he hit the steep, slippery elm section. The wet leaves behave exactly like snot. Thump! In a short instant, Shawn was doing the horizontal mambo with the mollusks. Eric passed only to have the trail fade into fuzzy nothingness. As Eric turned in confusion, he t-boned Mike who was on the trail like a bloodhound. Mike was headed for the invisible bridge before the collision, but was forced to crash into the adjacent ditch. However, in this process he did turn the others onto the path.

All seven riders exited the woods, clearly transformed and filled with gratitude by the experience of the previous couple of hours. The ride was sweet and luxurious. The evening wasn’t over. The crew quickly organized to carry the ‘dry’ firewood from the truck to the fire ring. After much coaxing and a prolonged beer carton ceremony, the fire slowly woke up. A copious amount of gourmet cuisine adorned the coals. This final stroke of joyance put the Bikin' Fools into sensual overdrive. The funnometer would be sore in the morning.

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Somewhere past midnight, the now-tiring cyclists began the hour-long drive back to town. It was a ride that was sweet and easy. It was a ride that mocked trouble at the beginning, then faded to tantalizing pleasure as it unfolded. All that could go right did, with the exception of missing Michel. The Bikin' Fools slipped into the night, with fond feelings and memories of a special time at the ocean and of the rocket’s red glare.


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