Pickett’s Charge

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Stratagy meeting prior to the event


On this June Moonride it was the duty of Pickett to provide the time, space and energy for the passage of the gathered Lunatistas. Ron returned for another dose of lunacy as did on-vacation Michel, mega-miler Sebastian who again, drove from Portland to add a generous portion of spirit and energy to this monthly event. Side-show Sean Large was on hand despite his ugly leg that he used two days earlier to bulldoze the Wild Lilac Trail. Dr. J. would not have to employ the space van for this no-car-shuffle event. Lindsey was on hand to audit the integrity of the funnometer, Eric and Miss Swift rounded out the moonlight brigade.

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Sgt. Swift leads the pack out of town

After celebrating Cirrus’s B-day at the Cali-Inn, Eric arrived well tuned to a shop of eagerly awaiting cyclists. The finishing touches were put on things and fourteen tires began to roll towards the battlefield of moonlight madness. There would be Lunar induced, euphoria intoxication. The bikin’ brigade would lay siege to normality, good sense and all that comports with “good decision making”. Once off the pavement and into the Lunar realm, the rules change. It is outside the judicial system, governed only by the laws of physics. There is no one directing traffic.

One by one the group began the long, six-mile climb towards the Holmes Place. Early on, Linz flatted. No one was sure if he was ahead or behind. The group muddled its way upward with all eventually gaining the same proximity. At the Wedding Meadow Linz gave a thrilling rendition of a predator call on his ‘Free Willy’ horn.

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Linz calls in all available predators looking for an easy meal

The pace uphill was light and easy. The moon was already well into the night sky when the ride began. Though low in its summer ecliptic, it shinned on the trail making for easy passage. There was a brief stop by some at the View Rock. Then, mostly walking, the group grunted up and over the difficult upper section. At the top, a decision was made to start a fire and cook dinner, for those who hadn’t eaten. Wood gathering began in earnest and scouts tried to divine the best place to start a fire. One such possibility was the old foundation. A permanent rock exists. Eric and Sean checked it out. It even had a small folding shovel… What? A glance to the right revealed two tents!

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"Do you hear something out there???"

It was anyone’s guess whether the campers heard us or not. Perhaps they were wide awake hearing the arrival of the Bikin’ Brigade and were terrified to look out to see just what sort of bizarre troop had arrived. Perhaps they managed to sleep through this scene. At any rate the spot for the fire was chosen some distance from the tents. It quickly came to life and blazed into the minds and memories of the moonlight marauders. Michel, obliged to maintain his caterer status, filled the bellies of all. From steak and beer to chips and cookies, the rolling Deli would mercifully loose several pounds of cumbersome, but delicious food. Someone brought a massively titillating pesto chicken. Linz produced a special edition of Pastrami Waddell. Miss Swift made out like a bandit. It was a special feast that served to enhance the esprit de corps.

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Linz soaks up some warmth


Eventually the fire retired and the bikers returned to the task. From the Holmes Place, the trail climbs steeply for a couple of hundred yards. Then the ride summits. The view becomes instantly expansive and awesome. The bikers stopped briefly at this notable place to simply soaked up the gorgeous view and the subtle moon tones.

The ride drops through grassy hills, past the deck-cave and briefly into the woods. Out the other side, the ride drops sharply on a rocky jeep road. Then it levels and begins a very steep, heart straining climb. It lasts thankfully a short time. Again the road comes to the ridge that separates the drainages. To the north, the rugged hills of Lake and Napa county take the water to Putah Creek and eventually Lake Berryessa. To the south and west all of the water takes a short, but scenic trip to either San Pablo Bay or the Pacific Ocean.

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A brief pause to absorb a portion of beauty

The open slopes of the upper section of Pickett made for easy passage. The road was in decent shape, though still a bit challenging. Eventually the open areas yielded to the forest. The moon’s low ecliptic, the northern exposure and the thick woods eliminated most of the light. What was left was only marginally enough to stay in the vicinity of the jeep trail. Yet, the path remained smooth and always seemed to be under the wheels. The low light experience escalated the eerie effect. It teetered on the fuzzy border of an other-place event.

All of the riders made each drop and wound down the forest road. Near the bottom, several small, steep climbs interrupt the descent. Then the last stream arrives to signal the end of the off-road experience. A short jaunt past two new houses and a mile and a half on the road put the tired bikers back at the shop. The temperature could not have been nicer. It was cool and clear. The moon and stars were bright in the June night. The monthly maneuver served the Brigade well. Each reveled in the glory and beauty of this special night. Each touched the passionate face of La Luna, who so graciously gave light to the delighted explorers.

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Swift, our shepard who helps keep the flock together