The first July moonride called for a water event. It had been a blistering hot summer and the lunatistas were ready for the cool refreshment of a night time swim. Eight bodies showed up for the ride. It would be a short commute (perhaps the last) for Jim Korte. Lucy made the call as did the Striedieck Family, Eric, Austin and Cirrus. Jer Moore would make an appearance after being MIA for several years. Dr. J. would provide the transportation for the entire troupe and Shawn would be the official photographer for the event.
Photo by S. Seidel
The ride was a simple one. It would be a daylight run around the west side of Lake Sonoma reaching waters edge at dusk. After a short car shuffle, the eight riders assembled their gear and bodies at the Skaggs Springs parking lot. Cirrus managed to have a double flat after a short ride in Calistoga to the store for food. The goat heads were out in force. After a few other adjustments the eight began the scintillating downhill drop to the lake. The smooth single track provides one of the worlds best treats to fat tires.
Thornage in the tire. Photo by S. Seidel
The group moved smoothly across the hillsides along the lake. A required stop was made at the Island View lookout. The view is expansive and beautiful. The Warm Springs side of the lake is in full view with surrounding terrain punctuating the scene. Bummer Peak rises above the water and Liberty Glen can be seen in the distance. The evening was growing long and the sun was low in the western sky. This moonride would occur under the lowest light of the moon cycle. In the summertime the moon rides lowest in its ecliptic while the sun is at its highest.
Island View lookout
The ride to the water was relatively short. Mike nearly ditched the group with a speedy gallop past the put-in point. There were two schools of thought about getting to waters edge. One contingent went straight downhill, another found a path leading to the water, though slightly away from the ideal spot. Most of the riders convened at the most narrow section of the lake while Jim stayed at more distant point. It was now dark. All began to ready their equipment for the crossing. The flimsy air mattresses were inflated and the bikes and gear stowed on top of the shaky rafts. Six bikes were piled on one raft, Mike elected to go solo and Jim Korte to the bewilderment of the others flagged down a boat and by-passed the most significant feature of the ride. While the others reveled in the beauty of the swim, Jim proceeded to cross into banishment for his astounding lack of communion with the spirit of the event.
SS Bikin Fools Raft headed for the further shore
On the other side the group assembled at the picnic table and fire ring. It didnt take long to gather enough wood to start a reasonable fire and begin cooking the evenings meal. The usual assortment of steak, sausage, and other culinary delights appeared from the packs and the lunatistas settled into an evening of delightful banter and joy around the campfire, except Jim who remained aloof and separate from the rest. The night was totally dark except for the growing glow on the eastern horizon as the moon prepared to make her grand entrance. For a long period of time the light grew stronger until the glorious orb appeared, rising in spectacular fashion above the hills and across the lake. The shimmering water danced magically with the beautiful light of the moon.
Jimbo in time-out mode
As the dinner drew to the later stages, a boat approached the shore.
Hey, thats our campground! An angry voice shouted from the boat.
Were just passing through Someone yelled.
The boaters landed on the shore and proceeded to unload a monstrous amount of gear, people and dogs. By the time they had relieved their vessel of all the crap, the bikin fools were ready to depart. It was around midnight. The plan was simply to climb to Liberty Glen. The idea of an epic ride going over Bummer Peak was voted out. For one thing, the north side of the mountain would be in the shadow of the low riding moon. The ride up to Liberty Glen provided the best exposure for light and the view continued to be no less than spectacular as the eight riders climbed high above the lake.
Moonwaves in the water
The last segment of the ride was all downhill, on pavement. 16 knobby tires belted out the hallelujah chorus as speeds crossed the sketchy line of potential big consequences if Bambi decided to cross the road at that particular moment. The thrill was short lived as the group arrived at the parking lot. Six riders continued to ride towards the bottom of the dam while Mike and Jim performed the car shuffle.
The ride was pleasant beyond description. The notable absence of Lindsey did not prevent the lunatistas from have a totally successful ride. Jer would need a week or so to recover, this being his first mt. bike ride in a year. Once again the Lady of the Night provided the forum for the monthly meeting of the fellowship of escapees. It was again a flight from the grind of normal living to a special environment that allows the spirit great rein and freedom from the constraints of the world.