The Third Wave
The wild spirit runs free
Saturday night was the only night that Lindsey would be able to make a moonride. Eric and Mike were in and Shawn was willing to put Jake-the-Snake to another romp off road, while his Bullet was getting rebuilt. The mood was for an easy, early outing. It was to be no epic on this night. Yet the moon beckoned for the Fools to escape to the hinterlands and spend time in the mystic lumens.
The ride selected would be a new loop, though on trails ridden for many years. There was resistance to the Oat as "been there, done that". So Shawn and Mike came up with a pleasant, simple loop that would fulfill the requirements of having "slipped the surly bonds". Chino Flats is about three miles from downtown Calistoga. The ride out Bennett Lane gives a chance to warm up and prepare for a lengthy climb into the hills above the Calistoga reservoir.
The Wild Spirit runs out of steam
After climbing the first of many fences, the ride chugs uphill on a jeep road. For many minutes the ride passes housing just downhill from the road. Sometimes dogs will become alerted to the riders. On this night no sound came from the houses as the group climbed into the hills and beyond the civilized zone. Quickly all vestiges of modern life vanished to hillsides of dry grasses and patches of buck brush. A lesser jeep road split off, taking the riders higher into the hills.
The final climb is challenging. The steepness is better served in the other direction. Mercifully the climb is brief and the riders are able to descend for a short distance before rolling across the level terrain onto Chino Flats. This location is the notable last stop on the St. Helena Downhill. Now the riders began the torturous descent down to the lake. The otherwise easy ride is compromised by the presence of bovines in this area. They trample the ground so badly in the winter that it makes the surface virtually unrideable. It is somewhat curious that such surface destruction and contamination is permitted just above and adjacent to the Calistoga water supply.
The wild Spirit-vision shimmers in the night
The plan was to ride the spillway. This thrilling feature always adds a spike to the chart of a ride. Unfortunately the spillway was littered with enough flotsam and junk to make it not feasable. The four rode to the vineyard, climbed the fence and exited the area. The ride back to town was easy and relaxed. It was an simple ride that allowed the four some extra time in the September moonlight.