A Thorny Affair

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Greeting La Luna

Seven riders reported to celebrate the Sept. moon. A mild ride was offered in the form of a St. Helena Downhill. This popular ride would serve the group with an evening of fun and frivolity. Sean Large, Shawn S., Lindsey, Dr. J., Jim Wilson, Jim Korte and Eric made up the contingent. Jim Wilson wowed the crew with action-activated blue L.E.D. lights on his wheels.

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Jim's levity actuator

The moon was up early as the crew arrived at the starting point at the parking lot of RLS. (Robert Lewis Stevenson park). The ride up the trail was pleasant and mostly uneventful, though Lindsey was reported to be off course and in the woods. What ever happened he managed to get back on the trail and joined the others at the first required stop near the monument.

From there, the group traveled down Silver St. and to the Silverado Ranch road. The attempt to be stealth was thwarted by the brush growing in the trail and several small trees that had fallen across the path. Once out of the woods, the views of the surrounding area become expansive. The moon illuminated Napa and Sonoma counties. The sky was clear. The Ranch road provided easy access to Turks Head. The next section of the ride contains some of the most gnarly brush known to flesh. When the crew stopped at the next required point, Shawn complained of getting a ‘splinter’ in his arm. Upon inspection, the splinter proved to be a massive thorn with only the broken end showing. Eric provided a pair of small vise grips and Shawn carefully gripped the end and pulled over an inch of thorn out of his arm. It was a classic G.I. Joe field operation.

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Only surgical quality instruments used

The next section of the ride is the fabled downhill. This part drops off the nose of the grassy hillside before arriving at the side-hill trail. The loose nature of the earth made for sketchy riding. Several riders went down without harm. Eventually everyone made it to the side hill trail. The side-hill trail requires keen balance and attention, otherwise a high side can send the hapless moon-rider to a no-fun ending of the ride.

Steep downhill sections make up the latter part of this venture. It was on this part that Jim Wilson experimented with gravity by accelerating at a phenomenal rate, then slowing his speed by applying his body randomly to the ground. Eric was wowed by watching Jim depart from the trail and his bike, then leaving the blue flashing lights to illuminate a cloud of dust.

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Dropping into oblivion

The final spike on the chart was a rare dash down the spillway. The steep drop falls from the top to near vertical before leveling to a fast dash under heavy planks that roof the channel when the water overflows in the winter. Six riders proceeded to town, not aware that Jim W. wasn’t among the group. After waiting for a while, a sortie was launched to locate Jim. He was found and the ride officially ended. The riders were in bed early. It was a mild event, one filled with the great spirit that accompanies those who visit the generous lady of the night, La Luna.