West Sonoma Loop

December 1st dawned as a day to ride. The short, but sweet winter days offer the Bikin' Fools opportunities not to be missed. On this day the brethren of the duff would beckon Lindsey and Eric to join them in a day of joyous abandon.

"Hello" Eric said.

"It’s Linz, I was hoping to get a bike ride in today." Lindsey opened.

"Let’s do the Lake Sonoma thing." Eric offered.

"Sounds great if we get an early enough start to make it to the brewery before it closes this time." Linz noted with increased interest.

On Tony’s birthday ride last year, the duo had arrived at the brewery just at the closing hour. It took intense pleading to score some beer, then the Fools were ushered out is short order. There was no time to sit and relax, tell war stories and quaff major amounts of great microbrew.

The plan was set. Two vehicles would be taken to avoid the ten miles of road that Linz and Eric crept over on the original West Sonoma Loop ride. Today the ride would cover only the scintillating single track without the utilitarian roadwork. The beginning of the ride occurs in a steep cow pasture. It is soft grass and tempts one to try to ride down. It is do-able, but sketchy enough to get the juices flowing. Then there is a solid mile of steep downhill on a good jeep road. This brings the intrepid biker into the first of two hunting camps.

Shortly after the first camp, the road deteriorates to funky nothingness. It follows a stream through a very steep and narrow wooded canyon. The road is quite old and has long since deteriorated. It crosses the stream a couple of times. At one particular crossing Linz froze in his tracks: "Check it out!"

There nestled next to an ancient, fallen tree was a group of lovely, full sized Bolete mushrooms. They stood out with vigor and energy. Their color was vibrant and juicy. Upon further inspection, many more groups were discovered. It was a huge family of schrooms basking in the lovely, wet under duff around the ancient one. For several minutes Linz and Eric collected a huge bag of the beauties to take home and feast upon.

Not far from the first schroom sightings, a slide and logjam blocked the way. Lindsey chose the Flying Wolinda style to cross the logjam. Carrying his bike he carefully threaded his way across forty feet of log. It was high enough to qualify as: Hairball! Once past the logjam, the bikin’ tourists had to find the secret shortcut across the stream again. It wasn’t easy, but once past the tricky section, the road was again contacted and would improve to the next camp a short distance away.

On this day the two decided to forego the usual safety break at the second camp and proceeded out the drive. Suddenly there were music and voices. A heretofore, vacant meadow was now sporting a house. Eric and Linz quietly slipped by. There was a gate that was easily passed and within one hundred yards another gate that had to be climbed. Once over this gate, the two proceeded back into the boondocks and the safety of the remote area.

As they traveled, mushrooms appeared nearly everywhere. Boletes were so prolific that Linz and Eric could have filled a truck with them. Other species also appeared. A cute community of puffballs beckoned to the Bikin' Fools. Chocolate Boletes made an appearance. Towards the end of the ride, a hericium offered its flower to the mycological cornucopia that flooded the scene.

After a delightful romp on the undulating dirt road, the two came upon the beginning of the single track that would wind for the next fifteen miles around the Warm Springs arm of the lake. Markings on the trail indicated that a foot race had been run this year on the same course.

Once established on the familiar wooded trail, the two had only to consider the time factor vis--vis the brewery. Linz was hoping to exit the woods before four o’clock, but Eric had doubts about that. The two kept a rapid pace for the next two hours and finally, at 4:20, they arrived at Eric’s car. The short drive to the brewery netted the Bikin' Fools a hearty and copious amount of electrolyte replacement beverage. There was time to sit and relax; time to engage in friendly banter with the hostesses and with other customers.

Yet this was only a part of the sensual plenitude that existed for the Fools today. Next on the menu was a trip to Lindsey’s house to partake in a delightful culinary schroom feast. Linz turned to a blur of activity in front of the stove and in short order produced a luxurious offering of several mushroom dishes. The senses danced on the dangerous edge of overload.

This beautiful day was another spike on the chart of the Bikin' Fools. All of the factors conspired to bring Linz and Eric a special outing in the realm of the brethren of the duff.