Van loads up
The call for the May 08 moonride was to travel all the way to the coast for the fun Pomo Campground loop. The ride isn't epic, the drive is. Although Eric (A.D.) protested the call on grounds of the four hours of travel time required, the ride was committed in part by the fact that Mike had invited two newbies to the event. They were complete strangers who happened to ride mt. bikes (at whatever level, we will never know) and worked at a supplier that Mike uses. Mike's ability to spin tall tales convinced these guys that they would be missing half of life if they did not attend. To complicate matters, they were told to meet at the Sizzling Tandor at 7:30. No cell numbers or other (reality based) arrangements were put in place. The Calistoga contingent didn't leave town until nearly 7:30. Whether the others even showed up or not will remain a mystery. Dan from CBO did show up.
Dan readies for the ride
Michael and Eric (Fuzzy) carpooled from the Bay Area, exceeding A.D.'s commute by an hour. Their drive could have been simplified with some clarity about the logistics. Yet, this theme would play out during the entire evening. Dwarfing all others in the commute, Sebastian once again make the gargantuan trek from Portland to attend the event.
The group of six meet at the shop while Dan drove to the S.T. (Sizzling Tandor). The usual preparations, socializing and other time delaying factors burned an hour or so until the two vehicles finally departed. The van carried all of the bikes and three participants while Eric (A.D.) drove his car to avoid having to sit in the back of the van, on the floor for the three hours of travel time to and from the ride.
Dan was waiting at the S.T. when the others arrived. He reported no sighting of other mt. bikers. The seven riders decided to leave from the S.T. as opposed to driving the two miles back to Pomo campground. Dinner items would be carried. The riders climbed the highway to the Goat Rock turn. As the riders filed onto the road, a camper approached, made the turn and proceeded to turn around. It executed a three point turn, blowing the first backing maneuver by putting the rig into the ditch. Luckily with seven mt. bikers looking on, it was able to extract itself.
Camper headed for the ditch
The riders proceeded to the path to the ocean. The fog was thick and a very light mist filled the air. The riders cruised downhill to the big rock outcrop that stands sentinel, looking out at the Pacific Ocean. After a short break the riders pressed on. The path was smooth, fun and fast. It took a very short time to reach the 'boardwalk'. This fun feature keeps all feet and tires from the fragile flora found on the bluffs above the ocean.
Linz threads through the coastal flora
Shell Beach was the next waypoint on the ride. The course heads uphill. After a steep climb on a jeep road, the riders regrouped and headed on. It was in this area that the navigation foundered. Somewhere a turn was missed. After riding for a significant distance, several riders agreed they were no longer in Kansas. Having no idea where the error was made, the group decided to press on. The trail was smooth and wide and had to go somewhere. It was certain that the path was wrong when they came to a horse barrier. This feature had never been seen.
Seb and Eric cruisin' the boardwalk
Soon after, another barrier appeared. For Eric it seemed to be the same one. The fog was so thick, it was impossible to determine the direction. None the less, the contingent pressed onward. Shortly a signpost appeared to finally put the riders on course. The sign indicated two possibilities; one to Red Hill the other to the promised land, Pomo Canyon. Soon and seemingly out of nowhere, the desired trail appeared. Now the riders recognised the terrain. It was at the top of the dark forest that leads to the campground.
Horse barrier doesn't look familiar
The ride through the dark forest was worth all the driving to get there. In the woods, little to no moonlight was present. One could only barely make out ferns that lined the magic trail. The tall redwoods effectively blocked the light while creating a mystical, other-worldly dreamlike place. Water dripped from the trees. The path was soft and smooth. Although there was nearly no visual information available, the riders were able to feel the trail. They rode at varying speeds down the steep canyon. The ferns on either side of the trail guided the riders.
Rider navigates the depth of darkness
Faintly at first, light in the meadow began to creep into view. It grew brighter as the riders approached the bottom. One by one all seven riders convened at the campground. Amazingly there were several cars parked in the lot. Usually it is rare to find anyone there, especially during the week. Not finding an open campsite with a fire ring, the riders proceeded to another location just outside the campground. Two picnic tables offered a venue for the dinner party.
Steak on a stick
Riders gathered a pile of dry wood and shortly the fire was blazing. The prefered item on the menu was steak. There was a portobella mushroom and sausage. The usual array of food was somewhat lacking, though there was no shortage. Linz experimented with "Steak on a Stick". It seemed to work.The group lounged for a period of time, then quelled the fire.
No longer lost
The last miles were ridden to the cars. Along the way the camper-in-the-ditch was spotted. They had found a quiet, out of the way place to rest. The ride ended at the Sizzling Tandor round 2:00 in the morning. The drive back to town was uneventful. The moon reappeared near Calistoga, peaking through the fog. The ride provided the Bikin' Fools with one more opportunity to dwell momentarily in the realm of La Luna and in her gracious court of sublime beauty.