Roughshod in Fullerton with the Dirty Chain Gang

Once again the call went out, the weekly meetin' of the Dirty Chain Gang. This time the gathering would take place beyond the hills bounding the northern reaches of the O.C. at a little burg known as Fullerton, though not the first time the DCG had chosen to raise the dust along the well-trod Fullerton Loop. A sizable posse of about, some say, twenty riders with their chosen steeds assembled at the old courthouse in an early hour. Fog covered the sky, though before long its thick blanket would burn away. Dust covered the trail, though before long its thick blanket would rise into the air, a coating on bodies and bikes. Someone, noticing the youngster in the midst of the other sun-leathered faces commented that at least he "wouldn't be the slowest one on this day," a comment that was met with a withering glare - watch what you say around that young gun, he don't take horse pucky from anyone.

don't cross that guy

It didn't take long, five minutes or so, for the first rider of the day to tumble from the saddle, a sudden ledge and steep drop into a trailside garden all sharp with cactus and other, equally prickly, succulents. Dotted in red, with rivulets of blood the fallen rider, rose to his feet in true DCG style - with a smile and a laugh, ignored by most everyone more intent on the condition of his rubber-shod steed.

The gang may have done a little trail terrorizing, and tenderizing, but mostly the other, local, folks watched 'em pass with smiles and waves and "good mornings", well used to the sight of large groups spinning along the flats, grinding up one side of the hills, and rattle bang down the other. The gang had no luck finding a train to hold up, a little help to pay for some post ride vittles - the abandoned track hasn't rumbled and screeched beneath the weight of locomotives in years. In between beginning and end the gang sometimes trotted at a leisurely pace catching up with past ride memories and incidentals of the day, while other times they ramped up to a heart-racing gallup through narrow twists and turns and down washboarded slopes. I won't fool you into believing I was participant in the latter - my brakes were as liberally applied when the slope turned downward as ever they have been.

One more tumbling rider, five minutes from the return to the courthouse made a bookend of the morning. Another no-harm-done, story-to-be-shared moment waiting to be relived over beers and burritos at the local cantina. Just another successful outing with the Dirty Chain Gang.

a little color at the start


the circle

rivulets of blood



top o' the hill

down the other side

there is always one

watering hole

along the tracks

don't tease what lives down there guys, you don't want to wake it