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Chasing the Moonlight Cruisers

One of the best parts of writing and photographing this page every week is that I’m always surprised about some element of the event.

But nothing will top the wonder I felt last Friday night when I covered Carbondale’s Moonlight Cruisers and accidentally lost the event. This is a first.

I knew I was headed into trouble on Friday when I tried to explain the plan to one of my coworkers. “These people meet in Sopris Park and ride through Carbondale on their bikes.” I said. “In the dark?” he asked. “Yes,” I replied, a little worried and totally suspicious of the whole thing.



Normally before an event I get information up front, arrive early and spend three or four hours getting interviews, taking photos and soaking up the atmosphere at the event. But in this case, there was no soaking to be done.

All the cruisers arrived at the exact same time at the stroke of 9 p.m., and 17 minutes later they were gone. It was the first time I have watched my story ride away. So naturally, there was only one thing to do ” chase them. I mean, that’s what Superman’s sidekick, Lois Lane would have done.



Except that the Moonlight Cruisers didn’t want to be caught. And to make it worse, potholes, people and stoplights all conspired against me. I’d catch the group in my car and then lose them. And then I’d stake out a place and wait for them only to watch them speed by. They waved, they cheered, they howled, they tipped their drinks and they never stopped.

And while I’m not one to give up, I know when to call it a night. So, alone, in the dark park, without so much as a quote, I wondered what had happened. I thought about the strict self-imposed rules that I follow every week. Had they failed me? “Of course not,” I laughed to myself as a troubling images of my editors raced across my mind. “Well,” I said, looking around. “I could just say that it was too dark.”

You see, the problem wasn’t with my rules; it’s just that I should have left them at home for the evening. So I replayed the events in my head. What should have happened opposed to what really happened.

Our Towns Rule No. 1: Always arrive early at the event.

I arrived 46 minutes early for the Moonlight Cruise. This was approximately 46 minutes too early.

Our Towns Rule No. 2: Always dress for the occasion.

The idea of bringing my bike to Carbondale and riding with the cruisers occurred to me after I arrived in Carbondale without my bike. The fact that I was dressed in three-inch heels, more appropriate for a cameo on Sex and the City than a cruise through Carbondale made running behind them impossible.

Our Towns Rule No. 3: Always talk to the organizer, and don’t misquote anyone.

Maybe the event coordinator was the guy in the T-shirt who called himself the “spokes-man.” He said, “Don’t run anybody over,” or something like that. I don’t know…it was dark, and I can’t hear in the dark.

Our Towns Rule No. 4: Be precise; never assume anything and always get the facts.

I guess the cruisers probably ride until midnight, or maybe it’s just for an hour, and I presume since I heard a lot of howls that somewhere along the ride they hook up with a pack of coyotes, but I don’t know…it was dark and I lose my discernment in the dark.

Our Towns Rule No. 5: Always know the evening’s itinerary ahead of time.

They started somewhere on Main Street, took a left at some path; rode past some big church and … I don’t know, it was dark, and I lose my sense of direction in the dark.

Our Towns Rule No. 6: Always get an accurate count of attendees. There was a whole gaggle of them, you know, like a big biker gang, but I don’t know…it was dark and I can’t count in the dark.

Our Towns Rule No. 7: Be ready to break all the rules.

Sure, it’s my job to bring these events to you, but some things, like the Moonlight Cruisers are meant to remain a mystery. So if you want to know more, you’ll have to find out for yourself. And be sure to let me know how that turns out for you. Just remember one thing: It’ll be dark.

But no one should use that as an excuse.

From left, Lynne Cassidy, of Glenwood, teaches art at Glenwood Springs Elementary; Terri Bruna, of Carbondale, works at the Roaring Fork Club; Staci Dickerson, of Carbondale, owns Sounds Easy; and Steven Deliyianis, of Glenwood, is a photographer.

Carbondale ladies Jennifer Mogavero, left, is a physical therapist, and her sister, Mary Ann Mogavero, is a dishwasher at Russets.

From left, Jonathan Shamis, of Carbondale, is an attorney; Elle Westcott-Shamis, 10, is in fifth grade at Carbondale Community School; Noah Westcott-Shamis is in second grade at Carbondale Community School.

Katherine Schuhmacher, left, of Carbondale, owns Shoestring Publishing and Dennis Collins, of Carbondale, owns Moonbeam Candle Co.

Melissa Reynolds, left, of Carbondale, teaches seventh-grade math at Carbondale Middle School, and Sue Bacon, of Carbondale, is retired.

Lindsay and Hadley Hentschel, of Carbondale. Lindsay teaches at Carbondale Middle School, and Hadley teaches at Roaring Fork High School.

Kay Brunnier, of Carbondale, is a gourmet cook, and Will Evans, of Carbondale, is a physician.


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