It is about one o’clock in the afternoon and after a delightfully abundant picnic and a quick bathroom break in a nearby campground, we push our bikes out of the shade and set off down a gravel bike path, content – for the moment – to enjoy the blessed peace of off road travel…
Gravel crunches under wheel as the team of famous WW1
Flying Aces guide their downed Sopwith Camels around loose stones and rocks.
Vrrrr… the drone of enemy aircraft cuts through the air. Is it? Could it be?
The first famous WW1 Flying Ace shakes his fist in frustration as he recognizes the red markings of… The Red Baron.
Shots ring out but the Flying Aces march onward unperturbed. They must reach the road and friendly territory ahead if they plan on surviving the night. The road is getting tougher and here and there the ground is littered with shotgun shells.
In utter disbelief the WW1 Flying Aces see before their careworn eyes a fence. There is no turning back now. The Flying Aces are done for.
With a last desperate fist shake in the direction of their lifelong foe, the famous WW1 Flying Aces bowed their heads and- “Snoopy-er I mean Anna- give us a hand, we’re taking the bikes down the hill.”
What was that? A plan? The Flying Aces lift their heads and turn toward their hopeful companion.
Yes it is a plan. A desperate one at that. But desperate times call for desperate measures and the famous Flying Aces now have a small glint of hope.
The first Flying Ace cautiously pushes his Sopwith Camel to the edge of the road. The faint snaking line of another dirt road is apparent far far below them.
They grimly climb into the cockpit of their respective planes and with one last hesitant push are hurtling down a slippery slope.
“Anna! Quit daydreaming. It’s only a few meters to the road but we need your help to push the bikes down.”
The Flying Aces are about to make contact! The first grips the edge of his seat, nods to his stoker and squeezes his eyes tightly shut.
CRASH! CRASH! CRUNCH! Slowly opening his eyes as the dust settled and an eerie silence ensues, the world famous Flying Ace realizes with giddy relief that his 163rd downed Sopwith Camel is slightly scratched with one wing dented but apart from that not much worse off then before.
With a screech, the two Aces scramble to get themselves out of the way before-CRASH! CRUNCH! Kaput. Once everybody has emerged (unscathed) and the Camels have been checked for roll ability, the Flying Aces set off down the new pebble pocked path, leaving the gunshots far behind them.
The going is slow with loose rocks and slippery gravel but somehow the famous WW1 Flying Aces manage to push the planes back up onto the main road with naught but a few battle scars.
Finally, after one more daring descent, friendly territory is in sight. The brave Flying Aces return. Thirsty and sweaty but content-for the moment- to enjoy the blessed peace of enduring the washing of mounds of dishes (too many downed Camels.)
By Anna Sierra, inspired by Charles M. Shulz.