T-Town Flotilla

Hosted by Firkin Scooter Club, written by Shaun Hunt
Tacoma, WA

There’s a squall brewing. A squall of scooters that is! Friday evening has blessed us with warm, calm skies of blue that sizzle with an electric excitement. John of the Parkway Tavern in Tacoma has offered us safe
 harbor to moor our evinrude like machines for the meet and greet of the Firkin Scooter Clubs 2nd annual T-Town Flotilla. As 4:30 approaches, scooters begin to trickle in, weigh their anchors and riders drift into the Parkways inviting interior to pickup Rally Pack swag from sailor girls Tessa and Renee.

As the late afternoon progresses into evening, the sidewalk and street is peppered with all manner of scooters from points north as far as Burlington and a healthy contingent from Seattle and intrepid adventure seekers for points south. Most of the motley crew already has sailor hats firmly perched on their heads while imbibing a little liquid nourishment. At approximately 7:15 Kuzzman gathers the gaggle to indulge in the Cruising Urban North Tacoma twilight ride, exploring the lesser known Stadium district back streets, cobbled roads and medina like maze of hidden Tacoma.

After an hour of enchanting wonder, the 25 plus riders look to their Captain with intimate glee as the Sun bows respectfully beyond the horizon as we pull into the next Venue, the Harmon Tap Room.

Reylan, of the local F**K Yeah! Scooter club has pulled together an enviable line up of three bands, ‘On the Make, Bandolier and his own band the Dignitaries to play at the event in the cavern like room known as the Harmon Tap Room Underground. Bandolier, Reylan’s brother, Lino’s band, and the Dignitaries contain incestuous membership of the F**K Yeahs! This is On the Makes debut at a Rally event and they are an instant hit, dutifully adopted as a rocking scooter band. Bandolier is always a hit and Lino even with a broken foot, elicits contagious excitement from the gathered crowd. As the Dignitaries take the Stage, Reylan is a giant prancing around in his sailor hat, infusing the revelers with garage-spiced rock.

The revelers do not want the evening to end. But sadly, as moonlight reflects in cowls and leg shields, its time to bunk for the night and prepare to set sail for uncharted waters on Saturday…

Déjà vu?? We are all back at the Harmon Tap Room for a no host Breakfast Burrito buffet. Delicious sustenance chased down with Bloody Mary and mimosas. Familiar faces and bloodshot eyes circle the sidewalk while riders continue to glide in. Kuzzman’s familiar yowl of “Saddle up” rebounds off of the façade as sailor hats are exchanged for crash helmets and the fleet of approximately 30 scoots slinks its way through familiar downtown Tacoma streets destined for the “Meet the Ace Café Event” at the LeMay Car Museum. The Firkin SC was invited by Burt Richmond to attend this event and although we could only stay for a couple of hours, our anarchistic group was privileged to park in prime real estate on the show field while boys and girls strolled through the plethora of pre 1980 vintage motorcycles and exotic machines. Jeff Carlson provided an articulate interview with one of the event’s organizers before once again it was time to depart for other ports of call.
We almost left Steve and Lisa from Burlington behind but Tom and Renee successfully rescued them as we meandered through Tacoma tributaries and zipped across the Narrows suspension bridge, which is always spectacular on two-wheeled steel with an itinerant bee raging under your ass demanding more power.

Chloe Cerenko hung perilously off of the back of Johns Stella and captured some absolutely stunning pictures. Before long we were winding are way through sun dappled lands and the leafy highways of back roads bordered by Fox Island and Carr Inlet, a delicious drug of bends and turns highlighted by rippling sparkling waters of the sound before alighting at the Flotation Device in Purdy. As we mingled in the parking lot we realized we had lost about 5 or 6 vessels.

After about 15 minutes to the tune of raucous cheers, Jeff and Robert tugged in with some of the wayward travelers. Apparently, the Narrows bridge haul and proven too much for some of the machines which had suffered various mechanical issues such as broken belt, blown crank seal and a vapor lock. Our motto of “You’ll never scoot alone” was strictly enforced. However, some had no choice but to head back to shore. Following refreshments and nibbles, the Flotation Device sent us off on the final leg of our voyage with additional raffle swag. As we cruised the relatively fast course along the 302, Shaun attempted to maintain a reasonable speed but was later informed that a governor may have to be installed on his humble P200. Randy Agnew, hailing from Seattle, did us the huge favor of leading a small group into Belfair for additional supplies while the rest of the swarm continued to snake through Union towards our destination, Twanoh State Park.

On the approach to the group site, we were presented with our nature made gymkhana. Everyone participates. A curvy, gravel infused, switch backed, hair pinned, grass track rutted incline that we must traverse to reach the plateau at the top of the hill where the Firkin lifesaver will be firmly planted. This is an ascent in first gear, for the vintage bikes. Eyes front and focused, dust plumes our rooster tails. Out of the now 20 scooters only one minor wipeout. Tim and Sarah managed to take a graceful tumble resulting in a grazed knee, another badge of aesthetic tribute to the Vespa and sides split from incessant giggling while intertwined with aforementioned scooter.

We were rewarded at the summit by Sarah Rowan who had kindly driven to the site and prepared the trappings for our evening feast replete with delectable salads, pies, cookies in addition to the rotary meat discs and tubes. Campsites hidden in the shrubbery were quickly claimed and tents erected while John and Barb Carlson retrieved the truck from the lower campground loaded with a menagerie of other essentials such as wood, BBQ and raffle items. As dogs and burgers sizzled, merriment obviously ensued with reckless abandon. Raffle prizes from many very generous sponsors were littered across the picnic table.

These were quickly awarded to lucky prizewinners as the sun slowly dipped behind the trees and the curtain of night drew across the site, bonfire burning furiously and Fireball flowing generously.

Jagermeister nymphs clad in daring attire danced around the fire as Robert got the projector setup and soon we were settled in watching the Fastest Indian in the middle of the forest as Jason from Bellingham rumbled in on his Lambretta in an aura of dust and light. As the witching hour approached, forest scooter nymphs retreated to tents while some sunk into chairs to ensure the fire was not left unattended and to make certain that the curse of the banana hammock was safely at bay.
Dawn crept in with the stealth of a curious mongoose. The debaucheries of the previous evening were quickly swept away as the generator coughed and wheezed under the strain of the toaster.

The official TTF breakfast of beans on toast was in full swing accompanied by a new Firkin Rally song courtesy of Tom Brooks. A ukulele in the morning in the woods is a refreshing tonic.

Once again Sarah R. surprised us with an additional ingredient to the beans accompanied by fruit pies, whipped cream and a smorgasbord of other scrumptious goodies. As the tide of time ebbed into Sunday, the hill of hell beckoned once more. The descent was approached with respect, 1st gear, no front brake the mantra as one by one we toodled casually to the bottom with not one single casualty.

Robert now assumed the astrolabe and navigated a course to the Southworth Ferry. Steep undulating hills beckoned, and riders’ shuffled position as speed was gathered in the descent to prepare for the next incline. Before long we were at the ferry dock with passage graciously compensated by “King” Richard.
A fitting end to a glorious day as we bobbed over the sound towards Vashon as farewells were exchanged with our northern friends who would continue on to Fauntleroy. Of course, as our diminishing fleet picked its way through Vashon Island it was with silent agreement that we made our obligatory stop at the Red Bicycle Tavern before continuing on and only just making the Ferry from Talequah to Point Defiance.

In conclusion a fantastic weekend made possible by all those that attended and contributed with new friends, old friends and tall tales to tell. We’ll set sail again in 2013!!