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Pirates of the Chuckanut

July 31, 2011
Pirate flags

ARRRR matey, the Hamster Run be PIRATE-themed (Orin O’Neill photos)

I must admit, I was a bit skeptical of the whole pirate theme idea for this year’s Hamster Run. Pirates? In Bellingham?

Turned out, the idea was a hit. There was lots of pirate talk over the weekend, matey. Some, like Philip and Doc, really embraced the idea.

Philip and Doc in pirate garb

We couldn’t have asked for better weather to kick the rally off on Friday. People gathered from near, and even better, far (like Seattle and Vancouver/Victoria) at Chuckanut Brewery to nosh on pizza and liquid refreshments.

Chuckanut Brewery scooter parking

As the sun dipped toward the horizon, the group left on a quick city ride that ended on the top floor of the downtown Parkade. We watched the sunset as a slow race took place.

Atop Bellingham's Parkade

The group then split, some headed for bowling at 20th Century while others were off to Jeff & Mary’s estate for a bonfire and a movie.

The wonderful weather continued on Saturday, the meetup happening at Zuanich Point Park on the waterfront, to be followed by the “short” (40 miles or so) morning ride.

Sounders flag

As you can see, Chef James is Sounders SC ’til he dies.

Ruckus guys

I thought there’d be more Ruckus folks, but these two were representin’.

Since I’m a card-carrying SOB, I was on the rally committee and obligated to help with things. I would be riding sweep this morning, so instead of taking my usual spot toward the front, the GTS and I brought up the rear.

I wasn’t expecting to find scooters stopped on the Boulevard; Meredith’s scooter was so low on gas she wasn’t sure she’d make it to the 76 station at 12th Street & Old Fairhaven Parkway.

Kelly to the rescue!

Kelly came to the rescue. She had a full tank of gas, and while we were trying to think of where to get a container, she had found a perfect one in the bushes.

Emergency beer can

It was clean, and it holds 16 fluid ounces, which was more than enough to get Meredith to the gas station. And since Kelly’s Stella has autolube, Meredith was able to add the correct amount of 2-stroke oil.

The ride followed a route we often take on our mid-month club rides, going south on Chuckanut Drive into the Skagit Valley, east on Bow-Edison Road, then north along the shore of Lake Samish. We’d break for lunch in Fairhaven.

My lunch break was a short one because I had to fetch the support truck, which I’d be driving on the afternoon’s long ride.

Dorcie said there were 66 bikes on the morning ride, and while a few left during the lunch break, a few more arrived. A pretty big group leaving Fairhaven, it was.

As we neared Lake Whatcom, some entitled twit in an Audi A3 couldn’t wait two seconds for the group to pass, elbowing into the middle and trying to pass scooters in the most dangerous places. Luckily, I was able to duck around the Audi at 4-way stop and block it until the riders it had blocked could rejoin the group. SUVs are good for something, after all.

The view from the sag wagon

The view from the driver’s seat gives you an idea of what the roads and the scenery are like. The PX was always fond of lush greenery; I’m quite sure there are more oxygen molecules in such places, because its 2-stroke engine seemed to run better through the woods.

We almost loaded the trailer. Almost. A fellow on a Honda Reflex hit a patch of loose grit (at about 10 mph, according to witnesses) and went down on a downhill curve. Luckily, neither he nor the scooter sustained any serious damage, and after a brief break to catch his breath, he was back riding with the group.

The afternoon ride was a long one, and the temperature had gotten quite warm. I’m sure I’d have been quite pooped if I’d been on the GTS. I was ready for the evening meal at Jeff & Mary’s, which would be followed by the raffle and scooter games.

Our friend Chuck's pirate booty

Our friend Chuck cleaned up at the raffle. There were several nice prize packages to be won, and people could direct their tickets toward the prizes they really wanted by placing them in marked containers.

The first of the scooter games was a gymkhana. It was fortunate that it took place on grass, because Todd and Doc dumped their bikes at the finish line. Neither were hurt seriously, and their times counted!

How'd we do?

I think Doc won. I wouldn’t swear to it, however.

Scooter ring toss

Up next was scooter ring toss. Teams were two-up, the pillion had 10 rings to toss. Whoever got the most rings in the shortest amount of time was the winner. In this case it was Tom and friend, above.

It rained Sunday. It wasn’t supposed to. Breakfast at Jeff & Mary’s went on as planned, but a short final ride got scrubbed so the out-of-towners who stayed over Saturday night could get on the road. By all accounts, a good time was had by all. Several Hamster Run first-timers couldn’t stop talking about what a great time they had, and how they’ll be back next year. If you missed it, well, be here next year. ARRRRR. Favicon

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2 Comments
  1. Karen permalink
    July 31, 2011 8:17 pm

    Awesome as usual Orin : ) It was an awesome rally, had a fantastic time.

  2. July 31, 2011 10:10 pm

    If only the anarchists that make up the Nashville scooter scene could pull off something of this scale and scope, I would find hope in a hopeless world. It is not to be.

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