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Waltzing Flotilla

August 4, 2013
T-Town Flotilla T-shirt

Orange IS the new black… (Orin O’Neill photos)

I still don’t have a scooter, but I vowed earlier this year to go to T-Town Flotilla III’s Friday meetup because it would take place at the Parkway Tavern, a place I’ve wanted to visit darn near forever. Well, at least since the scooter scene in Tacoma picked up.

The Parkway (John, the manager, said one word is the preferred writing, even though the sign shows two words) has been the Friday-evening meetup spot for Tacoma scooterists for about seven years.

Parkway Tavern sign

The Parkway is located in Tacoma’s Stadium neighborhood, on a leafy boulevard among big old Craftsman and Victorian homes. The place was once a house itself, as you can see from the outside. And the inside.

Inside the Parkway

There are 29 beers on tap, some of which are the Parkway’s own brews; the tap list changes regularly and often, so there’s always something new. Online reviews contain lots of stars, and the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed. A neighborhood pub par excellence.

Firkin SC members

The members of the Firkin SC had gathered in the back room for beer, food and socializing. I was hungry.

Bacon cheeseburger and salad

Bacon cheeseburger, $8.50; substitute salad for chips, 50 cents. Quite good. The Parkway serves up tasty pub grub to accompany those 29 beers on tap.


The meetup was followed by an evening ride around north Tacoma, which ended at the nearby Harmon Tap Room for a show including The Dignitaries, a band whose members include several Tacoma scooter peeps. Saturday, a bigger group rode from Tacoma to the Kitsap Peninsula for camping and other activities. Next year, I hope. Favicon

  1. Jack Riepe permalink
    August 4, 2013 4:42 pm

    Dear Orin:

    There are times when a few simple pictures and concise text do not do justice to the subject. The author creates a mood and introduces details that pique the interest of the gentle reader. (If the reader is myself, then the word “disturbed” may be substituted for gentle.) And then the piece just ends…. But certain questions linger. I want answers.

    Why is the name “Parkway” to be understood as one word but displayed as two on the sign? Is this some kind of code? Does it mask a crime? Is there a legend?

    This is my kind of bar. Dark mahogany… Subdued lighting…. Locally brewed beer (with at least one or two iron-tasting India pales, no doubt)…. And rows of gins, whiskies, and liquors from exotic places… But not a single word about the guy mixing the drinks! Does he have a cool name, like “Joey, the Mouse, Little Wally, or Louie the Snitch?” Does he have a checkered past?

    The fact that this bar is an an old house is cool too. You specifically mention Craftsman homes. Is this structure a Roycrofters home? How come you showed us the mysterious (and erroneous) sign, but not the distinctive front of the building?

    And where are the women in this place? Even though I am of the BMW persuasion, I am a biker and primal one at that. I like to go fast. Speed kills. I like drinking in cool bars. Cool bars kill. And I love the women you meet in these places. They are especially deadly. But you take your chances; that’s what I say.

    This brings us to the members of the Firkin Scooter Club. You should at least tell us their first names. Starting from the left, the guy in the blue plaid shirt could be “Mugs” Twizzle; who once rode a Vespa down aisle seven in the supermarket, to disperse the crowd and get the last package of authentic Twinkies. Next to him could be Molly Langerman; whose scooter club credentials are printed on a NASCAR pit crew badge blank. (She is the only one wearing a name badge.) Filcher T. Norcross, could be the guy in the center, who rode across the Rio Blinko, a drainage slough, when it was fully flooded to a depth of three inches, on a scooter with a slow leak in the front tire. The lady in the corner could be Sandra C. Tillip, who once raced a farm irrigator through a complete circle on her Vespa — and lost. The guy on the end could be Harvey Winslow; inventor of the Winslow mudflap. And if you look carefully, there is a mysterious striped skirt sitting next to Harvey. I am thinking, “Why is she cut from the picture? Huh? Why? (I just made al this stuff up to use as an example. I certainly don’t know these folks.)

    Then there is the picture of the burger… Why do bloggers include shots of what they are eating? The only time I did this was when a dropped a severed rubber finger into Dick Bregstein’s cobb salad. I had been waiting to give Bregstein the finger for years.

    I always read you stuff, Orin. But there are times when I want more of it.

    Fondest regards,
    Jack Riepe
    Twisted Roads
    Author of Conversations With A Motorcycle

  2. August 4, 2013 5:04 pm

    Jack, my lack of detail caused you to create story(s) far more intriguing than I could ever come up with, did it not? The reality would be nowhere near as interesting. There is method in my madness, for sure. 😉

    Unfortunately, between the high fence and dense vegetation, the front of the Parkway’s building is difficult to photograph. I do plan to return, and will try to make some better images of the building’s exterior. I understand it was a feed store in between being a house and a tavern.

    As for the burger pic, well, everyone says pictures of food increase viewer traffic, and I want all the viewers I can get. This in spite of a book published during the early days of weblogs entitled Nobody Cares What You Had for Lunch. (I’m not kidding)

    I would like to produce much more stuff, but my present dire circumstances get in the way. I hope this will change soon. Thanks for your comment, they are always appreciated!

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