Tuesday, July 13, 2010

part 6 - Seattle moped rally

 By this point in my trip I was pretty fed up with driving on highways. The Pacific Northwest has beautiful back roads that weave all through bigfoot country. I decided on crossing the Columbia river a little west of Portland on the hwy30 to the town of Longview, Washington. When I rounded the bend and saw the size of the bridge I got scared!

 I packed up my pussnuts and headed on over it anyways. Driving until dark I tiredly found myself outside of a Tacoma Army base camping in a small patch of woods just off the road. I had no idea that that night would be one of the worst nights of my outdoor sleeping life! I only caught an hour or two of continuous sleep. It was attack of the mosquitoes! They were well organized, plentiful, and demanding. They not only got around my mosquito netting but into my sleeping bag. I think even my underwear. Upon checking my journal I found that the next morning I wrote, "fuck those fucks. I got bites everywhere, this trip is stupid. I'm in Burger King and I love it! Fuck nature and bigfoot, there, I wrote it". I guess its nights like those that make a person either quit camping or become better at it. Maybe next time I would pay attention to how I set things up and not skimp on something like mosquito netting!
The morning drive to Seattle was fairly easy once I rode the grumpiness out. I would soon make things more frustrating for myself when I saw that the only contact information I had for the fellow mopeders in Seattle were the words "Vashon Island" and a time. I had no phone numbers, addresses or directions. This sure was a trip about patience, learning and understanding.......... that I'm a dumbass! I got downtown through instinct and rode around a bit until I was tired and lost. I rode up on a bridge unsure if I should cross it or not. I decided to stop along the sidewalk and talk to a cool construction type of guy. He  complimented my moped and as we began talking and he said a phrase I was getting used to hearing on this trip "Is that a moped? I used to have one of those!" apparently everyone and their mother used to have one. I told of my journey and current plight and just as he was telling me how to get to the proper ferry terminal I heard the unmistakable sound of a lone moped off in the distance. We both stopped talking and turned to see a lone moped cruise by. I grabbed my helmet, yelled "thanks dude!" and took off after that moped. I crossed the bridge after it and we finally met up at a red light. Introducing ourselves he said "come to the rally! just follow me! It's right down the road, I think we can make it". 

                                                      ferry to Vashon Island

The car line for the ferry was very long so we went around it. At the front was the moped group and we snuck on board minutes before takeoff! What luck! I took this time to reflect on the unseen powers of the universe. Looking around, there had to be at least 50 mopeds. So far on my trip I only saw one in Portland when I was walking around. Now I get to ride in a full pack taking over the town, swarming and destroying! I didn't plan on making it to this meeting because I wanted this trip to be more of a bigfoot search so I didn't take note of the exact date or time. Now, here I am by weird fate! As for squatchin', I haven't done much so far, but this moped rally was just for the weekend so it wouldn't be taking up too much time. Besides, the Olympic mountains were now in sight!
The ferry docked, the mopeds revved up and it was party time. We all took off in unison avoiding collisions riding as one! There were old mopeds, new mopeds, fast mopeds, slow mopeds, and everything in between. The combined engine noise of all these mopeds (65) was something equivalent to the noise those mosquito's made in my ear the previous night and then some. 

                                                  Joey and his boombox
We rode to an Eagles Hall. I guess my strange appearance along with all my gear and California license plate gave me away as someone who traveled quite the distance. The Moped Army's Seattle chapter, "The Mosquito Fleet" introduced themselves and welcomed me to their get together. I met most of the other Mosquito Fleeters and was glad to be in the company of some good dudes and dudettes. I scanned about the outside area to see if Bryan of Myron's was there. I asked around remembering that he was coming up with "The Creatures of the Loin", a San Francisco chapter of Moped Army. Bryan left a little after me from LA too and was heading to this meeting. The Creatures were the only other ones to actually have mopeded many miles to get there. Upon our meeting I could tell that they were my kind of dirt bags. 

                                           Creatures of the Loin with Bryan from Myrons on right!

The five that made the drive were Benji, Jay, Gram, Newport and Lee. I asked them what happened to Bryan and they told me a story involving crashes, bad omens, falling outs and saying goodbye in Chinese. He still made an epic journey going all the way from LA to past SF and back. That's a lot of gusty wind and cliff battling! If there's one thing I learned it's that the moped road can be a strange mind bending experience. It even has the power to leave good friends hating on one another, but in my book people that can do 1,000+ miles on a moped should be able to squash the beef. It was really too bad Bryan couldn't of made it because there was some fun moped times going down. Everyone was having fun and the festivities were about to kick off!
First off was a slow race. Who ever crossed the finish line last would win. Interesting concept that had a couple of spills and epic balance acts. Next on the schedule was some cookout obstacle course complete with jumps. The best jump by far was by one of the "Tom Cruisers" from Arizona, Ryan Murray, he was the only one to hit the impossible staircase jump at full speed. Unfortunately the plank that on top of the staircase gave out and he crashed right into and over the three stepped staircase. Needless to say he got messed up for the weekend with that brave attempt! The day continued with more drinking, eating, and moped fun until we drove back to the ferry for some Seattle nighttime fun.

                                                              Killa Curt rad jumping!

We reconvened to the Mosquito Fleets favorite bar, the Mars Bar. There was some musical rock action to be had so I opted for practicing rolls on the grass outside to endless drinking. Besides, outside the bar was just as good of a hangout spot. It was cool to see 50 mopeds parked in a line with people checking them out. Awards were going to be presented soon so people were casting their votes. Categories included best crash, most creative moped, ugliest moped, best stock moped, etc. Not too long after the votes were in it was award time. Most creative went to Joey the kid with a boom box mounted on his moped who was sleeping on the ground, best crash went to the guy who crashed all crazy from the Tom Cruisers. A rad dude named Justin won "people's choice" and I won "ugliest moped". Disgusted, I thought "I came all the way from LA for this crap"! I threw the award through the window of the bar and kicked over the line of mopeds which caused them to fall on Joey who was gently resting. I then flew into a rage and started punching and puking on people nonstop for hours. Alright I was lying about that last sentence or two. But ya, I did win ugliest moped and even voted for myself. 

                                                        my beautiful ugliest moped award
                Seattle Moped Rally, day II
Day one of moped rally ended with night-night time at "the house of sin" where some of the Mosquito Fleet lived. Hearing the name "house of sin" and staying in my fair share of punk houses I expected the worse. To my relief it was a paradise! Carpeted floors with running hot water! Wahoo! There was even a great view of the Olympic Mountains! I slept dang well and woke up refreshed and ready for more moped action. The Creatures, a couple "Tom Cruisers" from Arizona and Killa Curt from Chicago were stationed here. I talked a little with them about bigfoot stuff and my trip so far. Killa Curt asked me where I was headed next. I paused for a moment and looking out the big bay window to the west and pointed to the Magnificent Olympic Mountains. "There", I said. "I should be there in a day or so's time". Surprisingly they were quite supportive and even wished they could join along. I myself was ready to bolt off into those darn mountains, spar with a cougar, fish with my hands, not shave, and find myself a squatch buddy. But there was still another full day of a moped rally in front of me and soon we were headed for downtown. I couldn't get over the well organized Mosquito Fleet rally. They guided us through the city with easeful mastery. About four of them had modified mopeds that went 45-50mph or more. At every intersection they'd block off traffic as 50 or more mopeds went whizzing by, then after the last moped crossed the intersection they'd fly up past us all to the next one and do the same. It was awesome! These guys didn't take any shit and they protected our big/little moped group like careful Nurturers. 

                                             a pile of mopeds on a ferry
Eventually we watched people get fish thrown at them at the famous Pike Place fish market, then got some lunch and watched tourists and stuff. My favorite were the Japanese tourist girls that looked "hyper electric cool" in their weird rave gear/party in America outfits. Not having much money for tourist festivities I longed for some library time. I was not alone in my Library needs and a small Library group was assembled which included Simon King, the guy behind all this Moped Army jazz. Our wandering about took us on a couple detours including a trip to a top secret bank office with a beautiful skyscraper view of the city! By the time we got to the Library it was closed but we still enjoyed its marvelous architecture from the outside. After some more sightseeing we rounded out the day watching the sunset at a nice little park overlooking the harbor and city. Dusk brought out the ninja in me and soon I was with Jay of the Creatures practicing some stealth walking and sneaking up on people. Before long no one could keep their back turned on us without getting poked with a stick or finger. Oh the good times to be had during magic hour! A little after the sun was completely down a few of us headed out. 

On our way out of the park someone started yelling crap at us, a moped broke down and with us all stopped it looked like we wanted to throw down.We parked near each other and waited to see if the moped could be fixed. Shitty comments were yelled from the tree line by several wack dudes. There had to been at least 4 of them and there were 6-7 of us. They were yelling the typical kind of stuff like "get real bikes, faggots" but they also yelled out some new ones like "you guys probably suck at a lot of stuff".  As time went on it began to look like fighting would be inevitable. The moped would not start and the ambulance (the broken moped pick up vehicle that was actually an ambulance) had to be called. Now about 20 or so minutes have gone by and these guys in the shadows are starting to get closer, there was talk about rushing them and kicking their asses but I  hoped for that not to happen. The idea of defending ones honor and defeating the enemy is a bold and glorious one.Who wouldn't love the dramatic conclusion of an epic mopeders-versus-jocks-all-out-chain-and-pipe-battle whereby I end up dead/hospital/jail or later rejoicing with a blood covered knife and a beer? I was glad to just get out of there. I could not be sidetracked from my main objective of finding that elusive jerk, Bigfoot.
We all got out of there fine and back to the house of sin. We stayed up late talking mopeds and life. Knowing I had to leave the next day was not easy as I had made some rad buddy friends. 
In the morning we went to this little restaurant that made huge 12 egg omelets! Five eggs deep I started to hear some pretty good stories. Chunk, a Mosquito Fleeter told me about his helmet that was actually a cop's that he swiped during a scuffle at the WTO riots! He was my new hero. I also heard about the little known war between Canadian and American fishing boats during a horrible fishing season a few years back. Blaming each other for no fish and actually had shootouts! The Canadians surrounded and blocked US boats to keep them from sailing out. It's a crazy world out there man, crazy. The powerful pull of the Olympics were calling louder than ever and it was time to continue on my journey. I packed up crappily and said goodbye. Jay vowed to perfect the weasel stealth walk and I vowed to find bigfoot. He got off easy.

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