Updated: May 14, 2021
Morning Wood Returns for 2021
Words/Pics: Joe Barthlow
Santa Cruz, CA, Saturday, April 24
As Winter becomes Spring and Spring eases into Summer, so too arrives a new optimism for scooter rallies and events in 2021. When I saw Morning Wood was going to run on Saturday, April 24, I knew it was my opportunity to get down to California for a long weekend to see scooter friends I have not seen during the lockdown of 2020. After all, I had received my second vaccination shot, so I loaded my TV into a rental truck and made the 8 hour trip to the Bay Area from Eugene.
Hello California. I have missed you. Your Covid-19 traffic wasn’t too bad either. Rolling into the sleepy beach town of Santa Cruz was effortless. Pulling into the parking across from The Crepe Place, the ride’s meet up spot, I was greeted by Sacramento’s very own tuning legend, Tony Simoni. Then Jim Palmer from San Mateo and a few others came by to say "hello." After unloading the TV, I took the opportunity to take a selfie with the VCOA President, Josh Rogers. A rare opportunity indeed! Soon more familiar faces from Northern and Southern California began to fill the parking lot, including Jordan Le Boeuf, Josh Snow, Marcus Baird, Jason Burks, Kelley Bates, Chris Canigiula, Bill Schult, Erik Swanson, Kevin Erney, Pietro Pistola and many others I have not seen in some time. Many Lambrettas on hand for the 60+ mile loop through the Bear Creek Redwoods, north of Santa Cruz.
Aside from a rescheduled LALO in 2020 and a handful of group rides, California didn’t see many scooter rallies or events during the worst part of the global pandemic. With renewed optimism for 2021, a covid-abriviated Morning Wood hit the calendar in early Spring with hopes of turning the corner on this awful virus which cancelled much of 2020. Morning Wood is the creation of longtime Black Sheep member and soul band leader Rick Kendrick. Aboard his recently restored TV200, which he owned since 1981, he and his wife Sabi led the group of 45 Lambrettas and vintage Vespas out of the lot just past noon south to Seabright State Beach and Twin Lakes State Beach before heading north through Soquel into beautiful foothills along the Soquel-San Jose Road. Soon we were into the woods attacking the hills and twisties of Summit Rd/CA Hwy 35. Traffic was pretty minimal and the weather held together to keep it mostly sunny and dry. After loading a not-to-be-named Vespa onto the support truck, we headed to greater heights and more twisties of Bear Creek Road. A spectacular road which my third gear thoroughly enjoyed, riding uphill with a passenger on back.
Once at the summit, I felt a click in my front disc brake. It would only allow me to partially engage before giving out. I didn’t chance-it and took it easy coming off the hill. I was able to adjust my rear brakes to give me some stopping power. Once reunited with the rest of the group at the gas station in Boulder Creek, we continued on CA Hwy 9 through the communities of Brookdale, Ben Lemond, Brackney and Felton before returning to Santa Cruz. The ride essentially ended at neighborhood park surrounded by nicely maintained 1960s storybook ranch houses. There, we recounted the highlights of our glorious ride and then headed back to The Crepe Place.
Once back at the lot where we started, those who booked reservations at The Crepe Place gathered for an evening of vintage vinyl on the back patio by Rick Kendrick and several DJs, spinning soul, rocksteady, glam and other great scooter sounds. A truly superb scooter event featuring an amazing ride, beautiful scenery and most of all, outstanding people that make our scene great! I look forward to Morning Wood 2022!
Video By Pistol Pete