Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I wish I had kept a diary of myhitch-hiking trip to Alaska.

I do have the log books from sailing my 25 Bristol up ad down the Inside Passage, though. Maybe when I get around to it I'll do something with those.

I am going to post a series of a couple things about my first trip north hitch-hiking the Alaska Highway, but I am going to stop for a while when I reach Mile One in Dawson Creek because to be honest my mind is a bit fuzzy about things after 35 years and I have to get my hands on a detailed map to refresh it somewhat.

When I find a map, I'm pretty sure the order of things will return. I seem to recall the majority of events like sleeping on a truckload of dynamite and not knowing it, smoking and cooking breakfast with a primus stove, but I can't seem to recall where so until I get a map and get my memory jogged I'll just post a few things that led me to the adventure.

In 1978 I hitch-hiked from the Colorado Springs all the way up the Alaska Highway and down to Homer, AK where I met the ferry and sailed to Kodiak. I was a whole lot younger than I am now, and I had a lot of hopes. I had just moved out of the tipi aafter fourteen months and was actually living in a place that had real live walls. The rent was cheap as the place was supposed to be torn down for some reason or another and my several room mates were like something out of a Cheech and Chong movie.

Frankly, when I left for Alaska, I was glad to be away from the lot of them because I was honestly tired of being exposed to constant drunkeness and drug abuse. Fortunately we are not talking about coke, meth or heroin here, we are talking about the softer drugs that seemed to be making the rounds at the time, namely the psychedelics like mushrooms, mescaline, pot and things of that nature.

Living with a bunch of stonies like them is at worst difficult and at best very amusing.

To put the whole thing into context, I was the responsible one of the group. That is scary enough to think of, but that was the way it was.

I recall the fact that we paid no security deposit because the building was slated to be torn down, anyway and I suppose the owner figured that the more we tore up, the less work he would have to do when the time came.

The back wall of the building was against a cliff and there was only two feet between the siding and the cliff itself and on either end there was such a ple of junk that nobody could get between the house and the cliff. The televisions were against that wall.

Televisions? Plural, you say? More than one?

Yes, there were three.

One of them had a working audio, yet the picture tube was shot. The other one had a working picture and the third one ran fine, except it had a blown $1.50 tube, which I had purchased and was sitting on top of the set. I had done all the diagnostic work and I had finally gotten so disgusted with the attitude there that I would be damned if I was going to plug the tube in and screw on the back of the set.

What we had were the two other sets, the one with the good picture was stacked on top of the one with the servicible audio and we would run them both at the same time to be able to watch TV. It worked pretty good if you paid attention and had them both on the same channel. Of course, sometimes watching Jack Webb's 'The D.I.' and listening to 'The Wizard of Oz' could be very entertaining. I recall laughing as the recruits were doing close order drill to the song 'Follow the Yellow Brick Road'.

About this time I was scrounging gear up to move to Alaska and I pretty much had all I really needed as Surplus City had been running pretty good sales on things I could use. I had just purchased a pretty good pump shotgun set up for slugs and had spent the morning seeing how it threw and had adjusted the sights. A pump shotgun with slugs is pretty adaquate bear medicine and I figured it woould be a good tool when I got to Alaska for both self-defense and feeding myself.

I had arrived home a little after noon and looked at the TV and decided to watch it as I cleaned my new shotgun.

Of course, none of the stonies had bothered to fix the tube on the TV because they were all a bunch of lazy bastards, preferring to while away a Saturday stoned on grass and whatever psychedelics they could scare up. I thought I heard one of the guys vomiting, so I figured there was peyote going around and that some of the guys were loaded on that.

There was a John Wayne movie playing on the tube and it was 'Sands of Iwo Jima'. I sat there cleaning my shotgun and had what i thought was a pretty good idea. I carefully thought about my backdrop and a few other things and decided to have a little fun.

The movie was nearing the end where John Wayne's character gets shot and unseen I loaded a 00 buck round into the shotgun and waited.

As the sniper popped out of his spider hole to shoot the Duke in the back, I shouted "Look out!" and let fly with the shotgun at the upper TV set.

Of course, everyone in the room went into shock as glass flew and the deafening racket of a 12 gauge shotgun fired inside stung everyones ears and made then bleed. It was almost a full minute before any one of the stunned stonies could speak.

The first words spoken came from the guy who habitually had LSD for breakfast several mornings a week.

"Wow, man! Piccolo just saved John Wayne!" he said.

I shook my head and decided that maybe moving to Alaska and getting away from this sort of thing wasn't a bad idea at all and decided to expedite my departure by two weeks and I hit the road a couple of days later.

A couple days later, I traded the shotgun for a Mauser that served me well until it was stolen in Kodiak some time later.

my other blog is: http://officerpiccolo.blogspot.com/ http://piccolosbutler.blogspot.com/

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