Thursday, October 12, 2017

One night in Kodiak.

My first summer in Kodiak I really had no fixed base. I didn’t really need one.

I was fairly comfortable sleeping just about anywhere that was dry and I was a very experienced camper. I was also pretty resourceful.

It was a really wet and nasty day and I had just gotten evicted from Fort Abercrombie. I had been living in a nice, dry WW2 bunker there with a gorgeous view. This meant I had to stay away from the place for about a week before I could resume camping there. Every so often they would evict a bunch of people for whatever reason. You moved to somewhere else and returned a week or ten days later. I believe it was political. I think the ranger wanted to get some muckety muck off of his back or whatever.

I didn’t really want to pitch my tent in the rain. I did have a few options, though. However I didn’t want to use any of them now. I was saving them for if push came to shove.

Parking my pack in a pal’s pickup I wandered into the Mecca, a bar and restaurant in the downtown mall. I entered using the street entrance instead of the mall entrance. As I entered I noticed something. It was the bandstand. There was an opening there.

I had used it before to stash my pack under while I ate or drank but just then I had a flash of an idea. I knew the band wasn’t going to be playing tonight. The bar would be fairly quiet and I realized that if I was cagey I could probably get a pretty good night’s sleep under the bandstand.

I went back to my pal’s pickup and rearranged my pack so as to be able to get my sleeping bad and poncho liner out in a cramped area and set things up. I also made sure I could do this in the dark because a flashlight might give me away.

I grabbed the pack and returned to the Mecca and as I entered I stuffed my pack into the opening. Then I sat down and ordered a nice heated double cognac as a nightcap.

I also made sure I peed. I knew that I’d be in hot water if I had to answer the call of nature in the middle of the night.

The cognac made me sleepy and I decided to hit the rack under the bandstand. I shuffled toward the door, glanced around reached for my pack and made a quick undetected dive for the hole and squirmed right in pushing my pack. As I spun around on my belly to peep out and see if I had gotten away with it I heard an “Oooff!”

“Who are you?” I whispered.

“Dave. Is that you, Pic? You should have made your reservations two weeks ago!” was the whispered answer.

The bandstand was about two feet high and the joists were 2x6s which gave a clear area of about 18 inches to work with unless you were between the joists. I managed to dig out my sleeping bag which I would use as a cushion beneath me and I covered myself with the poncho liner. I was good to go and dozed off.

I woke about 0730 and peeped out. Dave was already gone and the bar was empty. I slipped out and quickly repacked my bag in the little stairway in the street exit and put my pack back under the bandstand.

The restaurant was next door, open and serving breakfast. The restrooms the restaurants used were in the bar so I ran in and washed my face as best I could and quietly slipped into the restaurant and sat down and ordered breakfast.

By the time I finished breakfast the bar had reopened so I wandered back in, slipped by the bandstand opening, grabbed my pack and wandered outside.

All in all it wasn’t a bad place to sleep in an emergency if the band had the night off. I used it a couple of times but only if the band was taking the night off after I tried it once when they were playing.

It’s kind of hard sleeping with people beating drums and playing electric guitars just over your head and the bass rifts vibrated through you. I tried it one night and finally dozed off. When the band stopped I went out like a light and overslept. There were people in the bar when I woke up so I had to be slick.

I had not unrolled my bag but had slept wrapped in a poncho liner. I wadded it up and jammed it in my pack as best I could and crept out feet first. When I was spotted as I thought I would be I said I had stashed my pack there overnight. I said one of the musicians had probably pushed it in deep with a guitar case.

Someone saw my sleeping bag and asked where I had slept. I grinned at them, winked and said, "I got lucky," and they laughed. 

As I write this I wonder what would have happened if I used “Under the Mecca bandstand” as a residential address for anything official. Probably nothing. Looking back on things it sounds pretty strange but when I lived in Kodiak things like this for me were pretty much the norm.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

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