Bukowskied in Anchorage and Groceries

The only kindness this day extended, I reflect, was to announce early its intention to be disagreable. 

I’m seated at a bar in Anchorage. It’s nearly midnight.

A two week repat to California, just time enough to be remined of home’s attractions (wife, friends, garden, a heater that lights itself and access to a toilet across the hall rather than a ten minute’s hike) has passed quickly, and I find myself, again, at the Oakland airport bound for Homer. 

My inexpensive flight to Anchorage, thusly priced due to its inconvenience, not efficiency (it routes through Los Angeles and then Phoenix), places me, each leg, near a Mormon Tabernacle Chior of babies, whose hosannas would make even the devil wish for a grave he could turn in. Napping isn’t on. Neither is reading even one page-long sentence from the only book I brought, Lord Jim.

Wheels down in Anchorage at 11PM, and I go in search of a burger and a beer to wash from my soul the songs of the righteous.

“Kitchen’s closed,” says the bartender at Moose’s Tooth as he lays the pint in front of me.

I’m chewing on my Bear Spit IPA, happy to be back in the rough-and-tumble North, when the kid walks in. 

He takes the stool next to mine and quietly signals for a beer. Alaska must have a lower drinking age than the rest of the country, I think, for this person looks to be all of twelve. His is slight and pale. He sports no tattoos (this is how I know he is 12 and not 16). His short hair is artfully mussed and his five o’clock shadow appears to have taken a week to mature. He wears Converse high tops below fashionably tight jeans.

He pulls from his coat pocket a copy of Bukowski’s Pulp and begins to read, begins to read, mind you! And Bukowski, of all things. Grumpy old man Bukowski. Savage dog, pock-faced, raging metro-drunk Bukowski. Skid Row Bukowski. Being read in a bar in Alaska, land of Jack London’s Call of the Wild, by a mere puppy!

What is this world coming to that Alaska’s children are allowed to read Bukowski when they should be gnawing at the hind legs of a wolves and starting fires with gold shavings and salmon oil on the back side of yonder snow drift?

I grab a bag of peanuts from the motel vending machine and called it a night.

Next day, shopping. An all-day provisioning run to Costco. When I could no longer shut the gate of the pickup bed, I stopped. 

8 Comments on “Bukowskied in Anchorage and Groceries

  1. How exciting! I guess you don’t need a small stowaway cabin dog, as I didn’t notice any MilkBones in the shopping cart.
    Bon Voyage, and Mom says steer clear of Giant Red Tour Buses! (She just got dinged by one in SF!!:-( (PS She is OK, only the car suffered.)

    • Remy,

      Sorry, no MilkBones. Plenty of moose bits to chew on though. Kind of a big animal for you to chase down, I admit, but they’re not that smart. You’ll do fine. Best to Mary and say I’m happy the Red Bus only dinged the car.


  2. I’m amazed that you know how to provision for that long at sea.
    I hardly know how to shop for the next three days!

    • Hey Lawrence,

      So that we’re clear, I’m not packing for the Figure 8. I’m just packing for the summer…enough to get the boat home via Hawaii. The Figure 8 is fall of 2017. This year’s about learning how to sail this big boat.

      Hope all’s well.


      PS. Interestingly, there’s a Mariner 32 right across from me here in the Homer small boat harbor. Mariners sure do get around.

  3. No word yet regarding your sailing plans or route except above I see you say “via Hawaii”? Do you always take a vessel after a major shipyard period on such a remote passage? What do you hope to gain from sailing via Hawaii that staying coastwise from Homer to SFO would not achieve? You said this year’s goal is “learning to sail this big boat”… seems to me that you already know how to sail so a trip down the coast would be what a “prudent mariner” would do so you are not over stressing the re-rigging from your “feel” of the wire tension on that big stick – loosing the mast mid ocean in typical North Pacific storms is not a necessary risk to prepare for a Figure-8 voyage… you choose to have local Homer “commercial fishermen” perform work on a sailboat – now you are asking an untuned sailboat to transit to Hawaii… seems to me that cumulatively you are likely to be in for a big surprise. Please consider sailing coastwise direct to SFO where you can have the sailboat tuned by sailboat experts before going so far offshore to shake down.
    BTW – are you going to publish your Delorme InReach url for GPS tracking?
    Bon Voyage,
    Voyage Adviser

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