I woke up this morning and streamed KSKA, as I have most mornings for the last decade or so. I'm not up on the issues here yet, plus the weather reports are super boring. 83, no 85 today and sunny, again. Meanwhile, AK is on the national news scene with a powerful storm. There's talk of evacuating some Western villages. Think about how shitty it must be for the folks that live there to be concerned.
Southcentral has been getting snow/precip and they're blowing snow right along with Ma Nature in Girdwood. Last year, the folks I had signed up to plow my driveway pulled out of Girdwood in mid-December and I just rolled the dice. It was such a low snow year that I got away with having my neighbor plow me out once and that's all I needed. But I have renters now, probably some of the best a person could hope to have. They are friends of mine, which can be dicey. But I think I rolled a seven this time. They've been to my home for dinner parties and I've said leave the dishes I'll get 'em in the morning. Go downstairs to play foosball. Come back upstairs and the dishes are done and there they are cleaning the burner racks on the stove. Yeah, the burner racks. What's up? Am I moving? Is my mother coming to visit? Whoopsie, that was a good tangent. Anyway, I got the guy around the corner to keep the driveway cleared for the season. Some guys charge for each plow, this gentleman charges once for the season. Last year he made bank, this year his kids might not get the G.I. Joe with the kung fu grip in their stockings.
Yesterday was the first day of patrol training. I bet a few of them are looking at this right now on their smartphones instead of listening to whatever boring shit management is spewing. Nothing new really from the last post but I thought a little on my living sitch might be more entertaining to them than accident investigations.
Before I got here I kept an eye on motorcycles for sale and places for rent(the school has student housing but I'm past that stage of my life) to get an idea of what was out there, a feel for prices and the like. I called about a couple of bikes but got no response. Probably folks didn't want to bother with an out-of-stater.
So the school arranged for someone to come and get me when I arrived on the Big Island. They took me to student housing, far and away the cheapest place to crash until I got my feet under me. The next day I went back to the airport to get the bag that missed the connection in Honolulu (no biggie, just keep in mind the words of my friend Phil, "Travel is both expensive and inconvenient,") and to get a rental car so I could check things off my list.
1. Get a motorcycle
2. Get a place to live
3. Learn how to fly helicopters.
So day one in the rental car I drove to Hilo to test ride several bikes. One was a crotch-rocket, two were more dirt than road. I wanted a dual-sport so I could take advantage of the trail riding but realized that I would spend most of the helmet time commuting to and from school. I thanked the guys for letting me take the bikes for a spin, got myself a portugese sausage omlette and a coffee for $4.07 and pulled out my new smartphone. Don't worry, you won't see me on any of those creepy, 'i just took a shit and want the whole world to know about it' social network sites any time soon. I'm eating my breakfast, scrolling craigslist and there she is: a lovely honda 650 dual-sport. there are better bikes, but hondas are dependable (my brother and I tried to kill a few growing up. It can't be done.), affordable, and perform above average. So I call the guy. "Wow, I just listed that five minutes ago."
So I say I'm in Hilo but can be there in under two hours if he'll hold it for me. He sorta chuckled and said that he would. Directions? I don't need no stinking directions. Just give me your address and this contraption I'm talking to you on will bring me right to your door. Really? Actually, I have no idea, I just got this thing, but that's what my friends tell me. If it doesn't work, I'll call you back when I'm as close as I can get.
So it worked. The bike was everything I thought it would be. "So you still want me to hold it for you?" "No, I'll take it." "OK when can you get me the money?" "As soon as I put my hand in my pocket." (My brother called to wish me good luck on the move. "You have everything squared away?" "I won't know for awhile." "You have your passport and a bunch of cash?" "Yep" "You'll be fine.")
They, Terry and his wife, Gudrin(spelling?), asked me if I had a place to stay. Nope. "We can put a message on the coconut radio (generational comment) if you like." Hell yeah, that would be great.
I go back to student housing and Terry follows me on the bike. Wow you already got a bike? Yeah. And you drove to Hilo first? Yeah, it's not even two hundred miles, a short jaunt in AK, akin to going to the moon here.
The response from the professor's contraption(how come he never figured out how to make goo to plug the hole in the boat and how come no one ever got sick of Mary Ann's coconut pies?) was overwhelming. I looked at a ton of places not listed anywhere, including a tree house. Yeah a house twenty feet up in an honest to goodness tree. My inner Thoreau and my inner Kazinski, for that matter, really wanted to live there but logic won out over romantic (as it usually does with me) and I'm living in a one-bedroom house seven or so miles from the airport. The place is great, the owners are cool and on-site. They grow avocados, papayas, bananas, guavas, and coffee(which they roast themselves) plus, their last name is Mink, so there's some sort of cosmic connection.
I've picked rocks, dug ditches, handled explosives, run a trap-line, raised mink, sold puppies, ridden motorcycles, told fools which team to bet on, shoveled shit, skied powder, helped fat white guys shoot majestic creatures, and more, all to make a buck. I've also worked in Botswana, where the only way to make a buck is with eight pulas.