Part III: Rental Car
‘An then I think he’s taking me to Florida..at least that’s what he said he was going to do....’....etc. etc. As I waited until the conversation at the desk slowed and the younger fellow in Cardwell welding overalls ambled off without so much as a glance at me.
"I’d like to rent a car....if that’s possible."
The attractive older blonde and possibly Florida-bound woman looked at me with a big smile and waved at a decrepit fleet of two Ford F-250 trucks. "We’ve only got trucks, cashorcreditcardI’llgethepaperworkstarted.".
I sat in her office waiting while she started on a stack of paperwork that would secure both my crew’s trip into town and possibly ...just maybe a chance to explore the beaches in the area. ...and maybe..just possibly...my chance to get a surf in on what I had spied from the air as a break-ridden point just outside of town. I happened to look up at a picture on the wall. A typical Alaskan scene of an eagle snatching a salmon out of the water in its talons, while in mid-flight and it reminded me of a film clip I had seen a year before. I chuckled at the memory and the woman looked up at me in curiosity, so I relayed the story.
Each summer, Alaska gets swarmed by older couples in motor homes. They come from warm southern states to marvel at the broad expanse of their Union, and gather stories to take home to their presumably envious or politely disinterested neighbours in the fall. One particularly rich event that was caught on video-tape was the scene of a plump middle-aged woman escorting her little-white lap-dog a little ways out past the safety of the RV while the dutiful husband captured the urination efforts of her tiny dog for posterity and no doubt to invoke the utmost in obligated-viewing boredom when the neighbours come over for dinner and a 3.5 hour tour of the epic Americana voyage. As luck would have it, on this occasion, a passing eagle happened to notice the 2.5 pounds of yapping canine joy and suddenly swooped down upon it; clutching the furball it’s talons before making off across the landscape. The husband’s pleasure was completely unmasked and he was heard laughing uncontrollably on the audio of the tape; his wife’s shrieks only pantomimed in the background over the noise his mirth; free at last of the indignity of having to take it out for pee pee in front of his beer-swilling buddies in the neighbourhood.
As told this story to the cougar behind the counter, I pealed with laughter and pointed to the picture ...just in time to see her own little white punter leap up into her lap and yap at me several times.
"That ...is very sad story sir." , she said. It was cold as the Alaskan winter in that room and I could swear I almost heard the price of the rental increasing.
It was tough showing up back at the cabin with the truck they gave me. There was a seat-belt, kind of a fender on the back. Fish scales were encrusted on the seats, but it was loud and it was a truck. Just driving this thing made me want to buy a pump-action shotgun with a ‘yeah...I’ll take a box of them solid slugs if you will please sir’. Mandy started laughing when she saw it. "You got a Flintstone truck!". Apparently this is the kind of car you stop by putting your feet through where the floorboards would normally be. At least we had wheels, which is something one needed dearly to get anywhere around Yakutat.
Now you can do a fair number of things in the downtown core of Yakutat. Too numerous to list here, it might include such diversity as cruising the main drag to... well...heading right back around and going the other way. Truly the hi-jinx never ends. There’s the fore-mentioned Glass Door in town when you get thirsty. "It’s called that because everybody knows everybody’s business anyhow!". It’s not the kind of place where you can expect to just blend in and hope nobody notices you. Woe betides the out-of-towner who attempts to impress the ladies with his dancing in this town after a few beers.
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