Made it Paul’s for Superbowl. Not sure how many games I’ve watched there now, but when we start telling stories about other superbowls, I realized we all watched them together in this very room.
I’ve been wanting to make some crab pots with Bob, but I couldn’t find any seine web in town. Then I remembered I was going to Petersburg and could look there, as they have a big seine fleet. Lucky for me the net recycle totes are at the dump, and Sunday is salvage day at the dump. You pay $10 and can go see what other man’s trash is your treasure.
I picked Steve up Sunday morning, and we headed for the dump. We found a nice pile of web right away in the recycle bin, which are located outside the dump grounds. I asked Steve if he wanted to go in anyway and look around. He said sure, so we paid our $10 each and I signed a form. The form had small print, so I asked the attendant kid what I was signing. He said it was the dump rules. I asked him what that meant, and he said don’t take anything from the aluminum pile, and some other pile, and that was about it. In we went.
I soon found my first treasure. A beautiful piece of 1/4 or maybe thicker piece of aluminum plate, welded to some sort of stay arm from a boat. It wasn’t on the aluminum pile, but in the regular scrap metal pile. I wasn’t sure why. And didn’t ask questions. But we needed a grinder so we could just take the plate. We piled back into Paul’s van, got the okay from the attendant to leave and return, and went back to Steve’s for his Milwaukee cordless grinder and some cutoff wheels.
Back at the dump, I let Steve do the cutting while I wandered around. There were some crab pots atop the pile of scrap metal from which I would have loved to have taken the escape rings, but it was too high to climb and looked like an emergency room visit waiting to happen. I wandered over to an old shed with mostly outboard parts in it. I grabbed some stainless (or maybe aluminum?) bolts that were loose enough to remove, and also found a red kill switch lanyard on an old set of controls laying in the general metal scrap heap.
When I heard the grinder stop and Steve was done, I helped him pull the plate from the pile to put it into the van. That’s when I saw a drive shaft coupling of some kind that had 4 nice long about 1/2 inch diameter stainless bolts and nuts I had to have. But no tools! So back past the attendant to get his okay, then on to Steve’s for tools. I dropped Steve off as I didn’t need his help anymore and he was done dumpster diving. I’d see him at Paul’s for the game. He went into his apartment, and returned to the van to drop his socket set and wrench on the seat.
In his apartment parking lot was the Previa van I’d bought Paul for $500 from the Juneau city manager years and years ago. It was Paul’s favorite vehicle, and he’d sold it someone for $1 when he thought the van was dead. But it wasn’t dead, and it’s still running. I took a picture of the van and sent it to the city manager, who was in the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone one of the same years as me, and he was impressed it was still running. The city manager said he once bought a truck from a woman who had the same name as Paul’s daughter when he first came to Juneau. Around 1990 I’d guess. And we’re sure that this woman and Paul’s daughter are one in the same, as she, too, was living in Juneau at the time. The manager said the price he paid for the old pickup was a bag of weed, which the daughter vehemently denies to this day. Such a small world. Where you can’t get away with anything.
Back I went with the tool set. I took off the bolts. And a nice drive shaft rubber coupler with stainless hose clamps I might need on the boat. Then I saw an old push shovel that had a rusty handle and broken scoop, but that had been repaired at some point with stainless nuts and bolts, which I removed. And then. The jackpot. Under some other little pieces of aluminum scrap, I saw a big stainless bolt. And its nut. And then some washers. Pretty soon I see more of them. Mostly 3/4 and 7/8 inch diameter stuff, and some smaller ones. The more I looked, the more I saw. Some were bolts and nuts with a pile of washers stacked between. In perfect shape. Who would just throw this stuff away? Now it was pouring rain and wet snow, and I was bent over picking up the hardware. I could see the back of my overalls were soaked, as was my coat. But I didn’t really notice as the endorphins or whatever they are called were firing on all cylinders. Like when I’m in a monster berry patch with more berries than I can pick. Or the coho bite is on. Or I land that beautiful winter king salmon. I was really locked in.
By the time I picked all the stainless hardware I could see – every last piece – I had about 25 or more pounds of it. I know this because that’s what it weighed today on my way back to Juneau. I was now soaked to the bone, but ecstatic with my haul. I made my final pass with the attendant, and back to Paul’s for the game.
As soon as I walked in, I asked Paul for some sweat pants so I could put my clothes in the dryer. I didn’t have an extra set with me. He found me some pajama bottoms that fit. I put the clothes in the dryer and had a cup of almost hot coffee left from the morning. In about half an hour, my clothes were dry, and I changed back into them just before Dick and Steve showed up. Chris showed up just after kickoff, so the gang was all here.
I asked Dick and Steve if they wanted to go in on a pool. What quarter would Paul fall asleep was the bet, and I said I wanted to choose first. I chose the first quarter. Which I won not 15 minutes later when Paul was sawing logs.
At half time, I went out to Paul’s shed to dry the seine webbing as best I could for the trip home. I hung a square of walls in Paul’s shed out of a couple tarps to contain the heat, draped the netting from some nails on shelving inside the tarp square, then put a heater in the square.
The game played out, and went right down to the last possession. All you can ask for. Nobody really had a favorite team, but Paul was looking over his pool board squares from one of the bars in town that he plays every superbowl to see if he hit any of the numbers, which he didn’t.
This morning, I got up early. The netting had dried nicely, and I divvyed it up into two garbage bags. I covered the aluminum plate with a piece of cardboard to protect the baggage handlers’ hands. Finally, I put all the stainless steel hardware into my daypack. I loaded it all into the van, then went back to bed to snooze a little more. I then got up and made a breakfast of an omelette of eggs, spinach and cheese to along with left over toasted garlic bread from the game foods last night, and lots of coffee, for Paul and I.
Eric took me to the airport. I weighed in all my treasures, and paid my weight overage. Luckily, I remembered to borrow some cash from Paul on the way out the door, to go along with the cash I brought with me. I couldn’t find my wallet when it was time for Sara to take me to the airport when I left Juneau, so I didn’t have my credit card. I ended up needing some of the extra I borrowed from Paul to go on top of the $60 I had to pay for the baggage weight overage.
We flew first to Kake, and then on to Juneau. Any extra money I might pay to fly on Alaska Seaplanes versus flying the Alaska Airlines jet is so well worth it on days like today. We flew at about 3000 feet or less first to Kake, and then to Juneau, since the ceiling was pretty high. I love checking out what looks like fantastic deer hunting locations on Kupreanof and Admiralty Island. When we got up to the southern end of Douglas Island, there were oodles of crabbers out fishing the second day of the tanner crab opening, with pot buoys scattered near and far around the boats, waiting to be checked.
Another uneventful, memorable adventure to Petersburg.