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Life Among the Buccaneer-Americans

The road trip was a big success. We rolled into Westport late Friday night and said hello to Larry and Arlene at the Alaskan Motel, a pet-friendly place of lodging. Larry immediately told us all the town doings, such as his involvement with the city council and the VFW -- and with the local surfers and fishermen, who often stay there. The Alaskan is not a fancy hotel by any stretch, but it's clean and comfortable and has reasonable rates. The place looks even better than it did four years ago (!) when last we visited. It's got a "surfer chic" vibe: things reused, retained, brightened and well-treated. Plus Dakota, the world's floofiest Samoyed.

Mind you, there are dangers in a visit to the coast. For instance, Westport is not a town for ninjas, not by a long stretch, because the town is infested with pirates, especially around June 23 to 25th. Larry and Arlene have waaay too much fun with this, and yes they are also known by their pirate names, Tideflats and Razorclam. Half the town is enrolled as members
of the International Pirates.

Half of that pirate-mania is a boost to local tourism, but it's not all shenanigans. The Westport pirates have built their own ship, the Buccaneer. And the tall, multi-cannon ships used in "Pirates of the Caribbean" (the brig Lady Washington and the Hawaiian Chieftain) are owned by the Historic Boat Center, down the road in Aberdeen. The Historic Boat people retain some of the skills and tools needed to build tall ships (for pirates, and also for Disney Studios, who have invested in the place).

Also of note: Brady's Clams in former whaling station of Bay City still makes awesome chowder and sells fresh and smoked oysters that I can't get enough of. If only Bay City were still the hive of scum and villainy it once was (2698 whales butchered there from 1911 to 1925, though today it's all oysters). Alas.

What else? Tried to reach the wreck of the Catala, but didn't make it. The road in the park had washed out in a storm, which would have just meant a longer walk, but the weather also turned nasty. I gave that up as a bad job, but hope to return another time.

UPDATE: Just remembered: The city of Aberdeen has a new sign at the village limits. Town motto? "Come as you are."

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April 2016

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