Thursday, June 21, 2012

BANDS IN VANS: Hula Hooping is big, apparently, in Alaska

Posted By on Thu, Jun 21, 2012 at 3:33 PM

The shows have begun, and the tour has truly taken flight. We played our second show in Anchorage, Alaska at a beautiful venue called The Taproot. When the hula-hoopers started, I just knew that we were going to have a good time. Two girls hula-hooping to our music — as strange as it sounds, it’s normal up here. And quite impressive. Try to look like you are dancing while hula-hooping, it’s tough. 

We were lucky to find a gracious friend to host all 13 of us. Tyler’s dad tagged a long for a few days, and not only helped with the pancake feed in the morning, but gave us much needed expertise on our freshly cracked radiator. 

To be completely honest, morale started spiraling downward. Though the show in Anchorage was great, there was something missing, and the cracked radiator seemed to drag our spirits down further. But without fail, Alaska delivered and our spirits rose as we drove the Seward highway with a stunning view of mountains on our left and the inlet on our right. Once we arrived in Seward and stepped outside the van our spirits were almost completely restored. The town was small, and quirky, and had an epic view of a mountain surrounded sea. 

Then we entered the bar. The Yukon had signed dollar bills lining the ceiling, life preservers on the walls, vintage beer signs, and green and red vintage lamps. Aside from the large boisterous man sharking the pool table, it was just what we needed. To top it all off, they put us up in an apartment attached to the bar. We felt like royalty for two days. 

We adventured one of the days to Exit Glacier and hiked around for three hours. As we walked on the trail we passed a sign that warned us of bears. “If a bear attacks, fight a black bear. If a grizzly bear attacks, play dead. If it starts to eat you, fight back.” Thankfully bears did not attack us. 

Some of us drank the glacier water, only to see a sign on the way down warning, “Don’t drink the water, you may contract Giardia.”

Kent prophesied that someone would get punched in the nose on this tour, and it came close in Seward after a wild night that started with a dog pile and yelling and ended in each of us taking turns attempting to play KB’s brass instruments while others tried to sleep. All was well in the morning, and we played another night at the Yukon. We were sad to leave Seward, but we headed to the next stop, right on the side of the highway, The Brown Bear Saloon. The venue used to be a brothel, which was made apparent by the bartenders stories and the peculiarly small rooms we were put up in. The Saloon was in a town called Indian, and the short stop was filled with flattened coins from trains and bonfires.

Through it all we’ve come to a single revelation: people around these parts are genuinely happy, and interested in music in general. Alaska is starting to grow on us. 

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About The Author

Leah Sottile

Leah Sottile is a Spokane-based freelance writer who formerly served as music editor, culture editor and a staff writer at the Inlander. She has written about everything from nuns and Elvis impersonators, to jailhouse murders and mental health...