Hunkering Down at the Coast in The Devil's Hideaway
To the coast for the day...
I visited the coast the other day. Nothing really special in that. Nor in the taking of endless pictures. Forgive me if I get a little meta, but it seems we're all into taking pictures these days. And one of my favorite pictures is a picture of other people taking pictures. However, the truth is, I don't understand the legal/privacy issues involved in all that, so I tend to shy away from any shot, which includes others unless said shot is blurry, put through a filter, or more recently, I've even been pixelating faces...
Anyhow, fishing rods, right? That should be safe. And curiously enough, it's one of the better images I took on the day.
The above bunker (what this rant is about... sort of... mostly) wasn't the first stop of the day... or the second or the third.
Let's see, can I recount how the day went at this remove? Probably not. I started with the fishing pier, made a few more detours into coast side turn-offs and small towns, and then... I think I went inland.
I spent a wonderful hour at some fort or mission or other type of old building that was completely deserted. I had the place to myself... and, of course, took loads of pictures, even if none of them are worth sharing. Though, the fifteen foot tall wooden cross still sticks out in my mind: all covered in moss, as it was, with foggy hills in the background. But as picturesque as the setting, that doesn't mean the photographs I took were any good.
After that little crisis of faith, involving the cross (or was it more like a philosophical interlude), I veered back towards the coast and ate what was, perhaps, the best shrimp burrito I have ever had in my entire life... you know, perhaps. After all, I tend to skip breakfast and it was long past noon... or in other words, being hungry makes almost anything taste good. But this was more than good. It was great. I'd give the restaurant a plug. But you know how it goes. They aren't a paid sponsor (no one is). And it would be too much effort for me to pull up the receipt to check the name. So, let's just say, it's that Mexican place down on the coast, odd place for a strip mall, right next to the shore like that, what a waste of valuable real estate. Any-the-way, it's down on the coast, near to that place with the cross, in a little plaza that also had vape and surfboard shops in it.
Needless to say, I was killing time (story of my life), so I went into both... after I ate, of course, so really, no rush at all by then. And I just mosied around.
It had been a while since I've been in a Surf Shop (however long that means)... and since this was, also, a few weeks before I spent week after week down in The Haight (party central in years of yore), so browsing around in a vape shop was a new sort of experience... and quite interesting, what, with all that intricate glass work. I'm an appreciator of art, you know.
The next stop was a condemned bit of highway that's been turned into a county park (that shouldn't be too hard to look up if one is interested). And I had that place all to myself, as well. It's amazing how often I have these places (county parks, rooms in museums, jail cells, whatever) all to myself; and then, all of a sudden, don't...
'I was here first, so I get to keep the top bunk, right? I mean, fair's fair, right?'
Back to reality. Remember that fort? Well, the curator showed up, as I was getting ready to leave, and gave me a personalized tour. And on that condemned highway road, sea cliff wash out, pleasant ocean breeze, I met another, who gave me the scoop, on what to see: namely, the... well, it was some nearly extinct bird that had put up a nest with baby chicks and all, but I didn't really care, so I can't remember the name of the stupid species. Though, they went 'Squawk! Squawk! Squawk!' if that helps any.
And that pretty much gets us here, to the Bunker.
Kids were climbing all over that there bunker when I arrived. Teenagers? High schoolers? After school truants? Who knows? The day was getting pretty long in the tooth by then.
And if I do say so myself, the photograph of the kids standing on top of the bunker was pretty good, and all. But the isolated version speaks louder to me. The graffiti...
I can tell you the history of this place (without really knowing the history of this place; and thus, not really caring in the slightest about the history of this place).
You see, we had a place like this growing up. It was called Devil's. I have no idea why it was called Devil's. But one thing was for sure, at Devil's a person would find empty beer cans, piss filled bottles that used to hold booze, endless cigarette butts, condom wrappers, and all the other detritus one (or I) typically associate with human (and/or near human) teenage reprobate type behavior. I'm sure if I had looked hard (not here, at the coast, but back in the day, at Devil's), I would have found syringes... and/or worse (whatever worse might mean, perhaps what goes into syringes).
Thus, it should come as no surprise that I only went to Devil's once. And in truth, I don't actually know that I went to Devil's even the once... maybe it was only somewhere nearby, some bit of concrete infrastructure abandoned in the woods, long since derelict, covered in paint, scrawling letters, and the debris from decades of parties.
Of course, it wasn't that bad; most of the bottles got tossed over the side, down into the water, when they were empty and the alcohol gone... you know, back in the day, when this was a dangerous place, a cool place, where kids used to go, late at night, maybe steal that first kiss, smoke that first smoke, slam that first hit of heroin... or whatever.
I mean, there was a reason Devil's was called Devil's. The place had an aura about it... of failure and death, fear of the... future, or maybe it was just a fear of that crazy old guy from that slasher flick we'd just seen the night before, an image that we carried with us for days, and that maybe even still haunts us to our core.
Anyhow, I know nothing about this particular place: the Coast Bunker, picturesque shots, landscape panoramas. I just know I wasn't as alone here as during other parts of my day. And that before they turned this here Coast Artillery Relic into a tourist attraction... well, I think I know why they did that, why they thought that would be the path of least resistance.
'Let's go down to Beach Access, Public Right of Way!' just doesn't have the same ring to it as 'Want to sneak out to Devil's tonight?'
Well, that and making it a public park sort of implies the police will be around to patrol soon enough, you know, after the sun sets and any old men who might be interested in pursing a second career as a monster in a slasher flick have long since retired and gone home for the night...
Or to that five star hotel just down the way.
But the real truth of the matter is: I believe 'Devil's' was named along the lines of 'Widow Maker' in that it was a good (or particularly bad) place to ride one's bicycle, you know, on account of the steep slope, the rocks, the trees, and the remnants of a concrete masonry drainage pipe waiting for one at the bottom... not to mention all that fucking broken glass, lining the creek.
Yeah, did I mention? I only went there the once.
© copyright 2017 Brett Paufler