Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Road Trip Playlist

My friend BJ's dad passed away over the weekend. He and his family are in my thoughts and prayers. Really makes you think about how short life is and what's important. Say a prayer for them tonight.

My trip odometer since I left Michigan now reads over 9,000 miles in just over two months.
I tend to get on kicks where I listen to the same group of song over and over again for long periods of time. Sooo over the past couple months I have developed the super ultimate cliché road trip play list as follows in no particular order:
Peaceful Easy Feeling -Eagles
Thousand Miles from Nowhere -Dwight Yoakam
Free -Zac Brown Band
Stop that Train -Bob Marley
Keep on Movin “ “
Road and the Radio -Kenny Chesney
Time to Fly -REO Speedwagon
Here I Go Again -Whitesnake
Write it in a Song -Lynard Skynard
Can’t Always Get What You Want -Rolling Stones
Roll if ya fall -Barefoot Truth
Send me on my way -Rusted Root
Country Roads -John Denver
Walking Man -James Taylor
Far Side of the World -Jimmy Buffett
Amarillo by Morning -George Strait
On the Road Again -Willie Nelson
Mamas don’t let your babies grow up to be Cowboys -Willie Nelson
Highwaymen -Highwaymen
Lover Lover -Jerrod Niemann
Good Riddance -Green Day
Blowin in the Wind -Bob Dylan
Over and Over -Pat Green
Threadbare Gypsy Soul -Pat Green
Take it Easy -Eagles, also Travis Tritt cover
Much too young -Garth Brooks
Willin’ -Little Feat
The Ride -David Allan Coe
Runaway -Love and Theft
Where My Devils Go -Sweet Japonic
Take it to the Freeway -Sweet Japonic
Something More -Sugarland
Settlin’ -Sugarland
Heard it in a love song -Marshall Tucker Band
Ride a Tear -Dispatch
Against the Wind -Bob Seiger
There are a lot of other songs that made my super list of road songs although they didn’t make the lyrical cut of talking about life on the road so they have been excluded. And my number one favorite song of the past couple months I feel the need to name as well: Jolene -Ray LaMontagne

Monday, November 29, 2010

life in the woods

a friend of mine...cant remember who...showed me this a couple years ago which i saved and uncovered recently...i like it...

The Men That Don't Fit In

There's a race of men that don't fit in,
A race that can't stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain's crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don't know how to rest.

If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they're always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: "Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!"
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.

And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It's the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.
And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that's dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.

He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;
He has just done things by half.
Life's been a jolly good joke on him,
And now is the time to laugh.
Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;
He was never meant to win;
He's a rolling stone, and it's bred in the bone;
He's a man who won't fit in.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

An ode to my best buddy...

My dog is an interesting one…I think all dogs have quirks, labs more than most…and pate possibly more than most labs.

Over the past month on the road:

Pate buries his food under his bed at chad’s place when we leave him for half a day…in doing so he rubs all the skin off his nose…still bright pink three weeks later.

Since we have hit the road Pate now feels it is necessary to growl at everything that moves and some things that don’t. He is still the friendliest dog in the world but any stranger must get past the growling and barking, hair up on his back, 105 lb dog to see his fun loving side.

The last few nights pate has been going to bed in the tent on my sleeping bag at very early hours. When I tried shutting the tent so he would stay out with me he decided he would try to find a way into the tent by pushing against the door and all other sides effectively testing the perimeter like the veloci raptors in Jurassic Park.

This morning when we woke up to a steady rain, I let him out to go to the bathroom and I got out and started brushing my teeth and getting ready for the day. Pate sees its raining and decides to return to the tent. He then refuses to come back out. I lure him out and then he runs back in. Eventually I win.

He swims into the river chasing every fish he sees jump even if its a hundred yards away.

On the raft the other day near the end we finally saw some sun and he dried himself on the rocks while we fished.
Upon returning to the raft Pate decides that now that he is dry he shouldn’t have to get in the bottom of the raft where there is a little standing water. He proceeds to sit on the outer tube of the raft his ass hanging over the water, on the brink of falling in at any moment through mild whitewater and lots of bumps. Upon arriving safely at the boat ramp…he jumps out of the raft into the water anyway…

So he may be a little crazy…but I am pretty sure I know where he gets it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

On the road again...

Well, it’s the eve of my last day in Idaho fishing the Clearwater. I have been on the road for 36 days, Fishing for approx 23 of the last 25 days. Haven’t showered in 13 days…New Record! I think that will end tomorrow night? And alone for 6 since Chad had to return to Montana. At least I have my puppy, although he crawled into the tent literally 30 seconds after I staked it down tonight. Best buds forever. I must admit I am getting a little lonely and road wary at this point, although I am in good spirits. A little Sweet Japonic on the ipod is reminding me of home as type and cook ramen. Cheese and crackers is adding a high end touch to my dinner. Where is the wine? Anyway, I think the timing is about right to settle down on the coast, rest a couple days and get to business before I run out of money.
Yes it is most definitely time to leave the Clearwater. Someone stole my tent stakes and pate’s water bowl yesterday. Most likely to let me know I had overstayed my welcome at the not so campground campsite I was living at. While I was a little ticked about it, at least they were thoughtful enough to leave the tent. As well as the sleeping bag, pad, and pate’s bed that were in the tent. Or maybe they all were way too repulsive for anyone to want? Did I mention my awesome shower streak? That is kind of a little challenge I have been having with myself to see how long I can make it. Unavailability of any shower makes it a little easier. The campground I am at tonight is formally free, two weeks ago it was packed, tonight I am by my lonesome.
My time here hasn’t been without some difficulty. The previous week a rock rolled out from under right foot causing me to fall backwards down a steep slope. Sliding down rocks, ripping a 5” gash in my new waders, and banging me up a bit. When I finally got back to my feet, the combination of the wader rip, knee pain and lack of fish catching brought me into a bit of a temper frenzy that lasted a while. I calmed down upon thinking of the luck that I did not re-tear my ACL. I am 6 months on the rehab from surgery. My doctor would rip me a new one if he knew I was wading like I have been for months. The Clearwater being especially treacherous. But the knee has held up and feels strong despite some pain, good job doc.
I also cant say I have done outstandingly well fishing wise here on the Clearwater. But the fish I have caught have been very memorable. Three days ago I caught one of my largest steelhead to date. A wild female of 16+ lbs, full of piss and vinegar. And as beautiful as they come (See picture below).

I realize my writing may be a bit scatterbrained, all over the place, and lacking punctuation but I guess my style so far is the way my brain operates (all over the place). I also have no desire to edit/proofread anything, but I do apologize for the lack of organization…thanks for reading anyway J

Last day of fishing tomorrow, headed to the coast on Saturday…

So this walking man walks (James Taylor) or drives but you get the point. I should have better phone service for a few days if anyone wants to catch up....

Sunday, October 31, 2010


What an up and down couple weeks its been…I guess that is what steelhead fishing is…incredible highs and the lowest of lows. I think this is even more true when you are a true fish bum, essentially unemployed, homeless, and failing to catch fish. I had a streak of almost a week here where I went fishless and was doubting everything I have been and am doing in not just fishing but life in general. That is a hard one to swallow.
But then it all can turn around in the blink of an eye. One minute I am thinking of giving up on everything and pointing life in a new direction and the next minute a fish is dancing around on the end of my line and everything is better. Believe me I do understand how crazy that sounds.
In the present, things have turned around for the time being. Fish are coming to hand, I am used to life on the road. Pate is settling in, eating well again, and generally being his normal self. Today marks a month of life on the road. Can I say both that its flown by and also that it seems like forever ago that I was home in Michigan?

 My birthday yesterday came and went…I didn’t even realize it until about 6 pm when I asked Chad the date. Kind of like it that way, havent really gotten to excited about a birthday in a long time anyway. Cant say it was anything exciting, but it was stress free and I even got a birthday ice cream sundae from Boggan’s Oasis here on the Grande Ronde River. It is definitely a fitting title as it is the only thing for about 30 miles. There is no phone service, no gas, nothing around here. So I apologize to anyone whose call I haven’t returned but I havent been able to for at least a week. I have currently lost track of my last shower, shave, only today learned the day of the week, and the date...along with who knows what else....but i can tell you the latter is a good feeling...the not showering is not however....maybe i shouldnt share that part? oh well

As of now, I am planning on leaving the Oasis and my campsite under the coolest tree ever, which keeps me bone dry at all times (It has rained every day in the past week). I will miss you tree. It is time to head back to Idaho and the Clearwater River where I have a bone to pick with a couple more fish before heading to the coast to settle into a home of some sort hopefully. So I should become more reachable after that…cheers everyone…and thanks for reading my rambling and giving me some sort of connection with friends and the world beyond fishing. I miss you guys.

more to come later...i want to dig into some deep stuff on life in general sometime for my own sake...read at your own risk...i am re-reading Siddartha right now...awesome awesome short book that is very though provoking...

oh and i edited the last post as well as some of it got left out when i copied it from word...peace out

Saturday, October 16, 2010

peaceful easy feeling

Waxed cotton and waterproof matches may be the best camping invention ever made….and im getting low on both. That being said, one cotton ball one match a little wood and my fire is going without any other effort. Pate and I are sitting alone on the bank of the Lochsa River. The sun is setting and the moon is already creeping over the mountain to the south. I’m finally in steelhead country. Crossed into Idaho from Montana about 40 miles to the east and into the Pacific Time Zone, its only ten after six here and the sun is down and its almost dark. After a sunny 85 degree day in Eastern Montana yesterday, it is a balmy 42 degrees at 6 pm here in the mountains. Looks like a very cold night is in store for us, the -25 degree sleeping bag I bought two days ago looks like it might be the purchase of the century…losing its virginity tonight in a big way.
The Lochsa River is part of the headwaters of the Clearwater River and the home waters to some of the farthest traveling steelhead in the world. Steelhead are an anadramous fish, meaning they are born in fresh water migrate to salt water and then back to fresh water to spawn…rinse…repeat. Here we are about 7-800 miles from salt water. These fish make it down the Lochsa to the Clearwater, then Snake, and then Columbia River before finally the Pacific Ocean. Passing over 9? Dams…OOPS I meant dams…in that time. Once reaching they Ocean they face a war zone of predators….seals, killer whales, birds, sharks, commercial fisherman, you name it before turning around and coming back. Then its more commercial fisherman, tribal gil nets, and oh yea the damns before reaching their birthplace. People always ask me why I don’t eat what I catch…I say how could you? What an miraculous journey and amazing creature. I fish for steelhead to get a glimpse at and maybe be a small part of this cycle. To be outside, see the wild, cleanse the soul, not to fill the freezer. Im currently just fine with the raman and PB&J I just stocked up on. Unfortunately not everyone seems to share this view. Today rape and pillage (catch &keep) season opened on the Clearwater and the fish are now getting harassed with every kind of bait, lure and boat possible. The good news if the fish make it through that gauntlet to where I am on the Lochsa, they are safe as it is closed to all steelhead fishing.

Seriousness break: Pate just crawled into my open tent and went to bed instead of laying by the fire with me…great companion J
I saw some beautiful scenery and caught some nice trout in my quick week in Montana. The Bighorn River is the most amazing trout fishing I have ever seen…they fishing by Chad’s standards was slow and I still caught more trout than I could count. Bald eagles soared, pheasants cackled, ducks did whatever they do, it is a beautiful setting to spend some time. Oh Chad guides there if anyone is interested.
And what a huge state it is, took me about 9 hours from Chad’s in Ft. Smith to the Idaho border. Big sky country is an apt title, huge rolling hills, snow capped mountains, and some of the most beautiful rivers you will ever see, all along I90. The Yellowstone River is one I must return to and fish. Something about the valley captivates me and calms my soul like I cant describe….maybe even feels like home someday? For now though its onward to the coast.
The plan is for me to fish tomorrow, Sunday maybe, and then head for Seattle to take care of some business. I have a raft that I bought for a steal on Craigslist waiting for me to pick up. Getting a drivers license and storing some gear are also on the agenda before returning to the Clearwater and Grand Ronde rivers to meet up with Chad again for some serious steelhead fishing.
That’s all for now folks.

Edit: Fished hard today...was rewarded this afternoon with a beautiful wild fish....super pumped...doubts about what im doing here beginning to fade... more later currently stealing someones wifi...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

colorado to montana

spent close to a week in colorado...really enjoyed visiting my good buddy gordon, wish he hadnt had to work so much but such is life. fished some of my own haunts, caught some fish, visited some old sites. stopped in to my old place of employment from a previous life, Clear Creek Rafting. I was hoping to find a raft for cheap but didnt quite find  what i was looking for. It however was great visiting with my old boss dale...who was both great to work for and at getting me out of trouble...thanks dale. and as luck would have it i managed to find a steal on a raft the next day while browsing craigslist in seattle. so hopefully in a week or so i will drop in to my future homestead to grab my new boat. then it will be back to idaho for a couple weeks more fishing. in the present, however, i am in ft. smith, montana getting my fix on some great trout fishing on the big horn river and releasing some pent up aggression towards life.

the drive up to montana from colorado was gorgeous though a little stressful at times. most of it was made into a very strong headwind. i found out very quickly that my rig complete with roof cargo box and hitch bike mount/cooler carrier is blown about about as easily as the ever so present tumbleweed. and a couple times it appeared my cargo box might end up travelling back through kansas with dorothy and toto. the cargo box, and its cargo of my precious fly rods survived in tact, and my confidence in its road worthiness continues to grow. along the way we encountered lots of huge rolling hills, picturesque skies, and tons of wildlife. the antelope are thick as cattle, mule deer...not much sparser...and there are whitetails too. now that ive made it to montana, ive added bald eagles, lots of ducks, geese, and pheasants, along with some very large brown and rainbow trout to the list.

that being said...
a lot of people seem to think im just out here living the dream...in some ways thats probably true but to me its not that simple. maybe im just too aware of my own shortcomings and failures. but while im having fun in the present i cant help but ponder the things ive left and lost..andthe lack of direction i sometimes feel im headed towards. the fact is im soon to be passed another milestone of 25, unemployed, running out of money in a hurry, and headed to a new place with only a couple friends and no real fall back. my poor dog, although loving the fishing, seems to be sometimes be almost as lost as papa. he hasnt hardly finished a meal since we left and often looks at me with a "what the hell are you doing" stare that i understand all too well. and although it is a little scary at times...i am trying to just go with it and let the wind blow me where it will. and times this stuff gets me down, but at the present im just going to let it be...and keep catching big trout in montana...living the dream baby.

more to come soon hopefully with some more interesting stuff to write than this rambling...and lots of pictures

Monday, October 4, 2010

Back in Colorado

 I spent three nights and two days at my Grandma's place in Winfield, KS. It was great spending some time with her and my uncle, though small town Kansas is not exactly my cup of tea. Can't imagine living such a quite life style, where it's a struggle to find anything to do. I did get a bunch of flies tied for steelhead in Idaho and finished reading Jimmy Buffett's "A Salty Piece of Land." What a great book and one that I could really relate too. The main characted Tully leaves his life in Wyoming to travel the Carribbean, fishing and searching for meaning in his life. The latter really hitting the spot with my current travels and life direction.

Now im hanging out with my boy Gordon in Boulder, Co  for the better part of the week. Although currently he is working and I am up in the mountain town of Silverthorne. Came up here to fish my old haunts on the Blue River for some very technical trout on tiny dry flies. Took a walk along the river with Pate this morning and saw a few decent fish sipping midges. Then spent the last couple hours catching up on computer work on the up and coming website, etc. As soon as I get off this damn computer I plan on catching those trout...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

On the Road Again

Here we are on the eve of my next big adventure and a full spectrum of emotions and thoughts are racing through my mind. It's been 3 1/2 weeks since I made the decision to drop everything here in Michigan and go off on my own. Since that day I can't say I've really doubted my decision at all until now. Tonight I'm thinking of all the wonderful friends and family that I'm leaving behind. I am so grateful for all of you and will miss you all. The time has come for me to take my own path although I'm not quite sure where it leads. In the short term, tomorrow night I should arrive in Kansas to visit my Grandma and Uncle and by the end of the weekend I should be in Colorado visiting my good friend Gordon and my aunt. Long term, eventually I should end up in western Washington where I will be starting a fly fishing guide service on my own and crossing my fingers I make it through the winter with a dollar to spare. Regardless it should be an adventure I won't forget. Thank you to all my friends for being so wonderful, I won't forget you.