Sunday, August 30, 2009

Lewiston is HOT!

This weekend we spent our time at Hell's Gate State Park for another Duathlon. We drove down Friday night and got a real good camp spot. It was about 106 when we got there, so once we got set up, we fired up the AC in the camper. We sat out side in the shade and waited for the sun to set. By the time we went to bed the camper was cooled off and we were able to get to sleep without any problems.

Saturday morning we did the duathlon thing. Linda ran well and took first in her age group. I sat around and took care of Kobi. He was good, but after about two hours we both need a break from each other. My problem was I didn't bring a chair, so I had to spend all my time in Kobi's space. He kept laying on me and nudging me with his nose. That's cute, but only for a while.

When Linda was finished and got back to the camper we rode our bikes into Lewiston and had lunch at the Main St. Grill. Just what the doctored ordered! Linda had a BLT wrap and I had a grinder. The meal was excellent and it made our day.

We rode home and the sky's clouded up causing the temperature to cool off. We went to bed and that night the thunder and lightning moved in followed by a hard down pour. It cooled everything off so sleep was easy.

Sunday we drove home and did some shopping. It was a real nice weekend, Lewiston is always hot and if we needed to visit there, this was probably the best weekend to visit.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Comfort Zone

Our college division, Student Services, had a Hula back to Schoola party a a local park last week. We had a huge picnic dinner and guess who was part of the entertainment? Yeah, I was out of many of my comfort zones on this one. Hardest part was taking my shirt off in front of the crowd. Who said I can't dance? The first part was a Haka that we all performed together. That led into a Hula that our boss, Eric created. We ended with interpretive dances from each of the team. It was well received and everyone had a great laugh.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee

Yes, the left eye was completely swollen shut. No, he did not go ten rounds with Oscar de la Hoya. Kobi stuck his head into a bush to get his toss ring and the next second he had his head in my crotch, and his eye was shut. It was sad, but funny at the same time. He didn't know what hit him.

Linda and I drove up the Coeur d'Alene river this weekend, but ended up on Shoshone Creek at one of our usual spots. We left Friday after work, but by the time we got up the main river most of the good spots were taken. Several camps only had a tent or a truck in them, which generally means that someone had driven up and staked the camp site out for the weekend and then went back and left the items. I don't like that style of camp hording, I think that on Friday it should be every camper for them selves.

We tried all our usual spots and they were full so we drove down river and headed up Shoshone Creek. We figured that if we failed there we could drive back and camp in our front yard. We did find a spot and had a great weekend.

On Saturday I fished up stream and caught a bunch of little fish. The creek is running very low so about all I could do was fish the pools and hope for one or two big guys to be hiding and I could draw them out.

We had two great meals while we were there. We did the usual camping stuff; walk, eat, fish and throw the ring for Kobi.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Big Party

Linda and I drove home from Grayland on Sunday. It took us 7.5 hours, but it was well worth it. We had just enough time to unload, take a nap, a shower and then drive up to John and Loretta's for their annual crab feast. This year was once again outstanding. There were oysters, raw and cooked; BBQ salmon, halibut and rock cod; fresh crab and all the fixings. We ate more than we really needed to, while we sat and talked. Desert was a mass of sweets, Sarah's huckleberry peach pie went so fast John was left licking the pan. It was great fun and everyone had a wonderful time.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Our Camp Site in Grayland WA

The Video tells it all about our camp site!

A Cranberry Bog. (So how many of these bog farmers do you think write "cranberry blogs"?)

There once was a house right here on the beach. Now the steps lead nowhere, but there is still running water. (Note the pipe and the fresh water running out of it.)

The Cranberry Bog riders at the end of the road.

We stayed at a lake!

After a long drive down into western Washington we passed through Montesano and turned north to Lake Sylvia State Park. We had a spot reserved and once we got set up we walked Kobi before going to bed. There were some cool hiking trails around the lake and Kobi really enjoyed himself. We slept sound and in the morning got up and played fly the dog, into the lake. Kobi loved the water, and so I put the video together.

After breakfast and the water fun we headed out to meet up with our friends somewhere by Grayland. These folks are the friends that we met in Mexico. The group all stay next door to our house and we play swimming pool volleyball every day. It's Mary and Art's 40th wedding anniversary. They invited us when we were down in Melaque last year, and then when Larry and Maggie visited us a couple weeks ago they encouraged us to join them at the celebration.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

It’s almost been a month!

We walked up Flat Creek last night after dinner. Kobi in the lead, Linda and I following trying to make sure he stays close. There was not a sound beyond the good sounds produced by nature. The evening was warm, yet there was an edge of cool mixed in. It has been about three weeks or more since the heat of summer moved in and grabbed us, not letting go. Feeling the mix of warm and cool as we walked led our conversation in the usual direction. We talked about camping and that led to the realization that it had been a month since we stayed in our little home. Our last camper trip was down to Bend OR, and since then we have been busy little bees every weekend. Two weddings, several group parties, and a lost weekend were the cause of our straying from this weekend life we love remains unknown.

Kobi was the first to be alerted to the sounds of something up the road. His ears picked up and he started walking faster. Because of the change in his body language, Linda and I became aware that there was something around the corner. As we emerged from around the tight bend we saw Kobi’s little butt start waggling as he lowered into his cute dog approach. His attention was on a young lady who was all decked out in her US Forest Service fire fighting attire. She was all smiles as we approached; Kobi was snuggling in between her legs. The rest of the crew was busy getting cleaned up. They had just finished up climbing up onto the ridge top and extinguishing a very large tree that had been struck by lightning. I recognized one of the fire crew from Coeur d’Alene and we chatted a bit about the fire. In his words the tree that was struck looked like a bomb had been set off and there were huge scraps of wood, like shrapnel, burning all about. I dropped a few names, they were recognized, but the crew was concentrating on getting loaded up so we thanked them for what they do and moved on up the road.

Back at the camper we fixed dinner and then prepared for our night’s rest by getting everything under cover. Rain was pretty much inevitable according to earlier reports, so we moved things undercover, cleaned up for bed and hit the sack. Within an hour of turning off the lights, the skies flickered bright with lightning, followed by the low booms of thunder. The rain started shortly after that and, just like predicted, it poured off and on throughout the night.

The next morning Linda ran in the rain with Kobi as I rolled sleepily out of bed. We ate a leisurely breakfast, took a walk and then had our lunch. After lunch Linda read and I went fishing. This is my story.

The walk up river was a pleasant one. The rains of the evening had stopped and the sun was breaking through scattered puffball clouds. The spot I had chosen to fish looked very promising. It was comprised of a whitewater riffle that shot against the rocks and then veered out into a slower and deeper stretch of crystal clear water. I approached down river with a Stimulator lubed and ready. As a secondary means of attack, I tied a beadhead nymph about eight inches below the Stimi. I fished the stretch up and was able to catch one little cutthroat on the nymph. I sat down and looked at the water. Nothing was rising, but since I had caught on a nymph, they must have been feeding. I stripped off my two flies and dove into my nymph box.

I spotted just what I needed. I tied a hare’s ear nymph on to my line and then dropped a beadhead copper wire nymph down about ten inches. The final touch was to fix my strike indicator about five feet up on the line. I figured that would place the hare’s ear at about a foot above the bottom and then the beadhead would be in the feeding lane about four inches above the bottom. The next cast was much better, stronger and exactly where I was pointing. I mended the line and watched as my strike indicator jiggled, not a jerk or bob, but a slight twitch that was definitely different. I set the hook. The fish shot right downriver taking out the slack in my line. I controlled the line with my left hand knowing that once I got him on the reel, the fight would continue and I would have a bit stronger advantage in the upcoming battle. The fish slowed as it neared the bank and then took a swift up river run crossing the current using in to its advantage to try and free itself. By this time I was in control and was using the palm of my hand to apply slight pressure to the reel countering his attempt at freedom with a move that would tire him sooner. He hit an eddy line up stream across current, paused and rested as I reeled in any remaining slack that had been collected by his movements. At this time I was able to think a bit. The weight of the fish, the flash that I recalled as he spun across the river, and the fact that he was holding firm told me that this was a big fish!

His next move was one I was expecting. His head turned and he ran downstream directly at me. I lifted my arms and reeled like I was a winch man on an America’s Cup sailboat. I was able to keep up with his charge and even get him turned toward my side of the river. I took this opportunity to step off my perch and get to a flat bolder that created an eddy on the side of the river. It was the perfect place to land my opponent. He was within five feet of being a captive, my fly line was all in and all that was left between me and this warrior was the strike indicator and leader. Now if you have fished a lot you probably could recognize the characteristics of the different species of fish when caught. Rainbow trout are jumpers. When hooked they jump, run, and jump, trying to throw the hook. Cutthroat are spinners; they spin and twist to toss your fly. My cut was a sage fighter, and at the last second spun left and then right. As I reached for him I felt a slight release of pressure and saw the hook drift away from his lip. The big guy slowly turned, paused and was gone.

I will leave it to you to decide whether it was a catch or a long drawn out miss. I was disappointed that I didn’t get to “release” the big guy. I really wanted to be able to see exactly how long he was and maybe even assess his girth and weight. It didn’t happen. I climbed the bank and walked back to camp. Linda had dinner ready for me and we ate and talked about my adventure. Later we walked to Flat Creek and I caught another big fish. It was the same fly set up, I landed it and it made my day a bit better. I guess it is like going in to the locker room before a big basketball game. You never want to stop your warm-ups on a missed shot. I needed the catch to be able to end my day of fishing.

When it rains, most evenings and in the early mornings Linda and I like to play cards when we camp. We play a game of Cribbage each evening, I usually lose. When we are sitting drinking coffee or waiting for the clouds to stop weeping, we play various games of solitary. Recently our favorite is a game where, after shuffling, you deal out four cards face up. You then remove any card of a suit that is of lower value then a card showing. For example, ten of harts would cause the two of hearts to be removed and so forth. You then deal another four cards on top of the other row and remove lower value cards as you go. The thinking starts when you have to move a card into an empty space to fill it. This movement either opens up other moves or changes the location of cards, which may come into play later in the game. The object is to get all four aces lined up and all other cards in the discard pile. It is hard to win at this game, but because of the easy set up and the quick play it has become our standard game when we are sitting waiting for anything. This weekend we had a bunch of close calls where either Linda or I had all the aces on the bottom row, and just one card in the wrong place caused us to lose. The game can cause you to be a bit obsessive about trying to win. Every time we sat at the table after dinner, just before bed or in the morning as the coffee was being made, we played. This weekend I managed to win twice. Linda said she had never seen anyone actually win at this game. It made me feel good. So I played other solitary games and cribbage but I lost. Guess I shouldn’t go to the casinos.

During our stay up the river we only saw a couple dear, but when we drove back and got just north of Enaville, we saw a moose running full speed through a field. We got everything put away after we got home and were sitting in the front room reading when Linda spotted a pair of Quail in the front yard. She loves those funny little birds so she went out to watch them, and low and behold, they had ten little babies that they were carefully watching. The chicks were so small; they must have been born yesterday.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Fishing for the Big Ones

Ok, so this wasn't the biggest bass I have ever caught. I thought it was funny that the fish was smaller then the lure. We caught this on Lake Coeur d'Alene when we were boating with Holly, Ryan and Zane. We had a great evening, the perfict end to the weekend.