Saturday, June 20, 2015

Not Another Blog

Oh yes another blog but this one is a team effort. Pinkie and I are joining forces on Hippie Goes A-Podding to chronicle our journey. I've been having some issues separating church and state, so to speak, with our adventure. Trying to keep things chronicled and fishing related at the same time has been the biggest issue. Most stops we've made with fishing planned have been rained out so I just haven't been keeping up. This way I can cover church (fishing) here and we can cover state (traveling) on the new blog.

Hippie Goes A-Podding is up and running. With all the rain we have plenty of time to catch with the first 51 days of our journey across the country.

Now that that's done I can get back to it....

Monday, June 15, 2015

Down the Road

It's crazy that I haven't written more lately, just laziness i think. Life on the road requires adjustments and they haven't all been made yet. Too much napping between seeing the sights and dodging rain storms. Getting rained out seems to be the theme of this journey so far. Arkansas was a total washout. I find it hard to maintain a positive energy level when things we've planned get washed out. I suspect a large portion of the country feels that way right now with all the flooding that's been going on.

Panama City was really good the first time through. Unfortunately for me I had high expectations the second time through on our way back up from the Keys which by the way was a total washout with rain and overwhelming crowds that were downright depressing.

After 6 years in Cody, WY and 3 years in Colorado Springs crowds are definitely NOT my thing anymore. No crowds in Cody and too many in Colorado Springs. Give me water without crowds! Whew, glad that's off my chest. Wyoming has a way of doing that, making you want to ditch the crowds.........but I digress.

Anyway, here we sit in Ingram, TX just west of Kerrville for a week. With lots of open space, quiet and a lack of crowds we have found some peace.

We've been to Disney World, another place that makes you want to shy away from crowds, a second stop in Panama City, a rainy stop in Biloxi and another rainy stop in Beaumont before arriving here.
My plan this morning was to give a nice detailed report of some of the best fishing of my life, on my birthday no less, in Panama City, with my son Steve, complete with pictures. As it turns out I can't figure out how to get the pictures off my phone. That goes for almost all the photos from all our other stops along the way. Anybody out there know how to import pictures to Windows from and Android phone. These photos are from my camera a few days before.

The thing is I've done downloads from my phone to my laptop before after a tutorial from my son Cameron..... then I slept. I feel so old when it comes to this stuff sometimes. Or maybe I'm just lazy these days. Moving down the road has a way of doing that to you, or at least to me.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Life on the Road

Well life out on the road has proven to be a real adjustment, a good one but an adjustment all the same. It’s been hard keeping up with writing with something new to see every day. So let’s see if I can catch you all up.

After leaving Colorado Springs we headed east for Tulsa and the opening of the Rush concert tour. The weather heading east was a bit of a bugger. We had to stop short the first night to avoid heading into severe storms in Kansas. The campground we stayed at was something to see……..but not necessarily in a good way. I’ll just leave that at that for now.

We made it to Tulsa fine on May 8th for the concert which by the way was pretty damn good. You could definitely tell it was the opening night though but unlike the previous night’s campground not in a bad way. We may have dodged the storms the night before but there was no avoiding them that night. As we left the arena the rain had started in earnest. We drove back to the campground in a heavy rain that just got more severe as the night wore on. I must say that Hippie-pod-R-mus did very well in the rocking winds and driving rain. No leaks, no troubles.

It was a relief to head out the next morning, next stop Mountain Home, AR. I had found a secluded campground/fishing resort online. We were a bit apprehensive about the place but reviews had it as a nice place to stay. The reviews were correct, the setting is beautiful. Nestled in the trees below towering bluffs we were camped with views of the White River right outside our back window. The river had been raised but still ran clear as a bell. I was chomping at the bit through the day getting set up and settled in. With 4 nights booked the promise of great fishing hung in the air.

Late in the afternoon I got my license, did some fishing, or should I say some casting and took a few photos of the river. It was a nice evening until the rain rolled in and pushed me off the water. No worries though I had the inside scoop thanks to a local fly tyer and had plans to hit the Norfork in the morning. According to my source the trout had been taking a wide range of flies, everything from tiny dries to large sculpin size streamers, and doing it quite eagerly. Oh the promise! Promise can however leave you a little short on satisfaction.

As evening turned to night the light showers turned to a steady downpour that lasted all night. Sleep was fitful and when I came fully awake before my 5:30 alarm the downpour had finally started to taper off to a drizzle. By 6:00 am it was light enough outside to tell the river was completely washed out but the Norfork still promised to be fishable. The entire Norfork River consists of a 3 mile run below the Norfork Lake dam to the confluence with the White River.

My enthusiasm waned during the 25 minute drive from camp to my target location. Every small creek I passed over was outside its banks but that still didn’t prepare me for what I found when I arrived at the river. When I pulled into the parking area what should have been an easily wading stream looked like a flooded lake. In fact the river was running back upstream. There was so much water coming down the White River it was flushing the confluence with the Norfork River backwards. So much for promise.

Trying to salvage something of the day and a newly purchased multi-day out of state fishing license I headed for a stretch just below Norfork dam, surely this would pan out until electrical generation started around 11:00 am. Surely it didn’t! A small incoming stream just below the dam was running as high and muddy as every other I had seen that morning. I re turned to the campground to have a good long look at the river there. It had risen easily 7 feet overnight and brought with it a flood of flotsam, dirty brown water and the end of my hopes to fish the confluence of the White and Buffalo Rivers.

Arkansas wasn’t a total loss though. With the advice and directions from our hosts we were able to find a restaurant that served up some of, if not the best fried catfish we have ever had. Fred's Fishhouse doesn't have a website but they also serve some killer onion rings, coleslaw and pickled green tomatoes. The latter was completely unfamiliar but quite tasty.

Not being able to fish made for an excellent chance to unwind and slow down a bit. Had the river been in fishing shape I would have spent every available minute on the water and hardly seen Sharon’s smiling face. As it was we got to spend some real quality time together enjoying the scenery and beauty of the White Buffalo Resort.

The next couple days we made our way to Panama City, FL. The first afternoon we stopped at West Memphis and set up along the Mississippi River. The campground there was reasonable but stark after the beauty we had enjoyed the previous few days near Mountain Home. Our main goal there was to pass over into Memphis proper and have some excellent barbecue. We passed over and had some barbecue but honestly it was a bit of a letdown, not at all what we had built it up to be in our minds. While set up in Manitou Springs we had treated ourselves to the moist brisket ate Rudy’s on Hwy 24 and 31st Street. We found that we much preferred Rudy’s smoked brisket over Memphis style barbecue. Other than the bugs in the evening that as they say was that.

The next night in Birmingham was so uneventful I don’t even remember anything beyond the RV park we set up at was a former KOA……..and more bugs and humidity. You gotta love the south for its bugs and humidity. I/we had grown accustomed to living without humidity. I have to say here that there is something to be said both for and against it. As far as comfort goes anyone who says it doesn’t bother them is lying to themselves, you or in most cases both. On the other hand it sure feels good on the skin and sinuses. Excuse the brief foray into unacceptable territory but by the time we made it to Florida I finally remembered what it felt like to wake up in the morning without a nose bleed and tissue full of bloody bogies.

Bugs. What can I say? I wonder if that’s why so many people in the south smoke, to keep the bugs at bay. That’s all I’ll say about that.

By the time we arrived in Panama City the next day it was after 2:00 pm, the air temperature was somewhere around 90 and the humidity around 80% due to the heavy cloud cover. I grew up with this type of weather and after being away from it for a few years wonder how anybody makes it past the age of 21. It wasn’t quite what Matthew Broderick’s character in “Biloxi Blues” declared Africa hot but it was damned close. I had a long nap and a very large glass of iced tea!

Life on the road is about changes and adapting. So far it’s been doable but not without a nap in the afternoon. The only issue I’m having with afternoon naps is time to write. There’s quite a bit to tell yet. We have already been to the Keys and back to central Florida. I'll be glad to tell you all about it but I need a nap first.