Monday, July 30, 2012

It is Monday July 30, and much has happened. I am sitting in a P.F. Chang’s waiting for my dinner and it will be a nice ending to a fine day. I said a very pleasant goodbye to Rick and Gloria and then started driving toward Buttonwillow. I couldn’t find a golf course so I ended up at the River Lakes course in Bakersfield and that was a lot of fun (shooting 92 for 18). My sore elbow held up well and I hit a lot of really good shots.
My visit to Dolores and Gloria was outstanding. I went with Gloria to San Francisco on Bart and we had a terrific meal at the Slanted ______ restaurant at the ferry terminal shops. We went to Palo Alto for dinner at a Nouveau Indian restaurant and walked around with the Hare Krishna people marching through the downtown.
On Saturday I had lunch with Marina and she was very smart and good natured and we talked for two and a half hours. After I checked in at the Quality Inn on University and took a nap, Dolores and I took a short walk and then had a superb dinner at Chez Panisse.
On Sunday I went for a walk to the UC campus and then headed for Dolores to take a walk and have lunch at Roma, the place Marina works at. That was also fun though I only got to speak to Marina for a minute.
My visit to the Hat Creek ranch was okay but it was pretty hard to fish and there wasn’t that much action. I caught six (three on Wednesday evening, where I fished until dark, and three in the morning, almost all on nymphs). The house was very pleasant but the fishing wasn’t worth the 250.
I also had a very good time visiting the redwoods. I hiked the boy scout tree trail and played golf at the Del Norte golf course.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Sleepy Hollow campground was fine and inexpensive and I got there just in time for a swim. I then went out for some food and returned to watch the second part of Stand by Me. I did enjoy it and went to sleep a little after 11.
When I woke on Saturday, I decided to head off and my drive began to Rapid City and the Black Hills. I took route 16 up and I didn’t remember any of it and then when I got to Hill City I took a Forest Service road toward Slate Creek Dam, figuring I might fish the creek and I should be able to get a swim in. I got lost on the way in and finally go to the dam. There was a tiny pool left of the entire reservoir and the stream coming in was little more than a trickle. I drove back and went for a swim at the beach at Sheridan lake then drove to the Placerville camp to fish Rapid Creek. It was running just fine (in fact three kayaks passed me) but it had been fished so I had no luck. Still, it was a lovely stretch of water. Now I headed for lunch at Deadwood and I walked through a little of the town and had a broccoli and rice lunch before losing 20 dollars at one of the many casinos. Now it was time to head for the Spearfish Canyon and that was spectacular as ever. I did stop to fish at my usual spot but the wind and the clarity of the water left me with no hits. I saw many trout but they were much too skittish. Even though my knees were hurting, I went for a fairly short bike ride.
It was time to head on and when I got to Spearfish I decided to drive on and eventually stopped in a very expensive Comfort Inn and overate at a Perkins Pancake House. The motel was very nice and I went swimming and chatting with a fellow and his granddaughter. I was a little depressed about not catching any fish, the cost of the motel, and how painful my knees were. I even thought about cutting my trip short. But ice and 3 pain killers calmed be down though I didn’t sleep well.
I got up and did some writing on my Wharton paper and on my Kaatskill Life piece, then headed off for Buffalo. I was not going to fish or bike today, figuring my knees could use a real break, but when I looked at the map I realized that if I didn’t fish the ten sleep today I would have to backtrack quite a bit tomorrow. I decided I would fish just a little at my favorite spot, and I must say I was somewhat nervous crossing the mountains, worrying that someone might be at my spot. When I got to it, there was no one there and I slowly got my gear on and walked over to the first long pool. I got a couple of fish but it was a little slow. The next long pool produced three fish but it wasn’t until I got into the more difficult faster water that the fish really began to hit. I ended up with 15 trout and my knees weren’t too bad. After getting a campsite at the Boulder Campground, I took a quick nap then had an early dinner at the Deer Haven lodge, which is not open after being closed for many years. I drove back and walked along one of the forest roads then went back to Deer Haven for dessert and coffee. It was still light so I drove up toward Ten Sleep Lake and I found a number of interesting possibilities right near the road. I drove back to my spot and practiced for twenty minutes before heading to the campground to watch the featurette about Stand By Me.
I didn’t sleep well even though it was cool and I had the curtains down, but at 7 I awoke and decided to try one of the upper pools. I stopped at a promising section but there were footprints there and I only caught two small trout at the one of the distant pools. I was very disappointed so I drove back to my spot and though my knees hurt I fished about 60 yards and caught 4 trout, with a couple of 12 inch ones. Following that it was breakfast at Deer Haven and then a nap before heading off toward Greybull. I decided to play golf at the Midway course and I played very well, mostly from the white tees and shooting a 46.
I worked and had some pizza in Greybull, then headed off to the Big Horns, this time through the lovely Shell canyon. My memory is awful since I barely remembered anything about the canyon. I was tired and indecisive but I eventually found a place to nap, and waking somewhat refreshed, I drove to Burgess Junction for a very needed cup of coffee. Even with the coffee I couldn’t figure out where to stay and I wasted a half hour trying to figure that out. Finally I decided I would camp at the Elk View Inn, and then I went for a short bike ride and then for a long and meditative walk along 14A. I went to Bear Lodge for dessert and they said I could park for free on the road above the resort so I ended up there. The night was not pleasant because a broken down motor home started their generator after 11 just after the rain began, and I could faintly smell their exhaust. The generator continued intermittently and the rain was tremendous. Even with an OTC sleeping pill I didn’t drop off till after 3.
When I finally awoke around 7 it was time for breakfast and more writing on my paper and my article. I drove toward Lovell and left the Big Horn with fond memories. The idea of kayaking part of the Stillwater returned and after calling Adventure Whitewater, I was able to set up a trip on the upper five miles before the major rapids began. That sounded exactly right and the trip down was a lot of fun with several 2 plus rapids and nothing really scary. I was getting a little cold when White Bird landing came up so the distance was perfect. I really felt good about kayaking and it seemed to change the tenor of the trip noticeably. I did call Dave to try to come to Las Vegas, so I could cut the trip back a little.
The drive through the Beartooth Pass was amazing as usual and after picking up a salad to go, I drove into Yellowstone. There was hundreds of buffalo along the road and some grizzlies way off in spotting scope range, so I drove slowly, noting how muddy the Lamar was. I finally got to Canyon around 9 and there was just enough light for a quick bike ride, then I checked in and had an appetizer and tea over at the lodge.
The room was very nice and it had a shower so I was able to take a nice warm shower and wash my dirty hair.
I decided to write in the morning and then head off toward Lake. I stopped to visit the mud volcanos and then Dragon’s Mouth. Lake was lovely as usual and I was tempted to take a swim. I drove on to Old Faithful and stopped there for coffee and dessert, then decided to fish a section of the Firehole where another fisherman had stopped. I caught a 13 inch brown on about my fifth cast but then, despite fishing a wonderful looking 200 yards, I didn’t get a hit although I saw several fish rising. I then drove towards Canyon, stopping to fish the Gibbon for fifteen minutes with no luck.
The next day found me working again on my writing and then after a salad bar lunch, it was off to tour the park. When I got to the Gibbon, however, I found a spot that just looked too good to pass up so I stopped, worked my way down, and on one of my first casts brought in a 12 inch brook trout. That was it for this spot though I fished it hard and perhaps 200 yards. It still was a lot of fun to fish. After that I drove back to Canyon for coffee and dessert and then, after talking to a clerk in the sports store, went and fished the Virgina Cascades, above the falls out in the meadows. There were a ton of small fish (4 inches and up to 6) and I got 14.
I decided to leave early and try to cover some ground and things went well so I decided, after a bike ride and golf, to head for Coeur D’Alene. When I got there I went downtown and took a fine walk along the floating boardwalk and through the resort. Then I had some sushi and walnut shrimp at Bonsai Bistro, followed by another walk along the boardwalk just as the sun was going down.
In the morning I wrote some and then watched the Open and Tiger did okay but it will tough for him to win. Then it was the drive to Spokane, where I had a terrific meal at P.F. Chang’s (all vegetable). I then rode my bike back to the pool area past Gonzaga. I love that bike trail along the Spokane river.

Friday, July 13, 2012

The next day I drove on and my GPS stopped working so when I saw the sign for the Holiday Lodge golf course, four miles away, I decided to stop. I got the number from a truck stop and called and they were open and not crowded. When I got there I was surprised that the course was quite challenging and the greens in excellent shape. I shot a 47 and would love to play again. I took my cornfield bike ride about a mile off I-90 and it was quiet and I liked the whispering of the corn. I drove on and on and stopped at a KOA near Rochester, MN and after a swim, I went into town to have a salmon dinner at the Whiskey Creek Bar and Grille.
The next day I got off pretty early and I did another bike ride in the cornfields and stopped to do some writing at McDonalds so I had internet access. I ended up reaching Mitchell in the early afternoon and checked in at a Motel 6 (the Choice motels were too expensive) and went to Cabelas to buy socks. I then walked around downtown Mitchell and went in the Corn Palace and I can’t say I was at all impressed. Dinner at Chef Louie’s followed and the barbequed ribs were first rate.
I didn’t sleep well but eventually, with one of the OTC sleeping pills I got to sleep and didn’t wake until 9:15. I knew I wanted to have a place for the night near the Badlands and the only room in the park was 135 and the Econolodge was 90 so I made a reservation at the Sleepy Hollow campground in Wall.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

When I awoke on Monday, the weather was more promising so I decided to stop in Louisville. I wanted to find the hotel by the river and I did: it was the Galt House and the river was the Ohio. I walked all over downtown, took the free trolley up 4th street and enjoyed the architecture and the shops, especially the open air theater on 4th.
My next stop was a golf course, and since it was crowded ahead but not behind, I decided to play two balls, figuring I could get nine holes in quickly and leave if I got frustrated with the slow pace. It was a good plan but after nine holes I had a 41 and realized that if I played all 18, I could break 90 for the third time this year. The second part of the front 9 was harder, ending with a 459 yard par 5, but I played very well and shot a 47 on it, thus ending with an 88.
I drove on and decided to drive into Indianapolis for dinner. I set my GPS for the Capital Grille but after I walked around the downtown area, rather impressed with it especially the huge Civil War memorial tower and fountain, I checked for a P.F. Chang’s and there was one a couple blocks away. I had steamed shrimp dumplings, hot and sour soup and special ordered broccoli with just a little beef. It was as good as ever and as I was driving ready to stay at a campground, Rob called and he was upset with a horrid e-mail from Fay. He wanted me to read it and to talk so I decided to stop at a Comfort Inn in Hebron, where I was able to read the e-mail and chat with him for a long time. She still can affect him with her hateful and completely unjustified accusations. I did go for a swim in the outside pool and that was exactly what I needed.
The next day was planned for Chicago and I did follow my plan, parking at Tinley Park and taking the local train into Chicago. I got into the Lasalle Street Station and began walking toward Union Station along State Street. When I got to Union Station I took the water taxi to Navy Pier, had lunch at Capri’s, then walked along the pier before deciding on a trip on the Tall Ship Windy. It was quite pleasant and the Chicago skyline always rewards. After that I went and found a Starbucks for a very needed coffee and then decided to head back to my truck so I could drive a little more in the evening and it worked out well as I reached Rockford, Illinois where I stopped at a Sleep Inn when I couldn’t find a campground with my GPS. It was fairly inexpensive and I liked the cool air.

Monday, July 9, 2012

It is Sunday, July 8th and my long awaited trip is finally underway. I really wanted to get going so I wouldn’t have to cut any more trees, the residue of the big storm, or prune my road or the sisson’s. The extreme heat (close to 100) was another factor, and that was supposed to end on Monday so Sunday in the air conditioned cab of my truck looked even better.
The day began without any concerns as I finished packing and got rid of the last compost. I had put in some Velcro to hold my kayak paddle and that worked fine. I had organized things very well so I really felt good about leaving. Thankfully, no trees were down and I locked the Sisson gate around nine, a good hour before I expected to leave. I wanted to get to Lexington or Louisville and such goals seemed very possible. The traffic was heavy on 77 and on 64, but I moved at a good clip, making my first real stop at Huntington High School to ride my bike for 30 minutes in the 95 plus heat. Following that I drove for a while then decided to take a nap as the sky was darkening so the heat would be lessened. I napped briefly but a powerful thunderstorm woke me up, dropping rain and hail on the camper top and shaking the truck vigorously. I couldn’t drive so I relaxed in the back and after perhaps a half hour I got out, moved the stuff from the front and began driving again. The next two hours were some of the fiercest weather I have ever experienced and I finally decided to stop just short of Lexington in Winchester and get a room at the Quality Inn at around 5 PM. There would be no golf today or a walk in downtown Louisville. The rain continued and got even worse when I went out to eat, unable to find the Pizza Hut and ending up with a Wendy’s salad. I drove back in torrents of rain but got my truck filled with gas just in case the power went out in the area and I would be stuck with a third of a tank. I drove back to the hotel, practiced my sax for 20 minutes and then went to the room for another nap and then some work on my poems. I hope tomorrow goes much better with the weather. I may stop in Louisville but tomorrow was supposed to be my first visit to Indianapolis so I’m not sure how things will work out.

Monday, July 2, 2012

The big storm on Friday was immensely powerful and quite destructive. Gyorgyi and I were having dinner at Alexander’s when it hit and we didn’t even think to go out. When we left, downtown was a disaster zone with trees down and on cars and debris all over the place. I drove to her house and we found a number of trees down but one big white pine missed her bees by a couple of inches. I tried to sleep there but it was too hot so around 4 I got up and drove back to the hollow where I went to sleep at the third gate because a tree was down and I had no batteries for my sawzall. I cut it when I woke up with the sawzall blade and then found my hollow choked with debris and many trees down. There was a very large oak and a big crown section of another tree across the road but I got to the house (no damage) and walked back with my chain saw and sawzall batteries, the gas container and my helmet with the facemask.
When I got to Gyorgyi’s I cut up most of the big pine and that was hard work. The bees occasionally buzzed around me but none stung me. I finished up and drove to my office to nap and then I went to meet Mike but when I got there he and Clay had already almost finished so I chatted for a few minutes, paid them well, and went into town to see Madagascar 3, a very funny film.
I did some more work in the morning, digging out the culvert and cutting the tree by the third gate and cutting some trees up by the cabin. I scraped the road with the farm tractor. I also got the water out of the pan that was left when I purged the filter and filled the batteries with water (they were down quite a bit from when I charged them: 1 to 1243 and 4 to 1273). Later I took Gyorgyi out to dinner at Norbert’s Italian and then we saw a wonderfully quirky film, Moonrise Kingdom.
Today my good knee hurt so I decided not to play golf, and instead I got my other computer working for internet and for Microsoft Word, picked up my bike, picked up my meds for the trip and picked up some things at Annie Kay’s. I will be having dinner with Cathy at 6.