fishing for words

(and tossing out random thoughts)

Leave a comment

157 miles with a fish and chips stop

Ready to Roll

Ready to Roll

Weather rarely cooperates with plans made more than 24 hours in advance, so the older boy and I were happy to see our mini heat wave break, with cooler temps Sunday morning.

Sunday was “training day” on the motorcycles. We loaded up, geared up and hit the road sometime after eight thirty in the morning. The early start paid off with only scattered traffic on Interstate 680, as we made our way my sister family’s house in San Mateo. Occasional gusts of winds and inattentive car drivers required our attention. Other than that, it was smooth sailing.

After an unsuccessful attempt at computer repair, we headed out State Route 92. Surprisingly light traffic allowed us to make to Half Moon Bay Brewery in less than 30 minutes. Fueled by excellent fish and chips, we made our way up State Route 1, past the yet-to-be-completed Devils Slide Tunnel, up to and through San Francisco and across the Bay Bridge, then home.

Yes, I was a tad bit saddle sore when I go home. Next time I’ll try out the other seat I have for the Nighthawk.

Otherwise, good day, good ride, good fun.



1 Comment

making it mine II

It’s sometimes about dreams here at ffw headquarters, so the anticipation that comes with planning is part and parcel around the ol’ homestead. That’s why I wasted spent part of Sunday afternoon with the motorcycle.

I justified it a bit with some small maintenance items…an adjustment to the rear brake, a bit of fiddling with the rear brake pedal height and a check of the tires’ air pressure.

More fun was a test fit of the new luggage. Not only does it look good, but eyeballing the whole assembly gives the impression that the saddlebags offer enough space for four to six days of warm-weather clothing, while the expandable tailbag could allow room for other dreams. (Room for necessary fly fishing gear?)

The installation of some risers should address long-distance comfort by bringing the handlebar a bit higher and closer. Judgment remains reserved until I have a bit more time in the saddle.

The biggest dream came about last week in the form of a map outlining a route up the Pacific Coast. It stretches along the northern coast of California, up the coast of Oregon and Washington, loops around Olympic National Park, drops down through Bainbridge Island, includes a ferry ride across Puget Sound to Seattle, and finishes at the folks’ house.

Roughly 1,026 miles over four days. Summer of 2011? Maybe.

Good thing the new bags come with rain covers.

1 Comment

dad knew global warming was coming

It’s easy to dismiss global warming as Al Gore’s pet disaster or simply a cycle of the earth.  I say we’ll know the truth when it’s all over. Regardless of the outcome, I’m beginning to think dad’s related to pikas.

Maybe he was acting on an inexpressible instinct, but what else could explain dad’s continual latitudinal movement toward cooler climates? It started in Perris, Calif. (33° 46’ 57” N); followed by Willits (39° 24’ 35” N) and Issaquah, Wash. (47° 31’ 49” N); and finally Duvall, Wash. (47° 44’ 32” N).

Now comes word of studies and requests that pikas be placed on the Endangered Species List because warming temperatures could force them further up their mountain habitats. Not convinced my dad and pikes are related? Read on:

To many scientists, pikas are a perfect study candidate because they are sensitive to temperature. They can be killed by temperatures higher than 78 degrees Fahrenheit, and prefer the rugged, rocky habitat found typically, but not exclusively, at higher elevations.

For those who know dad, ‘nuf said.


all the aches and pains without the hassle of hiring a moving truck

Just before a “delivery” of barbecued goodness Sunday.

That’s when we finished what begun Friday afternoon with the moving around that gave us a seemingly new house.

“Moved to a new house?” you ask.

No, the creation of what feels like a new house through a refreshment of the feng shui (or lack thereof) in the so-called living room and den. Over the years the arrangement of the furniture in these two rooms had been predicated on practicality — utilitarian in the father-in-law’s view — necessitated by the acceptance of hand-me-down sofas and the sundry accessories.

But it was The Wife’s our willingness to stimulate the economy and the appearance of a nice sectional sofa at Costco that launched this change to a more welcoming arrangement of furniture (as well as the acceptance that we’d have the same sectional as the billion other folks who would no doubt also be lured by the great price). Combined with the removal of all-too-long unscrutinized debris and the steam cleaning of carpets, this rearrangement yielded not only a more elegant layout, but room enough to expand the dining space to accommodate 20-plus holiday guests. (The Wife recongnized this surprising benefit a bit too fast for my taste.)

It looks good. I know. I got to spend all of 40 minutes lounging on the new sofa before it was time to head to bed.

Leave a comment

beer and crayfish, washington style

A few years ago I threw a hasty thought in Sean’s general direction: at or soon after age 21, how ’bout he and I and whoever was willing spend sometime tasting brews in Washington state?

He didn’t forget.

We’re back now, but here’s to hoping that memories of our trip will pop to mind every time we sip Rogue Brewery‘s Dry Hopped Saint Rogue Red Ale (Mark – Sean and I already have some in the fridge) or the harder-to-find Chipotle Ale.

It was a good, relatively unstructured trip. After twenty-plus years of deadlines, I’m beginning to tend to avoid them on my own time. The only specific goals: beer and crayfish and visiting with the folks and the bro’ and his family.

Bookended by crowded but relatively uneventful flights, our vacation begin last Thursday morning, conveyed in The Buick by mom and dad. Thursday was a day of visiting, catching up and re-introductions between the cousins/nephews and the cousin and uncle. Kaden seemed to have a fuzzy recollection of who I might be, or at least the idea that I wouldn’t bite. Levi was a bit standoffish, or perhaps a bit more focused on grandpa and oma’s toy selection. It was an enjoyable afternoon.

August 2009 visit 024 Dad Mark Issaquah Brewery

Mark and Dad discussing beer at the Issaquah Brew House

Friday’s mission was beer-ucation. Fueled by a pancake breakfast and skewered meat for lunch, the boys-Sean, Mark, dad and me-it was off to Issaquah Brew House. Among the beers we tasted were the aforementioned Saint Rogue Red and Chipotle Ale, as well as Brutal Bitter, Chocolate Stout, Hazelnut Brown Nectar, Juniper Pale Ale, Morimoto Imperial Pilsner, Old Crustacean Barleywine, White Frog Ale (a favorite), and Ménage À Frog Ale (an abbey tripel, my personal favorite). It’s a great place to enjoy a variety of Rogue and “guest” beers. A place we should all hope to visit again.

August 2009 visit 026 Sean Raven

Sean and our flight at the Raven Brewing Co. (Redmond, Wash.)

Unfortunately, all of my research was conducted online, so our next stop was the actual brewery, and without a taproom it was on to the Black Raven Brewing Co. Tucked into an industrial park, the Black Raven taproom offers somewhat of an upscale, almost yuppy-ish setting. (Dad asked the barkeep if coffee might be available, and got a resounding “no.”) The selection of beers is limited to Black Raven’s production, but we enjoyed a flight, with Kristale Wheat bring one favorite, as well as an unfiltered version of a German weizen beer.

The next stop was predicated on hunger. Knowing that Redhook Ale Brewery tends to be popular and crowded, we stopped anyhow, hoping to grab some beer and grub. But a 40-minute wait didn’t sit well, so a short drive later we dropped in on Teddy’s Bigger Burger. Pretty good place; clean, well lit, with good burgers. And dad learned that a 7-ounce burger is much more filling than a 5 ounce.

Saturday started with stomach stretches as a prelude to a good ol’-fashion crayfish boil. With a Pacific Northwest twist. We occupied our time in the morning visiting with Mark and family, and Kaden beating me at Mario Kart on the Wii. Mark whipped up some salsa and guac’ to tide us over. Then Sean, Mark and me headed out to visit our hosts, Joe and Toby, then drooled over a few motorcycles before returning to the house, where dad was waiting.

August 2009 visit 034 Dinner

A meal!

When judged by Northerners, and even West Coasters, crayfish don’t top the list of foods with which we have much of a relationship. However, boiled with just the right amount of Zatarain’s seasoning and accompanied by king crab legs, shrimp, clams, three varieties of sausage, corn on the cob, and potatoes, crayfish become more than food-you-can-play-with. Add to that plenty of beer, ranging from Coors to Pacific Northwest craft brews; a sweet and deceiving alcoholic beverage with “vixen” in its name, side dishes, and desserts, and you’ve got a food festival. Between the crowd rushing the table as each pot’s contents were poured out, the kids running around, and the socializing, it was an awesome time. (Public thanks once again to Toby and Joe!)

Sean and I crashed at Mark and Kenna’s house that night…crashed I say thanks to Mark-made apple-tinis; only to awaken Sunday to a Breakfast Nirvana of stomach-stickin’ buttermilk pancakes, Lil Smokies sausages, and bacon. Kenna and Kaden had a party to attend, so Sean, Mark, Levi and me took the nickel tour of the area and took a man-walk around Snohomish, which is basically an antiquing town. After a stop in a coffee house, it was back home…

…and after doing laundry and filling our suitcases with clean clothes, we all met at the Ixtapa restaurant in Duvall. A nice ending. It was a great trip.

Just means we’ll be back again. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Below are the rest of the pictures…


Leave a comment

sean’s fish pictures

I’m a bit tardy putting these up, but Sean sent me photos of two fish he caught while camping in the Tioga Pass area during July. The brown is his first brown trout, caught on a fly. The second is a brook caught out of Lee Vining Creek, where they can be quite spooky.

Leave a comment

maybe not so high speed or low drag now,but the bro’s still got a fan out there

The permanence of the Internet is a funny thing.  For something that’s seemingly fleeting and ever changing, it’s becoming just as much a memorial of words and images as it is a dumpsite.  In general, we don’t police those words and images, allowing them to languish, burning into the collective body of cyberspace.

It’s apparent that my brother hasn’t googled himself lately.  Knowing how, once my brother latched on to it, with his well-known tendency toward self aggrandizement, it’s surprising that his Facebook page, his friends’ and family’s email in boxes, the bulletin board information, and maybe even the refrigerator at home haven’t become a stage for publicizing his veneration on the “Hott Cops” blog.  (Scroll down 20 screens using page down, looking for “this week’s officers,” or use the “find” function in your browser.)  Amazing what a short, unplanned and, ironically, unwanted stint on “COPS” can do.

At least the last name’s spelled correctly, but the selection of one to the photo array of “Hott Cops” becomes a bit questionable when an officer is seemingly selected from each and every episode of “COPS,” “K9 Cops,” “Street Patrol,” and nearly every episode of any police reality show.  If that’s not enough, I’m sure the “Hott Cops” blog writer doesn’t have a high-definition television and missed my bro’s unibrow.

Note:  In the interest of balanced coverage, the TLC channel now offers the 10-part documentary “Policewomen of Broward County,” premiering this Thursday, Aug. 6, 2009.  Set the Tivo or check your local listings.

Leave a comment

ffw to hop a short flight; shaky promise of updates to come

Writing on the road isn’t that easy, and when ranked on a list that includes family, beer and free food, blog posts come dead last. Sure, facilities will be available — serviceable computers at my parents’ home and my bro‘s man cave and his wife’s cute house — but rather than force out mediocre musings, I’ll write when I can and hope it makes sense the next day after heavy editing.

I’ll be winging it north Thursday morning with Sean the Older Son; part of a pact sealed a few years ago and relating to his reaching the legal (alcoholic) drinking age. Countering the idea of that this entails the consumption of mass quantities; the hopeful lesson of this trip will be the appreciation of quality.

It’ll be another 43 hours before we join the herd filling coach seating on an Alaska Airlines 737-900. After one hour and fifty-seven minutes we should be on approach — then a few minutes later the ‘rents will zoom out of leisurely leave Sea-Tac Airport’s cell phone parking lot, hopefully to offer us a seat, instead of the trunk this time, for the ride to Duvall.

With the exception of a neighborhood crawdad boil to which we’ve invited ourselves, there’s no definitive calendar of events for this trip; only a punch list of things to do.

Photographic evidence A photographic diary may be in the offing, and at the very least we’ll take the easy way out to throw a jumble of words and blurry cell phone pics photos on Facebook.

Life is about to take on a welcome hectic pace that comes with cramming a bunch o’ fun into a few days away.

See you on the highway, in the air and eventually on the ground.