Father and Son Battle at the Metro Park

As the fighters moved around the course, “Mongoose” spied, “Corvette” under the sunny, blue sky with a few wispy clouds hung for decoration.  “Corvette” could see the grin on “Mongooses” face as they passed each other at top speed.  Corvette began a turn, and could since the Mongoose reaching for his gun as he turned in behind him.  Corvette saw one of the missiles fly past in front of him; a narrow miss- though he could hear it whistle  as it flew past.

Two missiles whistle past their target during an intense battle.flew past.  Corvette then began a counter-clock wise death spin, hoping Mongoose would foolishly expend a couple more missiles early in the fight, as he usually did; so he could swoop in for the kill.  As he began a second rotation he watched a missile come in and hit him low to the left-side.  Mongoose peeled off the pursuit, as the rules dictated while Corvette flew to the end of the course; gaining speed for his run.

After a tight turn, Corvette kicked in the speed, quickly gaining a lock , and firing his first of six Nerf missiles, as Mongoose sought to evade.  Peeling off a wide turn in the Lower Huron Metro Park parking lot; Corvette observed Mongoose, picking up spent rounds and loading them in a laugh filled panic as Corvette bore down on him.  Corvette took his time locking on, which cost him; because Mongoose pulled a blind hip-shot that nailed corvette in the shoulder.  Corvette knew he was in trouble, having ridden past Mongoose who was off his bike with his feet on the ground; which, according to Geneva Conventions allowed Mongoose to engage and lock on as soon as he was back on his bike.  This is exactly what Mongoose did; jumping on Corvettes six and firing a missile into his back as they laughed with one another, while braking in the middle of the empty lot to gather their missiles for their Nerf guns.  For the next time.

Corvette looked at his Son, “Mongoose”, and said; “You sure got me that time, Son.  That was fun!”

The winner!

“Yeah, Dad.  That was fun!  I guess that will teach you to mess with me.”

“You can say that again, Son.”  Corvette Said.

“Yeah, Dad.  That was fun!  I guess that will teach you to mess with me.”

I couldn’t help but smile.

Evading an incoming missile, “Mongoose” lives to fight another battle

Posted in father and son, NOT a fishing story, outdoor stories, photo's, summer activities for kids, summer fun | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Dentist Visit- A 2010 Re-post

 

SEE YOUR DENTIST - NARA - 515370

SEE YOUR DENTIST – NARA – 515370 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I regretfully resigned myself to the dentist.  I had scheduled the appointment six months before, after my last cleaning, but two months since the growth appeared on the roof of my mouth.

I knew this day would come, had worried about its coming for years.  I used to be a snuff dipper, and there was not a day that went by that someone wouldn’t warn me of the cancer risks involved.  So when the growth appeared, I did what every other man facing the battle of his life would do…I ignored it, and I told nobody; and I began the process of taking account of my life… The one thing I had discovered was that at age 40 it had gone by to fast.  I should do something about it.

“The next appointment was two months away.”  I told myself, I will share the news then.  In the meantime, I will explore it.

It felt like a blister.  So, one morning, being a man, I thought I would pop it.  Reaching for the nearest sharp object; a pair of nail clippers with file, I proceeded to jab at it.  It was refused to go away, just like I feared it would, thereby cementing my diagnosis.

English: Nail clipper

English: Nail clipper (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Finally, the day before my appointment arrived, and I found myself restless.  I felt good about being able to get this off of my chest.  Because at least then the process would begin.  I would enter some kind of chemo, my hair would fall out, I would be sick a lot, I would lose weight because my food would now come in a can with a chocolate, or strawberry flavor.   Relatives would come to see me; some who I wouldn’t have seen in decades, as I lay in bed drinking iced water from an oversized styrofoam cup.  They would leave the room when I had to use the bathroom in the strange-looking jug that hangs by the bed rail, which some of the children who visit want to touch, but their mothers firmly tell them not to, and in a few months it would be over.

“My wife would be a widow, and my son would be fatherless.”   I found myself thinking as I stared into the TV at 2:15 a.m.

The next morning I took my son to day camp, while I went to the dentist to keep my appointment.  Once there, the hygienist began her work.  She was very funny.  No doubt doing her best to keep her patient at ease, while being professionally thorough in her work.  As she began her task with a snap of her latex gloves, I told her my story… the whole horrible thing, I told her that I was a reformed dipper, I brushed every day, flossed once…in a while, and that I now had this growth, and held my breath as my words sank in.  She took my statement in stride and said,

“Open up, and let’s have a peak.”

English: A Dentist and her Dental assistant

English: A Dentist and her Dental assistant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I watched her eyes search the innards of my mouth, moving back and forth above the facemask that she wore.

“Yup, I see the lump you described.  I need to call the dentist over.”  She ended abruptly.

My heart skipped a few beats; after all, she wouldn’t call the dentist over unless it was serious, right?

The dentist pulled up along my chair, and began his inspection.  The mask hiding his facial expression, which I struggled to search, trying to find any expression to indicate good or bad news, only to find nothing.  He paused after the exam before speaking.

“What you have, is called a fistula.”  He said sternly.

The news burned like a lance through my heart.  I bravely held my emotions in check.

“Why has this happened?”  I screamed in my head.  How am I going to tell my family?  I worried to myself.

Before I could ask the first question, he looked me in the eyes, and said.

“I know what you are thinking.  And I can tell you how you got this.  It is from using too many dirty words.  Mr. Potty-Mouth.”

My confused expression encouraged him to continue.

“A fistula is a small sack of pus that forms from an infection.  We will just clean it out, treat it with antibiotics and you should be all set.”

He paused, then lowered his voice for what HE thought was the bad news.

“Although.”  He paused for effect.   “The best way to treat this issue is by doing a root canal.”

It's Root Canal Friday

It’s Root Canal Friday (Photo credit: The Shifted Librarian)

It was probably the first time he ever had anyone leap out of the chair to click his heels together for a root canal.

 

Posted in Dentist, Dentist Tales | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

America the Beautiful!

English: Boat on the beach in the harbor of Mu...

English: Boat on the beach in the harbor of Munising, Michigan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Heading out on a motorcycle trip from Michigan’s Thumb region to Montana, and back again, I was struck by how great a country we live that we can just up and go explore if we choose.  There is a lot of beauty out there to fill your eyes, and soul with if you can get out the door.  You can see people participating in just about any activity under the sun; if it is legal, and makes them happy, then they can pursue it.  If is not legal, then they risk a penalty.  Sometimes there is a penalty even if the activity is legal to perform.  My fishing buddy, and motorcycle riding father-in-law slowed as children clambered onto a bridge West of Munising to watch children do “cannonballs”, into the river below that drained into Michigan‘s Lake Superior.  With video games, and computers in every home, I was led to believe that this kid of stuff was left behind in the 70’s.  The beach near Au Train was stuff full of people, with cars lining the road as people filled in all the available beach sand to bask in Northern Michigan‘s slice of sunshine.  It was as if you could envision “Lady Liberty” herself stepping down from her pedestal to dip her toes in the water.

Lady Liberty at Sunset, New York, NY

Lady Liberty at Sunset, New York, NY (Photo credit: Grufnik)

I could see her on the beach, with her spiked tiara holding her bangs in place while the lake breeze blew her long brown hair back in feathery strands.  She stood for a moment near the mouth of the river, watching with blazing blue eyes, as the children played and dove into the water.  You could see a smirk forming on her lips, as the squeals of delight forced her smile to broaden into a complete smile exposing pearly white teeth.  As she nodded her approval.

It wasn’t long before some teenagers invited her over by the volleyball net.

“Hey, Liberty!  We need another player.  You in?”  They asked hopefully.

Lake superior Au Train Bay

Lake superior Au Train Bay (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Her blue eyes sparkle as she takes off her robe revealing her bathing suit that barely conceals her tatoo’s.  On one shoulder are all the names of those who served her under a banner which read, “Those who will not be forgotten.”  The other shoulder have the names of those who hindered her under a banner that read, “You ARE forgotten.”  Liberty has a wicked spike, and a mean serve, which helped her team win the game.  Once it was done she took a stroll down the beach listening to her I-pod.  No doubt playing all her favorite patriotic songs.

I saw Liberty throughout the whole ten-day trip.  She was hiking down the road in the mountains.  She was fishing in the boat next to us; laughing with happiness when she hooked a nice trout.

We saw her in Minot, N.D. with the cleanup efforts taking place from the flooding.  No doubt, each sad, sad story causing a wound that would take time to heal. Despite the pain, her blue eyes flashed with determination as she nodded with approval as folks in the area agreed on the best methods to remove the water, and breakdown the levies used to hold the water back.  She had a strong shoulder to cry on when folks needed it, and comforting hands to hold when consoling those who lost everything… encouraging them.  Because with Liberty, you feel like you can get it all back.

She was down the road, where petroleum was being extracted from the ground with a relatively, and somewhat controversial new technique, promising to make America strong, and independent again.  She was in the restaurants and stores where folks built, and rebuilt their own businesses, and their lives.  She wiped the sweat from her brow as she pedaled across the plains during the heat wave. She stood with her bible, and torch, after another tourist asked to take her picture in the Beartooth Pass as she posed before the amazing Mountain views.

Approaching Beartooth Pass from the west along...

Approaching Beartooth Pass from the west along the Beartooth Highway. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Liberty was everywhere we rode, and places we did not.  In courtrooms, studio’s, board meetings, pet shops, on the farms, in the little house on the prairies, and the big ones, too.  Liberty may have some scars, but she bears them with pride.  When you take the time to notice her, not just on her pedestal, but everywhere you look, you realize that Liberty is not only beautiful… She is GORGEOUS!  And she stands proud all over the nation.

Liberty

Liberty (Photo credit: bre pettis)

Posted in Lady Liberty, Motorcycle trip, NOT a fishing story, outdoor stories, vacation, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Found part 2

I had been cleaning up some previous post on, 6/24/12, and was really in the groove!  There was one, however, that I had inadvertently submitted which I wasn’t ready for.  For those of you new to this blog, it is important to note that reading, Found part 1, is key in understanding Pt 2.  I mean, right?  I wrote pt 2 not to long after pt one, but was procrastinating editing pt 2 for release.  So while I was in the groove of updating my post, adding picture, and tags, I “hit the wrong button”, and submitted Pt 2.

I caught my error (wanna bet), in releasing the 2nd part not long after submitted, and discovered that I had to send the story to the trash to get it removed from the blog site.  I did so thinking that I could retrieve it sometime in the future, when I was ready to face some things, and most importantly, no one would see the story.  Yet.  Because even 1.5 years later…  

Imagine my surprise when I got a text from my little sister, say that she liked my story, Found 2.  My stomach churned, my heart sank; you know… all the real terrified emotions, because I wasn’t ready yet.  

Sometimes things are an accident, but then again…   There will be errors, and they are mine.  I will do a quick edit to catch what I can, and will continue to rinse it out over the weeks.  To the folks named in the story.  I hope you are not offended; and I just want to say, thank you for the part you played.  You all are my heros….especially my wife, son,  family, and friends; who have always been there. 

I had thought about how I would feel about this moment for decades.  Now it was finally here, and I wasn’t sure what to do, or how to feel.  Hollow, was what I felt, but it was not how I had envisioned this moment to be.  Previously when I had considered the years lost, the anger, and frustration was overwhelming.  I found I had thought about this topic often, and considered the “tell-all” story that would reveal my pain and bitterness.  As if I was the first person to ever feel pain.

It was a sunny day out on the ice in Michigan‘s lower peninsula, the ice was tough, the snow was crunchy, I had fish in the bucket, and a short walk to the house after my gear was put away.  So, after sitting in my ice shanty for a few minutes; allowing these new feelings to wash over me.  I did not have long to sit and contemplate, because the holiday season was in full swing, and the next party was not far away, and new plans had to be made.  This being the case; I sought out my wife to break the news, and seek her comforting words.     I had called my Aunt who lived nearby, and we could only feel shock together.  My wife asked what I would like to do.

“I feel like I need to be with a group of people mourning, this guy’s passing, but there is nowhere to gather.  And maybe I can find out some answers that I have never been able to find out.  Like who was Ron Hill?”  The next morning found me calling the man who become the executor, and my step-brother, Mike.  “You don’t have to come down, there is not much here.”  Mike responded when I asked if he needed me to come down.  After an hour or two of planning, and preparation.  I left for a little town in Ohio, called Miamisburg.  On my way down I talked to Doug again, to discuss possible arrangements, of places I could stay.

“I’m sure you could stay at his apartment if you wanted.”  Doug had said.  “The rent is up to date.”

“Didn’t he die in there?”  I asked hesitantly.  Not sure why I was feeling awkward.  Maybe because I thought there were rules or laws preventing people from crossing the tape after a death occurred in an apartment.  “Just on the couch.”  Doug said.  “You don’t have to sit on it if you don’t want to.”  My eyebrows lifted VERY high, and I nodded in understanding, but I don’t think Doug heard me over the phone.  On my way down to Miamisburg, I was in conversation with Mike, and Doug periodically.  Each cautioned me that care be taken on the trip, and that we would work together once we had arrived.  The place I was driving to was a sports bar named “T.J. Chumps”.

“Why am I driving here?”  I asked Mike.

“It’s right across the street from where you dad lived.”  He answered.  “In fact you can see it his window, here.”  **Insert picture here**He continued.  “I might just go across the street and get a beverage.  Have myself a break.”  We shared a laugh over that statement, which helped break the tension.

“In four more hours, I’ll have one with you.”  I  said.  I will just follow the GPS and see where it leads me.”  I finished before breaking the connection.  Then I turned up the music and rolled on down the highway.  Road trips have always been a good way for me to let my mind work through problems.  And the relationship Dad and I shared was one topic of focus whenever I had the opportunity to drive long distances.  These thoughts were continually broken whenever my Torch would light up indicating that someone was looking for me.  this phone was turning into more of a blessing then I ever could have suspected.  Family, and friends were now able to reach out and touch me like never before.  All of them expressing concern, and condolences.  To also receive them from my 11 year-old son in the form of a personal call, or text was very special indeed.

As I neared the destination, Mike advised me to look for a guy wearing a faded blue jean button down style shirt.

“Great, I’ll be wearing a brown button down shirt with blue-gill embroidered over my heart.”  It was funny, but I thought I COULD hear Mikes’ eyebrows rise.

Finding the place.  I pulled in, killed the engine, and walked across the lot while looking around trying to imagine where my Dad had lived.  I entered the bar, and spotted Mike, right away.  Not by his shirt color, but by how much he resembled his mother.  It was amazing to me that I could even remember Mary.  I met her upon my first visit with my Dad, and then again when I had gone through Texas a couple of months before I was to be inducted into the Army.  She was a very sweet woman, who had died unexpectedly from an aneurism of some kind, at an early age.  Leaving my dad, completely lost and without a reason to be.

My wife and I were on a vacation when this happened, and didn’t know it occurred until our return.  Once I knew, however, my wife helped me pack for about a weeks stay, and I went to spend time with my Dad.  It was during this visit that he first shared with me his thoughts on death.

“I’m ready, anytime.”

He also shared with me one of his greatest hobbies.  Pistol shooting.  When we found ourselves at the shooting range, I thought it funny in a weird twisted way that he shared his desire to die, the day before he handed the guy a pistol who has spent the last 20 years bitter, and angry, at abandoning him.  I have punched him a thousand time, and killed him hundreds, but I never saw him put the gun in my hand.  I could only smile at the humor of it as I squeezed a few rounds into the target.

Anyway, the introductions out-of-the-way, we grabbed a table out-of-the-way, over to where, “Ron liked to sit.”  Mike had said.  It seemed appropriate.  And began discussing the progress he had made in the task at hand.

“There is not a lot there, so this shouldn’t take to long.”  Mike had said by way of indicating the amount of stuff in his apartment.  We were just about through this portion of the conversation when Doug had arrived.  Upon first appearance, Doug looked to be a powerfully built man, which from what I learned later was from extensive time in the gym he owned not far from “Chumps”, and pleasant as could be.  It wasn’t long and we became fast friends, laughing and sharing stories, as I knew they had with my Dad only days before, because this seemed to be the way of this group of friends.

It wasn’t long, and people began to come over and express their condolences to Doug; who had asked for my dad to be in his wedding as best man, and to Mike who all the group of folks had known was Dad’s step-son.  In this first instance the person was one of the wait staff who took great joy in serving Dad iced tea, because he gave up drinking long ago. I forget who introduced me to this particular waitress, but with the surname, “Hill”, she took a risk, and asked if I was related to Ron.

“He was my Dad.”  I responded simply.

“Your $h!@#$^& me?  He had a son?”  She asked, clearly surprised.  The response caused quite a deal of mirth around the table, and generated a lot of interest.  So, for the rest of the evening, people would swing over to the table Doug, Mike, and I occupied, and sat in on the tale that was unfolding.  The question; “You’re $@#ttin’ me?” Rang out many times that night.  With many folks asking if I was going to be around for a bit.  Because they wanted to hear the story.

I did stay on for a couple more evenings, and whenever I walked into, “Chumps”, I never paid for anything.  Every member of the wait staff had a favorite story, some of them quiet personally inspiring.

“He got me this job.”  One woman had said.  “It was such a perfect opportunity for me.”  She continued.  Then she told me the story about his Facebook profile picture, and her part in it.”  We had such good times here.  He was like the “Norm” of “Chumps.”  Leyata even gave me a nice framed photo to take home with me.  A simple caring act, that I hope never to forget.

“Your Dad helped me get elected to my job.”  One man said.  I will make some calls, and hopefully get this process sped up for you.  I enjoyed your Dad’s friendship.”

Stories such as these were exactly what I was looking for.  I could feel my heart start to swell with pride at all of the good stories I was hearing.  THIS was why I was here.  To be healed.

Doug took me across the street to Dad’s apartment that night, and said we would meet for breakfast in the morning.  After saying our goodbyes, I just walked around the apartment…looking at my Dad’s life like a spectator.  I walked from room to room.  Trying to hear the ghost of my father.  To feel his presence.  I walked to the couch on which he died.  I sat on the chair next to it.  Listening.  Feeling.  Smelling the cologne scented room fresheners that he had in the apartment.

The last conversation I had with my Dad, was just before the November election.  He was all fired up about the direction the country was going.  So when I looked at the book on the kitchen counter, I wasn’t surprised to see the newest book by our former President.  Next to it was a magazine with the former President face on the cover.  I opened each of them up and thumbed through a couple of pages.  The act of touching his belongings was not going to bring him back.  I had no misgivings about this for sure.  I enjoyed hearing the good stories about my dad.  Stories I would expect his friends to carry with them; as my friends about me, as I carry with me.  I thought about legacy.  And what it is we are meant to do on this Earth.  I thought about one of my favorite book in the Bible.  Ecclesiastes.  And how everything is just toil, and the only thing we can do is give glory to God, because without which, our work IS pointless.  So to find God’s fingerprint, is to find the point.

I wish I could say I had that conversation about Ecclesiastes at that moment.  At the time however, I was lost, and staying up to late looking for answers.  Or more specifically, hoping the answers would find me.   I had my Torch.  But I fell asleep before I could light it.

After that first night, I paid attention to how my dad’s friends talked.  And I discovered that they really respected one another.  They cared about one another’s opinion, and they used words that honored one another.  I honestly felt I had been transported to another time… like knights or something, because of the way they referred to each other.  And they included me into this group.  These people genuine cared for one another, took care of each other, looked out for each other.  Being included in a group like this…my dad’s group.  Hearing his stories, or stories involving him, by his people gave me the greatest gift I could have ever expected to receive.  To know what was like to be a “Hill”.  To have an identity, that was steeped in history.  My father’s history.

The pastor of the church I attend gave a sermon in february, in which he was asking “Where are you?”  To Adam, and Eve.  He made the connection to parents and their rebellious children, and the tendency to try reaching out, to find them.  Because after all, isn’t that all we really want; to be found?

I was talking at the table my last night in Ohio, and spoke of the happy ending to a long, sad, tale that I had never expected to find.  The role, these people; Doug, Mike, Terry, Anna, Gavin, Leyeta, Kelly, Andy, Jim, Chris, Jaime, Gonzo, Fred and the many others whose words, and prayers, and thoughts helped write the last chapter of a story I can finally close, and move on.  I just need to keep in mind that I need to live a good life so I can go to heaven, so that I can get to know him as we are really meant to be, without all the hang ups we aquire in this life.  Because if we had a thousand more years together in these lives, we would never have become closer than we had a week before he died.  And, oddly, I have never been so close to him, or learned more about him than these weeks since he died.

GOD is GREAT!

Pastor Jim Walker sermon of date?

Big idea is that God wants a personal conversational relationship with us.

Where are you?

Rebellious children leave their parents, and the hurt that is associated with the absence lingers, but the love is still there.  I had a rebellious parent leave, the hurt of the absence lingers, while the love had to be built, but is there.

Posted in NOT a fishing story | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Help Wanted!

There is a story I would like you to look at deeper in my post (#4) titled, Test Chapter, or something equally lame.  I have struggled with this beast of a story and am, frankly, a bit leery of it.  However, the idea sometimes creeps back into my head, and wanders around spray painting graffiti, and kicking over dumpsters in my skull before I can get it back under control.

Clearly the story needs development, and that is my responsibility, and I am aware that it may be missing some, (many), conventions.  However, the idea of what these boys are up to, is where I am interested.

I am blessed with supportive friends who encourage me, and I appreciate that.  However, this topic has sent me on a wild goose chase in which I am unable to catch the goose.  It is a fast goose!  I started this blog so that I could write short stories that would eventually… end.  In the years I have goofed around with this story, it has yet to end.  And before I dive into the topic again, I am curious to see if it has legs to run on its own.  Or to put it another way; with this topic I feel like I am about to start chasing butterflies into the forest, and am fearful of becoming lost.

Anyway, a quick comment for or against would be appreciated.

 

-Urbangrizzly

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Super Powers!!!

The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam!

The Kid Super Power Hour with Shazam! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Hey Mister?”  A young man called to me the other day.  “If you could have three super powers, what would they be?”

“WOW!”  I thought to myself.  I haven’t thought about my super powers in decades.  It was unbelievable how they faded, but back when I was in the service I had all the super powers a young man needed.  I could open my knife with a flick of my wrist, spit real far, and open things using only the power of some four letter words I learned.  However, just before I answered, he added some stipulations.

‘They gotta be something fresh.”  He said.   Then he got this far away look in his eyes, squinting as if he could barely see it.  It worried me.  “It’s gotta be something new, that nobody has heard of before.”

“Got’em!”  I said.

I could tell from his expression that he was shocked, and a bit disappointed that I came up with them so quickly.

“Well?”  He asked in youthful anticipation, as I took a refreshing sip from my iced tea.

“I would like to be able to cast my fly line, just… a little bit further.”   His confused stare seemed to indicate that I was way off base; and thinking that perhaps he had heard about my poor casting skills, I fessed up.

“Okay, maybe a few feet further.”

“That’s not a super power!”  He quickly hollered at me with his eyes clinched in frustration.

“Is so!”  I hollered back.  “Have you ever casted as far as you could, THEN try to cast farther?”  I asked.  “It’s all ABOUT the super power.”  I said as his jaw hung low in confusion.  He recovered quickly, and with a calm voice asked.

“Fine, you get two more super powers.  What’s next?”

“I want to walk on water.” I answered.  To this the young man’s head spun around in two complete circles before stopping and casting a question.

“Why are you making these about fishing?”

“Are you kidding me?”  I asked.  “If I could cast a bit further, and be able to walk on water? Well then my problems would be solved.  Shoot, I’d step out of the van…”

I paused in thought, realizing that I had chosen my final super power.

“I want to fly!”

No doubt the wild look in my eyes from my new-found mania caused him some concern, because I noticed him taking a step back as I began my rant.

“I could fly to the mountains, walk out onto the river, drop the line, and BAM!  I got fish.”

As I started to whisper to myself how I could make it all work, the young man rolled his eyes shook his head and turned to walk away.

As he was nearly out of ear shot, it occurred to me that I would need something to carry all of my gear, and that I  needed the van after all.  However, knowing how concerned folks could be when a flock of pigeons dropped things from overhead, I realized I never asked for super strength to carry the thing.

I could just see it.  If the citizens were concerned before wait until they see a fly fisherman streaking across the sky like the Greatest American Hero with sweaty palms, and a weak grip, trying to carry his van across the country on a weekend fishing trip.

Maybe it’s best left to the imagination.

Posted in Fishing Stories, humor, outdoor stories, Sci-Fi, sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Cobblestone Road

Brown trout in creek.

Brown trout in creek. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This cobblestone road had the good fortune of being under one of the best trout streams in the state.  The smoothly flattened stones, which were cracked in some places, had some moss growing through the crevasses giving them an emerald glimmer as they shone through the rivers lazy current.  The current casually swept away the leaves and pine needles that fell upon it during falls annual cleaning. The fisherman inhaled deeply the gentle breeze that nudged along the unique scent that fills the air this time of year.

“Ahhh, fall.”  The fisherman said.

The occasional canoeists momentarily interrupted the sights and smells as the fisherman moved downstream toward a bend in the river.  Once he arrived at the bend, he could see that a very deep hole had been eroded away from years of the rivers constant flowing.  This, complemented by a very large willow tree who dipped her many tendril-like fingers into the upstream edge of the hole, looked like a great place for a trout to hole up waiting for a meal.

Since there was a lull in the watercraft traffic, the fisherman decided to try his luck by casting a nymph or two above the hole, hoping to entice one of the finny diners.  The fisherman could feel his excitement begin to overwhelm what he knew should be a slow, methodical procedure.  He recognized his excitement to be the cause of many mistakes, and many more missed fish, and made a conscious effort to slow down.  This would be a great place to test his skill as a fly caster.  This was true because of the great willows location, the bend in the river, and the big pile of brush behind him made grand obstacles.

As he sent the nymph to its destination; mere inches upstream of the snatching hand of the willow he paused, waiting for the jolt of a strong fish.  Unfortunately, he watched as his fly draw nearer the grasping fingers of the willow until it was fully enveloped by the tree skinny fingers that raked the passing rivers surface.  Unable to pull the fly free from the branches, the fisherman took a deep breath as he edged deeper into the water toward the hole and contemplated the possibility of a dunking, or worse yet, a dunking, and losing all his gear.  His breathing ceased as the water rose to the tops of his waders as he untangled the fly caught in the willow.

As if this weren’t enough to hold spoil a fishing trip; from out of nowhere a canoeists cut the 90 degree turn in tight through the same branches the fisherman was reaching into.  This resulted in the bow of the canoe catching the fisherman under the top most nylon strap securing the back of the life jacket he snapped into place moments before for his safety.  Being lifted up and over the deep section of the river, like a living, flailing Maidenhead; the fisherman struggled to free himself for only a moment before realizing the opportunity that was thrust upon him, and began casting to likely trout holding water.

Once freed, he began to cast his fly line into the typical places he had learned were fish holding areas, just upstream of a submerged log, in and around exposed rocks in the water, riffle water, all the while hoping that a nice hungry brown trout, fattened up after a good summer of feasting, lay waiting for something to fill its empty stomach.  After four or five cast, he would change flies, thinking maybe that the fish he imagined were in these locations, might want variety in their diet.  Then when all of the knots were tight, the fisherman would begin casting again; moving downstream and casting at all the same areas; offering different presentation profiles for each feed lane.  Finally hooking up on a sweet little Brown trout who worked hard to dig deep into the current as the Brown’s so often do.  The Fisherman followed the Brown through the current between a couple of basketball sized rocks to a gravelly exposed river bank that was strewn with sticks, reeds,   and a few colorful leaves which had begun to fall from the season’s crisp mornings.

Once he released the fish, the fisherman found himself in front of a house so cute and perfect that it seemed to be cut out from the fairy tale books he read to his little boy.  As he continued to move downstream, he noticed that along the river’s edge there were more of these little cottages.  The way the pine tree boughs and branches lent cover, made one feel that a big, bad, wolf hung around in the shadows and behind the cottages near the riverside.  The tiny lawns between the river and the houses were manicured perfect as a postage stamp.  The exterior of the cottages were styled in early gingerbread, and licorice.  He shook his head at the silly image this all created in his head… fairytale, indeed.  As he approached the next bend in the river he could hear voices.  The voices all appeared hushed murmurings except for one. That one voice resembled a woman’s voice, and from its volume and rate it sounded as if the owner were imbibing excessively.  As he drew nearer the voices, he grew curious as to what the owners of such a place looked like.

When at last he could have seen the faces of those who spoke, a nice trout chose that same moment to steal the nymph tied to its line.  The fly-fisher pulled the rod tip up higher, causing the rod to flex, which made the reel scream out its own annoyance to the sudden exertion.  But as quick as it began, it was over.  The phantom, not able to make a clean get away, swam off with the taste of its own blood.  The flavor of which was a small price to pay for its life.

The scream of the reel was the first indication to the voices that anyone was near this remote location, and before any of them could make a move the fisherman was standing in the bend casting toward a partially submerged stump.  And as the nymph drifted past the stump the owner of the annoying voice hollered out,

“Cast toward the other edge of the stream, it’s an undercut bank, I’ve never seen anyone catch anything near that stump.”  Those standing, and sitting around her froze in their spot.  Nobody was known to have ever spoken with a fisherman before.  And they all awaited his response.

The fisherman, thinking that maybe whatever it was that hit his nymph, might still be in the same area, was setting up for a re-cast, trying his best to ignore the rude voice; gave but a quick annoyed glance toward the rude woman, only to have his backcast fall behind him in a heap as he stared at the homeowners in front of him.  For, they were animals.  We are talking about a porcupine, opossum, badger, and a beaver.  And the porcupine was doing her best; well, in her condition; to stifle the laughter caused by being found out.

The animals seemed to be in a relaxed, festive mood, the kind one might feel at a tailgate party.  They had drinks in front of them on a picnic table of a hexagon design, except for the woman, who tipped her cup at a rapid pace, quickly downing her drink while stifling the laugh.  He stood there slack-jawed, the response hanging desperately from his lower lip, hoping to manage at least a retort, if not a sharp one.  His brain was trying to comprehend a talking porcupine, let alone a DRINKING, and laughing porcupine, who had its own place of residence!  The porcupine was smiling a smug smile and was about to comment on what a poor fisherman like him was doing jamming up a fine trout stream like this, when suddenly his line, again, went taut, the reel singing out loud, and this time happily after having been given a good stretching a few moments ago.  All at once, the fisherman was snapped back to reality with a good fight on his hands, but before he began the fight; he looked up and winked at the porcupine, while the rest of the folks on the riverside were yelling instructions and encouragement, the drunken woman laughed her loud, raucous laugh, not so much at the fisherman, but now a little bit with him, as he seemed to take the talking animals in stride.  All the while the fish thrashed for its life.

When finally it was over, the critters all congratulated the fly fisherman on such a fine fish, and for handling the fight so well.  When at long last the fly fisherman, much to the confusion of the animals, set the fish gently in the water; letting it get its bearings, and after a good dose of well oxygenated water passed along its gills, set it free.

“Son of the Solar System!”  Exclaimed the porcupine.  “What did you do that for?”  She asked.  Then added, “It was such an awesome fight, and you won!”  She continued.

The other animals stared at one another nervously.

“That poor fish gave it all to you, and you just threw it away.”  She ended sadly, tears in her eyes.  Confused, the fly fisherman looked at the other critters for some kind of clue as to what in the world was going on.

Finally the fisherman spoke.  “ I was just letting the fish go, so others could enjoy such a wonderful fish, or perhaps the offspring of what such a perfect specimen could produce.”  He suddenly felt awkward.  “I didn’t want to deprive nature of such a perfect creature.”

“You have no idea what you have done, do you?”  The drunken woman asked accusingly.

“That fish gave its life to YOU!  And you just threw it away.”  She ended. Then the opossum poured another drink for her.  She stared at it for a moment, seemingly lost in thought, then slammed it down.   One of the other critters spoke up, it was the opossum.

“Yeah, that was quite a catch there fella.”  He said snidely.

“You coulda kept ‘em and had a nice meal.”  He glanced over to the sobbing porcupine, as if seeking her approval before continuing.

“And like the lady said, the fish really gave it up for you.”  Feeling bolder, he continued to speak to the fisherman in a  more condescending manner, all the while his hand slid casually toward the porcupines’ paw, as if to comfort her.  The porcupine, seemingly out of her characteristic defensive self, still had her wits about her and casually made it known with a flex of her quills that the opossums gesture was appreciated, but he had better be cautious.

The badger, watching the exchange between the opossum and the raccoon, rolled his eyes at the spectacle.  Then grew irritated at the opossum.

“ The beaver spoke next, he appeared to not have been paying attention to the recent happening just then, but focused instead on what the porcupine last said.  He appeared to have a beard, he spoke wisely, and softly.

“You know, a person works hard for the few pleasures in life that they earn.  It would seem reasonable that the decisions they choose, whether we like it or not, be based on solid common sense.  And if you ask me, it sounds like this gentleman has a good point.  After all, it’s not illegal to put a fish back that he just caught.  And he did win the battle.”  He ended.  At the very heals of that statement the Badger chimed in, seemingly irritated at what the beaver said.

“But on the same hand, there are folks who try to make it SOUND illegal, and if they fail to make their point, then they try to make it SOUND immoral.  That is so unfair!   Because these folks want you to go out and find your own way, but then if your way makes them feel uncomfortable, then they badger you until you do.”

He looked over at the badger and nodded sheepishly and said.

“Sorry, old boy.”  For his part, the badger just clucked his tongue, and rolled his eyes while shaking his head.  Then said.

“Carry on Beaver.  You are doing fine.”

“Look, Man.”  The beaver started.  “I agree with you.”  At this, the Porcupines jaw suddenly dropped.  He then continued.

“It should be the victors choice of whether or not to release the creature.  Ms. Porcupine here, is just expressing her opinion as she sees it.  Unfortunately we see senseless suffering, and wanton killing just for the fun of it.”

“To throw back a fish that fought so honorably, so valiantly. You need to understand that once he was removed from the water, his spirit became one with yours.”  He paused again briefly.  “When animals are born, they know that the end is near. Be it from man or beast.  It is something we animals all understand about life.  All we ask is that life not be wasted.  If it is not wasted, then there is honor given to that life.  If you are going to eat the animal, that’s fine.  But when people talk about not over stressing the fish. Well, that’s just absurd!  Wouldn’t a hook in the mouth be over-stressing?   Or is it just stressing?  He asked to nobody in particular.”

He paused thoughtfully.  Then continued.

“That fish is quite well-known around these parts.  He’s broken many a leader, and has many scars to boast about.  Sometimes he chases a lure just to have fun with the fisherman who come around.  Other times he gets caught, but manages an escape.  Today was the first I’d ever seen him come all the way in.  That will take the starch out of his britches!”  The beaver exclaimed.  Then he began to walk away.

He paused for a moment, then slowly turned around to face the fisherman again.

“Just remember,”  He began.  “we critters have a simple saying that sums it all up.”

He looked at his animal friends before turning back to the fisherman, and said.

“Something is always stalking you.  It’s just a matter of time.”

Then they all turned back to where they had left their drink to continue the party.

The fisherman understood fully his responsibility as a fisherman.  If you are going to pick up a rod and reel; you better be ready to clean fish for dinner.  He paused, and gazed longingly at this place, knowing that he would not soon forget it.  Though he was concerned that returning would wreck the beauty of what his mind created here.  After all, what fun is Halloween if you can’t let your mind wander a bit.

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2011 in review- To my readers who made it possible: Thank YOU, very much!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,400 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 23 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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In the Warmth.

Cabela's water tower, Dundee, Michigan

Cabela’s water tower, Dundee, Michigan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I knew taking Grandpa shopping would be a major cause of embarrassment.  Of that there was little doubt.  The doubt came, however, in the form of, “How”, it was going to happen.  Only time would tell.  After cruising the aisles of Cabela’s, or as Grandpa referred to it, “The Candy Store”, we found ourselves in front of the lightweight super-duper body warming outdoor clothing.  It was here, where grandpa made his move.  And being the big fish that I am; I went for it hook, line, and sinker.

“I used to be a trapper?”  Grandpa began while gently rubbing the lightweight, super-duper body warming material between his thumb and fingers.

“You don’t say?”  I began…nibbling at the bait he laid out.  “I thought I heard all your stories.  I don’t remember anything about you being a trapper.”  I queried, taking a little more of the bait.

“It was for the government, you see.  They swore me to secrecy.”  He said, feeding me a little more line.  “I probably shouldn’t say anymore.”  He said while looking about.  “They might have this place wired and taping every word I say on one of them fancy recorders.”  He ended, bugging his eyes out for emphasis.

“What were you trapping?”  I asked curiously, taking the bait, and making a run for it.  “Beaver, Raccoon?”

“No, we had to think lighter.  Those critters was to bulky!  We had to go light!  We was thinking nanotechnology before there were a name for it.”  He looked over his shoulders, making sure none of the other shoppers were eavesdropping.  “Now don’t go spreading this around, but smell this.”  He paused to take a whiff of the material before passing it over for me to smell.  “Do you smell that?”  He asked, as his eyebrows shot up in recognition, and his nose wrinkled in disgust?”

“I guess so.”  I said unsure what it was I was smelling.  “What is it?”  I asked.

“Fartskins!”  He whispered with a twinkle in his eyes.  “They feed us beans for every meal.  We used to trap them in our sleeping bags.  We called them fartsacks.”  He laughed, unable to hold the laughter in any longer.  Then he began to tease me.  “Got you again, you wet behind the ears, kid.”  My face turning red, as he enjoyed his joke.  I made my purchases, and we left the store; off to an adventure we would share out on the ice, catching fish to share with our family.

Years later, I remembered that story while tightening the laces of my Cabela’s brand calf length gore-tex insulated boots with the Scent-lok feature; I stepped out into the pre winter cold, with a light breeze blowing against my exposed cheeks quickly making them numb.

“If only I had my gore-tex face mask.”  I said to myself, smiling.  I reached into my coat pocket to get my gloves, and my face mask rolled out onto the ground.

My faithful dog, Jacy, playfully reached down to pick it up, thinking we were about to play a game of keep away.  I was quicker than he was, however, but his twinkling blue eyes clearly expressed he would forgive me, in exchange for a good walk in the snow.  So with a command of, “Let’s go!”  Jacy’s Husky blood raced as he pulled against the harness that was attached to the chain that linked us together for this walk in the snow.

Jacy!

The Cabela’s boots crunched big chunks out of the snows smooth, wind-blown surface as the dog and master made their way to the frozen lakes edge.

The master observed the thin ice, and tested its shallow edge.  Using a fraction of his weight, the master heard the cracking, and immediately pulled his foot back.  The 40-pound dog, however, took the sound of the cracking ice as an invitation to go play.  So with a smile on his face, the dog ran about sliding upon the lakes slippery surface.  Finishing his ice romp, the dog made for less slippery snow-covered ice and began sniffing for any treats suitable for a good dog like himself.

They walked like this for half an hour more, seeing frozen cattail’s glistening under the sun surrounded by dry, brown reeds dancing to the winds persistent chorus under a clear blue sky. Red berries were hanging nervously to bare, brown twigs of the recently denuded bushes; betrayed by falls stripping of their camouflaging cover, they were now fully exposed to the hungry, winter birds who would feast on them as winters grip tightened.

At last they arrived back to the house.  The master released the hasp of the leash that held the dog in check, then released the mechanism that held the dogs harness together.  The dog tiredly trotted to his water dish for a refreshing drink, as the master removed his coat, and then his boots, which kept his feet warm and dry.  Fartskin technology hard at work, no doubt.  The master smiled to himself.

The master could feel the perspiration form around the collar of his shirt, and while walking to the coffee pot with socks melting halfway off his feet, he heard the dog sigh in satisfaction of a good walk; as they rested there, in the warmth of the house by the lake.

Posted in Family, fart, father and son, Fishing Stories, humor, ice, Lake Stories, NOT a fishing story, outdoor stories, urbangrizzly | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fall in Michigan’s Thumb

This gallery contains 14 photos.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then here is a seven-thousand word essay. And they lived happily ever after. The End

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Listening to Pandora Radio…

Listening to good songs and remembering the motorcycle trip of a life time… I guess I have been blessed with two of those now… and hoping for more.  Driving by the Branding Iron Restaurant www.flickr.com/photos/63339942@N00/515614836/ in a small town in Wyoming.  We had come out of the Bighorn Mountains, and the sun was bright, and the promise of good fishing was high, and the gas was low.

Sitting here in the comforts of home, remembering the experience of whether or not I was going to run out of gas is, for some reason, a good memory.  Maybe, Listening to Sara Bareille sing “Sitting on the dock of the bay”  has put me in the mood.

If you have never taken a trip of a lifetime on a motorcycle…  Well, hopefully your life is not over, and you get the chance.

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Sling-Shot Thrill Ride.

On the morning of the fourth day of the motorcycle trip, we took a route heading south to Billings, Montana.  A cold front had pushed the heat wave east, deeper into the midwest and the back side of the wave, it seemed that the Westerlies were pushing hard to get to the Atlantic Ocean to cool off.  As we rode, sometimes at a near forty-five degree angle to compensate against the continuously strong winds, we would ride across a bridge that stretched across a stream, or even a dry gully.  At these places, Barn Swallows, or Purple Martians; who would typically be performing acrobatic flying, and chase sequences from the movie, “Top Gun” would begin their take off procedures.

They would have forward momentum until they got as high as the weed tops beside the road until they began to catch the force of the wind, then it was as if they were in hover mode.  I had never noticed that a bird could make facial expressions until that day.  Some would give me a confused, perhaps even a concerned look, while others would shrug their birdy shoulders as if to say, “This is crazy!”

However, they all got the real scared/excited look when they made it over the weed tops where the wind shot them down range like they were fired from a bazooka.  It was like the bird equivalent of an amusement park.  I wasn’t sure, but from the sound of their shrieks and nervous laughter, I think they liked it!

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A Memory…

 

 

 

Sitting on the deck of the hotel/fly shop under 400 billion stars, telling stories of the day’s fishing.  Strangers and friends remembered trips from the past, and planned future trips, while night bugs buzzed the dim light of the lantern’s glow.   Strong, cold drinks cooled our hands, and fueled the audience, as cigar smoke gently wafted by…  We were in Montana, and there were mountains.

 

Montana

Montana (Photo credit: Space Ritual)

 

 

 

 

Posted in father and son, Fishing Memoirs, Fishing Stories, Motorcycle trip, outdoor stories, sports, vacation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Liberty, Sweet Liberty.

Heading out on a round trip motorcycle ride from Michigan to
Montana, I was struck by how great a country we live that we can just up and go
explore if we choose. There is a lot of beauty out there in this great nation
to fill your eyes, and your soul with if you can get out the door. You can see
people participating in just about any activity that you can imagine; because
we are free to make the choice that suits us.
My fishing buddy, and motorcycle riding father-in-law, and I slowed our
bikes as we observed some children clambered onto the side of the road beside a
bridge West of Munising, Michigan.  Once on the
bridge we watched the children do “cannonballs”, into the river below
that drained into nearby Lake Superior. I was surprised to see such behavior,
because with video-games, and computers in every home, I was led to believe
that this kind of stuff was left behind in the 1970’s! The beach near Au Train
was stuffed full of people.  Their cars
lined the road as more people filled in any the available beach sand to bask
under the sun during Northern Michigan‘s short summer. I never expected to see
her there, but it was as if I could envision “Lady Liberty” herself
stepping down from her pedestal to dip her toes in the water.

Then with little effort, I could see her on the beach, with her
spiked tiara holding her bangs in place while the lake breeze blew her long
brown hair back in feathery strands. She stood for a moment near the mouth of the
river, her blue eyes twinkling, as the children played and dove into the water.
She shook her head and rolled her eyes in approval, as a smirk formed on her
lips.  It was the squeals of delight from
the children that forced her smirk to broaden into a complete smile exposing
pearly white teeth which allowed a bubbly laugh to erupt.

“Hey, Liberty!”  Some
teenagers yelled. “We need another player. Are you in?” They asked
hopefully from the volleyball net.

Liberty took off her robe, revealing her bathing suit that could
hardly conceal her tattoos. On one shoulder were all the names of those who
stood up to defend her under a banner which read, “Those who will not be forgotten.” Liberty had a wicked
spike, and a mean serve, which helped her team win the game. Once the game was
done she tossed her robe over her shoulder and took a stroll down the beach
listening to her I-pod. No doubt playing all her favorite tunes.

I saw Liberty throughout the whole ten-day trip. She was hiking
down the road in the mountains, under a good pack. She was fishing in the boat
next to us; laughing with happiness when she hooked a nice trout.  She did whatever she pleased, free from
unnecessary rule or oppression.

I saw her in Minot, N.D. with the cleanup efforts taking place
from the spring flooding. No doubt, each sad, sad story causing a wound that
would take time to heal. Despite the pain, her blue eyes flashed with
determination as she nodded with approval as folks in the area agreed on the best
methods to mitigate the standing water, and breakdown the levy’s used to hold
the water back once the threat was over. She had a strong shoulder to cry on
when folks needed it, and comforting hands to hold when consoling those who
lost everything… encouraging them. Because when Liberty is around, you feel
like you can make a fresh start.

I saw her again further down the road, where petroleum was being extracted
from the ground with a somewhat controversial new technique, working hard to
make America strong, and independent. She was in the restaurants and stores
where folks built, and in some cases rebuilt their own businesses, and their
lives. She wiped the sweat from her brow as she pedaled across the plains
during the heat wave. She stood with her bible, and torch, after another tourist
asked to take her picture on the Beartooth Pass as she posed before the amazing
Mountain views.

English: Beartooth Highway on the border of Mo...

English: Beartooth Highway on the border of Montana-Wyoming, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Liberty was everywhere we rode, and places we did not. In
courtrooms, classrooms, studios, board meetings, barracks, pet shops, gas
stations, on the farms, in the little house on the prairies, and the big ones,
too. Liberty may have some scars, but like her tattoos, she bears them with
pride. When you take the time to notice her; not just on her pedestal, but everywhere
you look, you realize that Liberty is not only beautiful, she is GORGEOUS!

While we know that not every nation is welcoming to her ideas of
freedom from external control, OUR nation is.
However, there is a price for this, because freedom is not free.

Posted in father and son, Fishing Stories, Lady Liberty, Motorcycle trip, outdoor stories, sports, vacation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vacation Flashbacks! 329 words. : )

I am listening to my wife’s iPod while I do some home reconstructing.  This may be a shock for those who know me.  (RE)constructing, may seem foreign to them, (DE)constructing… they have little trouble associating to me.  Anyway, while I am happily chopping and nailing I am also enjoying the occasional flashback to the motorcycle trip that I took this summer.  It happens when a particular song plays on the iPod.  Have you ever had that feeling?  If you have not, give it a try, because it is a blast!

I have experienced the flashback before during other situations, and because of this I had decided to set up a playlist with a rock group that I have seldom listened to.  There is one prescribed factor, however, that has to be followed.  And that factor is the song or songs have to be played A LOT!  Like the one play list, cd, or cassette tape per 500 miles.  This can be dangerous, however, because the government has discovered, and used this technique as a means to force criminals/dictators to surrender.  Therefore, if you share the vacation vehicle with someone, they may also feel that same need to surrender…or go insane.  If you are unaware of the surrender sign there is little need for concern, because the signals are relatively easy to spot.  Crying is a good sign of surrender to watch for, as is a sudden wild, unprovoked punch to the radio console.

I have discovered that some songs bring back specific memories.  And whether it is The Righteous Brothers, Ozzy, Black Crows, AC/DC, or in the case of my experiment, Rush; I can count on a particular song in their catalog to bring back a specific memory in clear surround sound, and techno-color detail. So if you are planning a spectacular get away, make a great play list, and prepare to make the vacation last a lifetime.  And if you are going with a friend, watch out for those tears, and/or wild punches, because it is not only the good memories that can well up during a flashback.

Posted in Fishing Stories, humor, Motorcycle trip, outdoor stories, sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment