Monday, August 26, 2013

Summer Shows are Over and the Road Beckons

We had the last show of the summer, a local show at our RV Park, and so it’s time for the last flurry of doctors and packing and putting stuff away. Now we are not leaving for another month but still time flies and it flies faster as you get older.

There is actually a date looming ahead, October 14th, and on that date we have an appointment to get our fifth wheel rebuilt. So this means we have to completely empty it, haul it to Indiana, and take a mini vacation away from our home.

So little by little we are going through the cabinets and storage and emptying everything that we have not used in the past year. It is truly amazing how much stuff one can pack into a fifth wheel and I am not talking or counting just the rocks!

To help with the removal I built a storage patio sofa/ storage bin. It was really cheap to construct as I was able to use materials left over from the shed/studio construction. Attempting to find an outdoor chair cushion, Renita looked up home improvement stores in Jackson Wyoming and her apple phone showed a Menards there. Well after driving the fifty miles we found out there is no Menards in Jackson, Wyoming. Why we ever trust the Apple phone I will never know. Suffice it to say I am going to get another brand when I switch to a smart phone, (and I finally see the need for a smart phone).

So doctors and dentists and repairs are in our near future, and maybe a little fishing and rock hounding. We are both looking forward to finishing here and to heading back down the road. The condition called hitch itch is becoming more pressing every day, (hitch itch is wanting to head out for new adventures). Clear skies

ps the wags in the park kept coming by and asking me when I am going to finish the coffin

Monday, August 19, 2013

Renita's Fish

When we go salmon fishing we have a three strike rule. It goes like this. We set out the poles and then take turns whenever any pole gets a bite. You get three chances to catch a fish and then you are out and it’s the other persons turn. So everyone in the boat gets a chance for a nice fish,  or a fish anyway.

It was Renita’s turn as we started trolling along the cliffs and we missed a bite with no hook up before the rod went off and she was onto a kokenee. It was a pretty nice male and it was starting to turn red. As I netted the fish I quickly put it on ice and returned to the stern to rebait and lower the down rigger.  It was now my turn.

Shortly after dropping the ball to almost sixty feet deep the pole went off and now it was my turn to catch a nice red prespawner. It was another nice fish and Renita gave me a high five. I also knew she was quietly celebrating as it was her turn again and so we continued our routine trolling along the edge of the drop off.

The sun got higher and no more fish took our offerings. Almost all of the other boats had left and so I decided to head for another spot nearer to a place called the Breeze, aka Breeze Hill. While we were seeing quite a few fish we were frustrated as they would rise up to the dodger and lure and then refuse the bait.

So we kept after it and a pole actually released! Renita was onto a big fish and she expertly fought it in. We both were rewarded with the sight of a really large red Kokenee vaulting into the air. It was one of the largest kokes we have had on and a truly beautiful fish.

Trying to escape, the fish made a run for some depth and threatened to get tangled into both of the motors.  Renita skillfully worked it away without the hook pulling out. Still I was really worried that the hook would pull out of its soft mouth but it neared the boat again and I was able to slip the net under the fish. It was ours!

Icing the fish we returned to our troll and we found a school of smaller fish. We missed several bites before adding two more to the cooler. These would be great for a fresh salmon dinner as I had planned on smoking the larger fish. The school stopped biting and moved so as it was getting pretty warm we decided to call it a day.

What more could we ask for then five nice fish and one of Renita’s biggest Kokenee? I was sure to measure it, at the cleaning station and its length was slightly over twenty four inches. It had been a great day and it’s always a pleasure to fish with her as she drives the boat as well or better than most people! It was great to see her land such a nice fish! Well done.  Clear skies

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Flaming Gorge, Sunsets, a Red Moon, and Kokenee

We needed to head down to Flaming Gorge as we still had unfinished repairs to our boat. Of course we hoped that all would go well and we would have some time to catch a few kokenees, (a landlocked sockeye salmon).

The drive was pretty quick, only two hundred miles, which took us five hours, (did I say we were pulling our house and had a pass to cross). Overheating we stopped one time and while the truck was cooling off I found some rock to add to our weight.

Still we arrived at our campsite and after setting up went and got the boat from storage. Now we had already spent one day working on it and so the plan was to figure out a way to raise the motor all the way up so we could add trim fluid to the trim unit.

The problem is that the motor weighs almost seven hundred pounds and while I slowly jacked it up I realized I needed a motor hoist to be safe. Just as I was getting ready to drive to Rock Springs my neighbor Virgil came over and we discussed my repairs. Turned out he had a motor hoist with him and it was just what I needed.

Quickly raising the motor I was able to access the fluid fill bolt hole, (yup to add fluid you must completely raise the motor, good design), and adding a little fluid the trim responded. It did take several attempts before it worked but man we were happy as the nearest outboard Yamaha mechanic is in Salt Lake City,(over two hundred miles).

Of course we had to check it out and so we launched and headed to the nearest hotspot. We missed two fish before connecting with a nice Kokenee and a fresh salmon dinner was assured. Fishing several more hours, without a bite we still enjoyed the quiet day on the water.

That evening we were treated to another beautiful sunset and a red moon. Both were the result of the fire east of Salt Lake City and while beautiful they still tell of the deadly conditions there. Tomorrow we hope to spend more time on the lake and maybe catch a few more fish. Still it doesn’t matter as the fishing is always great, even if the catching isn’t. Clear skies

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Perseid Meteor Shower 2013, A Pre Peak Count In Star Valley Wyoming

I always love how the media hypes the meteor showers. They tell of the highest predicted counts and never mention the peak times, just several dates. This year’s meteor Perseids peak is expected at about 3 pm Eastern time, which is daytime…. So that doesn’t mean that you might not see any Perseids, it’s just that you can’t see the expected peak.

So I went out this morning and did a pre peak meteor count. The skies here in Star Valley are every bit as bright as you would expect and the Milky Way is just like photographs. One way to measure true sky darkness is to look at the stars in the Little Dipper, (Ursa Minor). If you can see all the stars you have exceptional visibility, and here we have exceptional visibility.

So I went out and set up the lawn chair and did a fifteen minute count. Right away a bright Perseid streaked across the sky and a little later another. I was kind of excited but then the lull occurred and I didn’t see any more for a while. I ended up with a count of seven meteors in fifteen minutes, which translates to 28 an hour. Not terribly impressive as the normal nightly count is 15-25.

So hopefully tomorrow night will be better as I plan on doing more counting. Otherwise things here are pretty normal. We had another show that was scheduled the same time as a local golf tournament and it was one of the slowest shows we have ever done. While we got a lot of compliments, which are always nice and even a few sales, the show dragged and was lightly attended.

Still we have had a good summer and we are busy making more cabochons and even new necklaces and bracelets. Renita learned Komehemo braiding and is making necklaces that match the color of the stones. They look really great and it is always nice to have a sturdy and beautiful necklace to hang ones pendant from.

We have had several strong storms pass through and one afternoon we spent helping pour neighbors hold down their gazebo. Wind gusts came through at about sixty miles per hour and trees were even uprooted. I don’t think we are going to add a gazebo for our space until we have a better plan.

So today we are going down to Flaming Gorge and hopefully find some salmon for our freezer. It will be nice to be on the road and camping in one of our favorite campgrounds. Who knows, we may even pick up a few rocks? Clear skies

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Floating the Salt River, From the Narrows to the Diverson Dam

I had developed a method for rounding the rivers many meanders. Aiming for the inside of the bend allowed me to avoid the overhanging willows and dead heads. However the movement from the fast current to the backwash often would turn the canoe in a hundred and eighty degree loop. The stern would then stick in the rock and it would take me a while to get reoriented.

Now it really wasn’t a big deal, unless there happens to be a large cow moose sharing the shallow water……So I had one of those Wyoming wildlife moments where she stopped eating and raised her head, staring me in the face. I hoped there was no nearby calf as I realized how close and big she was.

I had wanted to try floating the Salt River, so when Renita scheduled a hair appointment at a salon in Afton, I figured this would be a good time to do some exploration.  Loading the canoe into the back end of the truck we soon were at the landing and I waved goodbye as the swift current carried me into the first turn.

Right away I saw some cutthroats and so I stopped to set up my fly road. I was a little nervous about the float as the river was so swift that it would require me to keep a constant state of readiness, making sure the canoe was straight as I entered each small rapid, (really it was just class one stuff, but a sideways canoe can easily roll).

I swiftly passed over the largest mountain whitefish I have ever seen but again I wasn’t able to fish them as I had no way to stop and cast my nymphs. Still it was ok as I had figured this trip was mainly about learning the stretch of the river.

I could see why most float the stream in short inflatable pontoons. They, and shorter, kayaks would give you the ability to turn quicker than my fourteen foot Mad River canoe. Still the numerous rapids passed by and I almost never touched bottom.

Entering one of the few straight stretches I cast my fly and was quickly fighting a mountain white fish. Landing it, I released it and stowed the rod before entering the next bend. Now I admit I was being a bit over cautious as I was concerned about the overhanging trees but it really wasn’t that difficult.

Soon I passed under the first road bridge and then passed a couple anchored in a river float boat. They had the setup as with two people one could row while the other fished. Still I was having a blast as I sped downstream. Rounding another bend I surprised a bald eagle which flew into a nearby tree waiting for me to pass. I got out my cell phone and tried to take a picture.

Further, on I was treated to yellow warblers and even a belted kingfisher and the wildlife viewing is one of the joys of floating a stream. Oh and I already mentioned the close encounter with the moose, (Still moose attacks aren’t that uncommon and I was way too close for comfort. Luckily I got unstuck and the current took me into the next meander). I made a few more casts before deciding that today was more about exploration and not about fishing. It really was a blast to float down such a beautiful river.

Floating the Salt reminded me of an amusement park ride and that’s what it’s really all about, having fun. Now if I can just find several more people, so we can have vehicles at both ends of the float and if I can get Renita in the front end with the camera, and if the moose is still there……maybe I can have some images for my blog. Clear skies
( it took about two and a half hours to float the four mile run. The canoe was ok but its a little long at fourteen feet. I would never run this river when it is higher so be sure to check the stream flow data at USGS, oh and of course I always wear a life jacket)