Sunday, June 29, 2008

Vacation Time!

Nothing like the anticipation of a family vacation, which is only hours away. Of course, I packed the car last nite, and am repacking again this morning in order to facilitate the burning off of coffee energy.

We are heading up to the King's River for a multi-day whitewater rafting trip, and then dropping down to stay at a haunted Stagecoach Inn just outside of Sequoia NP. It's a chance for some family adventure where Kyle loses what little teenage surliness he has and Tami, the sweet & thoughtful artsy crafter can become The River Hag.

Now, I've loved this woman pretty much since June 6th, 1987, the day of our first date. She's optimistic, kind, embracing; the definitive ying to my yang... But, throw some sunscreen on her and put her on a raft and she changes I tell you.

She's been rafting for nearly 30 years and has done every thing from pirate trips down nearly dry trickles, to crazy insane Class V, nearly killed her rapids. Whether it be the Kings, the Colorado, Rio Grande, Kern- she's tackled them all. So when she took me on my first trip, I reasonably and chauvinistically expected to take the lead in such matters.

As I confidently surveyed the first rapid I would ever plunge, taking in the glory of the sight and sound, I was shocked to reality by someone forever known now as the River Hag. My serenity was burst by the hard slap of a paddle on my life jacket and a scream, really a screech, of "Paddle, you S.O.B.!" I looked back to challenge, but she who was sitting behind me was no longer the sweet Tami of dry land. Her face was covered by her beaten river hat; eye's blacked with the deep dark pools of sunglasses, and arms bulging with the adrenalin of potential danger. She had morphed into someone new. And, I dare not challenge

So, anyway, as the years have rolled by, much like the river's themselves, so has our family. Now Kyle gets to see Mom as the River Hag (though he might argue at times that it's like that for him more often). We joke about it and tell our stories by the campfire and poke some fun at this woman we both love. For our little family, it's one more piece of timeless family history.

The woodcut is a collaboration between a very talented artist, Lisa Cook, and I for a new design for our local art's network. It features our mountains, the historic Rim of the World Highway leading up, and our local landmark Arrowhead.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

More from the Sierra's

Seeing's how blogger only lets you upload a finite amount of photo's, here's some more from the weekend in the Sierra's. The Owens River looking towards the Minarets; the famous Green Church of the Eastern Sierra's; and a great shot of the Sierra's framed with the burning hot high desert. For those that may have seen the movie IRON MAN, does shot #3 look familiar? That's where they filmed the opening sequence. It's supposed to be a backdrop of Afghanistan, I believe. Cast and crew stayed in Lone Pine at a friend of mine's hotel.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Sierra's Fishing Trip

Another great weekend of camping, fishing, and hanging out with the boy. The temperature's ranged from high's in the 90's to lows in the 30's. In fact, Friday morning we woke up to frost and Kyle's wet sneakers frozen solid. I went to pour water in a pot for coffee, and it immediately turned to slush upon contact! Ended up sleeping in the car the 2nd nite, it was so cold.

Anyway, here's some pics. Easy to see why the Sierra's are called the "Range of Light."

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Into the Wild

Well, we are off to the Owens River Valley, sandwiched between the Sierra's and the White Mountain Ranges. Today's the last day of school for Kyle, so we are kicking off the summer with some camping and trout fishing. And, it gives Tami some creative time to mess up the craft room she spent last week cleaning!

Lots of pics when we get back! For now, a teaser of the Owens River!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Home of the Whopper

Kyle had his 13th birthday yesterday. He asked if, instead of a party, he could go deep sea fishing. Sooo, I got together with some other guys I know and we chartered an overnight to Catalina Island as a Father/Son trip.

Some of the highlights included Kyle inking people with squids from the bait tank, having flying fish land on the deck, and trying to relieve one's self successfully in a toilet on a boat in heavy swells...... But, this trip was about fishing!

Sadly, the action was pretty light with little Calico Bass, Sculpin, and the occasional Mackeral getting hauled in. Two of the guys landed some nice Yellowtail. Kyle landed a huge Bat Ray in the early morning hours (which was promptly released), but we had no other bites. But then it happened.

My pole bent straight down and I knew we had something special. As soon as the hook was set, I handed the pole off to Kyle. Whatever was on the line proceeded to walk him around the boat several times. With me in one ear shouting encouragement, and a deckhand in the other offering advice, and a background of voices yelling support, Kyle fought the fish like Captain Ahab battling Moby Dick.

A full 10 minutes later, we saw our first glimpse of a silvery beast under the water. Kyle's arms were shaking from exhaustion. I wrapped my arms around him and helped him support the pole, and together we hauled that fish to the surface. A quick gaffing, and the fish was in the boat. Not just any fish, but a 30 pound White Sea Bass! Knowing the propensity for fisherman to embellish, I offer up the photograph as proof of the catch. And, when the fish finished in the money on the boat jackpot, Kyle and I split our winnings and walked away with an extra $50.00 in our pockets apiece!

As I type this, Kyle is upstairs sleeping. I think he's been out for about 12 hours now. Partly because he is a teenager now, but at least partly, I hope, because he had the best adventure yet on his birthday.