I’ve been listening to the audiobook of John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley: In Search of America on my weekly drive between New Jersey and Connecticut. The book is a travelogue of Steinbeck’s 1960 road trip across America in his camper truck Rocinante, accompanied by his standard french poodle Charley.
In addition to the story line and great writing, what struck me most is Steinbeck’s enjoyment of sharing his experiences with Charley. It would not have been the same trip without him, even though traveling with a dog meant extra supplies, more bathroom breaks and a couple of unplanned visits to the vet.
Which brings me to our family’s new traveling companion. We recently adopted Keuka, a Boston Terrier – Jack Russell mix puppy from a shelter in Arkansas. While she’s relatively new to us, she’s been a quick study on potty training and basic obedience commands. Both of my daughters are working with her, a real treat for them.
How we got her was also an adventure. This past April, I woke up at 4 am on a Saturday, and, without the benefit of coffee, drove a few towns over to meet the puppy transport en route from the shelter where we adopted her. I stood in the darkness of a hotel parking lot with a few other adoptive families, waiting for the transport. A nice dual-axle diesel truck pulled up, towing what looked like a large temperature-controlled horse trailer, maybe a portable vet clinic. After giving some of the other families their puppies, the driver came out with Keuka and handed her to me along with her folder of vet records. At that point she was about 8 weeks old.
I held her for a few minutes and waited for her to stop shivering, then placed her in the soft sided carrier for the ride home. As luck would have it, the zipper to the carrier was not secure and she broke free right as I was turning on to the entrance ramp of I-80. I quickly scooped her up and held her like a football in one arm until I got home. During the trip she remained still, looking out the driver’s side window at the lights from the passing cars.
As I pulled into the garage I noted that it was one of the rare times I saw my wife up at 6 am. She was waiting at the door to the house and ran down the steps to hold the puppy. My kids soon appeared and we all ended up in the backyard playing with Keuka well before 7 am. As luck would have it, it was also my daughter’s birthday, so Keuka was “socialized” for much of the day by a number of 7-year old girls and their mothers.
Keuka is named for Keuka Lake, one of New York State’s Finger Lakes, where my wife spent a few summers during her childhood. We’ve returned there a couple of times for family vacations of our own and hope to do so next year.
I wouldn’t describe Keuka as a water dog. Whenever we put her in the pool she immediately heads for the steps, climbs out and curls up on one of the patio chairs. That said, I could see her as a fishing companion for canoe trips, and possibly some pond and lake fishing. Enjoy!
No plans for fishing today. Instead I’ll spend some time playing tennis, swimming and enjoying time with my two girls.
Right now they’re downstairs making a breakfast of fruit and bacon, and later today we’ll grill out. They also want to take me out for ice cream this afternoon. Not bad.
When I walked out to get the paper this morning, I found these on the driveway.
I’ve gotten an interesting assortment of gifts, including this one-of-a-kind fishing hat.
But the best gift I’ll get today is the time spent with them. Enjoy!
Just watched a great video on artist Derek DeYoung courtesy of Travis Lowe at Spring Creek Films. According to Travis, “It’s hard to tell what came first for Derek DeYoung angling or art? At the age of 6, Derek was declaring to friends and family that he wanted to be a famous artist. Enamoured with angling from an early young age DeYoung’s favourite subject has always been fish.
But by the time he left art school at the age of 23, DeYoung realized he needed to push his artwork in a new direction. In order to achieve his goal, he began to experiment with composition, taking the fish’s form away and removing the actually shape of the fish. By zooming in extremely close on his subject, DeYoung’s objective was to portray trout in colour and pattern only.
The result was the “Abstract Trout Face” series paintings. Derek’s contemporary vision and vibrant use of colour challenged the traditional, classic style of angling artwork and eventually received critical acclaim and success. That success would lead to corporate collaborations with Abel and Simms that would make the DeYoung name into a brand. A consequence that he struggles with as he attempts to build a life around his love of painting and his passion for fly fishing.
Canvasfish is intimate portrait of an artist and his work. It celebrates a small part of the culture of fly fishing while not attempting to document the pursuit of it. Filmed at DeYoung’s Livingston, Montana studio, Canvasfish chronicles DeYoung’s career as he paints his way through life, a fly rod in one hand and paint brush in the other.”
To watch the video, click here.
Last week I decided to build a 9 ft. 4-piece 4 wt. graphite fly rod for use in some of the smaller trout streams. Instead of ordering the components individually, I checked around and decided on a rod kit from J Stockard. They’re having a sale on their rod building kits, and the entire order cost $90 including shipping.
I ordered it on Saturday and they let me know on Monday that it went out. They also provided a UPS tracking number. By Tuesday afternoon I had the kit in hand.
There was one problem. Instead of a 4-piece blank, they had shipped a 2-piece blank. I call them around 3:30 in the afternoon and they said that they would ship the correct 4-piece rod blank.
I expected it to take a couple of days, but the next day (Wednesday) the new blank arrived, along with a prepaid shipping label to return the 2-piece blank. It will go in the mail on Friday.
On Tuesday I also received an email from J Stockard announcing 10% off on orders placed this week. I responded to the email and asked the customer service rep if my order would receive the 10%, since technically I had placed it on Saturday. She responded with a nice email and credited my account with the 10%.
I can’t tell you how amazed and pleased I am with the customer service received from J Stockard. I told 3 of my rod building friends, and I will definitely purchase from them again.
In contrast, over a week ago I wrote emails to Bass Pro, Cabelas, Orvis and Gander Mountain asking if they had any special events for the blogging community. To date I’ve had absolutely no response from any of them. Crickets.
A post on my rod building project is forthcoming. Happy Thanksgiving to all!