So jump forward about 6 months, I check the morning'e email, and there's a note from Bob. It said essentially, Steve and I decided the residency was pretty cool, so we want to expand it. Wanna come up and paint for a week? Oh, and you can fish all you want to. We are inviting you, CD Clarke and Jeff Kennedy.
Obvious SPAM. HA, this shit doesn't happen to me.
Turns out it does, when Bob drops it in my lap. But it took my wife to drop me on my head. She got home, me head in hands again, and said, What's up? I told her about the offer, then said I don't think I can make it work schedule-wise. She looked at me. Didn't bat an eye, then laughed and said, You're going, it's perfect for what you are trying to do. Write back, say yes. You're going. No…nope….zip….zipit….. you're going.
So, I wrote back to Bob. But I didn't say yes. At first. First I said something along the lines of, You know, BW, this isn't really the kind of work I do. You, Chris, and Jeff, you guys are sporting artists and you all do plein aire painting. Me, not so much. I quit working that way about 12 years ago.
Bob said, I don't care.
I said I may not have anything to show for months, even a year or two after, if at all.
Bob said, I don't care, I just want you to be part of it.
I said, What about Steve? (that would be Steve Laurent, the manager).
Bob said, He won't care, he's all-in on this.
So I guess I was out of excuses to not take advantage of the greatest opportunity to fall in my lap. Despite always making things more difficult than they need to be, I was in.
So, after doing shows in Long Island, CO, then hitting the Lando Luau for a day, and on for a show in Seattle, I headed for AK. Already homesick, I'd been on the road for 5 weeks before heading north. Fortunately in a stroke of brilliance, I'd handed over my Anchorage area logistics to ThndrTrvl. That boy is aces. He saw my hang-dog puss, and knew what I needed. And Water. Well and a license. More on my adventures with ThndrTrvl elsewhere. Later. In the meantime, Mr. Thndr and his lovely bride (yeah, can you believe it? She is very lovely), dropped me at the hotel, where I was meeting Jeff Kennedy, who I'd never known before. He and I had decided over the phone to share a hotel room in Anchorage once we heard the rates (damn cruise lines). Yes, this is exactly the sort of thing that caused my kids to give me a rape whistle for father's day, and review our safety words. But not to worry - Mr. Kennedy and I were friends who just hadn't met previously, and we confirmed that as we laughed our way through a couple more beers.
We headed to the smaller airline in the morning, hoping to smuggle a little contraband, procured earlier on a side trip with MrThndr, out to our buddy Mr. White. Turns out, not so much. We got the bourbon on, but they wouldn't let us take the growler. The woman at the desk was stunned when I gave it to her. What else was I going to do with it? So off we flew. Landed a couple hours later. I was in lala land. I hadn't been to Alaska in 12 years, and the flight over the land had left me mesmerized and excited both. "Hey Rick."
Oh yeah, I'm s'posed to be looking for Bob. Fortunately he was looking for me. And in the quickest meet I've had with a friend, I got a chance to say hello and goodbye to photographer Tosh Brown, who I'd only inter-web known to that point. Still mostly just inter web know, but we got to shake hands, and I'm sure at some point i'm gonna get to fish with him. He was flying out, having been at the lodge the week before, and assured me we were in for a great time.
Back on the ground, I was just getting the feel for something I wasn't expecting, and didn't adjust to easily. Getting taken care of. I'd only just made my first trip to a lodge in the spring -http://www.drakemag.com/phpBB3/index.php?optio ... =lucky+man- and it is kind of a head trip for me. When I do back country trips, I sleep in a tent. Or on the ground. Or when things are really luxurious, in a camping hammock. And when I had done a little canoe guiding, I was the one doing the lifting. I'm self-sufficient, and I like it that way. Or at least I'm used to it.
I'm afraid this might be like the first time I bought a car with air conditioning. I was ruined for ever being without. This whole lodge thing could turn me into a pretty high-maintenance dude. Or not. More on this later.
Gear loaded up, we piled into a van for the trip to the boats. We get to the boats, and they are loaded up, and were ready to go…….. someone's missing.
That would be me. Yup, wandering off and looking at stuff, taking pictures. Everyone is patient.
Anyway, we get in the boats. Did I mention we met up with CD Clark in there somewhere at the Dillingham airport? He and I've known each other a bit since high school. He worked at the local flyshop, so I'd see him once in awhile, we were both interested in flyfishing and art. He knew then he wanted to be a sporting artist, and has been going full steam ahead since- hunting and fishing around the world, and painting his experience. Outstanding fisherman and artist, great company and a very solid outdoorsman.
So we head out on the boats for the ride back to the lodge. A little rain, a lot of wind, Bob assures us the forecast is good. We get to the lodge and get a quick introduction. The most photogenic man in the flyfishing business. Steve Laurent, the manager of Bristol Bay Lodge, headed north to guide after a brief stint in the NBA.[/report]
when I fall, I am still cold and wet, but much more stylishly dressed. as my hat disappears in the riffle- flybug.pa
"Sugar? No thank you Turkish, I'm sweet enough."