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By Average Joe
Back in February of this year, ironman hosted a raffle to raise money for Franzen's firstborn.

I kicked in some cash but told ironman I didn't want any raffle tickets because I've already got more shit than I know what to do with.

I discovered in March that ironman has some difficulty following simple directions, because after the raffle I was informed that I'd won a fly rod donated by west_jay, a copy of [i]Mexico Returns[/i] donated by woolly bugger, and a two-day guide trip in Northern Michigan donated by DayTripper.

Unlike Neil, I was quite pleased.

When the euphoria wore off I thought, "It was extremely generous of DayTripper to make that donation, but it's unlikely I'll ever get to Michigan this year and take him up on it."

A few days later ironman called me and said he'd booked a cabin on the Au Sable in Northern Michigan for a long weekend in May. A handful of other Drakians were going to meet him there, including DayTripper, and he invited me to join them.

I gave it some thought, and a few days later booked a flight to Detroit.

Being the polite guy I am, I asked if I could bring anything, and I received the following response:


I would request the following, as you've so kindly asked:

1. Authentic Cal-I-form-I-A Tri-tip seasoning

2. Red oak, chunks, 28-31% humidity, but considered dried by ley persons.

3. Pliny The Elder - I won't be the only one pleased (more than one, and we will take up a collection for a Yupper Gummer)"

I read it at least three times before I poured myself a drink, read it again, and mumbled to myself, "What the fuck?"

A week before the trip I received the menu.


Chicken Wings

Caesar Salad


Apple lager brined pork chops with fresh sage, thyme, and garlic



Grilled Pineapple


Burgers with grilled mushrooms, bacon, and swiss

Wedge salad


Tri-tip or flank steak tacos with queso and white onion

Joe’s famous pico de gallo & cali guac

Sour cream



I noticed that I was on the hook for a portion of Saturday night's menu, so I put together an ingredient list and asked if someone could pick up the produce I'd need to make the pico and guac. I received the following response.

"Jose: I'm a betting man, and my bet tells me that both lime and avocado are way better in Cali than The Mitt. Just a guess. 'Maters too. The baggage hold is pressurized. I promise."

I read it at least three times before I poured myself a drink, read it again, and mumbled to myself, "I never should have brought those avocados to Wyoming."

A request was also made for fried chicken, but knowing ironman he would have insisted I bring live, organic, free-range birds, so I drew a line and said "No." It's hard enough getting midget hookers past airport security these days, much less living, breathing yard birds.

After a few more drinks and a bit more thought, I came to see these requests as a bit of a challenge, so during the days I had left before the trip, I embarked on an odd but not too difficult scavenger hunt.









I started a gear pile...


...and managed to fit everything into a handful of bags and tubes.


The first leg of my flight took me from SFO to Denver, and left at an ungodly hour.


The foster dog was sorry to see me go.



I arrived at the airport an hour and a half before my flight.

Nobody else was there.

No airline employees.

No TSA employees.

Apparently they don't like getting up early.


Or maybe they all somehow knew the flight out would be delayed.


Eventually I made it to Detroit.


Woolybug25 was waiting for me...


... and soon we were on the road.


Ironman and Sakonnet were already ahead of us, and for awhile Woolybug25 tried to catch them, but then decided it wasn't worth another speeding ticket.

A little over three hours later after leaving the Detroit airport, the GPS led us down a gravel road to a beautiful log house right on the river.

Unfortunately, it was the wrong house.

A woman with a greyhound that would not stop barking gave us some vague directions and we continued on our search.

We drove around some more but were unable to find the house, so we called ironman and had him meet us so we could follow him in.

It was starting to get dark by then, so we put on our waders and did some fishing on the river behind the house before we lost the last of the sun.


I caught nothing.

Woolybug25 was kind enough to pick me up some booze, so I cracked a bottle and set up the foldy-chair.

Someone started a fire...


... and ironman worked his magic and cooked up a magnificent feast.

The wings were nearly gone before I could get a picture of them.


Sakonnet doing the dishes.


This photo of the best burger I've ever had seemed perfectly in focus when I took it.


After dinner we threw some more wood on the fire, had a few more drinks, and listened to ironman's favorite song before heading off to bed.


More to come.
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User avatar
By Bruiser
Wow. A great read - I need to step up my food game. Bevin, Willi, etc. are never happy with the Oatmeal (coffee, exotic reefer) - Power bar and Jerky (exotic reefer and beer) - Cup o Noodles (cocktails, exotic reefer settler) anyway.
User avatar
By CarelessEthiopian
The first time I fished with Fullwells, he showed up with a tube that held like 4 or 5 rods. I immediately ordered one and it has been one of the wisest and most useful purchases I've ever made. I can now look smugly down upon fellow travelers with rod tubes duct taped together.
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Mitch, this is the one you want.
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By chadroc
bring it on joe. looks sick.
By BobLoblaw
Lookin' forward to the rest of this, fo' sho'.
User avatar
Bruiser wrote:Wow. A great read - I need to step up my food game. Bevin, Willi, etc. are never happy with the Oatmeal (coffee, exotic reefer) - Power bar and Jerky (exotic reefer and beer) - Cup o Noodles (cocktails, exotic reefer settler) anyway.
It's way easier to just go on trips that have ironman in attendance. :coffee

Carry on, AJ. Please.
User avatar
By Bigguy
Beginning to look like the food channel :cool
Looking forward to the next installment.
User avatar
By Average Joe
I woke up late the next morning, but still caught the last act of ironman's "I'm still fucking drunk from last night and I'm an hour late for a business meeting!" show.

Five stars, and funnier than I can describe.

After he rushed out of the house, I took a bit of time to better examine our accommodations. It was a nice place: three bedrooms, one bath, decent kitchen, big living room, and right on the river. The only thing I found odd was that it appeared the wife of the guy who built it came to see the place once he was finished and said, "This place it great honey, but you know what would make it even better? Running water."
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After ironman left, WB25, Sak and I went to town.

We stopped by the local fly shop/boat rental/bankruptcy law office, went inside, and asked the guy behind the counter if he had any Hendricksons.

"No idea" he replied.

The fly selection was as you might imagine.

From there we went to the local supermarket in search of cilantro and jalapenos.

They carried neither, but D-nymph and Porno Mike's brother were on the road and heading our way, so WB25 called them and asked if they could pick some up.

From there we drove out into the forest, parked, and spent an hour or so looking for morels.

We didn't find any.

Too dry.

So we went back to the house and waited for ironman and D-nymph to arrive.

Once everyone was at the house, ironman sold his boat to WB25, and the transaction was sealed with a sticker.
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With that out of the way, we loaded the boats with essentials, found a river, and went fishing.
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It was a beautiful day, and I was floating on a beautiful river with good people, fine cigars, and cold beer.

I couldn't have been any happier.
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I threw this for awhile, but the fish seemed to know it was a year old.
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There were a lot of mayflies coming off, so I decided to try a dry fly, and opened my fly box in time for a gust of wind to pick up and scatter a couple dozen of them across the surface of the river.
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We fished until dark.

And I caught nothing.
User avatar
By Lurgee
I wonder if a cross-country flight will help store bought plantains get properly ripened?

PS. I bought a foldy chair and wonder what took me so long.

User avatar
By B.M. Barrelcooker
Edge of my seat. I'm sure that Gramps loved getting back to Michigan .

Great stuff Joe.
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