My trek to the Rustbelt Bake started this past Thursday at 3:00 AM.
Not long after my wife dropped me off at the airport I caught the first leg of my flight, which deposited me in the Las Vegas airport.
I soon discovered that my flight from Vegas to Buffalo was delayed. Southwest Air never disappoints.
After walking past a couple hundred slot machines I found a bar and nursed a handful of $12 beers before chatting up the hooker sitting next to me. She claimed to have access to a nearby utility closet, but temptation did not prevail and I boarded the flight to Buffalo no more than a half hour behind schedule.
Glista was kind enough to meet me at the airport, and while on our way to Chateau skullion he informed me that he and Ginseng had both caught fish earlier that day.
That was about as close as I got to a steelhead all weekend.
Mitch had really hoped to attend this year's bake.
In May he sent me a PM that read, "How about I fly into San Francisco at the beginning of November and then you drive us both to Buffalo?"
It took me nearly a day to appreciate the potential consequences of agreeing to such a request.
A week in the truck with Mitch.
A week of weed smoke, Grateful Dead, cappuccinos, and one-star Caesar salads, all sprinkled with generous amounts of mumbled London/Austrian slang.
It would have made for a great story.
Unfortunately Mitch had a change of plans and was unable to attend, and so we set up a little shrine in one of the rooms upstairs so that we'd be reminded of what we were missing.
It remained there, ignored, for most of the weekend.
(photo credit brent_e)
The house continued to fill with people as the evening progressed, and skullion prepared an excellent feast.
(photo credit brent_e)
The next morning skullion baked up a large loaf of fresh bread, and for breakfast I enjoyed a still-warm slice slathered with sweet butter and the best jam in the world, along with a Budweiser.
All of the nearby rivers were blown out, so my day was spent smoking, drinking, feasting, and playing the clown.
Ironman took charge of dinner on Friday night, and he did not disappoint.
(photo credit Ironman)
The next day everything was still blown out, so RockyMtHigh kindly offered to take me on a little tour.
There was slight breeze coming off the lake...
... and the temperature started to drop as the day progressed...
... so we sought refuge wherever possible.
He took me to see the falls...
... and we found Mitch's luggage.
After that we stopped at another bar and then went back to Chateau skullion.
Skullion takes his coffee very seriously.
After dinner we retired to the Man Attic.
The next morning RockyMtHigh drove me to the airport, and after being subjected to another flight delay in Phoenix, I eventually made it home.
Fish were caught the day I left, which I thought most appropriate.
Some things I learned:
a) I need to take more pictures.
b) I need to stay away from gin.
Many thanks to skullion for hosting and to all of those who attended. It was great to see you all, and I hope to make it again next year.