Chuck and Duck blogger Alex Cerveniak goes roadtripping steelhead-style this week. His mission: To fish tribs to all five Great Lakes, while cultivating epic facial hair, dining on gas station grub, and writing about all things along the way. "Part I" starts here. —Ed


I'm rolling into my mid-30s and everything is going just fine. Got a nine-to-five with a nice corner office, a house back in the woods, two amazing children and, after a dozen years, I still love my wife.

But I need this trip.

Why? Because nine-to-five is really seven-to-seven, and that smartphone my prick of a boss bought me is really a tether to an endless parade of emails and conference calls. Having a nice house back in the woods means having to rake an endless supply of leaves every fall. And because there are bills to pay and mouths to feed, and homework to help with, and kids to pick up here and drop off there, and honey-do lists, and bills, and, and... fuck, man!

It's time to have a pre-mid-life crisis, grow a beard, grab a buddy, and hit the road for a few days. It's time to live off gas station food and drink whiskey, tie it in with a Drake Bake, and do what needs to be done in November, and that's roadtrip for steelhead.

planningThis is a condensed version of a trip I've been dreaming about for more than five years. The full-blown plan would take five weeks to do right, and hopefully that day will come. But this year, it's at least one trib to each of the five great lakes. Five and a half days, four states, seven'ish rivers, 1,800 miles on the road, 40 or 50 hours of available daylight on the water, and evenings standing next to fire.

"All this rain has me worried the Catt will be blown out."

"Assuming it doesn't rain between Saturday and when we get there, we'll pull into perfect swinging water."

"Besides, there's no need to worry, we've got beards."

Rod, reel, tippet... check.

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