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
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.
Apple lager brined pork chops with fresh sage, thyme, and garlic
Burgers with grilled mushrooms, bacon, and swiss
Tri-tip or flank steak tacos with queso and white onion
Joe’s famous pico de gallo & cali guac
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.