Saturday, October 31, 2009

New bed

I got my new sleeping pad yesterday. This year I was using a section of a yoga mat that weighed in at about 10oz. This one is an astounding 1.5oz. I might go take a nap outside later on. I'd post up a picture of it but the camera has decided it os not going to work at all anymore and it would just be a 1/8" piece of foam anyways so......just imagine it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Snow Day

Woke up yesterday to our first real snow storm. I thought for sure we'd be out of school early but no such luck. It continued to snow all day and through the night and we do have a snow day today. Heather just whipped up a batch of rice krispy treats and we're gonna watch bad tv and sit by the fire all day.

I drove the van to work yesterday and about 400 yards from the house, I was involved in a minor bump with an SUV. It was my fault. When I rolled down my window and asked if he was ok he said yes and made a comment about how bad the roads were. I asked if he wanted to exchange info and he said, "No I don't think that's necess.......", I said, "OK see ya bye." I threw it into gear and tried to make a quick getaway before he changed his mind but I ended spinning the tires for several minutes and going nowhere before I put it in reverse and backed away from the scene.

In other news...Bodhi ate his bed that we just bought for his kennel last night. Later on I woke up from napping on the couch and, with blurry eyes, I could make out some carnage in front of me. And a brown creature. He ate half of a North Face winter boot. Leather, furry lining and all. Once was Heather's boot. All she said was, "I don't even give a shit anymore" as she walked away shaking her head.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Back in bidniz

I got the brass bushing back in with no issues and threw that new stahtah motuh in and got everything buttoned up and Herman came back to life. We'll see how he does tomorrow morning when I go out to wake him up in the cold. The high tomorrow is going to be 25. I guess we're under a weather alert and are supposed to get anywhere from 12-25" of snow.

HD Theater has a show about Vanagons on right now that I'm watching. Those UK folks sure like the Vans. They were working on properly sorting a cracker of a panel van into a rather tasty specimen. I wish they had taken off here like there.

Monday, October 26, 2009


I'm really not looking forward to tomorrow. I'll be happy when it's over.

In other news...I have found that the DVR allows me to more than double the amount of tv I am able to watch. Tonight I watched 2 episodes of Man vs. Wild, the Abu Dhabi WRC rally race, and the Isle of Mann TT. Commercials are for suckers.

The best part of tomorrow will be when I get my new starter and come home to put that thing in. When the gear gets kicked out of this starter, it engages with the flywheel and the end of the shaft goes into a brass bushing that is in between the trans and the motor. I have to replace that bushing tomorrow and I'm worried about it. It looks like I get one shot at it. If the bushing falls down into the bellhousing...guess what? Time to drop the trans. To make things more interesting...the spot where the bushing goes is several inches inside the bellhousing. I'm pretty sure I have a good idea of how to go about it without shelling out 30 clams for the special tool. Special tools are for suckers.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A mountain martini

Fishing and drinking go pretty well together. I usually always have a flask in my vest. Now I don't want you to get the idea that I'm drinking more than I am fishing. Those that know me will attest to that. Rarely do I break out the flask at all but there are times where it is mandatory. If a trophy fish is landed (and this could be a fish of exceptional size or it could be a fish that just took an exceptional amount of time to fool and size doesn't matter much)
and someone is there to witness it, then we usually celebrate. Sometimes in the summer when lightning storms cause you to run for some sort of shelter (not always easy to do) there's just not much else to do but wait things out and enjoy some whiskey.
Several weeks ago the boys got together for a long weekend of high alpine fishing and, I gotta tell ya, the variety of drinks was impressive. I brought the standby....Jim Beam. Some opted for an interesting mix of Rum and cider mix (which was quite tasty). Of course there was a bottle of Jagermeister there. Scott lugged up a sixxer of Old Chub and we toasted with those the first night. Scott also lugged up a Nalgene bottle full of vodka and in the bottom of said bottle were about 6 olives stuffed with jalapeno's. I'll admit, it was pretty damn good. Until we started getting closer to the bottom. All we talked about for hours was how good those olives were gonna taste. Long story short...they were HORRIBLE. They tasted like olives and jalapeno's that that had been soaking in vodka for days. In the picture, I am not laughing but trying to figure out what to do next and still retain my man card. Way to keep it down Scotty.

We're coming up on a year old for Bodhi now and ever since he was 8 weeks old, he has been fascinated with fire and the fireplace. I've seen dogs be intrigued by flames before but I don't know that I've seen a dog that actually will get hot coals out of the fire place and then eat them. I keep thinking he's gonna get hurt one of these times when we aren't looking but he takes it in stride.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Productive little day

First I removed the starter off the van to go get it bench tested even though I'm not a fan of the bench test cuz they aren't always accurate. As soon as the computer started spinning the starter I knew it was gonna fail. It was spinnin' slower than Scott Dobbins after a hard night of Belgian beer. NAPA wants 230 clams for a rebuilt starter. I made a call out to Richard at OE Veedub in Lake George. He's got a little mail order business and deals with air cooled and water cooled van stuff as well as the older bugs. He had one in stock and it was gonna be 150 after the core. When I pulled it out of the box I didn't think it was the right one but Richard insisted that it was an upgraded unit that Bosch had put out. After I installed it and the van would not start I knew it was for an auto trans. So I ran back out there to return it to him but he's gotta order one for a manual trans. I actually work with his wife who has a bitchin' Westy and she's gonna bring it to me on Tuesday so Herman the German is down until then. Hopefully we wont get too much snow on Tuesday. It's in the driveway and I have to do the repair there unless I wanna get creative to get it in the garage and I really don't for that quick of a repair.

Next I headed to the bathroom. I actually needed to fix the toilet and not use it. Our water bills have been unbelievable for months now. The average home of our size uses approx. 2,100 gallons of water. We have been using almost 25,000 gallons. After getting those numbers from the gal at the water company (after she asked if we had 10 kids??????!!!!!) I decided to investigate. The needle on the gauge was spinning faster than Scott Dobbins after a hard night of drinking (see it works either way). If I shut off the water supply to the crapper the needle stops but you couldn't hear the toilet running which was strange. So I rebuilt that bad boy and now the needle is at attention unless it's flushed. It'll be so nice to not have a 300+ dollar water bill next month. No I'm not kidding.

Next I had to install a new dryer tube as the old one split the other day and lint was everywhere. Bodhi thought it was great but me.....not so much.

We also walked the dogs today and got stopped by a toothless guy in a pimpin' Escalade. He asked if our dogs were pitbulls. We said yes. He said that he just got a puppy and it was a Golden Retriever puppy pitbull. I found this odd but decided to give him the horns anyway and replied with resounding, "Rock on dude!!"

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Way cool but....

I ran across a guy today who was installing the calipers from a Porsche 993 Twin Turbo onto his Vanagon. I'm all for cool car stuff and especially when it involves a van but this is a lot of work. He's using rotors off an Audi S8 (345mm!). In order to get these babies to fit he's using an adapter that is a stock van rotor that's been cut down on a lathe. It took 8 hours to cut down each rotor.

To get these calipers to fit he designed a bracket and had a machine shop make it out of billet aluminum. In this pic you can see it's not quite right yet as the caliper needs to come in towards the rotor about .5" still. I'm sure these bad boys are gonna slow that van down in a big hurry. I was anxious to see what motor was in the back that mandated all that stopping power. It was a stock 2.1. Most days I walk to work b/c it just takes longer to drive my van. Good thing it makes me smile.
The fishing over the weekend was outstanding. I did manage to get a few pics with my camera but it acts up quite often since it got dunked and right now I can't get them downloaded. I started fishing at about noon on Saturday and caught 15 or so fish that were all this size and either cutts, bows or cutt bows. We took a beer break at about 5 and ate some food. Once everyone got off the water at dark we went back out with big streamers and headlamps. We saw some really nice fish and were out until about 9 before the rod guides started to ice up too much to cast. Scott and Steve were going to camp but I didn't feel like heading down the road and paying for a site when I can sleep anywhere in my bitchin' van for free. So...we all piled into it and drank beer and laughed the night away. We got up in the morning and ate some breakfast before heading out for another long day. What a weekend.

This was just one of the beauties that I was fortunate enough to land. These fish were angry about being hooked and I lost count of how many broke off. This is a Snake River Cutthroat by the way.

This is a nice one that Scott landed.

I just love the way this pic turned out. Fooling a trout into taking your fly, watching it actually open it's mouth and gulp it, are both fantastic. However...for me...the coolest part of the entire experience is the release. You can't just let the trout go in the water and watch it swim off. The fish needs you now and that part of it just gets me every time. You have to revive each fish. Eventually...the fish lets you kow when it's ready to go and it gently glides out of your hands and back into the depths of the water. I love the moment when it gently wags its tail and I get to watch it swim away while I'm crouched down in the water. Even in the dead of winter when the water is so cold it stings it's just part of the process. I know the hook hurts so it's only fair that I keep my hands in that water for as long as necessary. After all...if I don't...that fish might not live to be caught again. For a fly fisherman, there's nothing more heart breaking than watching a gorgeous trout that just gave so much pleasure and magic sink slowly to the bottom and start to get washed downstream when it's not ready to go yet.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Coupla things

1. I recently had to go to the Urgent Care facility in town here. I've gone there before and had no issues with insurance as the place is in our network. This last time I paid the $100 co-pay but just got a bill for 500 clams b/c the insurance refused to pick it up. So...the facility is in network but the doctor is out of network. How the hell am I supposed to know that? To make things even more entertaining, Rocky Mountain Helth Care sent the bill to collections without notifying me. Why they gotta hate?

2. After the fun-filled week I've had with student problems and multiple calls to the po po, I'm going to cut loose in the van and do some serious fishing. I'm finishing up grad school stuff tonight and then for the rest of the weekend it's game on! A new state 5 weight record may be set this weekend if I have anything to do with it.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Any guesses?

What's going on with this here picture? OK....I'll save you the trouble. This is what the last pic in the life of a Canon Power Shot camera looks like after it's been dropped in a river.

It was a rough day for me. I made it almost halfway to the river and then realized I forgot my wading boots in the tub. I had to turn around and go back home to get them. Once I got sorted I walked to one of the first oxbows that's downstream from the spillway and it looked GOOD. Normally I don't fish water just cuz it looks fishy. I gotta see fish to make the effort. But it looked so good and it had a nice little foam line running through it. On about drift #5 there was a real nice flash down in the pool. I set the hook and had a real nice rainbow hen that was pushing 18". I left that run afterwards and hit up some different stuff and caught a few more. This is a pic of the one I caught a few seconds after the camera fell out of my chest pack. So...this is it. It's broke now. It won't open. Oh well. I thought my wife was gonna kill me but she just said, "Shit happens."

Other than that it was a great day to be out on the water. Saw a nice herd of elk with 2 good bulls. Saw a small group of mulies with a decent buck in charge of the harem. And.......I also saw numerous Salmon in the deeper pools. It'll just get better this week.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I don't know...

what it is about this van does it for me in a BIG way. It ould be the wheels. I've always been a sucker for Hockenheim's and ANY wheel in black is a winner. The fact that it's a Syncro only earns it points. There is an Audi badge on the lower right corner of the hatch and the exhaust comes out the wrong side so it must have a transplant of some kind.

I'm on the lookout for a storage box for the top right now so I can keep my waders in it. My van smells like musty fish. It is SO damn hawt.

A look in my box

I recently received an email from a guy in Tierra del Fuego that wanted to know what kind of flies I use on the South Platte. Well....under normal circumstances this kind of request would simply not be tolerated. However, I just happened to glance in this box that I damn near always have with me. It's kind of like a Major League baseball manager looking to the bullpen and trying to figure out who's gettin' the nod. Right away I know that I'll be using an egg pattern as my lead fly tomorrow and dropping one of my favorite flies for this time of year off it; a #20 Buckskin. The Buckskin and other small aquatic worms are great flies during the spawn. The egg pattern gets their attention and, while some take it, others leave it but the small worms eat the eggs and so they really piss off the territorial trout and don't stand much of a chance.

So there you have it man. And when I'm looking in any of my boxes (no exception tonight) it's nice to drink great beer. Tonight I'm enjoying an Oatmeal Stout from Samuel Smith.
Last night Scott called me to see if I wanted to hike back into Rocky Mountain National Park. Don't get me wrong...the park is beautiful but the big fish are gearing up right now and I don't wanna miss it. Plus I can crash in the van for a while with a sleeping bag and some scotch if conditions get too nasty.

Today it was a balmy 19 degrees and visibility was nil. Loads of clouds all around town and heavy fog with some snow now and again but mostly just lots of frost on everything. Bodhi decided that everyone had to get up at 0600. So I put on coffee and laid on the couch most of the morning while Heather went up to school at 0900 to tutor students. It was one of those days where I just didn't wanna do anything but keep stokin' the fire and drinking coffee. Eventually we decided to run down to Colorado Springs and pop in to visit the boys at Anglers Covey. I had planned on night fishing tonight until late but decided to pass. I'll go out in the morning and see what's goin' down. As always, I'll get pics if I can but I really don't like to put the trout on the ground or in the shallows for a photo shoot so you might have to just take my word for it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Oh Dear Lord!!

Loads of work in this van. I think I'd actually feel bad getting this dirty.

Sunday, October 4, 2009


I gave Graduate school the finger and went up to see what was going on up at the ranch. The browns should be gearing up to do their thing real soon here. Since my schedule is kind of tight I think I'm going to be doing a lot of night fishing this fall which is actually fine by me.

The van is the perfect fly fishing vehicle.

It always makes me sad to see death and particularly when it involves a lovely brown.

There are soooooo many bends like this in this part of the river as it winds it's way through this meadow.

On the way home I saw 2 flocks of turkeys. Look dead center in the pic.

Crazy clouds in Woodland.

If you're reading this was slow today but the bigger fish are starting to move up from the reservoir.

Before I started riding again, I was a huge snob when it came to fishing. I spent a lot of time walking and glassing the water for big fish. Anything that was under 14" was not worthy of a cast. I'm back. I passed on several decent looking fish today while keeping an eye out for a really nice one. I fished most of the day with an ugly looking streamer. At one point, I lost it and as soon as that happened I spotted an 18" brown that slid up in a riffle and set up. I had no more streamers and now I had to completely re-rig. New leader, tippet, an egg pattern, a mercury black beauty, a shot of weight, and a balloon. I tied everything with one eye while keeping an eye on her. I botched one knot and had to give it my undivided attention so I trusted it and when I looked up....she was gone.
I walked that stretch of water up and down really slowly while glassing and then decided to get in so I could check the other side. After about 5 minutes, I found her about 20 yards upstream on the other side. I got up on the far bank and approached her on my knees. She was maybe a foot from a small undercut and then I saw 2 more just like her and they were all together. Conditions sucked for sure. Strong wind from the right that was blowing the line to the left and I had to get it as close to the bank as possible. They spooked. I waited. They slid back in. We did this dance for about an hour. Finally.......I got into one of them. As soon as she knew she was hooked, she shook and took off upstream like a torpedo. She came out of the water and immediately broke off.

Conservative Colorado Springs

I find this interesting. The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder (Bob Balink) has recently established a new dress code in his city office. Some of the highlights are: No "bizarre" nail polish or make up (such as dark blue, black or gothic), no visible tattoos, or body facial piercings. Interestingly, a single nose stud is allowed so long as it is "conservative and inconspicuous". No capri pants for the ladies unless they extend "well below the knee when seated".

Certainly I understand some of this but things must be really slow down there for Uncle Bob.

Very cool

Yesterday we took the fat man down to the pet store to exchange the new metal crate that we just got for him. It is truly amazing how many people want to pet him when we're out. He's very handsome and yet....such a jackass. I found a suitable crate that I liked and we made the exchange and then got more food for him, another leash, and yet another collar. Even with the exchange he costed us a C note. He really is the million dollar dog.

Anyways...the highlight of the day was when I was loading things up in Ron Burgundy and saw a guy come out of the store with his Boston Terrier. This dog was male and both of us saw him do a complete handstand when the owner stopped walking and pee while balancing. Heather and I both looked at each other at the same time with our mouths open. Then I looked at Bodhi and he was trying to eat a rock.

I confronted the guy about his talented dog and he said that's how he's pee'd since they got him and that it's never been reinforced. Very cool.

Friday, October 2, 2009

mmmm mmmm good

I like beer a lot but it's not often that I find something that I really think is good. Put this near the top of your list. It's from Deschutes Brewery. I bought a sixxer the other night from my friendly neighborhood adult beverage store and went back for another tonight. I been thinking about this all day. They didn't have anymore. I feel like someone pulled the football away from me at the last minute.

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Cool Deadhead Westy Syncro.

I am still trying to track down what is causing my van to hiccup every now and then. I still think it may be a faulty throttle valve switch. Adam 12 is sending me one so we'll see. The one on the van is bad according to the multimeter. Bad news is that you can't get that stuff anymore. Some of the earlier Digifant motors in the Jetta's and Golf's had the same switch but...they're still old. It's definitely one of the concerns with owning a 20 year old vehicle that's not made anymore. Today I tested the air flow meter. Sometimes that wiper arm can be bad and show a drop in voltage at a certain spot in its movement but mine tested fine.