Our friend Catherine Howe is currently living in the flat state of Texas and she decided to come back to her previous living area of beautiful Seattle area to visit friends over a long weekend. She stayed with Linna and I in our recently new address of Fall City after living in Seattle proper for 21 years.
She asked if she could fly us from the Renton Airport to Friday Harbor for lunch in her Cessna 172 Skyhawk. The Cessna 172 is the most produced plane in the world with over 43,000 assembled and is still in production today. Her plane is hangered at the Renton Municipal Airport about 12 miles southeast of downtown Seattle near the south end of Lake Washington. The Renton airport is where all new Boeing 737’s take off for the very first time after assembly, the Boeing plant is right next to the runaway.
It was a perfect day for flying, it was sunny and warm with a light breeze. We flew off towards the North and headed in the general direction of our house, in ten minutes we were circling our Fall City compound of 4.5 acres. After a few photos, Catherine put the heading towards Friday Harbor.
Friday Harbor is part of the San Juan Islands and is the only island that is incorporated. There are over 400 islands that are part of the San Juan chain. Friday Harbor is a small town of 2,500 people and mainly caters to tourist people like us. Catherine smoothly landed the plane at the small Friday airport and taxied to a visitor parking lot for small planes. After securing the plane to the ground, we walked just 10 minutes to the quaint little town of restaurants and boutique shops.
We found a perfect spot for lunch over-looking the ferry boats coming in and the many tourists walking by. After lunch we departed and headed straight for the Renton airport…what a fabulous day.
Athens is one of my favorite little metropolitan cities and home to R.E.M., B-52’s and the Georgia Bulldogs. One must stay in the downtown area where the streets are filled with college dive bars, cool clubs and of course lots of great restaurants. It seems the night-life in Athens is always active with live music, drink specials and numerous college folks walking around. Maybe it’s why the Georgia Bulldogs ranked number two in the nation for best partying schools. Make sure you have your driver license on you, they card everybody…even people like me in my fifties.
One of my preferred places to wine and dine is the Five and Ten fiveandten.com, this place is actually a couple of miles south of downtown so you will probably need to drive; there is plenty parking behind the restaurant. Owner and Chef Hugh Acheson is famous for his cotemporary Southern cooking and was named one of Food and Wine’s 10 best new chefs.
This trip I was very fortunate to meet up with some longtime friends, AJ Hudjins and his wife Colleen. I first met AJ in the winter of 1979 in Cozad, Nebraska and slowly we became best of friends and roommates at times. AJ and Colleen are now living in Hartwell, Georgia…a small city about 45 minutes Northeast of Athens.
Our Moab adventure started early in the trip with my good friend Jim Darmiento and his wife Ione missing our 6:00 a.m. flight from Seattle to Salt Lake City, Utah. So it was my wife Linna, me and my longtime friend Mike Curry on the flight to Salt Lake City. We ended up picking up Jim and Ione at the Salt Lake City Airport four hours later in our BMW (Bigass Mormon Wagon)…also known as a Chevy Suburban. After everyone was loaded up we headed down to Moab with a lunch break at the beautiful Sundance Resort.
Our first day in Moab we hit the Jail House for breakfast on Main street and then we were off to Arch National Park which was totally awe-inspiring and just a five minute ride from Moab. Note to oneself…start very early, it’s much cooler and less people! I am pleased that Linna convinced us to go back to the park at sunset to watch the Delicate Arch change from a sandy brown color to a vibrate orange. We finished our day with a 9:30 p.m. dinner reservation at the Desert Bistro desertbistro.com which was the finest restaurant in Moab.
Linna was able to convince the group a second time to get up 5:30 a.m. and head off to Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park to watch the sunrise and see the sun rays turn the Mesa Arch from a dull sandstone color to a fiery glowing orange. This was completely worth waking up damn early, I absolutely recommend this. We hit the highly rated Love Muffin café lovemuffincafe.com for breakfast after we got back to town, great food but long lines and ordering at the counter gave me negative vibes. We still had plenty of time for a nap before our river adventure in the afternoon.
If you only have time for one adventure in Moab during the summer…I highly recommend paddle boarding on the Colorado River with Paddle Moab paddlemoab.com. Josh (guide/owner) made the 2 ½ hour river trip exhilarating, entertaining and relaxing.
Linna Freeman at Landscape Arch in the Arch National Park.
Rick Freeman & Mike Curry in Canyonlands National Park.
Jim & Ione Darmiento, Rick Freeman & Mike Curry resting in the shade.
Ione and Jim Darmiento posing in front of Mesa Arch at sunrise.
Linna Freeman posing in front of the Delicate Arch in the Arch National Park.
Delicate Arch at sunset in the Arch National Park.
The beautiful Mesa Arch at sunrise.
Jim Darmiento was our driver during our road trip to Moab from Salt Lake City, Utah.
The crowd was waiting for the sunset on Delicate Arch.
Mesa Arch at sunrise in the Canyonlands National Park.
Rick Freeman at Landscape Arch in the Arch National Park.
Rick Freeman paddle boarding on the Colorado River near Moab, Utah.
Not too many people in this world get a chance to go on an epic fishing trip in Alaska for Salmon and Halibut, but I did and with the blessing of my beautiful wife Linna I took it. My long-time friend John Dorsey asked me to come along on this grand fishing trip with both his sons. His son Michael Dorsey is a professional fishing guide during the summer and hunting guide during the winter at the famous Hatchery Cove Lodge on Evans Island near the tiny village of Chenega, Alaska. Michael is the Captain of Halibut Hooker, a new 43 foot fishing boat equipped with two 310hp Volvo engines owned by Bob Hodsons. Bob is also the owner of Barney’s Sports Chalet barneyssports.com a specialty outdoors shop in Anchorage, Alaska. A special thanks goes out to Bob Hodsons to let me live the dream for a few days!
John and his other son Matthew Dorsey from Fort Collins, Colorado flew into Seattle from Denver where we met up and the three of us took the same Delta flight to Anchorage, Alaska. Delta Airlines is starting to match routes with Alaska Airlines and Delta was offering this killer deal for $180 bucks roundtrip from Seattle to Anchorage…oh hell yes.
Michael and his son Hunter were waiting for us in Anchorage, I haven’t seen Michael for a couple of years and I didn’t recognize him at first sporting a thick Jeremiah Johnson reddish beard. We picked up groceries in Anchorage and drove over to Whittier where the Halibut Hooker was moorage. We quickly loaded up the boat with 5 days of supplies and took off on a three hour tour to the Hatchery Cove also owned by Bob Hodsons.
We fished for 4 days nearly limiting every day on Coho Salmon, Halibut and a bunch of Rock fish. We were allowed 3 Coho (Silvers) Salmon and 2 Halibut each day, but 50 miles to the East in Resurrection Bay near Seward, Alaska you were allowed 6 Coho a day.
When it comes to fishing, the Dorsey clan have so much fishing experience that you will be assured there will be fish on the boat and a lot of it. Even though I held my own, the Dorsey’s out fished me each day; they are also gentlemen when it comes to splitting the vacuum packed fillets at the end of the trip.
Halibut rigs baited up and ready to go
We saw Orca’s all day
I brought both of these Black Rock fish at the same time on my halibut rod
Our third day of fishing, we limited out on Salmon and Halibut
Matthew Dorsey’s first Coho on our first day of fishing
Loading 5 days of supplies on the Halibut Hooker fishing boat
John Dorsey’s first Coho in the boat on our first day
Hunter Dorsey pulled in this jumbo 19lb Silver
Humpback Whale was lurking around us while we were fishing for Halibut…totally awesome
Hatchery Cove Lodge in blue awaits our arrival
The famous Halibut Hooker fishing boat
This was our first day of fishing; John & Michael Dorsey and Rick Freeman
The lodge and our fishing area was near the village of Chenega, Alaska
This was our first day of fishing, we limited out on Coho’s that day
We had a freezer full of Coho, Halibut and Rock fish fillets
John Dorsey, Rick Freeman, Hunter & his father Michael Dorsey
We saw so many whales during this trip you forgot they were around the boat
John Dorsey with his halibut
This was the largest halibut that I brought in for the tirp
Another great day on the water; Michael & John Dorsey and Rick Freeman
Michael, Matthew and John Dorsey showing off their Rock fish
Matthew Dorsey enjoying life in Alaska
A tub of fresh bright red Coho fillets
Hunter Dorsey was the Captain’s First Mate on the Halibut Hooker
John Dorsey enjoying our ride from Whittier to the Hatcher Cove Lodge
John Dorsey, Michael Dorsey and Matthew Dorsey
Captain Michael Dorsey on the famous Halibut Hooker fishing boat
Just leaving Whittier, Alaska; Matthew & John Dorsey
Rick Freeman’s Rock Fish
Our three hour boat route to Chenega, Alaska from Whittier
This was a perfect trip…lovely weather, worthy friends and a bit of nirvana.
I had an opportunity to visit my hometown of Cozad, Nebraska and I took it…or I should say my lovely wife Linna gave me her blessing to fly back home for 4 days to see friends and classmates. I also had a motive, my good friend and classmate Jerry Story was coming back from Finland with his family and we haven’t seen each other for a couple of years or so. Plus my other good friends and classmates Brad Wilcher and Nick Morse from Lincoln, Nebraska were coming back too. My ex-brother-in-law Brad Stallbaumer opened up his 6 bedroom house to Wilcher and I and we used it for home base the whole weekend.
First night back we all met up at the local Elks club for food and beverage, we had other 1979 classmates that showed up too; Andy Pflaster, Todd Morris, Deb Hunke and Kelly Worrell. Of course we closed down the Elks and a few of us walked over to Big E’s…the only bar left in my small town of 3,500 people. Even though I finally got to bed in the wee hours, I answered the bell for breakfast at the Green Apple restaurant in Cozad…of course my classmate Todd Morris had to call me out of bed though.
Breakfast was followed by a fishing trip with a long time buddy John Dorsey out to Johnson Lake about 15 miles from Cozad. We usually limit out on decent size Walleye, but our fishing rods were only bringing in small rubbish fish. Not to waste any precious time during this well-deserved hometown visit our group took off to Eustis, Nebraska for Wurst Tag for the evening; this is more or less one big ass party that is similar to Oktoberfest. This was actually a fabulous time to meet up with many old friends to share stories. One major gripe I have is the light beer they were serving during a major German type festival…your only choices were Coors Light, Bud Light and Busch Light! Who in their right mind would serve such crap beer for a major German festival?
My last day was another Green Apple breakfast followed by some target shooting with the Story family. I brought back my 9mm and .45 Kimber 1911 style guns from Seattle and we shot 200 rounds of ammo. This was the first time shooting for Erika and Patrick Story and I know they appreciated it.
My flight back to Seattle took us very close to famous Mt. Rainier
Patrick Story loving the .45 Kimber
The North Platte river at flood stage. This was a normal occurrence when I was a kid growing up in Cozad
It’s one thing that I do miss is the Midwest storms
My niece Zoe was in Cozad too, so I had a chance to stop by and say hi.
My good friend John Dorsey in front of his longtime friend…his boat.
Todd Morris, Andy Plaster, Nick Morse, Brad Wilcher, Jerry Story, Deb Hunke, Rick Freeman and Kelly Worrell.
Cozad has more cattle than people. This feedlot can hold 20,000 cows.
Erika handle the 9mm Kimber with ease
We call this Walleye a cigar because it’s so damn small.
The iconic grain bins in Cozad
We had a great time at the Eustis Wurst Tag event.