Road trip of the little salmon,Opel ( for Rose)

D
DB Crouper
It was early June of 1968. My freshman year at OSU had mercifully ended, and my boyhood friend, Ross Kernockerty, and I carefully and painstakingly planned a celebratory fishing road trip. The precise logistics of the trip drug on and on, and the five minutes necessary to complete the itinerary seemed like fifteen. We would go east. With that settled, we chucked our fishing gear, sleeping bags, campstove, and least dirty laundry into the back of my 1958 salmon colored Opel station wagon. Strangely it was full of gas. We headed east on Highway 20 on a glorious Friday morning, through Lebanon, then Sweet Home, to we knew not where.

The sparkling, gurgling Santiam flashed her beauty below us, then would tease us by leaving the road for awhile, only to reappear more radiant than before, flirt with us briefly, and sweep her flowing skirts away into the primordial forest, around giant boulders with velvet emerald glistening moss. We were not far enough away yet, and so we resisted the Siren's call of the river, and drove on. Soon the creek left the road for the final time, and we travelled into the majestic Cascades in silence. Three Fingered Jack, Mount Washington, Lost Lake, and ancient lava flows created a sense of awe we had seldom seen, growing up at the Oregon coast. The Opel struggled up the steep sections of old Highway 20, but we reached the summit, and descended the east side, soon spying the patch of glassy blue,that is Blue Lake. We continued on a short way, and turned into Suttle Lake, following the signs to the store.

A dozen worms for the exhorbitant price of fifty cents at least came with advice on where to fish. We trudged west on the southern shore for about a half mile, to a large tree laying in the water, and cast spinners and worms as close in to the submerged limbs as we dare. Fishing was good for 12" browns, and we soon had 8 fish, two each for a late lunch, amd two each for dinner. Life was about as good as it gets. We trekked back to the Little Salmon Opel, and pulled back onto the highway. Next stop, Camp Sherman. I was 19 years old, and Ross was 21, a man of the world. He had been to Camp Sherman the previous year, and so I gave him my total trust and loyalty. I was Tonto to the Lone Ranger, or maybe, as you will see later, more like Curly to Moe.

We cruised slowly along the red cinder road to Camp Sherman, viewing mule deer browsing lazily on leafy brush, ignoring our passage. The massive Ponderosas were a new world to me, and I was nearly on sensory overload. We soon arrived at the parking area. It was early afternoon. We cooked 4 of our fish in a cast iron frying pan over our white gas cookstove and ate quickly, vowing to remember salt next time. Grabbing our fishing gear, we walked onto a bridge over the Metolius River to see what a family of tourists was looking at. In the shade of the bridge a mere 6-8 feet below us in the crystaline water, were multitudes of huge fish, troutlike. We didn't know if they were Browns, Rainbows, or Steelhead, but it was a No Fishing area, so we headed downstream, spinning gear in hand.

Shortly we came upon a fly fisherman, probably LL Bean, by his classic dress and style. He had flies sticking out of his hat! We stopped, immobile and silent, allowing room for his backcasts, and watched him gently lay his dry flies only feet from the far shore. Shades of late afternoon darkened the slower moving water to which he casted, and hungry browns were roiling the water around his presentation. not taking his offering. We were transfixed. He pulled a different fly from his hat, tied it on, and began his routine, ultimately dropping the new fly into the boiling frenzy. Fish on. He fought the 15" brown expertly, slipped his hand lovongly under its belly, and slipped the barbless fly with practiced ease. What a concept. Catch and release. We had read about it in outdoor magazines, but didn't really believe anybody practiced it. We watched, awestruck, as he caught several more large fish. It was artistry, beauty, and grace somehow wrapped around fishing. A brand new, but never forgotten, experience.

End of Chapter One
 
L
lilsalmon
<long sigh> Excellent birthday present...can't wait for the rest. We have made that same road trip but up 22 and over the pass to metolius, sisters, redmond, prineville, madras, and places beyond...past Suttle Lake....nice story. Thanks DB, your awesome.
 
D
DB Crouper
CHAPTER TWO

We finally moved downstream, to the next section of similar water, and threw everything we had at the lunkers beyond. Single eggs drifted, worms under a bobber, spinner and worms, flatfish, metrics, daredevils, rooster tails, and more. Not a nibble. We had arrived at a black tie dinner in bib overalls, and we knew it. With an hour of daylight left, and the feeding fish frothing the glassy surface, we retreated upstream to our apartment for the night, the salmon colored Opel wagon. As we cooked our four fish, we spoke softly, and Ross began to pine for his fiancee, Caroline. That he was on this trip at all was an amazement to his friends. He was deeply smitten, and had been the entire year, by a very beautiful and equally high maintenance girl by the name of Caroline. She normally would have denied him permission for such a trip, but her family was taking her to Hawaii to celebrate the end of her Junior year at OSU. We had seen indescribable natural beauty today, and he was missing his girlfriend. We ate, and spread our bags in the back of the Opel. The temperature was dropping, and we slid into our beds awkwardly in the too small space, fluffing up our jackets for pillows. Sleep arrived shortly.

Somewhere in the night, a dream of fly fishing in a dry creek snuck in, with a hot wind flowing over and around my face, denying me any distance to my cast. The hot wind grew more intense, and then it spoke, "Caroline, Caroolliinne". I opened my eyes , and there, inches from my face, was the hideous visage of the lovestruck Ross, closing fast in his dream riddled state, his hot breath bathing my sun reddened cheeks. He was on one elbow, hovering over me, in a state of such lustful desire that, to this day, I have been reluctant to talk about it. Maybe when I get old I'll get some profesional help to deal with the repressed issue. Anyway, I yelled or maybe screamed, "Wake up, you fool!!" and pushed him so violently away, that his head made a smacking thump as it met the side window on his side of the Opel. " What are you doing?", Ross queried, fully awake now. He had no recollection of his brush with sex offender status, and only laughed when I recounted the horrible experience. He slipped back into sleep easily, and I squeezed my body tightly against the side windows of the Opel, and watched, eyes wide for the next couple hours, for the faint glow of the soon to rise sun. I made it through the night, unmolested. Thank God Almighty!

We had very little money and no food, and couldn't buy a fish in the morning. Time to move on. Next stop on our journey was Detroit Reservoir. We were hungry and I was tired, Ross not so much. We arrived mid morning at the Detroit store, and purchased a package of outdated Twinkies at a major discount. Best stale Twinkies ever. Down to the water, which was fairly low, we drove the salmon colored Opel. We caught rainbows and kokanee in the headwaters of the lake, drifting single eggs. The nightmare of the previous evening faded with each new fish, and life was back on track. We had even purchased a cube of butter and a salt and pepper combo pack at the store. Our sizzling lunch was restaurant quality fare, as Ross had worked several summers at an upscale Seaside restaurant. The wind came up, we had enough fish for dinner, so we built a little fire among the exposed stumps in the drawn down reservoir. Soon our little fire became a medium size fire, which seemed to attract the attention of a couple of cute girls, on an outing with their family. Somehow that made the fire very large, as we drug octopus like stumps from farther and farther away. It became an inferno, and the 16 year old girls started dragging chunks of wood and rolling them into our now monstrous bonfire. Others around us joined in, and we were the center of a burning world. New friends were made, and new friendships were ended in a few hour's time. It was a grand day. As it wound down we hatched a plan for the evening, deciding we had enough gas to return to Corvallis the next day. We dug through our pockets of our laundry, under floor mats, between seats, and every cranny of the Opel, to the point of near violation, and came up with $4.74. That was almost 19 beers at $.25 each at the Detroit Tavern. We were going out on the town. The problem was, I was 19 years old.

End of CHAPTER TWO
 
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S
Slick
...........??????<<<<<,,,,,,,,
 
L
lilsalmon
sounds like trouble in chapter 3
 
T
Throbbit _Shane
Moar!!!
 
C
ChezJfrey
I must say DB Crouper, you have a gift with the written word! I always enjoy reading your recollections.
 
D
DB Crouper
Hopefully, all of you are familiar with the parable of the fox, the goose, and the corn, and the problems faced by the farmer in getting them, intact, across the river. Our plan to get ourselves into the Detroit Tavern, together, drinking draft beer into the wee hours, was every bit as complicated and convoluted as the fox, goose, and corn. As with all best laid plans, things often go awry. How one adapts is a more true measure of the person. Our plan started with Ross sauntering into the tavern, ordering a draft, while I sat in the Opel, waiting my turn. Our hope was they wouldn't check his ID, and he could exit the establishment gracefully, and give his ID to me. So far, so good, but the score was Ross- One beer, me- Zero beer. Not good, but the next phase of the plan gave me the opportunity to catch up. I was, with Ross's ID, to wander in, a bearded stranger, and order a beer from my stool at the bar. He would re-enter the tavern in about 10 minutes, sit at the opposite end of the bar, act as though we were complete strangers , and order his second beer from the elderly bar tender.
Bingo. I ordered my beer, and was promptly served, with no ID check. We were in! I drank greedily, with the knowledge I was one beer down, and Ross would be showing up shortly, a total stranger but thirsty nonetheless. Perfect! Or so it seemed.
I was on my second draft when Ross strolled in, and pulled up a stool. "How 'bout another cold one?", he barked to the geriatric barkeep. Confusion spread across the countenounce of the octogenarian tender, as he replied, "Need ta see some ID." Ross, irratated, replied," I was just here drinkin' beer ten minutes ago!" The old bar keep replied, " So ya say." I saw some locals smile knowingly, but nobody came to Ross's defense, so he said he would go get his ID from the salmon colored Opel. He made a sort of desperate eye contact with me on his way out the door, as all his ID rested in my hip pocket. I had to let some time pass before I exited, so I ordered a third draft, to avoid any suspicion that we were together. New score was me- Three beers, Ross- One beer. Despite the glitch, things were going well.
I returned to the Opel and gave Ross his ID. We decided he should return first, as I was ahead in the beer derby, and I would return within 5 minutes, again sitting at the other side of the bar. Ross returned, ordered a beer, and prepared to throw his ID on the bar. Old Ed didn't ask for ID! Just served him. I entered a few minutes behind, sans ID, and ordered. Old Ed served me like an old friend, so I picked up my frosted glass, marched to the other end of the bar where Ross sat, sullen, stuck out my right hand, and proclaimed." Howdy stranger, my name's Ross. What's yer handle?" Ross glared at me, then a smile slowly spread across his face, and he replied,"The name's Zebber, short for Zebulan."

End of CHAPTER THREE- finish tonight
 
L
lilsalmon
:clap::clap::clap:
 
D
DB Crouper
lilsalmon said:
:clap::clap::clap:

Here's a picture of Ross and me on a fishing adventure a few years after the "Road Trip" of 1968.
 
L
lilsalmon
Are you the one in the middle? hehe JK
 
D
DB Crouper
CHAPTER FOUR

So Zeb, AKA Ross, and Ross, AKA me, and old Ed, the tavern owner, spent a very pleasant evening together. Turns out old Ed was a huge Beaver fan, and when he found out that Dick Fosbury was a good friend of Zeb's (Ross), he pretty much ignored the rest of his clientele, and filled our glasses repeatedly, refusing our attempts to pay up. We used our unspent beer money to feed the juke box, and played a few games of shuffleboard. Nothing eventful happened the rest of the evening, but the constant pressure of maintaining the charade of me as Ross, and Ross as Zebulon provided many a laugh that night, and many more laughs still today.

We staggered out to the Opel at closing time, and drove the three blocks to our still glowing bonfire. The night air was chilly, but the fire exuded a good bit of warmth still. I grabbed my bag from the back of the Opel, and spread it neatly next to the fire. Ross questioned my wisdom, " Why sleep outside? It's warmer in the car."
I opened my mouth to make a witty retort, but words failed me. I was literally speechless, numbed by the obvious stupidity of his question. Finally I managed a weak response, " There's only enough room for you and Caroline."
It was clear and cold, I would guess, but the alchohol coursing through my veins warmed and anesthisized me very effectively.

I dreampt of warm tropical beaches, hot breezes flowing through my beard, before being violently drug across the reddish dirt, and then slapped at, and rolled down the gentle slope toward the water, still in my sleeping bag, or what was left of it. It was gloaming daylight, and Zeb, I mean Ross, was yelling at me, " Are you alright? Can you here me!!?" I smelled something burning as I awoke in an extreme sense of confusion. Turns out that Ross woke up early, missing his Caroline, and happened to look out the side window of the Opel. He didn't see me at first, so he raised up on his elbow, and saw an ashy blue blob in the remnants of the fire, smoldering slowly with hints of flames sparking up into the morning fog. Apparently, in an effort to keep warm, I had rolled into the dying embers, and given them some new life with my polyester sleeping bag. I was on fire! Ross wrestled me out of the smoking bag. I was unscathed. The expression, "From the frying pan into the fire" actually was first coined that June day in 1968. But it was originally, "From the back of the Opel into the fire". The meaning remains the same. We threw the remains of my sleeping bag into the center of the fire, watched it flame up and melt, and drove back to Corvallis, Ross thankful to be returning to Caroline, and I, thankful to be alive and untouched. What a great Road Trip!

END
 
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L
lilsalmon
Excellent!!!! Thanks again. I am feeling pretty special right now cuz my name is in parenthesis. An Opel station wagon....my brother had one.
250px-Opel_Kadett_C_Kombi_Lahti2.jpg

Thanks again DB for the story.
 
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C_Run
C_Run
Good one.
 
B
bigsteel
great story DB
 
S
Slick
I would have just broke out the marshmellows.
 

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