So, once a year, my friend and I celebrate Good Friday by doing what any reasonable duo of Asian-American Cal grads might do...we go fishin'. Screw work. Forget the kids. Honey, I love ya, but see ya. (insert rebel yell right about here.)
It's a 3am wake-up call followed by a 4hr drive. But this is The Trip. Spring is in the air and there are fish to be caught. Like salmon drawn upstream, so are we drawn in pursuit of our admittably crazy hobby. And what do we find upon arrival on to the lake? Biiiiig ominous storm clouds. We're talking thunderheads darker and thicker than Max Zhang's eyebrows. There's a local weather alert warning of rain, near freezing temps, and wind gusts up to 40-60 mph.
Daunting conditions. But was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Did Leon Powe wuss out in his pursuit of true love because it was a little cold? Oh. AWKward...
In any case, Fortune favors the bold, sayeth I, and so we launched. Fortunately, my friend is well-schooled in the ways of seeking fish, and told me he knew an area that would be somewhat sheltered. And by somewhat, I mean we would only have to deal with constant rain, near freezing temps, and occasional wind gusts up to 40-60 mph. Groovy.
Within hours, the heavens split asunder and laid the smack upon us. With no Baby Tebow in the boat to cry away the weather, we did what all good Cal men have been taught to do - we endured. And damn, if the fishing wasn't amazingly good. We each had about 30 fish, highlight by two 3 lbers each. On this particular lake, you might stumble upon a 3lb fish once a year, or once every couple of years. This is like Longshore throwing one to the right team in the 4th quarter...or Riley hitting an open man on 3rd down. It just doesn't happen. Oh, what a bonanza! If there were a red-clad trombone player to mow down with our boat, we would have made chum.
Drenched and shivering, we finally decided to call it a day around 5:30pm. And the darn motor wouldn't start. Tried jumper cables from our other set of batteries. No dice. Not exactly ideal conditions to be stuck. We waited a bit and tried not to ignore the what-ifs. One last try...and boo-yeah - Frederickson splits the uprights in triple OT.
Not sure what felt better...The hot shower back at the hotel, or the prime rib we devoured at the local casino. It didn't take much to fall asleep - staying asleep was another matter since my buddy snores like Harsha on 'roids, but what can you do.
The next day we got up at 5am and were ready for round two. But Fate can be a cruel mistress with whips, chains, and an oversized...well, you know. Some of you.(Someone draw Royrules a picture) Five minutes from the marina, I make a left turn and catch some light out of the corner of my eye. Holy handgrenades, Batman...the mother-bleeping tire on the trailer is on fire. I pull over and run to grab the boat's fire extinguisher. I put out most of the fire and use a water bottle to finish it off. The hub apparently blew out, spilled bearing oil, and the friction created by towing several hundred pounds lit it off. Boom, chemist'd.
Without the hub, there was no way to safely continue driving. So, it's time to call AAA. And hell hath no fury like an insurance company contacted when your *ss is in trouble.
Attempt #1: 7:10 am - I call, explain my situation, and request a flatbed for the boat + trailer. 30 minutes later, a tow truck shows up ready to tow my SUV.
Attempt #2: 7:40am - I call, explain that my SUV is fine, but I need a flatbed for the boat + trailer...Guy says they don't do that. I tell him, yes, I have coverage on vehicle, boat, trailer, and am a plus member...they have done it before for me. Ask for supervisor. Get ignored. Told we'll check on this and get back to you. While waiting, we start trying to find a trailer repair shop. Oh that's right. It's Saturday. Before Easter. Only shop open that doesn't say "huh?" is an auto repair place 30 miles away in Chico.
Attempt #3: 9:30am - I call, trying to find out whether we had been abandoned. After all, it's only 40 degrees out and we're blocking one lane of a single lane highway. For almost 2.5 hrs. No big. Finally told that a flatbed is on the way. But, they're going to have to charge us $200 for a site to site move because it's an RV flatbed. WTF?
9:40 am - This massive big rig pulls up and a perplexed tow driver hops out. Apparently, the AAA dispatch gave him the wrong info. We have a little fishing boat, not a motorhome or RV. He brought the wrong rig. This oversized one doesn't have a winch and pulley, so I have to drive my SUV + boat, damaged wheel and all, up the back.
It's on to Chico, home of The Aaron Rogers. Holla.
There's no place for the big rig to turn, so now I have to back the suv/boat onto the street and then into the repair yard. By now, there's an audible screech of metal on metal from the damaged wheel. The repair guy takes one look and tells us to go grab a bite. They have to take it apart and go looking for parts. It's never good when they have to go looking for parts.
Long story short, I had to wait in cheery Chico all day while they determine whether they could find the parts and fix the wheel...turns out that it was none of the above. The wheel + axle were so badly damaged (probably from driving up/down the big rig) that they now have to order a new axle. Yeah...that sounds expensive to me, too.
So, we had to leave the boat/trailer in Chico and drive 4+ hrs back to the Bay Area. Sadly enough, we didn't stop in Sacramento for a bathroom break. I'm not sure how we'll carry on with our dreary lives without having taken that opportunity for cultural enlightenment...maybe it's just the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.
Didn't make it in time for that wedding I was supposed to attend, but I suppose having something catch on fire is a decent excuse.
Alright, CGB, what's the best vacation you've ever been on? And what's the worst? We demand juicy, soul-wrenching details. Hopefully, folks can help me with links because I'm really, really tired. I shall try to work on them after the coffee kicks in later. Congrats to the Lady Bears!