The Trip is over. After many long miles and countless hours of fishing, I have returned to Tennessee to prepare for another school year. The long anticipated trip was everything I had hoped it would be. I saw some of the best scenery in the country, my buddy and I caught plenty of fish including some real hogs, and we had no worries for three great weeks. Of course, there were some headaches involved so I guess I shouldn't really say no worries although none of my problems ever caused too much stress. There's something soothing about going fishing that makes everything else seem better.
Over the upcoming days and probably weeks, I'll be sharing various happenings and reports from the trip. Some of the highlights include the large trout caught, generally by sight casting, the multiple radiators required to keep the car going, and some crazy timing issues that happened.
The trip started in a big way with the first of our radiator troubles. The plan was to drive to Colorado from Tennessee, basically driving straight through with perhaps a couple of hours sleep in the car. Everything went well and I caught a few hours sleep in the car at a Rest Area in the Texas Panhandle. Around 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, I woke up refreshed and ready to push on towards our destination. I started up the car and carefully made my way back onto Interstate 40 headed west.
Probably 15 miles later, I had the cruise set around 70 and was doing great when suddenly, I saw a coyote come streaking out of the blackness not more than 10 feet in front of me from the left. Of course, at that distance and at 70 mph, there isn't much you can do. I'm sure the coyote got the bad end of the deal but in the process, a large chunk was ripped out of the side of my front bumper and somehow, the radiator was damaged. The discovery occurred around 20 miles west of there when we stopped for fuel in Amarillo. Just before heading on, it seemed like a good idea to double check my fluids and in the process I noticed an unnatural puddle under the front end of my car. A quick examination showed that my radiator was low on fluid and quickly losing what little it had left. An even closer examination yielded a crazy find on my bumper. The coyote struck so hard, it actually left guard hairs embedded in the bumper which can still be seen today.
Coyote guard hairs embedded in my front bumper
Being probably 4:30 at this point, there was little to do except to park and try to catch another couple hours of sleep.
After grabbing breakfast at the closest fast food joint, we were on our way over to the local Toyota dealership to see if my radiator could be replaced anytime soon. We arrived just as they were opening and they were nice enough to look my car over immediately. The broken radiator diagnosis was verified and miraculously, they found one in town that fit my car and we were back on the road well before noon.
We were soon in Colorado and headed towards the Gunnison vicinity where we planned on fishing the Taylor river. Of course, the big start to the trip continued with hot fishing on the Taylor but that's something for next time.
Well, perhaps a little teaser, my first fish of the trip...
A Taylor River brown, the first of many...