Sunday, August 28, 2011

Goodbye Irene

Simple concept.ditches fill up and

Don't come back!So I made it through Hurricane Irene with very minimal property damage and my life.Unfortunately I can't the same for at least 5 other people and who now how many millions or billions of dollars worth of property damage on the East Coast.I awoke yesterday morning at 5am with the pine trees raining pine cones down onto my roof.There was no going back to sleep after that.I strapped on my rain suit,turned on the TV and I watched.Listening to the wind howl,it pushed the doors and windows in,then sucked them back out.The power flickered as others around me lost power.Branches fell,water levels in the ditches overtook the road and creeped into my front yard.Small trees began to fall as the ground became saturated.A little after noon the storm decided to stall and we received some of the most torrential rain I have ever seen.Mixed with 40 mph sustained winds I thought well this is just like a nor' easter,no worries.I watched the tv and it warned that the worst was yet to come.

drain into the creeks which then......

I decided I would take the rain suit off and continue to closely monitor the tv.i got complacent and around 6pm the eye of hurricane Irene was 55 mph due west of my house.The wind I had grown to deal with throughout the day kicked up.Not just another notch but into here I am bend over and take it mode.The ground,the creeks and swamps,the trees they just couldn't take it and the power went out.It was getting dark and all by myself,listening to the tv on my emergency radio i will admit,I was scared.With no tv to partially drown out the wind I was left with my thoughts,the wind and the constant threat of a tree taking out my house.At some point I self medicated myself with beer.The storm went north and I went to sleep.I woke up this morning having no idea what I would see outside.Let's just say if anyone needs any pine bows or pine cones I gotcha covered.Luckily my power was back on.Unfortunately for 80 percent of the area they still do not have power.I took a small drive and saw something unreal.

flood the river.thsi is the Blackwater River ramp.I

be able to get to close to this in the next few days.

Water is expected 8 feet above this level in the next 2 days!

I saw farmers,army national guardsmen and neighbors all literally working together to clear streets and take trees off of power lines.I saw swamps usually dry this time of year,rushing like rivers.I saw bullfrogs,snakes,geese,deer all misplaced wandering around looking for a dry home.I heard stories of a little boy with his mother in an apartment back in my old neighborhood.A tree split in half and literally ripped the second story apartment off.The 11 year old boy never had a chance and perished.Another story of a mother in North Carolina leaving her low lying house with her child during the storm.A tree falls in front of her car,she swerved,crashed and the little child didn't make it.This was a serious storm and the worst for some areas is still to come.

The Blackwater River in Franklin, Va is about ten miles from my house.If you read this blog you know that for the last year,since I moved here,i have fished this river every chance I have had.I literally love this river.We received around 10-12 inches of rain and the river just simply can't take it.The river is expected to crest at 18 feet Tuesday at some point.May not sound like much but in town there is a sign on a building two blocks from the river.It shows the level of water the river reached 3 days after hurricane Floyd passed through in 1999.This is a historic,small southern town.The town relied on the international paper mill that shut down last year.the businesses that remain have been scraping by,barely.This may be the end for yet another small town.I will monitor the situation and keep everyone informed

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Dude is 200!

For the record I am not cool with the storm track

So I reached a small milestone in blogging,200 posts.Many of my posts have been short and sour,that's how I roll.So let me say thanks for hanging in,checking in and dealing with everything that makes this blog what it is,not much.Now on a much more serious note,let's talk about this hurricane situation.I have been doing some checking in on others blogs and see that there area some lists of what to have and what to do,etc.The following will be the Dudes rules for hurricane preparedness.

Rule one don't be an idiot-Sounds like common sense but this is how the majority of people die.Hurricane party?Not the best idea until after the storm has passed in my opinion.Don't drive during the storm.Don't try and cross that road that now looks like a creek,believe me the water is hauling ass.Don't paddle your boat down the street,the water is more than likely heading to a larger body of water and guess what even if you have arms like Thor you won't paddle your way out of it,you will die.Seriously use your damn head.

Rule numero 2-just be prepared.There are so many helpful lists on line and if you haven't had to survive in the woods or without electricity and running water for a week lately you should check them out.You need water,bottled and plenty of it.Fill up all of you gas containers.I mean your vehicles,your chain saw,your generator and everything else that legally holds gas.Without electricity you get no gas plain and simple.Canned foods,duh you gotta eat.If you are going to leave,I suggest you do so 48 hours before the storm hits.If you live in a major city it will take you this long to get West or North out of the path of the storm.There are plenty of other things you need so if you can't figure out what they are go online and check or ask a neighbor over the age of 60 who has lived through plenty of these storms.There is a reason they are still alive,they know how to handle the situation.

Rule 3-prep and insurance claim.Yes a naughty,disturbing thought I know.I'm a new home owner and this is what I did.I called my insurance company,yesterday,and asked what I would need in the case I needed to file a claim.They were nice enough to email a list of paperwork,phone numbers etc.I took pictures,date and time stamped of all my property.House,boat,trucks,shed,trees,roof every damn thing.This way if something were to happen all I have to do is say well here is what it looked like,let's get it back to there,pay the man.

Rule 4-be fluid.By this I mean you may have to run and fast.Hurricanes are ever changing and even with current technology it is not even close to an exact science trying to predict these storms.So if what they forecast for your area quickly changes you may also have to change your plan.I understand this goes against rule number one but you may have to leave.Not necessarily the area but your house.You may find a tree on your house but your garage or shed untouched,move there.Have your supply kit ready to move with you,in fact make up multiple supply kits for quick get aways.Be ready to assist a neighbor.Many of my neighbors are elderly and I'm not suggesting trying to be a hero,but you may have to step up your game.I could write short book on what to do and what not to do,but this is my primary rule,BE FLUID!
I hope that pine tree is still there 3 days from now
Rule 5-be ready for the calm after the storm.So you made it through the flooding,trees being up rooted,roads being washed out etc.Now you have no power,clean water or anything else and your house is in ruins.I hope this doesn't happen to anyone but it will.So if you do what every news agency has been telling you to do for the last week and get prepared or leave then you should be fine for 5-7 days.The last major hurricane that came through southern Virginia was Isabel,almost ten years ago.We were without power for 8 days,it took a toll but we made it.We banded together what we had and we made it.I lived in a decent sized city then,now I live a little of the beaten path and it could take much longer to get power back so I'm prepared.

So that's my advice,take it,leave it,put it together with others and be safe.So what am I going to do?Well 48 hours from now we are expecting sustained category 1 winds for 8-12 hours with gust over 100 mph.I plan on staying in my house unless god forbid a pine tree decides to lay down on it.Supplies have been acquired and yes my firearms are loaded so should anyone decide to try and loot anywhere in my area I won't hesitate to stand up with my neighbors and defend what is rightfully ours and definitely not yours.Should no property damage be incurred and the power goes out I will throw some fishing tackle in the truck and head West out of the hurricane zone.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


That's what I'm suffering from,no doubt about it.I have been at work,on the tug,for four weeks now.I only have a few days to go and time doesn't seem to be going anywhere.I went from one of the best outdoors experiences of my life,fishing West Virginia,to moving thousands of barrels of gasoline around the city of New York.I completely grasp the concept of work to have fun but that doesn't mean I have to enjoy it.So I'm hoping to get home in the next week and reintroduce myself to the outdoors in a major way.I can't wait to put some gutters on the house,get estimates on building a garage,oh boy the fun I'm gonna have!In all seriousness,I do have some outdoor activities planned but at the moment all I can do is dream about them.

One of the first orders of business is putting the blind back on the boat because September goose season starts on the first and yes I will be out there.I have a few new things I have added to the duck arsenal this year,a few quiver magnets and a jerk rig.I'm hoping this will give my spread some movement.I'm looking forward to using them incorrectly and blaming the product for not working,that's how I roll.One of my old tugboat buddies has invited me to come down and visit him in North Carolina.It's been a plan in the works for almost two years now so maybe I can fit it in between all the house projects I meant to get done this past Spring.So for now all I can do is dream of what will happen over the next few months.The temperatures will drop,the ducks and geese will move South,the bass will dig in until next spring and before you know it,you will be taking down your Christmas tree.Try and stay cool everybody and get outside!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Public or Private Land Use

So what's your flavor,public or private land use.This question is offered to any outdoorsman or woman.If you enjoy hiking,fishing,hunting,rock climbing,etc what do you prefer and why?I don't actually expect any responses just think about it.I started thinking about it after I read my brothers post on it here . Great post but as Brothers we do tend to slightly disagree on some things.After reading his post I generally understand his mindset.He is a Father working multiple jobs with little spare time.So in the spare time he does have he wants his outdoor activities to flow nicely as we all do.For his situation,leasing land is ideal and more power to him.In fact I have hunted his farm lease and thoroughly enjoyed the laid back not in a hurry feel.However sometimes I have to do things that fit my bill.

The Gut Runner II before new trailer,love my boat

A short background on my outdoors experience.At 32 I am a master of nothing outdoors but interested in everything that has to do with hunting,fishing,minimalist survival etc.I have been fishing since I was a small child with my Dad.I didn't start using artificial baits until about ten years ago.I consider myself a good but not great fisherman.I went deer hunting for the first time about 8 years ago and didn't hate it but it's not for me.Running dogs through the woods chasing a 75 pound deer while twenty grown men line the trees surrounding it,not for me.My brother took me duck hunting around the same time period,my early twenties,and I was immediately hooked.Even though I never even got a shot at a bird until my fourth hunt.It started with a stationary blind,went to field goose hunts,then to guided hunts trying to learn and now I have my own boat.What I don't have is my own spots because I hunt on public property.So what if I took the money I put into the boat every year and leased a field or a farm?

Nothing better than watching your buddy bust a green head on public land

This is where a few of the problems lie.The financial aspect would be the number one culprit.Let me break this down because it's the big one.I spend between 3-5 hundred dollars every year to improve my waterfowling experience.Everything from new decoys to grass mats to hide the boat.Two years ago i bought a brand new engine,pow 2500 bucks.Last year a brand new trailer,pow 1100 bucks.Not to mention the every year licensing fees that cost me around 80 dollars just to hunt out of the boat.So why not give it all up and lease a farm.Because I can't afford it!Seriously I know it seems like I spend a ton every year just to keep it going but the decent leases aren't cheap.I could join a club on the Eastern Shore of Va,which I was invited to do,for a price of 1200 dollars a year.So what would I get?Access to a few decent fields that hold geese late in the season and a few ponds that hold residential mallards until the first freeze.I have hunted there,had a great time and seriously thought about joining.So why not private land?Maybe it's because I'm stubborn.Maybe I like the feeling of accomplishment when I put my boat on birds that I found.Maybe I'm an idiot.One thing is for sure,if I had the money this wouldn't be an issue,I would do both,in South Dakota,in retirement.I can use the boat to get around to more than one area,I can and do use it for bass fishing all Spring and Summer.I'm really just searching for a solution.Unfortunately money doesn't grow on trees.All this talk about hunting has me geared up for September Goose season,bring it!

Monday, August 1, 2011

RTOD-Road Trip of Death part 3

This will be the final entry in the RTOD series,I should be able to wrap everything up in this last post.If you missed the first two posts in the series feel free to to take a minute and catch up.So the final morning found us back in the Monongahela National Forest Ranger office.I was again put in touch with a very helpful Ranger who was kind enough to give us a nudge in the correct direction.My goals had already been reached for the road trip.I scouted some new areas in a new state,I caught trout,smallmouth and other assorted fish and I got to spend some time with one of my brothers in an awesome setting.So the plan for the day was easy,go out on a limb and see what happens.The amount of public access fishing in the Elkins,WV area is quite ridiculous and you definitely need more than a few days to fully enjoy it.I'm not rich and I can only afford a few days in this outdoor paradise.So into the truck,cooler filled up,sandwiches purchased,map in hand and we were off.

Following the directions given by the friendly Johny green jeans we rolled through the mountain roads and into Parsons, WV about 20 miles north of Elkins and onto the Cheat River.The Cheat River,in this stretch,is easily twice the size of the stretch of Shavers Fork River we had fished the previous few days.We tried wading it at the given access point,the amount of water moving was a bit on the dangerous side.We did however find a guide service on the opposite bank from where we were fishing.This falls into the good to know category and we wrote down the name and number for next time we find ourselves in West Virginia.We headed down the road to the other given access point.Finding ourselves on a gravel,one lane,mountain road was a bit sketchy but I wasn't about to turn back.The truth is I would have but there was nowhere to turn around.Following the Cheat river for a few miles,stopping at every access point and finding it to be a bit to dangerous to wade.The amount of water moving,rapids,being unfamiliar with the river all a recipe for disaster.We did however manage to get a line wet and we did catch a few very small fish.This means five days of fishing and we caught fish every single day,we would not have starved.As we took a few minutes sitting on the tailgate in the shade we watched the river roll by and ate our sandwiches.Across the river was one of many islands and on this island out of the brush came this guy.

A huge bear?No,not at all.The first bear I have seen in the wild?No,not at all.The first bear I have seen in the wild without looking for bears?Oh Hell Yes!You can't possibly imagine how thrilled I was to turn around and see this absolutely wild bear,in the middle of nowhere within 200 yards.SO I took a few pictures and watched him stroll around the island until he decided to cross the stream and climb up the other side.Mother Nature continues to impress me after 32 years on this great planet.So we drove around for a few hours,headed back to the hotel and decided we it just wouldn't be American if we didn't go to the local dirt track we saw a sign for.It was Friday night after all and could be more relaxing than watching a bunch of rednecks going around in circles on a dirt track in over powered late model cars.So that was it,the RTOD was over.A nice 6 hour drive home,then a few days to rest up and it was back to work.As I type this the sweat is still dripping off my face,the radio is sure to blast in my ear any second and it will be time to go make the benjamins.Are there things we could have done differently to make this a better trip,most certainly.Could it have gone much,much worse,oh yeah.I'm happy with it,we got out of state,aught fish in waters we had never seen before,spent five days in the mountains,didn't break any expensive gear,nobody got hurt and we didn't run out of beer.So until next time folks,thanks for reading and get outside!