Daley's Dailey News
This is going to be home for the photos taken of our trip out west. I'll be adding pages as time permits. So I don't bore you with details the hyperlinks to photos will precede the monolog of the trip. As most of you know, my motivation is rather selfish. The words are important to us for I save the site on my PC to review in years to come! Click on the links to see photos.
More to come........
We left for DEN from HHH at 9:30 AM on Tuesday 7/24. The flight from HHH was a first for us. Usually we go to SAV. Kathy chauffeured us to the AP. Our flights were on time. Although our luggage seemed like it was the last to arrive, at least it did arrive!
We drove to the Daleys in Longmont and headed for a late/early dinner at O'Shays. After dinner we headed to Laramie, WY. From Longmont, CO it was only a 2 hour drive. Although it was only 8:30 PM when we checked in we had to add 2 hours to get to EDST. We were exhausted from the travel.
7/25 Wednesday -- At breakfast we chatted with the owner of the Hampton Inn. He convinced us we should go straight to Jackson, WY. Stopping in Rock Springs, a mere 3 hours away, would be wasting a day. Apparently the town is not booming with tourists like us. Plus the route he recommended was more scenic. Off we headed west/north to Jackson. The first leg was desert. Hardly a tree in site and flat as low country. When we headed north the scenery didn't change much for several hours. Then the mountains came into view. We stopped several times just to look at the scenes. WY is gorgeous. We did run into some road construction. In general the roads were excellent. 75 MPH seemed slow when you consider the road was straight for miles. Once we hit the road construction we had to stop 3 times and wait for the one lane to open. I needed to get out and stretch anyway.
We drove past the Tetons at 5:00 PM and settled in to our room in Jackson shortly after that. We ate at a local "Steak" restaurant. Why not, black angus is the best meat ever!
7/26/07 Thursday -- We headed to the Tetons early AM. Once we got in front of the mountains I just couldn't stop taking photos. The sun changed the texture, clouds came and went and fog rolled in from the east. It was changing ever so slightly as time ticked by. But after an hour we decided it was time to move on.
We found a heard of buffalo grazing quite a distance from the highway. Even my zoom lens hardly captured the buffalo.
By 10 AM we were at the foot of Jackson Hole. Just in case you were as confused as me an explanation might help. Jackson is a city. Jackson Hole is a ski resort several miles form Jackson City (founded by Mr. Jackson). The term "hole" was a carry over from the Indians. There were/are 11 tribes in Montana. The Indians referred to all valleys as a "hole" in the mountains. Hence Jackson Hole, Big Hole River, etc.
We bought tickets to the tram. The top of the mountain gave us a fabulous vantage point to see the area. As you might know, Di is not a happy camper when she is near the edge of anything above a few feet. I was amazed she did so well going up and down the tram. But once we got to the top she wanted INSIDE the building!
We went to Jackson for lunch. Jackson is a tourist delight. Shopping galore, restaurants too and tons of activities. We shopped until we dropped.
Di found the cowboy hats and I knew we were going to own them as soon as she put one on. She is a hat person!!
7/27/07 Friday We headed out of Jackson before 7 AM. Di has the packing down to a science. We take a duffle bag of clothes and toiletries and leave the big bags in the trunk. Days Inn was not the class we are used to. Hampton Inns are far superior but a bed is a bed.
We entered Moose Gate (South gate into Teton National Park) at 7:15 AM. The ride was decent. The road twisted and turned but was paved most of the way. We left the north gate of Tetons into the south gate of Yellowstone in no more than 1000 yards. The shocking scene was miles and miles of trees standing tall and black as the ace of spades. Fires are started most often by lightning. Occasionally a careless smoker/camper is the culprit.. I have no idea how many square miles were in the fire in the late 1990s. The area is already starting to mend itself. Many trees were 6 feet tall. Mother nature rejuvenates itself.
The scenery changed from the day before from desert to thick foliage and many pine trees. Lakes and rivers interrupted the hills of green. It was a spectacular drive.
We stopped at Old Faithful about 30 minutes after it erupted. Since it goes off every 92 minutes we strolled around the area waiting for it to spout! The memory I have of the viewing area is quite different from seating area today. In 1978 it was a small area with stands. Today it is a nearly semicircle that accommodates hundreds. We certainly had a premium seat! As the last spurt started we fled to the car hoping to avoid a rush to leave. Di was particularly pleased we stopped.
When we left from the park we said goodbye to WY and hello to Montana. From the West gate of Yellowstone to Butte Montana was the most spectacular scenery I have ever witnessed. Austria, Switzerland and Colorado can't beat it. No wonder they call it Big Sky country! The mountains were on our left and right all the way to I-90. The camera can't take third a dimension. I am so happy we decided to drive from Denver to the Big Hole Fishing lodge. We could have flown for a fraction but the scenery made it worth every dime!
We arrived in Butte around 4 PM. We thought a nap sounded pretty inviting since we had been up since 6 AM. No sooner did we get into the room when this loud noise began. I looked out the window and to my surprise I saw motorcycles streaming past the Hampton. 4 abreast, Harley's and other equally loud cycles passed by for almost 30 minutes. I know they exceeded 1000! As soon as they turned onto Harrison Ave they gunned their engines just to make an even louder roar. Welcome to Evel Knievel Celebration. Every year on the last weekend of July a celebration in honor of Evel is held in Butte (his birth place). When we drove to the "Old Town" they had streets roped off so we couldn't even travel on Main St.!
That evening we had dinner at Derby Restaurant. We ordered soup and salad. I ordered a bottle of Moose Drool. Craig Fox had alerted me to this local brew. It is a dark beer. Craig says it is the best beer in the land! I prefer Bud Lite! But as they say, when in Rome do as the Romans do -- I did!
7/28/07 Saturday The rental car emergency system flashed "Change Oil" a day ago. I passed a fast lube place and decided to get it changed while Di packed. By the time I got back she was ready to go. Hampton Inn's provide rolls, cereal, etc., so we grabbed breakfast and headed out to explore Butte. The pictures posted surely tell the story of the town from the 1850 to today. If your eyes are good you'll read facts of the town -- like 10,000 miles of tunneling for minerals -- etc.
We hooked up with our friends Craig and Ardell Fox at noon. Craig had explored the Internet to find a good local restaurant. We met in front of the address he suggested -- only problem was we would be stuffed if we entered....not with food, it was a Taxidermy business! After walking through blocks of exhibits -- cars, cycles, trinkets of all types, vegetables, etc., we decided to leave downtown and get fishing licenses and dine at Derby again.
Craig and I play golf 2 - 3 times a week. We are the best of friends. Our wives knew each other from social gatherings but certainly were not as close as Craig and I. Don't let that concern you, we knew Ardell and Diane were going to be best friends and by the trips end they are!
We arrived at Big Hole Lodge @ 3 PM. By the time we unpacked Craig was already dressed for fishing. "Let's go try for some trout in the Wise River!" shouted he. So we all rapidly put on our wading boots and headed to the river. Let me clearly explain the Wise River is not as wide as I can spit. It is shallow, full of rocks and how fish bigger than a minnow could reside there is beyond me!! The banks to the river are steep and fall about 6 feet straight down. Craig started walking and the 3 of us followed. He disappeared in the brush and I followed until I heard a crash! Diane fell while holding a branch so it wouldn't snap back and hit Ardell.
That is only the beginning of the end! She fell and cut her hand. It was bleeding profusely. The gals said to go fish, they were headed back to the cabin to get a Band-Aid. I barley got into the river when Ardell called to say the cut was more serious than we thought. Hurriedly I climbed up the bank. Sure enough the cut was almost an inch long and deep.
The staff recommended we head to Butte and have an ER doc look at it. Time was pressing on. It was 4:15 and the Doc in the Box closes at 5:00 PM on Sundays. The other option was the ER room at the hospital. I could imagine the wait if we had to go there. We were 43 miles from the Doc option. I had 45 minutes to get there. The road out of the camp to the main highway is a 2 laner. And as luck would have it I got behind a slow moving truck with no place to pass. Probably that was a good thing for it wasn't safe to go fast anyway. When we hit the highway the speed limit of 75 MPH helped me make up for lost time. I might have gone a bit over that (yuk, yuk) for we entered the office at 4:55 PM. By 5:30 Diane had 8 stitches in her hand and as the Doc said, lucky thing it is your left hand for this won't bother your fishing!
We all had a couple toddies to unwind. We met our fellow fisherGUYS at the main cabin. You would not believe what great food they served. More about that later. We do have some wonderful recipes!
A side note is necessary. Do you remember using the term GUYS? I guess it is what we southern call FOLKS. Seems to me a guy is a guy and a gal is a gal. How then does GUYS include gals? They say as you enter the restaurant -- Would you GUYS like smoking or non-smoking. What can I get you GUYS to drink? Are you GUYS ready to order. Do you GUYS need more of anything? Is everything OK you GUYS? Are you GUYS ready for dessert? Thanks you GUYS! Come back to see us again you GUYS! It borders on annoying to say the least.
Sunday 7/29/07 The injury didn't prevent Di from catching the FIRST FISH and the FIRST FISH of her life! Di was so excited -- it was a scream. Somehow the rainbow stayed on the hook. Sitting in a rubber raft trying to listen to the guide give instruction on how to land the fish was exciting. So in a matter of 2 minutes on the Big Hole River, Di caught her first trout!!
The way we fished most of the time was from a boat. They call it float fishing. One gal in front, one guide in the middle and one guy in the rear. The guide drives to and from the lodge, rows, steers, shoves and manages getting the boat in and out of the water. He also untangles lines, ties on flies, puts on leaders, serves lunch, etc. etc. etc.
We loaded up at the lodge @ 7 AM. Loaded means getting into a truck with all your equipment. Something Craig and I rarely did correctly. I for got my rod one time, Craig managed to take someone else's boots! Needless to say after that fiasco we both tried to run though a check off list to be sure we were prepared. The guide drives to the river where the boat will be launched. A courier comes by and drives the truck down stream 5 miles where we will get out of the river, 6 hours later.
The guides earn every penny they get. The rivers were shallow. Often the guide had to jump out of the raft and pull or push the boat to deeper water. The river levels have suffered form a lack of snow run off as well as a lack of rain. In addition, the farmers are siphoning off large quantities for irrigation.
Our first day we fished the Big Hole. It is perhaps the most famous river of all. More articles have been written about this experience in Fishing Magazines than the Old Course in Golf Magazines. The river is wide for a trout stream. The scenery is captivating. As we floated down the river it was hard to stay focused on fishing. The scenery is awesome! Problem is cameras do not like water. We took ours but they were in a rubber water proof bag most of the time. We have a few pics but not as many as we would like.
The river temperature was barley under 70 degrees. That causes stress to the trout who like deeper cold water -- 55 or below would be ideal. We were limited to fishing until 2:00 PM. By the time we ate lunch and drove back to the lodge we were often home by 4 PM. We sat on our porch, had a Moose Drool and chatted until it was time to get ready for dinner. Craig is 100% fisherGUY. On occasion he would head to the Wise river (about 10 paces from our cabin) and fish some more. Fingerlings were about all he could find but it kept him happy!
Monday 7/30/07 Off to Beaver Head river. This was quite different from Big Hole since the river was running swift and deep. It was about 1:15 drive from our lodge. We used a different type of boat. The gals decided to take a break from fishing and went to Butte to have the Doc look at Di's hand and to get a new antibiotic. She came home enthused as ever. The healing was doing wonderfully and she no longer needed an antibiotic. Besides, the one she had was giving her hives! This gal can't a break!
Craig took the front of the boat and I floated the rear position. Frankly, I enjoyed the ride better than the fishing. The scenery was awesome. There was a lot of moss floating in the river. I had to clean my fly and nymph nearly ever cast. Craig caught many more than I did. In fact it was noon before I caught my first fish. It was easy to stand in the front position. Standing isn't my thing so it worked out well that I took the rear seat. We caught mostly rainbow.
Tuesday 7/31/07 We fished the McCoy - Spring Creek. What a different venue. No boat, just shore casting to rather temperamental trout. The first pool I fished was not clear. For me that is great for I couldn't see the fish and better yet they couldn't see me! I caught 5 trout and the last was a 22 inch brown.
Craig caught a 22 inch rainbow in very narrow pool. In fact he was on his knees trying to remain hidden from the fish. If Craig Fellin (Owner of Big Hole Lodge) hadn't been there to get him up from a crouched position I doubt he would have landed the monster! No question it had to weigh over 5 pounds. A picture won't do it justice. We scurried to release every fish. Even with maximum care some trout die from the trauma of being caught.
The Creek is totally fed by a spring. It winds through acres of prairie and farm land. This area was as flat as the Lowcountry. But what a super time we had. Each of the fishing experiences has been very different. Although this was an outstanding fishing day, the scenery of the Big Hole and Beaver Head sure were enjoyable when we were having new flies tied.
Wednesday 8/1/07 The gals joined us again. Back to Big Hole. Actually they fish three sections of Big Hole so you are getting a different experience. Our guide was Wade Fellin. He is going to college in PA. His dad has taught him well! He helped Di learn casting much better. Di loves the ride and could care less if she catches anything. Today was not as productive as Sunday. We dine riverside. Listening to the water rush by, plenty of sun but we were in the shade, temp upper 80s, mild breeze - who cares about fish!
Thursday 8/2/07 We were up early for we had a 2 hour ride to the Bitterroot River. The ride was gorgeous. It reminded me of the ride though Yellowstone. The river was faster, deeper and narrower than the Big Hole. I caught a few cutthroat. These are the native species of trout. They are feisty, hard to anticipate and even tougher to land. Most were less than 15 inches.
After we packed up from lunch we had but another 20 minutes to our disembark point. Di had not landed a fish. And then a 17 inch rainbow latched on. Di must have fought the fish for 10 minutes before Mike could get the net near enough to land the fish. It kept breaking for another run. So Diane caught the last fish and the biggest of the day!!
Friday 8/3/07 Breakfast was quite a bit latter at 7:30 AM. We tried to get to the main cabin by 6 AM on fishing days. But this was our last day. Breakfast was an important meal every day of fishing since the next bite not be served until 2 PM or after. We didn't want to waste time eating. In normal circumstances fishing would be extended to 4 PM rather than 2 PM. But as long as the water is low protecting the fish is the main goal.
We left for Billings Montana at 9:00 AM. It took 5 hours to drive to Billings. Once we got there we decided to head to a movie. Chuck and Larry was Di's pick. It was entertaining and since the temp was approaching 90 it beat walking in the sun. It is not humid but hot is hot!
Just a note about food. How they were able to serve such fantastic meals is a marvel. Breakfast included eggs, pancakes, French toast, bacon, sausage, toast, cinnamon rolls and fruit. Lunch large sandwiches, chips, cookies and drinks of your choice. Dinner -- well Di has 4 recipes. Pasta, lamb, ribs, steak, halibut with all the trimmings were fantastic. If you went hungry it was your own fault!
Of course hors d'oeuvres and drinks of your choice were included. The pinot noir were our favorite. Add an occasional Moose Drool and the evening just couldn't have been better. We are ready to plan a return visit already!
Saturday 8/3/07 Early this morning we headed for Casper. We arrived at 12:30 Am and dinned right next to the Hampton Inn. We decided to talk to the registration folks and find out what was going on Saturday afternoon. NADA! So we cancelled our reservation and headed south towards Cheyenne. We made reservations in another Hampton north of town. Across the parking lot was a Longhorns Steak House. How fitting! WE strolled over, sat at the bar and enjoyed talking about our trip. From the Big Hole Lodge to Cheyenne the terrain was dull. I wondered what one would do if the car broke down. There wasn't a tree, house, barn, oil rig, cross road -- I mean NADA - for miles and miles. Di finished her second book of the trip!
Sunday 8/4/07 We reorganized our suitcases, had breakfast and headed for Longmont. We stayed at a new Best Western. All of these inns are run by Indians from India! How did this happen I ask. No matter what chain we visit the same accent. In some cases we could hardly under stand them. In fact in one case Di called for instructions and hung up mad as a hornet. She couldn't understand the operator!!
We pulled up in front of Dave's at 11:00 Am. Kyle and Ariana helped us locate their schools. I must say they were gorgeous compared to my school "Opportunity" in Mantua! I posted pictures of Kyle's.
We ate at Chuck's - an excellent barbeque restaurant. Then it was off to see The Simpson's. That evening we dined at a Chinese restaurant that was the best. The quality and quantity far exceeded our expectations. At 9 PM we watched Dave face off in a Hockey Tournament. His team won but we didn't stay beyond the game to shake his hand. That's way there is a tomorrow. We hit the hay at 11 that night.
Monday 8/4/07 We rose early so we could head to Littleton, Co and visit Kathy and Dave Squire. These folks were high school mates of mine 50 years ago. We had a delightful brunch at their home before heading with them to downtown Denver. Dave ushered us around. He worked in Denver before retiring. We went to his old firm and 20+ floors up could see as far east as the International AP and west to the mountains and Pikes Peak!
Cinzzetti's is Diane's favorite Italian restaurant. Dave Daley got off work at 5 PM and we met on a downtown street corner. Off it was to Borders near Cinzzetti's where we could kill an hour. We were all full from lunch. But the aroma of pasta changed all that.
It never seems like we stay long enough. Yet, that sure beats wearing out a welcome. 2 or 3 days of trying to amuse us old folks is quite a task.
Tuesday 8/7/07 We headed for HHH arriving late at 10:00 PM. Leaving from Atlanta always has a delay. I wonder if any flight ever leaves on time!
Wednesday we did the usual chore of looking at mail, email, issues around the house etc. Staying up for Leno was easy but we had to break that habit. I love 6 AM to much to stay up late!
Our luggage followed us perfectly. Only event was Di's fall and thank goodness it didn't hinder her activity. Her hand looks like it is mending well. I am sure she'll be playing golf with no pain!
That's All folks!