There are five stories that make up this trip with my Father. When I started this BLOG, I never connected them. Links are now placed to the following story at the bottom of each story…1.3.10
It was early October 1977. The guys I worked with knew I needed a vacation. I asked my Dad to accompany me on this ten-day trip. He had given me the impression, through the years, that he was familiar with fly-fishing and had, at sometime, actually done it. My experiences with him were limited to the streams in the Owens Valley although, when my brother Greg and I were about eleven, we had taken a trip with him to Great Falls, MT. to deliver a “pink” Cadillac El Dorado to a female friend who wanted him to drive her and her new car to Denver.
My Dad ( Actor – Jess Barker )in the Owens Valley fronting the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Lone Pine,CA… 1973…
On that road trip, we had fished in Yellowstone Lake off a Chris Craft Cruiser for cutthroat and lake trout. I remember when we went ashore on a small island; I took a spinning outfit and attached a gob of night crawlers to the treble hook on a Mepps spinner. My Dad told me emphatically, “You’re not going to catch a damn thing!” Hmmm…I knew better and within a half hour I had eight good-sized cutts stringered and lying on the beach.
I picked my Dad up a 6am and headed up the 14 freeway out of the San Fernando Valley towards Bishop, CA., We had breakfast at Jack’s Waffle House around 10:30. As we pulled out of the parking lot, my Dad asked me to stop at a liquor store so he could make a purchase. Well, when he got back in the car, he had a fifth of Cutty and a fifth of Cognac – untreated Alanon meter spikes to ten. Immediately, I envision that it is going to be THAT kind of a trip.
We got as far as Fallon, NV when Dad asked ME if I wanted a beer. “ Not really”, I responded. “ Well I do”, he shot back. So I pull into this dumpy little tavern with tumbleweeds blowing through the parking lot. Now I have a vision of “Bad Day at Black Rock” in my head. We stayed for his two and made for Battle Mountain. A replay occurred in Battle Mountain, Elko, Wells and almost in Jackpot. When Dad repeated the mantra as we approached Jackpot on the Idaho border, I looked over at him and said, “ If there was an ejection button on this console between my seats I would be jumping up and down on it RIGHT NOW! This is a fly fishing trip, not one of my ATO trips (of which I did many while attending Auburn) to Panama City!”
With that, we rode in silence to Idaho Falls where we spent the night.
The next morning was overcast, cold and drizzling. I made my way up through Ashton, Island Park and into West Yellowstone. We arrived around noon, checked into a motel/cabin and I went to a local shop to buy some waders and to ask for fly suggestions. My Dad went elsewhere.
We had a great prime rib dinner at a restaurant next to a pub where my Dad had spent the majority of the afternoon and early evening. The next morning was crisp and cold. I wanted to fish the Firehole River in the Park so we paralleled the Madison and following the road to the river. I found a nice parking spot just off the road next to the Firehole. I started to rig my rod and was prepared to set one up for Dad. As I came around to the passenger side of the car, I noticed my Dad had the fifth of cognac between his legs and was reading the Wall Street Journal (he did not own any stocks).” Hey Dad, I said, which rod do you want to use.” It was at this moment that he chose to tell me that he had never fly fished in his life and did not intend to do so now. “ Great, I exclaimed, so what do you want to do? “ “Well, replied my father, I’m going to sit in the car, read my paper and watch you fish and when it gets cold I’ll turn on the heater – so leave the keys!”
Fuming, I slid into the water and began casting the Leonard with a #22 yellow mayfly imitation upstream…
This story continues here: