Dad, Where is My Suitecase?

I’ve been told recently that “bad stuff” seems to follow me around. I really don’t think that is true. I think that if a person does a lot of stuff, then part of it will be bad. And if you wait long enough, the bad very often becomes funny, that or it becomes very easy to present in a funny light. For this story, it was funny to everyone but me pretty much right away. I think it’s funny now, but not as much as the other cast of characters………

Three years ago I took a camping trip back to the same river as the “shut up and….” story with my brother Russell, brother in law Mike and son Ben. The trip itself was really fantastic.  We did some hiking to a high mountain lake that someone in the past helicoptered a boat to. Here are a few of the shots. The trailhead was really hard to find because they were doing some logging very near where the trailhead used to be, but fortunately my son located it. Nothing funny here, I just wanted to put up the pictures of the hike and me sliding down a mountain!


This boat was on the lake. It had been helicoptered in sometime in the past.


Me sliding down the snow-that is still there in early September!

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The boys on the trip, myself, Ben, Mike and Russell.

The other two days we fished the river. Russ is pretty new to fly fishing, but picked it up pretty well and caught a lot of fish. My brother in law Mike, well, lets say he’s a work in progress. We spent a bit of time explaining the basics of fly casting to him, and he looks you in the eye and shakes his head affirmatively as you explain, then completely ignores you and casts the way he wants (I think that if you talked to his wife you might find that this is his life’s theme-ignoring you and doing it how he wants). We call the casting method “tomahawk chop”. Actually said like this tomahawwwwwwkkkkkk chop. Very long back cast followed by a millisecond of forward cast.  I know many of you reading this don’t fly fish, but in essence the cast should be fairly equal in duration forward and backwards. For Mike, it’s about 10 parts back followed by 1 part forward. Not very effective, but funny as hell to watch.

I won’t bore everyone with the fishing story. Fish were caught and fun was had. Boys jumped in a very cold mountain river. The brother in law strips to his aqua blue skivvies and poses on the picnic table as “AquaMan”. (When saying AquaMan in your head think over the top TV announcer saying AQUAMAN!!) I wish I still had a picture!! We stay up late drinking beer and watching satellites pass overhead, including the space station. More stars than you can imagine.


Russel flopping into the river. To say it’s cold doesn’t do it justice. Ben did this as well. Mike and I drank beer and watched. We won.


Ben doing his thing.


Russell with a nice cutty


And Mike

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And me


The “Gates of Mordor” from the campsite.


The campsite, doubling as a Honda Ridgeline Advertisement. This is maybe my favorite place to camp anywhere

On the last day, my brother and I are fishing together and my brother in law is with my son. My brother and I find what I now call “The Perfect Cutty Run (PCR)” and proceed to catch fish after fish. Unbeknownst to us, we are being observed by fisheries officers from a road on the other side of the river, maybe 300 yds away. They make their way over to us (and that takes awhile to drive around to where we are, hike the 15 minutes, just to check our licenses) to make sure everything is legal. They tell us that they had spotted us from the other side and say “we knew you weren’t going anywhere. Having a pretty good day, eh?” They also check my son and brother in law a bit upstream. Turns out a couple of us left our licenses back at the trailer, so we all head over. We find everything to the officers satisfaction, offer them lunch, and they tell us about some nice spots in the area (honestly, they were super guys!). As it is around 2 PM, we decide that the trip has been great and instead of making our way back to the water, we should pack up and head home. My son pulls me aside and says “Dad, do you think we can go back to that place you and uncle Russell were? All I’ve done all day is pull Uncle Mikes flies out of trees.” Now, it is very unusual for Ben to ask anything like this. He is one of the most laid back fishermen I’ve ever met. After one particularly trying day of missing fish all day he says to me “Meh, I’ve caught them before and I’ll catch them again.” So I discuss with the guys and they are fine with it. So back to the water we head. I take the guys back to the PCR. On the way, Ben spots a rising fish and stops to get him. Mike and Russ catch several more fish at the PCR and Mike asks where Ben is. I reply that he is catching fish upstream. “How do you know?” “Because he would be here if he wasn’t.”

So after an hour or so, we decide that I will go back to the campsite, pick up the trailer (we had broken camp  earlier that day and all was ready to go) and come back to pick everyone up to go home. I walk upstream, find Ben to tell him. He’s beaming. “I found about 10 rising fish in that run and got every one of them, I’m good now!”

I make my way back to camp, see Ben’s suitcase (important note here: Ben is going straight from this trip back to University. He has basically everything he owns in this suitcase) on the ground and throw it in the back of the truck with all the other suitcases. I think. Hook up the trailer, and make my way back. Pick up the guys and Ben asks “where is my suitcase?” I tell him it’s in the back of the truck and he can’t find it. I look and can’t find it either. So I decide I must have somehow left it back at camp.

I disconnect the trailer and drive back. Can’t find it. Ask the guys in the campsite nearby if anyone had been by. They say no, they hadn’t seen anyone. Baffled, I go back to the trailer. What the hell could have happened? No way is anyone stealing a suitcase 100 KM from civilization. I tell Ben I have no idea what had happened, but we would buy whatever he needed to go back to school. So I back up to hook the trailer back up. Russell stats to lower the trailer on the hitch. I’m looking in the rear view, and Mike starts laughing uncontrollably and pointing under my trailer. I have 0 doubt what he is pointing at. Now Ben and Russell are howling also as Russell lifts up the trailer to retrieve the suitcase. That I had dragged about 2 KM on gravel. They are shouting at me to come and look, but I utterly refuse. They pull it from under the trailer, and other than a nice new hole, none of Ben’s stuff is damaged. Only thing damaged is my self-esteem. 2 grown men and 1 young adult are still laughing and pointing like 12 year olds. There is much discussion over my stupidity. I yell out of the window “just hook the damn trailer up and let’s go.” “Where would you like us to put the suitcase, Rick?” “Oh, I have a few suggestions.” “I thought you said you put it in the truck, not under the truck!” More laughter and helpful comments. Finally everything is hooked and they get in the truck. “Im not interested in hearing about this” I advise. To no avail. I hear about it. A lot. Like really a lot. And some unsolicited advice for my son from Mike: “you have the ultimate get out of jail free card, Ben.” I agree to this, but only one card. He still hasn’t cashed it in. I’m a bit worried still. And I still haven’t called American Tourister to commend them on their luggage. I mean seriously, it went 2 KM under a trailer on gravel and didn’t disintegrate? Impressive.

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