If you’ve wondered why I haven’t been posting much lately, it’s because I came down with pneumonia a couple weeks ago. It knocked me on my ass. Literally. During the worst of it, two weeks ago, I had a fever of 103F for four days and energy was at an all-time low. While at the doctor, the simple task of holding my arms above my head for a chest x-ray (one of the ways to diagnose pneumonia) for 60 seconds proved to be impossible. “You’ll need to take it easy for the next 4-6 weeks,” instructed my doctor. She also informed me hospital time is a possibility. Seeing as people regularly die from this, I took her instruction seriously. Taking it easy, however, is the hardest thing for me to do. Between biking to work, running a few times each week, playing soccer on Thursdays, fishing as often as possible and skiing on the fresh Minneapolis snow, I quickly found myself without the activities I enjoy most. Sitting still comes natural for most Americans. I consider it a circle of hell.
Enter Stir-Crazy Kurt.
If I can’t be outdoors, I do the next best thing: prepare for being outdoors. (Read as: buy things). My first purchase came in the form of a trainer for my bike. I’d been planning this for some time. Riding on ice is something I will not do. A bike accident a couple years ago got me thinking seriously about riding slower, safer and taking less chances. But biking is still something I crave, especially when it involves punishing my legs. “Shut up, legs,” demands Jens Voigt when he is riding. I have the opposite sentiment. I tell my legs to yell all they want because it gives me more motivation to ride harder. That’s normal, right?
Once I get a new tire to use on the back wheel (and assemble the trainer), this thing will be fully operational. Yes, that is a small gray cat inspecting the box. She approves. Now I just need to wait a couple more weeks until my lungs are healthy enough to pedal without coughing myself to death.
Last year, I picked up a Redington Path 5wt as my first fly rod. I’ve been fishing since I was three, but I told myself I wouldn’t buy a nice fly rod and reel until I knew I would fish enough to justify the spend. After all, fly rods and reels can get expensive quick. With a few dozen trips to the river this year, it’s safe to say I fished enough. The plan was to wait until the spring to get a new rod and reel. Then Mend Provisions had a sale and changed that plan. The sale also involved a party. With beer. And whiskey. And awesome people.
Without proper shot glasses, we improvised by using 2 oz. cups reserved for buying flies. I mean, it’s all part of the experience, right? Side note: If you know anyone with a fly shop, convince them to invite 30 people; serve free High Life, whiskey and PBR; hire a dude to play a steel guitar and harmonica; and have a good time. A fly shop is the best venue for such a gathering.
Anyways, rather than waiting until February or March and paying full price, I took advantage of the 20% off sale at the party and walked out with a new 4wt.
The rod is an 8’6″ 4wt Hardy Classic. If it were a car, it wouldn’t be street-legal because it is so light. The color isn’t showing up very well, but it is a deep red. Absolutely gorgeous. The reel is an Abel TR1. Black components with a rosewood-colored handle. I’m counting down the days until I can get out and christen this beauty (12 days).
I’m also working on setting up our back porch as a waxing room for our cross-country skis. We’ll save that for another post.
If you’ve read this far, here is a photo of the aforementioned gray cat. I’ve been spending excessive time on the couch recovering and she can usually be found sleeping on or near me. Her name is Sprite.