Small Stream Trout fishing in Michigan

Archive for the month “December, 2022”


My wife Jan and I made a trip to California mid-December to see Lisa and Lil, our daughter and granddaughter. It was an early, wonderful Christmas for us. Lisa planned our whole week to perfection, a gift she has, understanding the most interesting and fun things for a family or a group and making it happen.

We spent the first few days in Sacramento for a perfect Christmas. Lisa had helped Lil write a letter for Santa and posted it into a tiny mailbox on the TV stand. Santa came while we were there and took it one night. “He’s sneaky!” Lil said. We had gifts around the Christmas tree and lots of playtime with Lil. She received a camping set from her Aunt Sara and “Gunckle” and we spent a lot of time pretend camping with visits from her stuffed animals, cooking meals in the plastic campfire, flicking plastic bugs, the camp set had everything! Jan read Lil some new books including one about a crayons revolt that had them both laughing – belly laughs! Lil received lots of gifts including a baby doll with lots of clothes and a basket that Great Grandma Phillips, my mom, gave Lisa when she was a child. A family heirloom.

Lisa helping Lil with the pajamas on her baby doll.

For part two of our trip we spent three nights at an airbnb in Glen Ellen, a small burg just north of Sonoma, and took day trips to the Jack London Museum and a Railroad fun park. The museum was really something. I knew a little about Jack London and have read a couple of his books, Call of the Wild, The Sea Wolf, famous books, but didn’t know anything about his life. He wrote over a hundred books and they had first editions behind a glass case. And his whole life story from childhood to his death. There’s a grave marker on the site along with a home he built (which is now in ruins). I felt like I knew him by the time I reached his gravesite. Quite a remarkable man.

Thank you Lisa, for thinking of this! You knew I’d find it fascinating.

The Railroad fun park was a blast. We all took the train ride around the park which included a stop at a kid-size town with a chapel, a jail, a store and other basically kid-size buildings with fun things inside. On the spot Lil joined in play with the kids from another family running from building to building. She’s so well adjusted and social for a three year old. Good job mom! Lisa and Lil went on other rides including a carousel, a small Ferris wheel, an airplane ride, and finally some whirly thing with a strange name.

Back at the airbnb the girls used the hot tub (not my cup of tea) which gave me a chance to catch up on some reading. Lisa and Lil gave me an amazing book about the Rolling Stones for Christmas. There’s an analysis of every song starting back in the blues years up through rock and roll. It says who played what instrument and even points out wrong notes in songs. As a musician I am not alone! This should be it’s own post.

I knew the week trip would go by in a fast blur and sure enough suddenly we were at the airport and heading back to Michigan. I would have loved to stay out in California with them.

Coming soon: Trout fishing stories even if I have to make them up.


I started going to estate sales a few years ago and began collecting vintage cigarette cases. The ones I have are in good shape and some have art deco and art nouveau designs. According to my ebay searches they are worth several times what I paid (which was ten dollars or less.) I think fifteen is the most I’ve paid. There are some very interesting ones on ebay, some listed up to a hundred dollars or more, but I have to remember this is a hobby, not a business – just buy bargains. There are several good antique stores West Michigan but I have seen very few of these and they were priced at ebay levels or higher, so that’s out. This means estate sales and the odd garage sale.

Auctions are another avenue for collectors, and fun, but they are usually an all-day affair and there is no telling when an auctioneer will get to the table that has the item you want. You have to wait for the really big ticket items to be sold first and sometimes there are thousands of items spread out. That said, you never know just what kind of things you might find at an auction including musical instruments, quality art, or that thing you have been thinking about and now here it is and maybe cheap.

Michigan is really in the deep freeze right now and trout season opens the end of April so hobbies, like collecting, is one way to get out, move around, and get some exercise. I’m still working part-time, but not a lot, and I read way to much if that’s possible, so having a hobby to get through a Michigan winter really helps.


Around Halloween of this year my wife and I flew out to California to see our daughter and granddaughter, Lisa and Lillian. While out there Lisa had the idea of visiting Yosemite which was a three hour drive from Sacramento. We rented an airbnb close to the park and made a one day trip. The park is set up for a drive through with parking and trails at scenic stops. I took lots of photos and we couldn’t have had more fun.

There is something disturbing about giant boulders even when they have been in the exact same spot for centuries. But the thing that really struck me was the vertical faces of the mountains: Even at a distance it seemed like you could reach out and touch them. An odd feeling or maybe an optical illusion?

Lisa, adventure is her middle name.

Lil with “Elephant”, her favorite

Three Generations enjoying a perfect fall day.

We’ve planned another trip for December, this time an airbnb in Napa Valley to celebrate a green Christmas? That will be interesting.

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