Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I got nine lives
Cat's eyes

I just flailed on that post just below.

Since my little shakeout-redesign, two month hiatus, I am pretty sure that my remaining readers know me pretty damn well, either personally or online.

And if that is true, then you know that it is rare that I am speechless about anything.

Shit, I'm never speechless. I was a lawyer; I was born to bullshit.

Part of it was that I lost my camera there, so I can't show you the architecture, or the fish, or the different rooms and buildings where we chilled.

Everything was done with such an understated sense of class, it was unbelievable.

There were fireplaces that were loaded with wood, kindling and these awesome firestarters on the bottom. One wooden kitchen match had a blaze going in two minutes.

Really. You'd walk into a room, and staff would walk in. One would ask you what you wanted to drink.

"What do you have?"

"Whatever you want, sir."

Another would walk to the preset fireplace (which were loaded every day by staff in all of the guest houses), light a match and the blaze would be going in a minute.

I need to get me some of those firestarters.

There were also humidors full of really nice cigars. I had a nice Macanudo after dinner.

They asked us what time we would arrive. We were a half hour or so late, but they still had a spread in one of the two dining-hangout-poker-whatever "cabins."

I had a tenderloin cheeseburger, with blue cheese, chihpotle mayo and fries. They actually ground the burger there with the trimmings from the tenderloin they served at dinner the night before. (I know this, because the owner ate with us and spent the next 24 hours with us. Actually, because I was the rookie fisherman, he was my guide... we'll get to that in a minute.)

Sweet Mother of Christ, I swear to you, that was the best fucking burger I have ever eaten. I grew up in Wisconsin. I've had my fair share of burgers.

We shot the shit, ate lunch, had a drink and toured the joint.

We had our own Gator parked outside our guest house. It's like a heavy-duty golf cart that we were free to take around the grounds.

They own 40,000 acres. It's not contiguous, but ... Fuckin' A.

Our cabin was out at the end, and the river passed within 15 feet of our back deck. On that back deck was this big, tall, conical, metal fireplace. (Loaded and waiting for a match, of course.)

There was also a big fireplace inside our, "cabin," a big plasma with satellite, a couple bathrooms with the high rain shower, side jets, and sweet tile.

There was a stocked wet bar and frig. They even had a bucket of ice ready for us.

*Understand, I have only described our arrival and first ninety minutes on the premises... I guess $ 1000 per night really goes a long way.

It's really a shame I left my camera. It was absolutely gorgeous. The owner packed up his pickup and drove us to a spring creek that fed into the Ruby River. This was on some of the non-contiguous (is that a word?) acreage.

Of course, they had a cabin there, ready to roll. I brought none of my fishing gear. I was so damn busy Friday buying granite and gay bamboo that I had no time to think. I packed my guitar because they asked, and a nice shirt, because they said we had to dress for dinner. I had no idea where I was going.

They had a rod, boots, waders, snacks, drinks... and the owner, knowing I was the fishing rookie of the group, guided me.

Here I am thinking, "How did they know my shoe size? And the waders? WTF? That's weird. Are they Scientologists?"

(Apparently, I was the final guy asked to fill the spot. The owner asked the other dudes about me to make sure I would be cool around the other guests. They said yes. He asked if I could fish. (No.)

They reassured him I could handle myself around rich folk without acting a fool. (Ha!)

One of the other guys wanted to play guitar with me and that sealed the deal.)

The owner took me to "the honey hole." He tied the fly on my line, walked me into the river, said, "Watch ... cast like this ... and ... jerk it this way."

He handed me a line with a 23 inch rainbow on, which I promptly reeled in.

He watched me botch a couple casts, corrected me and got another one on the line, which I promptly reeled in.

Then I had it, and pulled out a couple more on my own. Trophy fish.

I secretly wonder if they had scuba guys putting fish on my line.

We sat on the porch of the little cabin after. Mind you, nobody sleeps at this cabin, even though it has beds. It's just there for a grilled lunch and a cocktail after fishing.

We went back, showered and dressed for dinner. We hung with the high rollers. I had the lamb. Again, I invoke the Sweet Mother of God.

After dinner, we had some cigars and Scotty and I played some guitar in front of a one-match fire. We played some Johnny Cash, Beatles and Stones to get people singing. Then we started to stretch out a little. Scotty is a phenomenal guitar player. I mostly played rhythm and picked the songs. (I know a lot, and Scotty can play anything.) It was fun.

It was so fun.

The other guests had a hell of a time, too.

We woke up to coffee in our cabin and a made-to-order breakfast burrito.

And then I went home.

Sorry there are no pictures.

Somebody's gotta live this life.


Leavin' on a southern train
Only yesterday, you lied

I spent part of the weekend at a really high-end guest ranch, called The Ruby Springs Lodge

(I lost my camera, so no pictures. You can click the link for a sense of the place.)

The owner is a friend of a friend, and they had an opening in one of their cabins. Four of us got the full-service treatment there absolutely free of charge.

Ah, it was quite nice. Possibly that nicest, most seamless experience I have had. Caught fish, ate like kings, had drinks, played guitar and had fun.

A lot of fun.

I am having trouble coming up with words for how great of an experience it was. I have stayed at the Waldorf in Manhattan, and I have stayed at the Grand Wailea in Maui. Those are the only two places that came close, but this experience was just a bit nicer.


Also, this weekend, we watched Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, with Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Ethan Hawke, Albert Kinney and Marisa Tomei. Damn, it was powerful. Fantastic movie. And pretty brutal.