We went out of Gold Beach today where the big fish are! Had to make our way out through a sea of tourists in river guide boats going after salmon in the lower Rogue.
Robby caught a big black right away.
We fished the Gold Beach Reef, a pregnant area because it is not fished often, being frequently hazardous to get to it when crossing the Gold Beach Bar, a small patch of water (200 yards long) that can yield freaky waves and currents that claims about two unsuspecting fishermen a year. (Shhh! It’s one of GB’s best kept secrets that we have a bar that kills two people a year.)
We were careful, and the Bar was calm. Lenie insisted we call her before we crossed the Bar, after we got across, when we caught a big fish, then when we were about to recross the Bar coming back, and after we had successfully crossed it. We spent a lot of time on the phone.
I’ll go out here more often. Lots of current and it’s too deep to anchor, but it was fun! Robby is a totally independent fisherman. He understands his gear, the art of experimentation, and he never asks me what he should do next because he’s already figured it out. I have three very smart sons, but Robby is brilliant and it comes out especially when he is fishing. He understands the primordial battle of man versus fish.
Salmon are in the mouth of the Rogue River in Gold Beach, which is the home of BHM. I counted 85 boats — mainly tourists or local guides with clients — the other day trolling for them. It’s a bit too crowded for me. They are catching quite a few, some as big as 40-plus pounds. I prefer bottom fishing in the open ocean.
Have you noticed that the new issue (Sept/Oct 2007) went online at the website, www.backwoodshome.com, a week ago? I’ve been concentrating on the EVEN NEWER issue, namely, the Nov/Dec 2007 issue. We have gone into deadline mode at BHM for the Christmas issue. Kind of weird huh? We’re on deadline for the Nov/Dec issue, and the new issue, which was six weeks ago for me, just went online. Of course, paid subscribers have been enjoying the new issue for three weeks.
Got Jeff Yago’s article for the Nov/Dec issue in the other day. Superb! Another great writer with a lot of knowledge. This article is part of a two-part series about building a solar camper that can also substitute as an emergency backup power source.
I also talked with my daughter, Annie, yesterday at her new home in North Carolina. She is our key computer layout person for each issue, creating both article layouts and ads.
“Are you ready?” I said.
“Ready!” she said, adding “My sewing room is not set up yet, but my computer and cable are fine.” Annie is a sewing NUT and I’m thinking of taking a reader’s suggestion and having her blog about sewing, knitting, etc. at the website. Right now, we only link to her blog
Lisa had already sent Annie articles, and I immediately transferred Jackie Clay’s blog to her. Jackie is so popular that I wanted to transfer the technical aspects of uploading the “Ask Jackie” blog to Annie as soon as I could. I’m just too busy to continue handling it.
So here we are in two different worlds, thanks to the internet. Readers are enjoying the new issue, and I and my staff are working on the NEWER issue. How will we ever adjust?
Internet access, of course, is an important part of all this. Today I downgraded my HughesNet satellite internet connection to the “Home Plan” at a cost of $60 a month because my “Professional Plus Plan” at a cost of $110 a month, didn’t work very well. I’ll do all my heavy internet work at the office where we have a fast cable connection. I wish satellite internet would come of age. I used to have Dish Network for internet, and that service was good at first, then lousy, and finally downright terrible, so I cancelled it. Maybe the same thing will happen with HughesNet.
There’s always a catch when you change your internet service, no matter who you are using. The catch this time is they have to cut off my service first for an hour, then I have to go online and reactivate it using some sort of “web setup” program.
“How do I do that?” I asked their customer service person. “Oh, I don’t know,” she said. “Just call technical support if you need help.”
Ha, ha! That’s when I get to call someone in either India or the Philippines and try to get technical help through their broken English. Usually they only half understand what they are trying to tell you anyway. It’s all part of American companies finding a cheaper labor pool overseas to service their products. I wish they would just pay a little more and get Americans who speak English well and who “completely” understand the technical nuances of the internet problems people are trying to get solved.
So let’s see what happens with this HughesNet “change of service.” It is now 2:15 pm, Thursday, Aug. 30. I’m going out to play some golf with my son in a “men’s scramble” at the local golf course, then come back in three hours and see if I can get back online and upload this blog post. The moment I am online I’ll upload it. I’m betting I’m in for a tough time.
A golf win and a chinook (King salmon)
It is now 8:30 pm, Saturday, Sept. 1. I am finally back online. It wasn’t all HughesNet’s fault. I didn’t call until this afternoon because Robby and I won the golf scramble in a four-way playoff, then went out the next day fishing on the Rogue River and Robby caught a big king salmon. Nice week for that 14-year-old kid.
It only took a few hours and two calls to India to get back online. Now that I have successfully downgraded, I went out to the speakeasy website and did a speed test, and my download speed is faster with my now supposedly slower connection. Very weird!
I’ve posted several photos of Robby and his salmon, but I wish I had a photo of him on the final hole of the men’s scramble. It was a par 3. We had a six-person team, five men and Robby, and all five men missed the green. We needed a birdie to get into the playoff. Robby teed off and put it two feet from the pin, giving us an easy birdie. We, of course, went on to win the playoff with another birdie. It was the first time Robby had played with the men. He was one of two 14-year-olds.
A bottle of good merlot while camping is a wonderful thing. Luckily my son-in-law Erik’s Dad, Rocky Tuttle, is a wine guy, namely, he studies the stuff. While my family was visiting Annie and Erik a couple of months ago in 29 Palms, California, Rocky was also visiting from Arizona and provided the wine for a barbecue we had at our cabin at the 29 Palms Inn. He bought some inexpensive (about $10 a bottle) Columbia-Crest wine from the local grocery store. It was extremely good. I am a merlot guy, so I know. The wine was 2004 Columbia-Crest Merlot, but it must also say “Grand Estates” on the label. I brought along two bottles for this camping trip.
Unfortunately I couldn’t open the bottles. The cork was just too tight. Luckily, I have a 15-year-old son, Jake, who is immensely powerful, so he opened them after a bit of effort.
This has been a very relaxing camping trip. Lenie has taken to reading the boys Harry Potter’s 7th book during the day because they are within a hundred pages of the end of this 759-page book, so I’ve had lots of time to just think. I think J. K. Rowling will be remembered just like Shakespeare, who was also very popular in his own time. We know from the history that people flocked to Shakespeare’s plays, especially his comedies, and now we read him hundreds of years later.
Hopefully, the language won’t change as much in the future as it did between Shakespeare’s time and now. Shakespeare was at the beginning of modern English, inventing many of the words and phrases we now take for granted, but we can still understand him with the help of a good English teacher or a guide. But our modern English is evolving quickly, at least as quickly since Shakespeare’s time. Isn’t that weird? The language we speak today is changing so much that we probably will have difficulty understanding Harry Potter a few centuries from now. If we let some teachers from the inner cities have their way, we won’t be able to understand some of our citizens a few decades from now.
Rocky Tuttle, by the way, is much more than a wine officionado. He is Gold Beach High School’s greatest football star, prominently displayed in its Hall of Fame. He got a full football scholarship to Idaho State, then got an offer to try out for the Green Bay Packers in his senior year. He said ”no” and decided to pursue a career in banking. I asked him if he regrets that decision, and he said he didn’t. “I realized I was simply finished with football,” he told me. He ran a 4.4 forty in college. That’s fast!
We’re eating good while camping. One of my favorite snacks is a toastite made from apples we picked from our own trees at home and blackberries we picked while here. Sandwiched between two pieces of whole wheat bread, it’s very healthy, besides being delicious. I also sprinkle on a bit of cinnamon sugar. We spray the insides of the toastiter with Pam, but any oil will do. Otherwise the bread sticks to the toastiter. They also cook quick in the fire pit, so you have to check them often or they’ll burn.
The boys make a sour candy from the unripe blackberry kernels. They just break them out and carry them around in their pockets. I tried some: very good but very sour.
We had our company picnic yesterday at Quosatana Campground 14 miles up the Rogue River from the BHM office. My family decided we’d combine the picnic with a four-day camp at Quosatana so we got there a day ahead. We brought everything we could fit in the truck, including our bicycles, four coolers for the picnic fixings, a bunch of firewood, and my axes.
It was a great day!. Quosatana is the local’s favorite camp spot, It’s spacious, has three flush toilet bathrooms, potable water, a boat ramp, and easy access to swimming and fishing in the river. It also quiets down nicely after 10 pm as campers respect people’s desire for a quiet sit by the campfire. I’ve been in campgrounds in California where I decided to leave after a night of shouting and drunkenness from other camp sites.
We brought our Coleman popup camper too, which makes camping pretty easy with its two queen-sized beds, a stove, and refrigerator. But we cook mainly with a small barbecue we set out on the picnic table at the site. Lenie barbecued turkey sausages and chicken for the picnic, and employees brought all sorts of delicious stuff: pasta, potato salad, lots of fruit, brownies, chips, dips, various drinks and desserts.
We all sat around the campfire and had a great time. Lenie and I decided to just close the office down for the day. Conveniently, someone cut a fiber optic table north of town, near Coos Bay, so the town had no phone or internet anyway. As the afternoon wore on, four of the ladies went off and picked blackberries. They got a lot, as blackberrries are plentiful this time of year around here. In fact, blackberries are so plentiful in Southern Oregon that many people treat them as a nuisance, hiring someone to just cut them out. I trim ours at home back severely every year. The day’s harvest went to Lisa, who had planned to make blackberry jam later in the day.
The six kids at the picnic went fishing on the Rogue, at a spot the adults found difficult to get to because you had to slither along a slate outcropping that hung over the river for about 60 yards. I think the kids planned it that way so they had several hours to themselves. They caught 21 small bullhead in all.
The kids, along with several adults, also went swimming in the Rogue. Typically, the river is very cold but the water was in the low 60s today, I would estimate. The warm water is one reason why the salmon season on the Rogue has been poor this summer. Salmon like a certain temperature. If the water gets too warm, disease begins to spread among them
By late afternoon BHM employees had gone home, so Robby and I went fishing for steelhead in a riffle west of the camp. We each caught one but they were too undersized to keep. I tried using one of the small bullhead as bait but steelhead apparently don’t like them. We ran out of worms so I’ll go to town tomorrow to get more.
The Rogue is a magnificent river, with each twist and turn revealing some new wonder of nature. Not only are their black bears and deer roaming around, plus osprey diving for fish, but there are rapids around one bend, then a peaceful swimming hole with a sandy beach around the next. The water is somewhat low this time of year, so when you take your jet boat up you have to keep up the speed through the riffles so you don’t bottom out. There weren’t many boats going upiver today.
The evenings have been very peaceful. My family sat around the campfire until bedtime, then Lenie read Harry Potter to the boys as I continued to stare into the mesmerizing flames or write on this blog post. The boys like to tend the fire. They are expert, since they have two wood stoves to tend at home. Our camp is in a myrtlewood grove so there are dry leaves all over, which the boys gather and toss into the fire to create a burst of colorful flames.
The camp quiets down nicely at night, with the lone exception of the one dodo a night who likes to lock his car door by pressing the button on that infernal key device that makes the car horn beep. But I’m a patient, understanding guy. I block out the interruptions and just relax. Besides, I’ve yet to meet anyone at Quosatana that I didn’t like.
There are lots of stars out tonight, from what I can see between the myrtlewood branches. Like at home, there are no nearby city lights here to diminish the brilliance of the stars.
I’ve taken advantage of my own magazine’s advice for this trip by bringing two of the GE lanterns Jeff Yago reviewed in a previous issue, plus the small, very quiet Honda 2000I generator he reviewed. My trailer batteries are low so I’ll charge them today while the campground is bustling.
Our black lab, Molly, also likes to camp. She swims in the Rogue. My boys are all strong swimmers, thanks to Lenie, who
swam on her college team.
It’s getting late. The campground, except for me, is asleep. I’ll shut off the lantern and let the fire go out. Tomorrow I’ll drive the 14 miles to town to buy
I finally got to do some fishing. My boys and I went out into the Pacific Ocean from Chetco Bay, which is the harbor in Brookings, Oregon. We only caught a couple of blacks, but that was enough for dinner since they were pretty good size.
The weather was great and water calm, so I let the boys jet around at about 25 to 30 mph. There are lots of sea stacks and underwater rocks here where fish lurk, so we covered a lot of territory both south and north of the harbor. I was more interested in how the boat performed this trip, since the gas in its tank was a couple of months old. That’s how long it had been since I last went fishing.
The biggest fish got away. It was a large black Robby hooked. Jake asked him if he needed the net and he said no, then lost him as he tried to pull him on board. “I didn’t know he was that big!” Robby complained afterward. Oh well! We used the net after that.
We stayed out about four hours. I caught nothing, but lost four rigs on the submerged rocks. Jake caught the biggest fish, a nice black rockfish. We bleed them as soon as we catch them by slitting their throat and gills. That way the meat tastes very good.
When we got back into shore, some fishermen were busy cleaning the tuna they caught. One guy went out 46 miles to catch them, and he did it in a river boat a lot smaller than mine. I’ll have to study the weather forecasts pretty thoroughly before I go offshore 46 miles with a river boat, especially with my three boys. If I had another boat to go out with me, maybe I’d do it on a good forecast. You never know when something can go wrong, and I don’t feel like having to call the Coast Guard to bring me back in.
When we got back it took us about an hour to hose the salt off the boat and flush the engines with fresh water. Those are essential tasks for a boat that goes in salt water. I put the prop of my small motor right in a barrel of fresh water and run it for 10 minutes. My big 200-hp has a hose adapter, and I run water through that for another 10 minutes.
The boys cleaned their own fish. That’s Mom’s rule. They are very good at it and enjoy the process. We froze the heads for later crab fishing, and we gave some fish guts, plus some leftover anchovy bait, to the chickens.
Lenie then made a nice dinner from the blacks, complemented by string beans and a cucumber from the garden.
Should we do an e-issue?
We’re investigating the possibility of bringing back the e-issue. The technology is now available that presents the magazine in pretty much the same format as the print issue, but it’s memory intensive, taking between 60 and 70 megs per issue. That means the e-issue would take too long to download for anyone with a dialup connection, and it is even kind of inconvenient with my high-speed satellite connection. Maybe some of you reading this could give me some feedback (just click on the COMMENTS button below) on what kind of internet connection you have, since it appears this new technology is really only suited to people who have a cable connection.
We’re only thinking about an e-issue at this point. It all depends on cost, how we can recover the cost, how much work is involved, etc. I’d appreciate input form anyone who has an idea how we can do this. In the old days we did have an e-issue done in pdf format, but we had lots of piracy problems so I don’t think I want to go there again. The new technology makes theft of the magazine e-issue much more difficult.
An e-issue would obviously expand our readership overseas, since it is now prohibitively expensive to send a print issue to an overseas address.
The ocean is flat as a pancake today but I’m already committed to deadline tasks at the office in Gold Beach. Isn’t that a shame? After a week of a rocky Pacific, its blacks, lingcod, and halibut beckon me to come and catch them in my underused boat and I have to work. My two youngest boys aren’t too happy either as I’ve committed them to come in with me and cut the grass and pick up the papers around the office building. I’m paying them, but that doesn’t matter. They want to fish.
The bright side is I’m into the Letters section of the issue, and I always get a thrill out of reading letters. BHM is important to many readers and sometimes I don’t realize just how important until I begin reading the stacks of letters we get. I have to pick and choose which ones will get printed, and I cut out parts of some (I leave three dots in the place of words cut) because they are simply too long. If you want your letter printed in its entirety, make it short. Many letters are redundant with others, such as the ones praising us for wrapping the mailed issues in plastic, so I choose only one to use. Some people have sent two letters so I use only one to give other readers a chance.
I’m also reading Jackie Clay’s Question and Answer section. Because we didn’t use the column last issue, I now have 13 pages for that section. That’s too many so I’ll have to cut at least five pages. So far I haven’t found many letters to cut because the information is so good. Hard decisions, but most readers want variety. As popular as Jackie is, the issue can’t be all Jackie. Mas Ayoob is also back after being cut last issue. The omission of these two writers’ articles from last issue generated a lot of letters and emails asking why. What can I say; I try to introduce new stuff, or longer articles that cover other topics in more detail. Someone has to be cut. They’re back this issue though. Richard Blunt only goes in every third issue or so, so his absence will provide some room. His presence in last issue generated letters praising his return to the magazine.
My nearest neighbor, Jamie Carpenter, dropped by some more wood yesterday. He lives on 500 acres behind me that is owned by his father, Arnold, a man of about 80 years. Jamie is my age and has never been on a computer. I told him I’d use his photo in my blog. I don’t think he has any idea what a blog is. He and I are good friends; I sometimes bring him the extra eggs our chickens lay. His son, Shannon, often works for me doing odd jobs.
Another 400 miles driving and we made it to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to a Holiday Inn Express. We stay at Holiday Inn Express a lot when we travel because rooms are always nice, good free breakfast, internet accesss, exercise room, and usually an indoor pool for my three kids. Lenie always finds a good price through the internet or in travel coupons she finds at rest stops.
Watched the Deadliest Catch on the Disovery Channel to relax after driving all day. It’s about crab fishermen in the Bering Sea off Alaska. If I wasn’t a publisher, I always thought I’d be a commecial fisherman. But crabbing sure looks super hard, freezing, and dangeous work. They make more money than me though. My boys and I went fishing on my boat a few days before we left on this trip. We caught nine big blacks (black rock fish), which taste good if you bleed them out properly by cutting their throat or gills.
Preliminary copies of the new issue–No. 106, July/August 2007–came in just before we left. They’re being shipped to subscribers now and some of the articles will make it to the website a couple of weeks after that. We always reward the paid subscribers by sending them their print issue two weeks before any of the articles go online. It’s a strong issue, with the right mix of building, gardening, food, and commentary.
Today we’ll drive through Montana and into North Dakota. The goal is Duluth, Minnesota to visit Lenie’s relatives before we head down to Custer, Wisconsin for the Enegy Show June 13.