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Fishing With Ivan Part 7B

12 May

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

I remember one morning, there in Sapinero, as we were launching Ivan’s boat at the boat ramp, the front mooring line slipped away from us as the boat came off the trailer.  Yep! The boat kept moving out into the lake.  Luckily the mooring line was made of hemp and was floating, trailing after the boat.  Ivan had to wade out to catch the line before it was out of reach.  Whew!  If the mooring line had not been floating, the boat would have glided out into the open lake and someone would have had to swim out to retrieve it.  That would not have been fun, as the water was really cold!  Burrrrr!  Or, we would have had to get one of Ivan’s friends to launch his boat and take us out to get Ivan’s boat.  That would have been very embarrassing, and Ivan would not have been able to live that one down.  I guess he figured it would be better if he got a little wet than the alternatives.

Photo: https://www.trustedchoice.com/l/utah/trailer-insurance/

The Trout and Kokanee Salmon in the Blue Mesa Reservoir were good size and gave us a good fight.  However, the fight was worth the effort when Ivan cooked them up for us for our evening meals.  Ivan and Dora were good friends with the owners of the Sapinero Trading Post and had become a part of the ‘family’ there at the RV Park.  Ivan helped with RV Park repairs and Dora helped in their “Ley-Z-B” Restaurant.  On the weekends, they both helped cook and serve the restaurant’s outdoor Bar-B-Q dinner that drew folks from near and far.  It was an “Old Home Town Event” every Saturday night.

Photo: https://www.mantitlement.com/bbq-party-ribs/

In addition to the RV Park repairs and helping with the Saturday night BBQ, Ivan spent much of his non-fishing time entertaining the young children who seemed to always be running around the RV Park.  They thought it was magic that ‘Uncle Ivan’ had an endless supply of rock candy in his pocket to hand out to them.

Photo by DiVoran Lites

Note: The town of Sapinero has an interesting story.  It goes that the original town was founded somewhere around 1882, and was named for the famous Ute Indian Chief ’Sapawanro’ (it is believed to have been changed to ‘Sapinero’ by the railroad).  It was located on the banks of the Gunnison River about halfway between Gunnison and Montrose, CO.    About that same time the D&RG Railroad pushed its tracks thru the area, and Sapinero became a railway stop on their Denver to Salt Lake City route (see Wikipedia for the detailed history of Sapinero and the influence of the D&RG Railroad on the area).  In 1962 the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation was given the responsibility for the design and construction of the Blue Mesa Dam across the Gunnison River.  When finished, the dam forming the largest artificial reservoir in the state of Colorado.  It also covered the homes, businesses, schools and churches of the town’s 500 residents with over 300’ of water.  The residents of Sapinero had to relocate just as the Ute Indians had to do in 1864 when they were forced to relocate from these same Colorado lands, by the U.S. Government, with the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1851.

 Photo: https://coyotegulch.blog/2018/09/09/forecast-for-blue-mesa-reservoir-record-low-territory-coloradoriver-coriver-aridification/

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

Fishing With Ivan Part 7A

5 May

A Slice of LIfe

Bill Lites

Having been raised most of their younger years in Colorado, Ivan and Dora both liked the high cool Colorado areas for their hot and humid summer months ‘get-a-way’ living when possible.  One of the Colorado areas they found to their liking was Sapinero, CO (elevation 7621’).  This small community is located on US-50, roughly halfway between Gunnison and Montrose, and on the southern edge of the Gunnison National Forest, adjacent to the Blue Mesa Reservoir (the fishing hole).

Photo: https://maps.roadtrippers.com/us/co/nature/blue-mesa-reservoir

They liked this location so well that they made arrangements with the RV Park owner to permanently park their 30’ Silver Streak travel trailer on one of their upper level lots overlooking the lake.  They had spent several summer seasons there in Sapinero, and were even allowed to build a permanent wooden roof over the trailer to protect it from the winter snows.  They extended one side of the roof (on the door side of the trailer) to include a very nice covered Patio deck.

Photo by Ivan Bowers

The time DiVoran and I visited Ivan and Dora in Sapinero we stayed in one of the ‘Rustic Cabins’ there in the RV Park.  I use the term rustic loosely, as it looked like it had to be at least 100 years old and never been painted.  As I remember, the lap-siding boards were nailed to the 2x4s that held up the roof and that was it!  There was nothing much on the inside to stop the cold and wind from coming thru the cracks in the siding.  There was a small table, two wooden chairs, a sagging double bed (with squeaky springs), and a small stained and chipped porcelain sink with a single faucet.  The water was ice cold and drained on the ground outside the cabin.  The single pull-chain lightbulb hanging from the ceiling gave off barely enough light to see your way around the cabin at night.  The outhouse was about 25 yards away, and seemed much further than that at two-o’clock in the morning.

Photo: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/309622543126549588/

DiVoran remembers that there was a good sized gap under the door.  We didn’t pay much attention to it until, in the middle of our first night in the cabin; she almost gave me a heart attack.  She woke me up screaming and jumping up and down in the middle of the floor.  I asked her what was wrong, and she said, “Something was crawling over my head!”  In the poor lighting, we searched the cabin but couldn’t find anything.  It was really hard to get back to sleep that night.  Visions of what might be scurrying around the cabin didn’t help.

The next morning, when we told Ivan our story, he just laughed and said, “It must have been one of my little friends that like to come in from the cold.   You wouldn’t blame them from wanting to get in there where it is warm would you?”  DiVoran didn’t think it was funny.  The next night you better believe we stuffed a towel in that gap under the door, to keep any visiting critters from bothering our sleep.

Image: http://clipart-library.com/laughing-man-cliparts.html

—–To Be Continued—-

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

Fishing With Ivan Part 6

28 Apr

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

I remember one trip to visit Ivan and Dora when they lived in Vista, CA.  This trip took place sometime around 1985.  DiVoran and I started this trip by flying from Orlando, FL to San Diego, CA.  After we picked up our rental car, we met with our high school friends, Jim and Charlene, who had moved to San Diego from Flagstaff, AZ.  We had a wonderful visit with them, remembering fun high school times and other times we had experienced with them in days gone by.  Then they took us to their favorite Mexican food restaurant where we enjoyed a delicious meal and more memories.

Photo by Bill Lites

After dinner, we said our goodbyes, and drove about 50 miles north to visit DiVoran’s brother, David, and his wife, Susan, in Vista, CA.  David was in the middle of restoring an off-road vehicle project, and enlisted me as his helper and go-fer.  DiVoran and Susan spent most of their time discussing children and grandchildren.  The two ladies conspired together to cook a wonderful meal that everyone enjoyed.  After an evening of more reminiscing, we finally called an end to the fun.  After that wonderful visit they put us up for the night at their lovely home.

Photo by DiVoran Lites

That year Ivan and Dora had decided to spend some time fishing at the Salton Sea.  So, the next day we drove east from Vista thru Escondido, Ramona, and Santa Ysabel (elevation: ~5000’), and then back down and thru the Anza Borrego Desert State Park, to somewhere on the west side of the Salton Sea (elevation: -226’).  I ask Ivan why he didn’t stay at the Salton Sea State Recreation Area where they had camping facilities (located on the northeast side of the lake), and he said it was too expensive and the fishing wasn’t any better in that part of the lake.

They had their 30 foot Silver Streak travel trailer setup near the water’s edge with nothing around them but a few other campers.  I never could figure out what had attracted them to this desert area, where there was nothing around them but a few scrub bushes and tumble weeds for as far as the eye could see.  

Photo: https://saltonsea.com/events/seafest-october-21-2017-7-am-to-7-pm-salton-sea-state-recreation-area/

I don’t remember much about that visit, but somehow Ivan had heard that the Mozambique Tilapia in the Salton Sea were plentiful that year, and he was determined to catch his share of them.  I don’t know how good the fishing had been for him before we got there, but that first night we didn’t have fresh fish for dinner.  DiVoran remembers that Dora had apologized for having to serve us canned salmon patties for dinner.

The only thing DiVoran remembers about that trip is that Dora had learned to paint there from a lady who lived there at the lake, and that she and Dora spent much of their time painting.  This activity ended up creating a new and very special life-long bond between DiVoran and her mother.

Note:  For an interesting read, check out Wikipedia for the details of how the Salton Sea was formed over millions of years, from a natural Salt Sink to a thriving 343 sq. mi. size lake, and how it has now been transformed to its present day ‘dead sea’ condition by mankind over the years.

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

Fishing With Ivan Part 5

21 Apr

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

After their retirement, Ivan and Dora tried to spend the three hottest months, each year, in a cooler part of the country.  They would pack-up their 30’ Silver Streak travel trailer and head for an RV Park somewhere near a good fishing spot.  Dora had a brother who owned an RV Park on Marrowstone Island, located in the Port Townsend Bay area, northwest of Seattle, WA.   They had visited Smitty and his wife, Waunita, several times over the years.  One year (I believe it was in 1980), I had a business trip to the San Francisco area, during the time Ivan and Dora were on their summer stay on Marrowstone Island.  When I completed my business, I took a week of vacation and joined Ivan and Dora for some relaxation time.  DiVoran had flown out from Florida to be with her parents a few weeks before I got there.

Photo: https://www.roverpass.com/c/smitty-s-island-retreat-nordland-wa/

DiVoran and Dora both enjoyed painting and they found lots of subjects to use to apply paint to canvas.  When they got tired of painting they would walk down to the beach to look for special pieces of driftwood they could use in their artwork.  They also found ‘Jade’ rocks that seemed to be prevalent along that beach.  On Wednesday evenings Dora would take DiVoran to her weekly Bible Study with some of the other ladies there on the island.

Photo by Bill Lites

       Each day Ivan would take me somewhere different where there were some old pilings (at low tide) where we gathered ‘tube worms’ for the day’s fishing.  Each day, after collecting our bait, we would head for another of his ‘secret fishing spots’ (he usually had more than one) to fish for Cod and Mackerel for our dinners.  That was always great fun learning how to fish for the different types of fish.

Another day Ivan took us to the clam beds (again at low tide) to dig for Horseneck Clams.  We learned how to watch for the clams to spout water in the air; then we would rush over quickly, and dig them up before they could borrow their way back down into the sand.  What an interesting learning experience that was.  DiVoran and I learned to eat a large variety of seafood, and other things (well at least I did), during our visits with Ivan and Dora.

One day Ivan and Dora took us for a tour of Fort Flagler, located in the Fort Flagler State Park.  The fort is located at the northern tip of Marrowstone Island.  I learned that Fort Flagler (1897), along with Fort Worden (1898) and Fort Casey (1899) once guarded the Admiralty Inlet, which is the nautical entrance to Puget Sound.  Because of the many tourists that visit the park, some of the wildlife are very tame.  As luck would have it, Dora got a chance to feed a small deer the day we were there.  What a thrill that was!

Photo by DiVoran Lites

On a couple occasions, DiVoran and I made the trip to Port Townsend to do some shopping and to enjoy a bowl of the most wonderful Crab Bisque I have ever eaten.  I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant.  Ivan was an excellent cook, and he and Dora kept us well fed.  It didn’t matter, what the season was, or in what location we happened to visited them, the food was always good and plentiful.  However, I don’t believe I have ever known Ivan to cook fish any other way than pan fried.  Yummm!

I was amazed at the tide levels in the Port Townsend Bay area.  The difference between Low Tide and High Tide was over 9½ feet.  In the photo below, you can see the pilings behind us (at low tide) which will give you an idea of how much difference there is.  This amazing tidal difference gave us wonderful opportunities, during low tide activities, to participate in such interesting adventures as beach combing and digging for Horseneck clams.  It’s amazing the kind of things you will find on a beach, at low tide, especially after a storm. 

Photo by Dora Bowers

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

Fishing With Ivan Part 4E

14 Apr

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

DiVoran never will forget the day, while we were there in Fort Bragg, that Ivan took me out fishing on his commercial fishing boat.  He had a ship-to-shore radio on his boat for communications.  He decided to call it a day when the seas became too choppy.  He showed me how to use the radio and we called Dora, to let her know we were heading in.  DiVoran remembers that, “Both men could hear mother and me, and we could hear them.  They were complaining about how rough the seas were getting, and how it was making Ivan feel sick.”

Photo Credit Tightwad Cruises

“Suddenly I seized the moment to treat him as he had treated me when I got car-sick as a child.  Growing up, we lived in a valley surrounded by mountains, and the mountain roads were full of ‘S’ curves which made me car-sick.  Often Ivan would have to stop the car and let me out to throw-up.  When I got back in the car he would give me a dose of some awful tasting liquid, telling me it would help me not to be sick any more.  It might have worked for the moment, but was it worth it?”

Photo Credit Canstockphoto.com

“So when Bill told me the water was getting wild, and the boat was slipping and sliding over the waves, and that it was making Ivan sick, Oh-Ho, my chance to get even with Ivan.  So I picked up the handset and started talking about the greasy pork chops I was making for our dinner.  Suddenly Ivan broke in and said, ‘TEN-FOUR’ and the radio went dead.  For us landlubbers ‘ten-four’ means signing-off.  I had won the only battle I think I had ever won with my dad, and I never was sorry about it.”

Photo credit Canstockphoto.com

DiVoran told me that she also remembered, “While the men were fishing, mom and I took the children for walks on the beach, which was full of driftwood and all kinds of other things which had been washed up on the sand by the tide.  One of the most interesting things we found on the beach were smooth, round rocks that seemed to be heavier than most rocks.  Mother told me that they were ‘Jade’ rocks that had been smoothed by many years of erosion by the actions of the sea and sand.  On one walk my mother came across a dead fish and told me it was the kind of fish from which some people extracted the kind of oil that, after being processed, was the best oil there was for delicate uses such as oiling the parts of a gun.”

Photo by Bill Lites

We stayed in Fort Bragg long enough to watch the fireworks on the 4th of July, before packing up our camper for the second half of our cross-country camping trip back to Florida.  There were no fishing trips with Ivan on the return trip, so I will spare you the details of that part of our trip for another time.  However, as a side note; during the first half of this cross-country trip, among many other interesting things, we managed to cross ten rivers (not all of them well known, and some with more than one name).  They were the St. Johns River and the Apalachicola River in Florida, the Perdido River and the Mobile River in Alabama, the Pascagoula River and the Pearl River in Mississippi, the Mississippi River and the Red River in Louisiana, the Rio Grande River in New Mexico and the Colorado River in Arizona.

Photo: https://riverboattwilight.com/riverboat-twilight-cruises-on-the-mississippi-river/

I do hope you will join me for another episode of ‘Fishing with Ivan’ next week.  Until then, stay safe. 

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

Fishing With Ivan Part 4B

24 Mar

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Heading west out of the desert, everything was fine until, our car transmission overheated in the mountains (7000’).  We were on our way to visit our high school friends Jim & Charlene in Flagstaff, AZ.  The fluid had boiled over, out of the dip-stick tube, onto the exhaust; causing a huge cloud of smoke (we were lucky it didn’t start a fire).  

I was afraid we had burned up the engine, but after we stopped to let things cool down, I was able to added more transmission fluid, and we were able to continue on our way with no further problems.  Whoo!  That was a close one!

Photo Credit: AGCO AUTOMOTIVE https://images.app.goo.gl/ZbvKryuWzDBYhVTr8

I had met Jim at a motorcycle club while in high school, and had run into him in Japan during my tour of duty with the U.S. Navy.  DiVoran had become friends with Charlene at Cosmetology School, while I was in the Navy.  They are still good friends, and they write to each other all these years later.  Jim and Charlene enjoyed meeting our kids, and gave us a grand tour of the sights of Flagstaff.  I remember when we got ready to leave the next morning; we had a flat on the station wagon.  Their sloping driveway made it very difficult to unhook the camper without it getting away from us.  Then we had to unload the back of the station wagon to get to the spare time.  Boy was I glad to have Jim there to help me.  What a hassle that was!

Photo Credit Bill Lites

After leaving Flagstaff, we were able to show the kids the ancient Indian cliff dwellings (1150-1600) in the Bandelier National Monument.  At the time, we were allowed to climb ladders, provided by the park service, to inspect some of the dwellings.  That was an interesting experience for all of us.  We were all impressed with the design and quantity of the different types of dwellings there were, and how they had survived for so long.  I’m sure the park service doesn’t allow people to climb all over the dwellings these days.

Photo Credit DiVoran Lites

Our family will never forget the night we spent in Needles, CA.  We had stopped at an RV park for the night, before starting the trek across the Mohave Desert the next day.  It was really hot, and by the time we got the camper set-up, we were all ready for a swim in their pool to cool off.  About the time we got the dinner dishes cleaned up we noticed the wind was picking up.  At first we didn’t mind a little breeze to help cool things down.  But the wind kept getting stronger and was starting to kick up some dust.

We finally moved into the camper and closed all the windows and the door, to get some protection from the wind and dust.  It was like an oven in the camper with everything closed up (NO A/C), but that was about all we could do.  Then we heard a loud roaring sound and the top of the camper started rocking back and forth.  That only lasted a very few minutes, but it was a really scary few minutes.  Then it was all over, and things calmed down.  We learned later that a very large ‘Dust Devil’ had passed thru the area.  The rest of the night was hot and humid, with no wind, and it was a fretful night for all of us.

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

Fishing With Ivan Part 4 A

17 Mar

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

In the summer of 1974, I was between jobs and DiVoran and I decided it would be a good time to take our family on an all-inclusive six-week “Cross-Country Camping Trip.”  We wanted to show our children some of the beautiful and unusual places in our amazing country, and visit friends and relatives along the way.  The first couple of parts of this abbreviated trip description are only a prelude to another fishing trip with Ivan.  So please be patient with me and enjoy the ride.

As part of the preparations for this trip I made a small table, to fit in the back area of our 1968 Ford LTD station wagon, where the kids could play games and read, or anything else, to help keep them from getting bored.  We packed up our vintage pop-up tent camper, with all the things we thought we would need for the car and the camper (I am always forgetting something) and we headed west.

We visited the old ‘Lites Homestead’ in Many, LA where my dad and his twelve siblings were born and raised.  The original house was empty and locked up, but we were able to tell the kids about what it was like living in a 1850s house.  We showed them the rain water cistern, the drinking water well, the chicken coop, and the barn (with hay loft) where I played with some of my cousins in my younger years.  The small cemetery at the Mount Zion Baptist Church, located just north of Many is full of my ‘Lites’ relatives.

Continuing west, we stopped in Dallas, TX long enough to drive by the house I lived in for the first six years of my life.  The house doesn’t look anything like it did when I lived there.  We also took a drive  downtown to show them the First Baptist Church, where I was registered in their Cradle Roll Department at six-weeks of age.

Next we visited my mother, Aunt Jessie & Granny in Albuquerque, NM where I grew up and where I met DiVoran, the love of my life.  They were thrilled to see us and wanted to know all about our camping trip.  We enjoyed taking the kids all around town, showing them where DiVoran and I had gone to school, worked, and played during our teenage years.  Of course, we had to take them to dinner at our favorite Mexican food restaurant, La Placita, located in Old Down Town Albuquerque (founded 1706).  Yummm! 

After that family reunion, we took a tour of the breath-taking Carlsbad Caverns located just west of Hobbs, NM.  I was particularly impressed with the way they had rigged up muted hammers, on some of the various sized stalagmites, which could be activated by electronics, and played from a keyboard like an organ.  We stayed long enough at the caverns to watch the evening exit of thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats from the depths of the caverns that darkened the sky.

We stopped to investigate the unusual formations at the Petrified Forest National Park in eastern Arizona.  It’s amazing to me how the trees in this forest became petrified (225 million years old) instead of rotting away as most dead trees do.  Many of the petrified logs had spectacularly different color arrangements.   DiVoran’s mom and dad were ‘rock hounds’ and we bought a few small samples, at the curios shop, for them to do their lapidary magic on.

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

Fishing With Ivan Part 3B

10 Mar

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

At the end of that first fishing day in Astoria (caught no fish), Ivan cooked up the Dungeness crabs, we had caught, for our dinner and DiVoran said she remembers, “That first evening, when Ivan put that dead crab on my plate, I was not too fond of the idea of eating one of those ugly creatures staring up at me.  But once I got past the stare and started eating, I discovered it wasn’t bad.  Each evening Ivan would cook the crabs they had caught that day, on the small stove in the motel for us for our dinner.  Before the trip was over, I had decided that from now on, crab meat dipped in melted butter would be one of my favorite foods.”

Photo credit ClipArtMaq.com

DiVoran also remembers that while the men were fishing, she and her mom took the children on adventures into different parts of the woods around town.  She said, “We walked up soft trails with fallen leaves in the coolness of the shade of the overhanging pines.  The kids were interested in all the sights and sounds along the trails.  Then as we descended back into the neighborhoods, we would see home gardens alive with beautiful flowers such as purple Hydrangea, Day Lilies, and delicate plants with tiny blue lace-like flowers.“

 “One day as we made our way back toward our motel, we were joined by a happy little dog who graciously escorted us all the way to the motel to meet Bill and Ivan.  Of course, the children fell in love with the dog and asked if they could keep him.  We gave them a little story about how valuable such a dog must be to a community like this one. The little dog that followed us around was doing his job, looking after us just as he would all the other visitors who came to town.”  She also told me that, “We always had a nice lunch at a diner there in town while the men were eating their sandwiches out of the boat.”  

You’re not going to believe this, because I couldn’t believe it at the time, but we went out every morning and fished for three days and never caught a single Salmon.  Neither Ivan nor I could ever figure out what we did wrong, or didn’t do right, but I have never seen him so frustrated in all the time I knew him.  The processing and canning of all the fresh Chinook salmon we had planned to catch was out the window, and we ended up buying a few cans from the local cannery, so we wouldn’t have to go home and tell our friends the “REAL” fish story.

The bright side of this trip was that each day when we gave up on the fishing and headed back for the dock, our crab traps were filled with lots of legal sized Dungeness crabs, and everyone ate their fill every evening.  We even had enough to share with some of the other visiting fisherman families, who only had fish to eat.  Of course, that gesture was no consolation for “A Man Who Lives to Fish” like Ivan.

DiVoran reminded me that we had some more fun after the fishing trip, on the way back to Livermore.  She said, “I Remember on our way back from Astoria, we stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory for a tour.   We were all interested in how the cheeses was made, and were grateful for the tidbits of the different types of cheese the tour guide offered us during our tour.  Sometimes I see Tillamook brand cheese products in the grocery stores here in Florida, and it takes me back to that family vacation in Oregon.” 

Some people might think this turned out to be a wasted trip, since we didn’t catch any fish, but we all (except maybe Ivan) had a wonderful time and really enjoyed the experience, the company and the scenery.

—–To Be Continued—– 

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

Fishing With Ivan Part 3A

3 Mar

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Then there was the time I took my two week vacation from work to do a family trip with Ivan and Dora.  I had finished college by then and we had moved to Florida for me to work on the Apollo Moon Landing project.  As I remember it, DiVoran and I took the kids and flew to San Francisco to meet Ivan and Dora.  Ivan had heard that the Chinook salmon fishing on the Columbia River during spawning season was really great, and he wanted to try his luck at it.  We all loaded into their car, hooked Ivan’s boat up to the car and headed for Astoria, OR.  We were having a great time when, about halfway there, one of the boat trailer wheel bearings froze up and we had to stop and perform an emergency “Roadside Repair” on the thing.

We finally made it to Astoria and got settled in at a motel.  The stories Ivan had heard about the Oregon fishing reminded him of the time he had gone to Alaska and had a wonderful time catching lots of those big fresh Alaskan salmon.  That time he had his catches processed and canned at one of the local canneries, up there before returning, and I remember he had later shared some of that delicious salmon with us.  I’m sure that was the plan for this trip also.

So as you can see, he was planning on showing me how much fun it could be to do that again.  That was the main reason for this fishing trip.  Ivan had also heard that there were Dungeness crabs to be had in that area, so he had brought along some crab traps, so we could have some variety at meal time.  The other reason for our trip was that Ivan and Dora hadn’t seen their grandchildren since DiVoran and I had moved to Florida, and they were looking forward to spending some quality time with them.

Ivan had gone around and talked to some of the locals and some of the other visiting fishermen the night we got to Astoria, to find out where the boat ramp was, where the best fishing spots were, and what kind of bait we should use.  The next morning we got up and got the boat in the water early (not as early as the locals).  We set out a few crab traps on our way to the fishing spot Ivan had selected.  We dropped the anchor and baited our hooks as we anticipated a fun day of salmon fishing.  We were excited to see other fishermen pulling in some really nice Chinook salmon in boats not far from us. 

The time passed, and we didn’t get a single strike.  We tried various bait elevations, and we waited.  We changed bait and waited some more.  Nothing!  What was going on?  We knew the fish were down there because fisherman in boats all around us kept pulling them in and yet, neither one of us was getting a nibble.  At around 2:00 pm, and totally frustrated, we gave it up and headed for the boat dock.  

We stopped on the way in to check the crab traps, and to our surprise we collected more than a dozen legal sized Dungeness crabs.  Not to let a good thing go to waste, Ivan cooked up the crabs for our dinner that evening.  It was “All-you-can-eat” Dungeness crab and it was a wonderful taste treat!

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

Fishing With Ivan Part 2

24 Feb

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

Northrop Institute of Technology (NIT) in Inglewood, California, was a small college when I first started my education with them. My mother and dad had saved money for me to go to college, and it was enough for me to get what was called a technology degree (which was the equivalent to an AA at most colleges). On the day of registration, the registrar urged me to change my study course from Aircraft Airframe & Engine Mechanic (18 months) to Aviation Mechanical Engineering Technology (36 months).  He said he could see that I had the makings of an engineer, and that the Los Angeles area was in an aviation boom.  As an engineer I would be able to “write my own ticket” as far as a job was concerned. 

I fell for that line and signed up for the engineering course.  The first two years were hard on both of us.  Divoran was working full-time as a hair stylist for the Magic Mirror Beauty Salon, there in Inglewood, to help pay for my schooling and get her Putting Hubby Thru (PHT) Degree.  I was going to school full-time and working at a part-time job.  By sometime in my third year I was offered a full-time engineering job with North American Aviation in Downey, CA.  We really needed the money, and besides that, my beloved DiVoran was getting a little broody, so I took the job.  I switched to night classes and we decided DiVoran would quit her full-time job and we would start our family.

Things settled down for us for a while.  Our daughter, Renie, came along first and two years later our son, Billy, was born.  During those years, we continued to visit Ivan and Dora in Livermore as often as we could.  I remember on one trip, while Dora and DiVoran were having fun with our young children, Ivan took me fishing, at his favorite spot, on the San Francisco Bay.  We fished the “riptide“ where the saltwater came in, and the freshwater met, and caught over 100 Striped Bass before we went home with only one “keeper.”   The legal length for Striped Bass, at that time of the season, was 16” and every one of those 100+ fish we caught was between 14” and 15” long. I didn’t care that we only took one fish home from that trip.  It had been non-stop “Catch & Release” as fast as we could reel one fish in and take it off the hook, throw it back, and re-bait the hook.  This went on for the whole time we were on the water, and it was the most fun I have ever had fishing. 

DiVoran says she remembers that she got to go fishing with her dad too, although she wasn’t sure at the time if she really wanted to.  She told me, “He took me out under the Golden Gate Bridge, and I was feeling sick from the motion of the boat.  I had to lie down on the bench seat in the boat to keep from throwing up. When he got the herring-shiner bait on my fishing hook, I got up and tossed the line over the side into the roiling water. I immediately felt a tug on the line and the pole bent over. Dad took over and hauled up a large gray silky looking fish, which turned out to be a small shark. I held onto the pole and stared at one emerald green eye.  While I was looking at that exquisite sight, Ivan took care of the shark.  Before I realized what was happening, Ivan had whipped out his knife, cut the shark’s throat, and dropped it back in the water.  I was so shocked by the speed at which everything had happened that I just stood there with my mouth open, gulping like a fish out of water.  That fishing trip didn’t last very long, and soon we set off for the marina.  We ended up getting home just in time for supper.”  

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

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