Posted on 30-06-2010
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Ya know, I love these guys and one on one I believe that a person couldn’t find any more loyal and true buddies to hang out with but put them all in the same room, or in this case, campsite and you have a recipe for disaster in the making and a key that unlocks the gates of Hell.  On Friday afternoon I loaded up the car with all of the essentials and drove out of town with a bit of a foreboding feeling but I was trying to stay open minded and keep positive.. After all, these were all pretty good guys and adults, wheat could go wrong??

It took me about 4 hours to get to the lake and in that time I listened to Miles Davis, smoked a beautiful Partagas and thought about big, really big, fish that I was going to trick with my superlative flies.. As I pulled up to the lake I saw that we were the only ones at the campsite and the others had their tents set up, tarp shelters built and I saw my friends out on the small lake in 2 boats.. I noticed that one of the boats had a fish on and I couldn’t wait to get my 10 foot car topper aluminum boat off the roof racks and get out on to the lake.  I was ready to kick their butts! Then I saw the dog!!! Oh-oh !!

My friend’s German Shepherd, who’s always hated me for some reason, came running out of the trees and made a path straight for my car with his teeth bared, drool aplenty, and the voice of Satan in his growl.  Oh great!!!!  I was trapped.. I sat in the car for a minute and honked my horn, hoping that one of the boats could come in and get this vicious animal away from me so I could set up and get ready.  All I saw these guys do was wave their hands in recognition of the fact that I had arrived and kept on fishing. I kept on honking and they kept on waving.. This went on for about 45 minutes before one of the boats pulled up their anchors and came to shore..

After pulling the dog away from my car and tying it up and a few jokes about my fear of emergency rooms and needles that freeze your flesh as the stitches go in I gratefully handed out a few small Cuban Cigars and got my part of the campsite in order and went out on to the lake.  I did pretty well with a sinking line and stripping in a small green shrimp, catching about 7 beautiful rainbows, some getting close to 4 pounds when I heard what I thought was a gunshot.  Gunshot??

Back at the campsite I thought I recognized one of the guy’s wife’s brothers step out of a big American car with 4 other guys exiting the vehicle after him.. So now we have 5 strapping young lads who obviously look like they’ve been drinking and who were ready to let off some steam. They started yelling for my very unlucky buddy to come ashore so they could have a few words but my friend started his outboard and headed for the other side of the lake in a very brisk fashion.  I guess it was up to me to go over to the campsite to try to cool down some very hot moods.

As soon as I got to the shore one of the dark haired, very drunk lads with the pistol asked me where his brother in-law was and I had to say that he temporarily had to do some work on his engine at the other end of the lake.  Some quick and quiet discussion took place between the brothers and they told me that they were going to the bar and that they’d be back.. The dog, oh yeah I forgot the tied up dog, was growling and snarling all the while I was ashore and I couldn’t wait to get back out on to the water..

The rest of the day was spent in quiet relaxation in my boat.  I caught about 4 more (good sized) fish, kept a few for a shore snack and then rowed to the campsite and started on dinner.  There is nothing better than fresh rainbow trout fried in a pan over a fire, baked potatoes in the fire and grilled corn on the cob dripping with butter.. Well the only thing better is the Siglo IV with a tumbler of Scotch and a comfortable folding camp armchair in front of a fire afterwards..  This was what I had been waiting for until my friend untied his dog who made a beeline in my direction and promptly clamped on to my leg with jaws of steel and an attitude best reserved for the battlefields of Afghanistan..

My week-end was over…… After a thousand apologies from the others and no shortage of help packing up all of my stuff I tried to best I could to keep the bleeding at a controlled rate and drove very quickly to Kamloops for a visit to the emergency ward.

I guess I’ll keep my fishing equipment, rods, lures and flies and all that goes with it but for now golf is looking pretty good..

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Posted on 25-06-2010
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I could hardly sleep last night and today at work I was a disaster as I thought about all of the things that could go wrong with tonight’s first evening at the lake with a crew of misfits that, maybe, do NOT belong together on a weekend trip. …..  Don’t get me wrong, I love these guys but at this point in time I’m taking a good hard look at self preservation.

Now the thing here is that we’ve all been hearing about the great fishing at the lake we’re planning on visiting.  You just don’t turn your back on something like that, especially since this is the first lake fishing we all will be doing this year.  A few of us spend time together in the winter at a lot of the rivers around the lower mainland as we go after salmon and steelhead but a 5 pound, scrappy rainbow trout on light gear should give any crusty old fisherman a rapid heartbeat.

Although we are only planning on staying for a couple of days, I’m taking along a humidor full of Cohibas, a few Ramon Allones, a couple of Trinidads and an ancient Davidoff I got from mu uncle a few weeks back.  OK the cigars are packed, lots of booze (we’re going to have too much), all of the fishing gear and a couple of Valium for my buddy’s dangerous German Shepherd…. Hey, I SAID self Preservation….. Lets hope I get back in one piece…….

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Posted on 24-06-2010
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Do you ever get the feeling that something could go very wrong with a plan that really shouldn’t give you too many headaches but then, there you go, flags get raised and later on that night you find yourself in a cold sweat in your bed and you wonder what untold horrors await you.  That’s how I felt late last night and now I wonder if I can really go through with what started as a simple couple of days at a lake, fishing, drinking a few beverages and smoking a Cohiba or two by the fire.

One of my friends has a bit of a gambling problem and he wants to get out of town because he feels that there is a slight possibility that “some guys” may be showing up at his house.

Another of the guys has a girlfriend who has a bit of a trust issue with him because of his “occasional” visit to the strip bars and she’s threatening to show up at the lake this week-end with a car load of her very protective brothers to “check in” on things.

The last guy told me that he’s having a difficult time finding a dog sitter for his “headcase” German Shepherd that hates me and has already taken a nice piece of flesh out of my thigh ( 18 stitches).  He said that he’s taking the dog along with him on this week-end’s trip!

Here I sit……………………

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Posted on 23-06-2010
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We are Men.  We have inherited a gene that gives us the knowledge required to make a superior fire in the woods, how to cook a steak over that fire and how to poke that fire with a stick so that it burns to the best of it’s ability.

We also know how to set up a tent, set up a boat for fishing, tie a knot and catch a fish.  We also know how to clean the fish, examine it’s stomach to see what kind of flies it has been gorging itself on and how to match that fly with something in our fly boxes to catch even MORE fish.  We are Men!!

I guess by now you are probably guessing that I’m going on a week-end fishing trip with a few guys to the B.C. interior. I can’t wait, my bags are already packed and sitting in the garage beside my rods, tackle boxes, depth sounder, oars and rain gear.  The coolers for refreshing beverages have been cleaned out, a food list has been attached to the front of the refrigerator with a magnet and many phone calls have been made while deciding who buys what meals and who will be cooking first.

Cohiba cigars will be going along with me on this trip.  I plan on including a few Robustos, some Siglo I’s and a few Non-Cohiba Cuban cigars.  Because we can drive right up to the campsite I can actually take a nice humidor and leave it locked in the car as we fish.  I want the cigars to be in great shape whenever I need one.

I’ll be going over to a buddy’s place to do the odd blog and with any luck I’ll be able to tell a few tales of some really BIG fish being caught!!!

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Posted on 21-06-2010
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My plans were to sit in the garage in front of the small television with a drink in one hand and a Cohiba Esplendidos in the other as I intended on seeing some of the best golf played in the world.  I was smoking what I consider to be the world’s finest cigar so why couldn’t the golf rise to the same stature?  Well, I guess that yesterday’s conditions at Pebble Beach were a bit more than some of the golfers could handle, except for maybe Graeme McDowell.

Tiger had played better rounds in his life, as did Phil, Ernie ( who came very close) and Dustin.  Of all of these players who look back at yesterdays performance on the links, I believe no man will carry the weight that the golf gods decided to load upon Dustin Johnson who had a disastrous front nine.

Other than enjoying my cigar to the nub, yesterday’s finest moment for me was watching Kenny McDowell, Graeme’s father give him a hug and say, ” You’re something, Kid!”.  On father’s Day I don’t believe that any gift to a father could be more valuable than to watch a son win the U.S. Open.

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Posted on 20-06-2010
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A Cohiba Esplendidos sits in my ashtray in front of the small TV in my garage and for the next 3 or 4 hours I have no other plans but to smoke slowly, savoring every nuance this cigar has to offer, and watch the golf on television.  Its not that I have a lot of Esplendidos in the humidor these days but this is one golf tournament that deserves the very best.  I have to admit that it was a tough decision between the Esplendidos and the Robusto, I have both, but the game of golf commands the type of elegance that an Esplendidos has to offer.

I was very excited to see Tiger finish so well yesterday and to see him win it today would make me happy.  Seeing Phil ( no last name necessary ) win it today would also give me a bit of a charge but the young guys that are on the scene today, especially Ryo Ishikawa are impressing armchair golfers all around the country.

The wind is picking up at Pebble Beach and I have to stop typing now and get down to the garage and reach for my cutter and matches.

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Posted on 17-06-2010
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Today’s round of golf was played at the Northlands Golf Course in North Vancouver.  Every time I play there, at least 10 times a year, I’m always amazed that this is a public course because of the impeccable fairways, greens, great club house and world class views. This course is built on the side of Mount Seymour and there are spectacular views of the city, which seems to also be the direction the palls want to roll on the greens.. Toward the city… Beware !!

I love the fact that every Fairway is isolated and you can feel alone with nature, often seeing deer and the occasional black bear amble by.. Speaking of bears, if your ball happens to end up in the thick forest that is used as the “rough”, make sure to make a lot of noise when searching for the ball.. Bears don’t like noise and will, 99 times out of 100, look for a way to get away from you.  That is if they ” don’t have cubs”.  If they do… Hmmmmmm, reach into your bag for another ball.  You may just be able to find it at a later date.

I smoked 2 Non-Cohiba Cuban robustos while out today and felt like a millionaire.  I lost a few balls which brought me back to earth and I guess that gave the day a kind of balance.

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Posted on 15-06-2010
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Dropped in to see a friend of mine last night at his art gallery in South Vancouver.  There was an opening going on and, from time to time I love checking out what he has hanging on his walls. OK OK, maybe I really stopped in to hang out on the back deck with a glass of fine wine and do a bit of a cigar swap with him, which is something we do a few times each year.

I had a few Cuban Robustos that I wanted him to have and in turn we walked over to his humidors in the office and took a look at what was available and ready to smoke. We were drinking a lovely British Columbian Syrah and each decided to smoke a medium strength Cohiba Siglo III that he had been hanging on to.  What struck me was how the humidor smelled when he opened the lid.  This is one thing that, I have to admit, is a bit of a fetish I have and love the sweet barnyard smell of a humidor filled with beautiful cigars.  I had grandparents who owned a farm and as a child, I spent many a summer helping out and killing time in their beautiful barn yard.  The smell of fresh hay, horses and peaceful quiet afternoons can creep out of a humidor when the lid is lifted and the row of perfectly rolled Siglos in the top tray gave off all that I needed to bring me back to my youth.

The quiet jazz band and the people milling around the art gallery were of no concern to us as we smoked these beautiful cigars and drank the wine I brought.  We sat in silence and didn’t say much, simply smoked and occasionally commented on either the perfect burn or what we were both tasting as we went from third to third.  I have only a few friends that know and can identify all of the beautiful flavors that a Cohiba can give you and I take every opportunity to see these guys and learn whatever I can from them.

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Posted on 11-06-2010
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When will it stop?????

My favorite pet peeves is still the daily check on Craigslist for cigars for sale in our fair city and I can’t get over the fact that there are still folks who come back from Cuba with garbage cigars for sale on the public site.  Some of you may say, just get over it, but there are times when I guess I must get a kick out of the torture…

Why would any one want to buy a box of Esplendidos on the beach in the first place??? Why?? Because they know nothing about cigars in the first place and think they can make a quick buck.. Oh well, let the buyer beware..

I’ve been looking around at the different Craigslist sites in different cities around the world and it seems that Canadian cities have more offers than any other place in the world.  I guess thats another reason to live in this great country but don’t get me started on our SIN tax!!!!!!

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Posted on 10-06-2010
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I was gifted a Cohiba Coronas Especiales yesterday afternoon after a round of golf.  There is no reason to speak of how I golfed yesterday, maybe we should simply move on and speak about the cigar and not mention anything about me spending a lot of time in the trees looking for my balls and cursing my maker.

The Coronas Especiales is a 5.9 inch ( ring gauge 38 ) example of some of Cohiba’s best work and, I have to admit as far as smoking these, I haven’t had as much experience with them as I have with most other Cohibas.  Why?? I couldn’t tell you.

What impressed me with this cigar was the balance between strength and aroma.  Wow !!  Some would say that this is a good cigar for the beginner smoker but I have to argue that, because of it’s intermediate strength, it has complexity that maybe a more experienced smoker would be able to appreciate.  Subtle bean flavors mixing with wood make this one a perfect pair with either a port or fine Cuban rum and then sit back and enjoy this grand experience.

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