As you may have read at the onset of the weekend, I packed up the family and headed to the famous Tangle Lakes for a weekend fishing trip with long-time Vikings Territory (and Vikings Gab) reader Fran the Man.
So, after getting approval to take off of work a few hours early on Friday, I headed to the house to get the family ready to go. These days, the family consists of Mrs. Warwas who is about a month away from having our second child and Gates, my almost-two-year-old son. Additionally, my two brother-in-laws (ages 8 & 13) are staying with us this summer, wanting to get their fill of a true Alaskan adventure.
We were all looking forward to a peaceful fishing trip up north and I was also looking forward to yet another weekend of uneventful Vikings news. I’m guessing you can tell from this lead in that things didn’t go quite as planned, but go ahead and continue reading if you are interested in the full story from this weekend (and some pictures, too). This is more of a journal entry than a football post… but that’s okay, I make the rules around here!
BAD THING #1: Sick Baby
So, on Friday I wrote my post responding the B. Grant’s question about Leslie Frazier and then we packed the truck. We had fishing poles, a cooler full of food, a bottle of scotch to give to Fran for hosting us and everything we thought we would need. Then we all hopped in, our dog Percy included, and headed north.
Now, the drive is nothing new to us and Gates always does very well travelling so it was a little weird when he started to complain about his ears as we went through the mountains. It was obvious that the pressure change was causing him some pain. Gradually, however, he started to develop a fever, a rash, and seemed to be experiencing some pain. The normally content and tough little boy just wasn’t acting like himself.
After about four hours we started to get closer to Fran’s lodge, set in one of the most beautiful places God ever created, so I put my Vikings hat on to make sure he didn’t shoot me on sight. After all, I was showing up about two hours earlier than I had told him because I hadn’t expected to get off work early.
Now, I know a lot of us have “known” each other on these websites for years and years, but getting to actually meet you fine folks and spend time with a fellow Vikings fan is a great experience. Fran the Man and his wonderful wife are salt of the Earth type of people that welcomed us into their home, made us feel so comfortable, and Fran went the extra mile (extra 20 miles actually) to make sure we had a great time.
Unfortunately, we decided that the little man (future starting strong safety for the Minnesota Vikings) had gotten bad enough that we should take him home, which cut our trip short.
BAD THING #2: Adrian Did What!?!
On Saturday morning, the little man found out the Mr. and Mrs. Fran had his favorite movie on VHS which seemed to comfort him for a short time. Now, my kid hasn’t quite figured out how to say “milk” yet, but he can tell you all about the difference between a triceratops and a stegosaurus. So, I was sitting with him watching Jurassic Park (yup, seriously his favorite film at age two) and Fran sat down to talk Vikings.
Fran was apologizing for not being more active on VT lately and was groaning about how slow this period of the offseason was. I believe my response to him was something like: “Hey, at least no news means no arrests, right.” Within five minutes of me saying that, Fran fired up his laptop and said, “Adam, you are not going to believe this headline…”
So, there we were, 200 miles from civilization, reading the breaking news that Adrian freaking Peterson had been arrested. Technology, I tell ya.
SILVER LINING #2: It Didn’t Ruin Our Day
I’ll come full circle and let you know how a sick baby turned out to be a silver lining in just a bit, but the silver lining to Adrian’s arrest is that regardless of how hard it is to be a Vikings fan at times, we still have the best fans in the world.
Fran threw me and the two brother-in-laws in the boat, hip waders and all, and we took off across the beautiful lake. Now, there weren’t too many people to see us out there in the boonies, but I tell you what, the Minnesota Vikings were well represented on that little creek on Saturday. Here is the photo evidence:
This hike-in fishing trip was a major highlight for Jacob and Jordan, Mrs. Warwas’ brothers, who even got to find a nice moose shed as a souvenir:
So, thanks to Fran and his incredible genourosity, we all got to have an incredible time fishing grayling and just out in the woods doing what us men love to do most. For that, I am incredibly grateful!
BAD THING #3: I Hate Automobiles
So, as I mentioned, we decided to head home on Saturday instead of Sunday. We were all a little disappointed because the fishing had been so good and I was also looking forward to taking everyone for a drive down the Denali Highway in search of wildlife.
But, instead, we packed everything up and headed south to Valdez with the sick kid hating every second of being strapped into his car seat.
About 90 miles from home my stupid Chevy Trailblazer got to making a bunch of funny noises and then all hell broke loose. It shimmied and shuttered, it smoked and sizzled… it was not good. We pulled off the road and, me not being much of a car guy, did our best to assess the situation.
The conclusion was obvious: We were stuck.
SILVER LINING #3: Incredible Friends
After thinking about my options I decided to call some of our best friends, Jeff and Linda, to get some phone numbers for some folks I knew in that area. Linda answered and when I told her the situation we had an incredibly coincidental moment of fortune.
See, Jeff and Linda own and operate a business that deals with rental cars, shuttling services, and U-Hauls. She told me that Jeff just happened to be in our area with a 15 passenger van, having just dropped off a group of rafters. When I called him, he only had to go about 8 miles out of his way to pick us all up.
The next morning, Jeff let me use his truck (we’re a one car family) and a U-Haul trailer to go pickup my broken down P.O.S. and haul it back home, where we then inspected the issue. My co-worker and good friend Anthony, well, he’s a heck of a mechanic and located the issue… a destroyed front differential. Ouch!
It was a stressful weekend on a lot of fronts but who can complain when you are surrounded by such good friends like Fran, Mrs. Fran, Jeff, Linda, and Anthony? I owe them all big time!
SILVER LINING #1: The Sick Kid Saved Us
So, I already told you that we had planned on driving down the Denali highway, a very rough and remote section of road through the heart of Alaska, to do some sightseeing Saturday night. After Jeff picked us up from the side of the road and we were riding back home, I realized that we actually had a string of good fortune.
Had Gates not been sick we would have driven down the Denali for quite a ways. More than likely, I would have blown my differential out on that trip, which would have left us miles from Fran’s lodge (and hundreds of miles from home) without cell reception. We would have been stuck hitchhiking in a seldom driven area amongst all of the elements (including bears).
Despite the fact that our trip got cut short and I am now having to figure out how to coordinate, and pay for, the repairs… I am so glad that things turned out the way they did.
So, yeah, that’s my weekend recap and I hope you enjoyed it. And, please, leave a comment about the pictures… I know that’s what you all were actually reading this post for!
And thanks again, Fran. We had a blast!