I’ve no idea why my 1992 Pathfinder wanted to play the fool this morning when I was starting it up. But this goes without saying—even though I’m going to say it anyway: Driving a Toyota Prius to the McCloud River on the opening day of trout season is a non-starter.
No pun intended, either.
See, part of this experience is about the river. The outdoors. The ambiance. The tidal-rush of endorphins that kick into my body when I step out of my vehicle and hear the faint “whoosh” of the river in the slight distance. I literally have to calm myself down, or I’ll start furtively trying to tie flies onto the tippet without completing the cinch on my knots—I easily start acting as if those fish down there have punched a clock, and furthermore have another one running. That “fourth quarter and two minutes left” thing is hard to shake. No matter how foolish.
But part of it has to do with the journey there. My truck has its own special ambience. This comes from a certain, sedimentary . . . um, “aura” that my vehicle manages to maintain. Fermented wading boots contribute to a large IRA olfactory account that lulls the senses into an acclimated, anticipatory glee. Other people smell “fishing gear.” I feel like I’m right at home when I get in that vehicle. And it also has a certain ruggedness present when I get out of it, too. The cracked windshield, the banged-up sides, the missing door handles on the passenger sides—all of it—says “This a grown man, doing grown man things.”
Quite frankly, it’s bad enough that my early Tenkara highway merge was met with a few catcalls about my estrogen levels. But now, some of those guys are now selling Tenkara rods at the retail level—probably against their initial reflexes.
But Tenkara is and WAS—the sum total of fishing gear at one time. So the minimalism— along with the sight of me exiting my vehicle with the increasingly-growing angling avatar for reducible complexity—isn’t what bothers me. It’s getting into—traversing to—and ultimately arriving in a vehicle that will be tantamount to being a Bruce Jenner clone, high-seated in a Macy’s parade convertible; no one will laugh, but they will all think, “wow . . . that is just . . . sad.”
So the Pathfinder better step up its game.