The Joys of Singapore then back to COVID reality.

We weighed all our options before leaving for Singapore on March 13th. It was not an easy decision but since Singapore was not a “hotspot” we figured it was safer there than here. And it sure seemed that way! Almost every entrance or doorway to a mall, restaurant or market, there were thermal cameras manned at the door. Places with no cameras, we were greeted by personnel that took our temperature. The food and shopping were amazing and the crowds were light. All that made for a very memorable trip to a very special place.

We met a few times with my cousin LuLu and nephew Wei Meng. They took us around town a bit and showed us some spectacular evening sights. Wonderful to see them again!

There were so many things to do on our list but we did not have enough time. Six days in Singapore is a fraction of the time needed to really visit and see everything, even though we all have been there before. The last time we were there, the Marina Bay Sands had just been built, the Gardens by the Bay was in construction and the Jewel at the airport was an empty lot.

Our first full day there we went on a food tour. I’m glad the family got to eat some of the foods I grew up with.

On the third day we took a cooking class. We made traditional Singapore dishes ( Char Kway Teow, Satay with peanut sauce and a sago dessert) and it all turned out fantastic. We would do that again (different dishes of course) the next time we are in town.

Our apartment was incredible. Super close to shopping, food and the MRT (subway trains). It was 3 bedroom 2 bath place on the 19th floor of Orchard ParkSuites. To have a place that big right in the heart of Orchard was amazing. We will definitely stay there again!

For me this trip was about eating the food and to be with the entire family for possibly the last time for awhile. The boys go to college this fall and their vacation schedules are unknown. Hopefully we will be able to travel as a family again soon but we just don’t know.

The Coronavirus was definitely on our minds during the entire trip. When we left SFO, things weren’t too bad in the US. After our first day in Singapore, Governor Newsome ordered a shelter in place and the dental society highly recommended dental offices shutdown and only allow urgent or life threatening treatment. So while we were in Singapore, my office had to be closed. With the 15 hour time difference and ahead one day, it was a little difficult to stay in contact with the staff to get things in order. We closed on March 17th and have been closed since.

On our 5th day, I received an email from Philippine Airlines stating one of our flights were canceled. That spooked us a lot but we would probably rather quarantine in beautiful Singapore than at home. BUT…there’s no place like home! Our flight home connected in Manilla and Manilla had just shut down all flights in and out! After a full day of trying to get a hold of a live person at Philippine Airlines, I gave up. The phone just rang and rang. We decided we needed to just go to the airport and talk to someone at the ticket counter at PAL. So we left at 10:30am Friday and went to the airport. Not an entirely smart move. Since there was only one flight out on PAL that day (we did not know that), the counter only opens 3 hours before the flight. That flight was at 8:00PM! So instead of shuttling back to town, we “toured” the Jewel at Changi Airport. It’s a destination all on it’s own. Huge is an understatement. Of course there was food and more shopping but at that point in time our minds were focused on getting home.

Five O’clock came ( seemed like it took forever) and we spoke to a ticket agent. She said yes our flight on Saturday was canceled but they will put us on the flight out of Manilla on Sunday night. However we still have to get to Manilla on Saturday. That leaves us a 22 hour layover in the Manilla airport. I suggested we fly out Sunday out of Singapore because that would make the layover only 3 hours AND give us another full day in Singapore. She said we should fly out on Saturday because if for whatever reason we miss the flight from Singapore to Manilla on Sunday, the flight from Manilla to SFO is the LAST FLIGHT OUT OF MANILLA. Yikes. OK, 22 hour layover it is!

When we got to Manilla we were escorted to a “Transfer Lounge”. We were told we cannot leave for any reason. They even took our boarding passes for the SFO flight. The room was small and dark and did not have any couches to lay flat on. The GOOD was we had a bathroom and a shower. The BAD, no food or water! They also did not allow us to bring in our luggage so showering was not an option. After 7 hours someone came in and asked if we wanted them to get us some food and drink. Well yeah! She said the airport is basically closed so there are no food venders there. They will have to drive out of the airport to get food. Plus we had no Philippine pesos! I gave her money in USD and hoped it was enough. We did get food but it took a long time. VERY basic meal..brown and white. Hey it was food and we got water too. Felt like a detention center.

When we finally boarded the plane to SFO, it was high fives all around! Upon entering US Customs, the boys and I had our Global Entry interviews ( the girls already have GE). It went smoothly and we left left the airport with no one screening us for….anything!

Not being able to work for weeks is a strange feeling. Never in my life have I taken so many days off in a row. Probably like most of you. There is a silver lining. A lot of good quality time with family, all the little “projects” are getting done and I get to fish with the boys again! They can’t hang out with their friends so it’s fishing with me or stay home and watch Netflix. Of course I make them go with me:))

Since we have so many free days we are picking and choosing good days to go. Most of the launch ramps around here are closed. The ones that are open are jam packed. Now the state is considering closing all fishing. We’ll see how productive the next few weeks are.

 

 

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Adult twins and New Year’s Day fish.

The boys are now 18 and I can feel their sense of independence. They are cruising through their last semester of high school and enjoying it. Boreal Ridge Snowpark has seen them 10 times this season already and they took Friday off from school to go.

If they were playing basketball this year for that awful coach, their snowboarding fun would not have even begun. I think they made the right decision but we really miss seeing them play. As a consolation, they will play CARD basketball soon (Chico recreational league) and we are seeing Emma start on a 17-0 team.

On New Years morning Michael agreed to fish with me on the river. Our river outing for striped bass is usually only 2-3 hours long. We make our usual stops and if they are not there we head home. That day as we launched from the ramp, we saw a big boil on the surface. It was a striper munching on a newly released smolt. We made a few casts but nothing. We headed up stream about 15 minutes and found busting fish in one of my favorite runs.

Michael cast his 10 inch glide bait and immediately hooked up. Lost that one but recast to another busting fish and landed that one. A few minutes later we saw a smolt swimming fast on the surface of the water and I mentioned to Michael “something is chasing that guy”. We lost sight of it and moments later we heard a big boil 50 feet downstream from the boat. Michael made a cast that was a little short but still worked the bait in. Since our glide baits are slow sinking, we can easily see the bait. The striper came back and pounded that bait and Michael was on again. We hooked 5 and landed 3 and then the surface activity died. We worked our way back to the boat launch with no other bites. Good way to start the new year.

Took Benson and Victor out for their maiden voyage for glide bait stripers. They both cast very well considering the heavier rods and big baits used. Only one small fish that day but at least it was not a skunk. There was more boat traffic than ideal and I would guess many of the spots were previously fished.

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End of year misc posting

Life has been really busy with work ramping up and Emma’s basketball season in full swing. Her team is 9-0 and has won every game but one by more than 20 points. Most of the games were won by 30 or more points.

I was able to get some fishing in on the Feather and Sac. I fished with Jeff Richelieu and a great up and coming guide Joe Garza of JAG Flyfishing on the Feather. We hooked 16 fish and landed a handful. Had knots and hooks break!

Also got some striper fishing in. Fished with legendary fly fishing striper guide Steve Santucci and the best striper guide for monster fish, Billy Driessen. We landed fish on flies, glide baits and spoons.

Papa John came back from the Amazon with a behemoth of a catch! Guides estimated 200 pounds and this was hooked and landed on a fly rod.

We had the kids winter formals. Lots of girls over at the house getting ready!

Our office Christmas party was fun. Ate a great dinner and played some games at home. What a truly great team they are.

Next post will likely be 2020. Unless we get a big striper during the holidays! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Possibly our last trip to Bandon Oregon for awhile.

With next year’s summer schedule already filling up, Bandon will have to take a backseat for a couple years or more. The boys will graduate high school next June and there are other trips on the table for the summer.

This year the boys invited their good friend Carson to join us. We warned him that it was a “working” trip, pulling crab pots many times. He accepted and did a great job.

The crabbing was slower this year (168 crabs last year and 136 this year) but the quality was still wonderful. We like the “soft shell” crabs better than the hard shell. The meat is much more tender and sweet.

We skipped riding quads last year so this year we made the drive to Winchester Bay and rented quads for everyone. It was a much better place to ride than Hauser. We were able to see the ocean from just about every peak on the dunes, which was a nice bonus.

After riding we drove around and saw a sign that said “TUNA turn left”. We followed the signs and found the boat that was selling fresh caught albacore. They had just returned from catching 175 albacore and was selling them for $3/pound whole. I purchased 15 pounds of filets for canning. Then we stopped to buy a fresh ocean salmon for $10/pound whole. I bought a 13 pound fish and took it home whole so I could filet it myself. Also for canning!

The weather the whole trip was fabulous especially because it was very warm back home. The weather on the ocean was good enough to get out and bottom fish too. When we got out there the water was pretty flat with no wind. We noticed dorsal and caudal fins all around us. The black rock fish were all suspended! We changed to topwater rigs and began hooking and landing fish on topwater plugs. What a treat. Wish we had our fly rods!

Bandon is such a special place. It’s not that far from Chico, easy drive towing a boat, great food there, crabbing, clamming, riding the dunes, surf fishing, ocean fishing, easy to moor the boat the whole time, fantastic ice cream parlor, Tony’s crab shack to cook and clean crabs at a ridiculously cheap price…etc.

The end of our week is always hard to leave Bandon. Knowing that it will be at least 2 years before we return made it even harder.

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Waikiki vacation fun and excellent food.

The boys in the family have not been to HNL since our Christmas Island trip 5 years ago. Melanie had not been to HI since her college days and Emma has never been to Hawaii. When we came home from our trip from Christmas Island we told Emma about a place called Waiola Shave Ice. It was difficult to explain the texture (if you could call it that) of the shave ice they have. I was looking forward to getting some Waiola Shave Ice for all of us and it did not disappoint! We went from the airport to our rental car then straight to Waiola! Melanie described it pretty well. She said the ice had the texture of soft serve ice cream. Smooth as silk but none of the dairy taste. We did have some shave ice at 3 other places and all 3 did not equal the shave ice at Waiola. Going to miss that pace along with Sweet Home Hot Pot and Marukame Udon. We frequented those establishments at least 4 times each during the week.

We took a food tour the first day, North Shore snorkling tour the second day, Pearl Harbor the third day and the Polynesian Cultural Center the 4th day. We fished for bonefish for a couple hours on the 5th day (saw 6 fish, cast to 4 and hooked nada)

On the food tour we had manapuas from Royal Kitchen, some Chinese snacks, mangosteens and Liliha’s coconut puffs. We ate Malasadas at Leonard’s bakery the next day and it was definitely better that the coco puff at Liliha’s.

During the North Shore tour the kids snorkeled in Shark Cove and then we set out to look for sea turtles. It was a great sight to see the turtles so close. Lucky day. Stopped the Dole Plantation for some Dole Whip too.

The Polynesian Cultural Center was really good. We were on a small group tour and the tour guide picked the shows for us. Few things I would do different the next time. I would pick the shows we want to see and we would not have dinner inside the PCC. The food was just OK. Probably the worse meal we had all week. The “Ha: Breath of Life” live show in the evening was good but not great. Well the fire routine at the end of the show was spectacular.

The food was amazing on this trip. We will miss the fantastic Hot Pot and the dessert they served after dinner, the freshly made udon noodles at Marukame Udon, the shave ice at Waiola, the fresh shrimp on the North Shore, the manapuas at Royal Kitchen and the super delicious fresh Poke Bowls. Just thinking about all those meals is making my mouth water.

On the way to the airport on the last day we stopped at Waiola for one last shave ice and then to Royal Kitchen for some manapuas to take home.

I don’t see another trip to HI for awhile so we will have to relive it in our memories and in pics.

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Yuba River Shad

Got the boys together for some shad fishing on the Yuba River. We fish shad on the Sacramento River routinely because it is so close. We have two launch ramps with in 12-13 minutes from the house. Driving to the Yuba City launch ramp is about 65 minutes and then to motor up the Yuba to the prime fishing runs is another 20-35 minutes depending on how far up I want to go and which boat I bring.

The shad season on the Sac this year has been a bust. The fish are still there but the water conditions have been terrible for wade fishing. Wading the Yuba is wonderful. Gin clear water, shallower runs and in some areas you can sight fish. As the water level drops, fishing Intermediate lines are fun.

Both boys hooked up on their first casts. Michael was using Type 4 but higher in the run with faster water. Matthew was using Type 3 just below him. Both lines were working well. It was non stop action for the couple hours we stayed in that spot. The boys averaged 25-30 grabs and 17-18 fish landed per hour….each. Michael won all three categories in our usual fishing contest (First/Biggest/Most). It used to be worth $5 per category but now that they are older it’s up to $10 per.

Uncle Wesley joined us, brough lunch and showed us some new spots for site fishing! There were huge schools of shad in those areas. With the water so clear we can see the fish chase and eat the flies. Very nice way to end our afternoon on the Yuba.

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8th grade “graduation” for Emma and prom night for the boys.

Back when us old guys were in school, when we graduated from 8th grade it was exactly that, graduated from 8th grade. These days , at least in this area of California, no such animal. It is now called 8th grade promotion. I kid you not. So Emma has been “promoted” from the 8th grade to a freshman in high school. All the same flare and theatrics with speeches and music and awards, but the MC’s and the program only mention “promotion” and never mention the word graduation.


Very proud of Emma. She received the Presidential Award for scholastic achievement and another award for maintaining 4.0 gpa throughout Middle School. She is excited to be a freshman!

Prom night for the boys..

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Memorial Weekend basketball tournament in Reno….NOT!

We look forward to a long fun basketball weekend on Memorial Day weekend every year. Emma and the boys play in the huge tournament that is held at the Reno Convention Center.

This year as the week approached both boys got terribly sick. Michael was bedridden for over a week. On the day that we were suppose to leave for Reno, there was no way the boys would make it, so Melanie and Emma went without us.

The very next day Matthew said he was feeling better but not well enough to head to Reno and play in a varsity tournament. He said he wanted to go striper fishing for just a few hours. The striper fishing on the Feather has been off the hook and apparently he was listening to all the reports I was getting.

We loaded up the boat and was headed out by 12:30. Uncle Wesley and Uncle Danny were already fishing when we got there. The bite was just OK for them so we went off to look around for ourselves.

We ended up fishing the Yuba River and found a nice pod of fish. The graph “lit up” and we stayed on fish for 2.5 hours. Matthew was getting grabbed almost every cast. We landed over 30 with very few undersized fish. One 5 pounder and one 12. We lost 3 other big fish, most likely in the double digit rage.

Matthew had not fished for stripers on the Feather in 6 years. He said he had a great time and had forgotten how hard they pull. I was grateful that he wanted to fish and was very lucky “Mo Mo” was able to come over and watch Michael while we were away.

Six years ago!!

Our pond has too many adult catfish and we are culling as much as possible. Time to get the big cats out of there!

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Spring break in the “French Quarter”……

For spring break, the boys flew east to the New Orleans French Quarter and the girls flew farther east….way farther east! …to the original French Quarter.

The boys trip was met with bad weather for fishing. A cold front came in 2 days before we arrived. The first 2 fishing days were overcast and the 3rd was sunny. However all three days came with moderate to high winds which made the marsh muddy and really tough fishing conditions. Cold, overcast 2 out of 3 days, windy, muddy. Then we add the full moon and we were lucky not to be skunked!

We caught fish all 3 days up to 12 pounds. Unlike the fall/winter time that we usually go, the fish are smaller and the big bull reds are out in gulf. We also decided to go back and fish Lafitte instead of the Hopedale area just for a little change.

Our guide Capt. Scott Poche of Crescent City Charters was a pleasant and capable guide. He picked us up and dropped us off at our hotel everyday. That is a bonus because that meant we did not have to rent a car.

The food as usual was excellent. Our multiple stops at Felix’s Oyster House was amazing. Revolution, Antiones and a Brazilian Churascaria were our restaurant choices for dinner. The Oysters Rockefeller at Antione’s was just okay but nothing beats charbroiled oysters at Felix’s.

We normally don’t have a free day there but this trip we did so we decided to check out the WWII Museum. It was really good. Very crowded but really good. We checked out the exhibits and saw both shows (Beyond Boundaries and Final Mission) and still got to the airport in time for our evening flight.

We would like to go back again this Thanksgiving for the big bull reds but it will depend on the boys basketball schedule.

The girls visited Paris again…3rd time in 2 years! They are in LOVE with that city. They said it never gets old and would go back in a heartbeat.

On this visit they went to Disneyland Paris and said it was wonderful. Very French and much bigger than the Hong Kong Disneyland. They also took a day trip to Normandy. They finished the week with a croissant baking class.

Spring break went by too fast. Before we know it summer will be here!

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Bailey Creek Lodge, some minor flooding and Lewiston Lake.

We were able spend a day and night at one of our favorite places, Bailey Creek Lodge. The meals were outstanding again and the fishing was excellent. The boys invited their friend Carson and Emma invited Brooke. Victor and Judy also joined us again for some great food and times.


The late winter rains really hit us hard up here. The river was about to crest in Hamilton City and for those of you that have seen Irvine Finch launch ramp under normal conditions, this is how it looked at near flood stage.

Our backyard seemed like it was going to have no issues but as you can see the rains kept coming and the water level kept rising. The metal shop was surveyed and engineered to be built at the 100 year flood elevation. The water did not get inside the shop but if it continued to rain for a couple more days, it might have.

Got to spend a day at Lewiston with Benson so we could try out a new casting platform I had built. For sight fishing it’s wonderful to spot fish from that height. But for casting to spooky fish from that height was not good. Tougher to get the 20 ft. leader to turn over correctly from that casting angle. If the cast was too flat, the leader/fly would flutter down and not be straight. If cast at a steeper angle the fly would hit the water more abruptly. It was difficult to find that sweet spot. Then add a little breeze and the 20 ft leader is toast.

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