Fly Fishing!

Brian’s interest in fly fishing is probably best summed up in his response to a curious coworker  “If there’s one thing social media tells me, biking and fly fishing is v trendy right now.”

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Swift Industries is one of the more influential companies for the way we bike, and they are huge supporters of camping/biking/fishing/etc. They recently collaborated with Tenkara, a Japanese company that sells telescoping fly-fishing rods that are ideal for backpacking or biking trips where portability is key. Naturally, Brian The Outdoorsman jumped on the trend, set his ukelele aside, and decided he wanted to be a fly fisherman. I mentioned this at work, and it turns out one of my coworkers is an avid fisherman and offered to lend us a full kit so we can give it a try before investing in a bunch of fishing stuff. His pole wasn’t very space efficient and ended up sticking about 2′ off the back of my bike, but it was free so we definitely aren’t complaining! We took advantage of Washington’s free-fishing weekend (when they don’t require a license) and rode about 12 miles south to the Cedar River Trail.

We knew it was supposed to be partly rainy the whole weekend, but I don’t think either of us expected to be outrunning giant thunderstorms the whole day! The whole ride to the trail, we had one eye to the west on the clouds that were getting darker and darker by the minute. We had a ridiculous headwind too, but I convinced myself that it would be a tailwind on the way home so it was worth it. (spoiler alert, I was sorely disappointed when that turned out to be very wrong) We pulled off the trail into downtown Renton as it started to sprinkle. Mostly to use the bathroom, but the timing was perfect since it started to downpour the minute we walked into the cafe. One surprisingly vegan and unsurprisingly disappointing cupcake later, we were back on our bikes and only a few miles from our fishing spot.

In theory, since the trail ran adjacent to the Cedar River, we could’ve stopped anywhere that looked good, but I did a little googling to find some of the spots that were better for fly fishing. Mostly, I just wanted somewhere that wasn’t popular, had a large clearing (so we wouldn’t hook a tree or anything), and wasn’t private property. Luckily we pulled off at a spot called Belmondo’s Reach which turned out to be like the most perfect spot ever. When we arrived, we were the only ones there at this huge clearing where the river was shallow and ran along a beautiful cliff. Brian immediately dropped his bike, grabbed the pole, and ran to the water.

We messed around and practiced casting for about 30 minutes before two more people showed up and started fishing like 30′ away. We were kind of disappointed at first since it’s way more intimidating trying something for the first time with an audience, but after about 20 minutes, the guy came over and started chatting with us. We explained that we were doing this for the first time and the extent of our experience was 20 minutes of YouTube videos, and he was super nice and even gave us a few pointers! We heated up soup and rice for lunch and took turns eating and “fishing” and being backseat drivers from the sidelines. Part of me definitely thought we’d catch at least a tiny fish, but alas, nothing. Probably a good thing though, since we were mostly focused on casting and probably would’ve yanked the poor fish out of the water and flung its face off before we even noticed it was hooked! It was still a lot of fun though, and so nice to spend the day relaxing outside in the fresh air after being sick for a week.

After a few hours of sun, the sky started getting dark to the west again. Within like 5 minutes, the wind picked up, the drops started falling, and there was a massive crack of thunder! We threw everything into our bags, grabbed our bikes and started sprinting away from the creek trying to get under the nearby bridge before we got soaked. We had a long ride ahead of us, so we decided to just ride it out and see if we could outrun the storm. Sure enough, the sun was out again in 30 minutes and we pulled over to lay in the sun, eat strawberries, and watch a cricket game that we had ridden past earlier.

Our ride back to Seattle was SO WINDY. That tailwind I was hoping for swept around and turned into a headwind the other way too. It was ROUGH.

We made a snap decision to detour to the driving range that we like in Jefferson Park and have a quick snack and rest. We chose to ride the gorgeous but deceivingly hilly Chief Sealth Trail (we call it Chief Keef Trail) and added probably 300′ of unnecessary climbing to our trip. We hit a bucket of balls, ate a bucket of fries, and then ended up waiting an hour for the rain to stop before we headed home.

We caught the break in the rain until we were a mile from home when we got dumped on. We ran into this awesome mom who was riding her daughter home on the back of her bike and they’d gotten caught too. She was wearing a soaked tank top because she’d given her sweatshirt to her daughter, and she was telling us how they were on mile 30 for the day and almost home when they’d gotten dumped on. I love seeing moms (and dads) like that who are absolute work horses and power through for their kids. I mean, this lady was riding uphill in the rain and the cold, with an 8 year old on the back of her bike and wasn’t giving up. She wasn’t even in a bad mood! I love it.

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All in all, we rode about 44 miles total with a headwind the whole way, and felt great. Next weekend is supposed to be 80s and sunny…. so we’re probably going fishing again!

If you missed our videos on Instagram, here’s the full story!

“where are the pictures of Veronica fishing?” you might ask. Well, while I was diligently playing the part of devoted Instagram wife… Brian was not. He took 3 photos of me TOTAL and the best one out of the three leaves much to be desired.

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6 Months of Natural Living

It’s been over 6 months since we first made the shift to a more natural lifestyle, so I figured it’s time for an update now that we’ve had time to settle in and decide what works for us and what doesn’t. In general, I’m really really proud of how well we’ve stuck to a lot of the adjustments, and I’ve come to terms with the idea that everyone has their own comfort level with natural products, and that is completely 100% okay!! I see superwomen on Instagram who are making their own soaps, their own almond milk, and reusing the pulp from their juices to make muffins and you better believe I am cheering them on every step of the way. That is not my thing, and that’s okay. I’m really happy with where we are now, and the slow and steady path we took to get here. Continue reading

vegan so far

Surprisingly enough, Brian and I really haven’t had that many issues with cooking since we’ve stopped eating animal products. We generally cook meals that are veggie heavy anyway, so the biggest thing we’ve had to change is not using butter or cream. Instead of trying to use a substitute for meat, we just don’t include it in our normal recipes and so far it’s been fine. I’m trying to be better about using beans and grains in our meals since they’re so protein-packed, but lately I’ve been using canned beans while I get more comfortable cooking them from dry.

A few of the meals we’ve really liked are…

Butternut squash soup
Soba noodles with Chinese broccoli
Veggie enchiladas
Veggie quesadillas
Whole Foods fried tofu with mashed potatoes
Thai Curry

Some things we have not at all liked even a little bit are…

Homemade fried tofu. Gross. It’s totally worth it to just buy the pre-cooked stuff at the Whole Foods hot bar.
Fake sausages. They taste like cardboard.
Fish sauce broth. Don’t ask, it was a failed attempt.

We’re still meal planning too, and it is an absolute godsend since it forces us to be proactive about finding recipes. I currently have about 8 cookbooks checked out from the library and I’m just going through and stealing recipes I like. We also did a giant (like 3 whole bags) Trader Joes run and bought pretty much every frozen vegan dinner they have so that we have some last minute options.

Our fridge/freezer are mostly cleared out of animal products, except for like one lonely stick of butter and some frozen meat. Brian is “reducing his intake” instead of cutting out like me, so these will probably still get eaten 😉

I’m going to start posting some recipes on here… NOT FOR YOU, OKAY? I’m not a food blogger. The posts are 100% for me, because I find myself referencing my OWN blog fairly often, trying to remember the great ideas I once had. But…. feel free to give some of them a try.

I DONT MISS MEAT. OR DAIRY. I KIND OF MISS CHEESE A LITTLE BIT, BUT NOT AS MUCH AS I THOUGHT I WOULD.
Just because I’m sure you’re all dying to know how I really feel.