Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Fishing in Illinois

By noon of their second day on the road, LT and Rudy had decided that traveling was more boring than watching mold grow.  They'd slept at least sixteen out of the last twenty-four hours and considering their lack of exercise neither of them could sleep another moment.  They took turns in the passenger seat looking out through the side window, but cats' eyes aren't made for tracking things from a vehicle traveling at over sixty miles per hour.  It was interesting, but gave the cats a headache. 

They had taken an extra long lunch break, and David had sat outside with them and had tossed some yarnballs that the Mommy had sent along.  Both cats were stir-crazy enough to chase yarnballs and enjoy it, and they blessed the yarn lady for having made them.  Right before they were getting ready to leave a car with small children arrived, and the little ones were fascinated with cats that chased balls.  They came over and said they had beagle that chased balls and asked if they could thrown some for the cats.  David introduced them to LT and Rudy and asked the cats nicely if they would play with the children for a few minutes.  With a request like that, LT had to oblige.  Plus, it kept him out of range of their sticky fingers.  Rudy played aloof until the smaller one tried to pick her up, and quickly raced after LT to take possession of the yarnball.  David rescued them and closed them in the RV while he took his clear-the-head run and then they took to the road again.  "Only another two and a half hours, folks, and we'll be in Effingham, Illinois, which is our next stop.  We'll be there by four, and if Lake Pauline will oblige we'll have fresh fish for supper. "

With that to look forward to, the cats whiled away the early afternoon with grooming and daydreaming.  Rudy imagined a halibut, all for her, but when she mentioned it to LT he laughed at her.  He said that for one, they were ocean fish, and for two they were bigger than David was.  One halibut could feed Rudy and the rest of the Cat Club for a year.   LT day dreamed about what he might find in Pottawatomie.  Since he was an elder cat, and one who had traveled even, perhaps he would attract a following while they were visiting.  Maybe even have some chelas, who would hang on his every word. 

Soon David pulled into Camp Lakewood in Effingham.  He had stopped at a local market for a newspaper, a few groceries and some fresh bait.  After hooking up and expanding the RV they all piled out and went exploring.  There was a fire ring at their site, so if David could catch some fish they could be grilled.  Rudy's mouth was watering already. 

There were plenty of good fishing spots according to the owners, and they pointed out a few nearby ones on the 33 acre lake.  David had his fishing rod, bait and a large bucket with ice, hoping for a fine mess of fish.  The cats had never seen fishing in person before, although they had seen it on television.  It had looked as boring as golf on TV, and it wasn't much better close up.  The only good part was the bait.  It smelled...alluring.  After watching David whip the fishing rod around for a while, Rudy walked over and snagged a particularly fat worm from the bait container.  LT hissed at her that it was for fishing and not eating.  Rudy hissed back that she wasn't going to eat it, she was going to play with it, and that's what David was doing, playing. 

Rudy let the worm slide away a bit and then stopped it with a paw barrier.  It tried to go around so she put another paw in the way.  Then it tried to go over her paw leaving a slimy trail, so Rudy bit its head off and tossed it away.  It didn't taste good and it felt creepy crawly across her paw.  Worms were not fun.  On the other hand, maybe there were frogs to play with, or a fish that David had caught.  She looked in the bucket. The ice was melting, but no fish.  David was working his way down the lake shore muttering to himself.  She followed him silently.  Maybe this was some Native American tribal thing?  Invoking spirits to help catch fish?  When she was close enough Rudy realized he was making rude comments about his fishing ability and lack of practice.  He didn't blame the worms or the lake, just his rusty skills and inability to read the lake, whatever that meant. 

At his next stop down the lake shore, David hit on a school of fish.  They sure weren't bass, but David recalled from past trips that they were good eating, once you got the bones out.  He pulled out about six of them, which was almost enough to satisfy their appetites and found the school had moved on.  It was time to start cooking, so he picked up the bucket of fish and David and Rudy walked back to where they'd started from.  There they found LT along with a small pile of the same fish David had been catching.  LT was lying flat on the ground with his face almost in the water and one paw raised.  Right before they came into hollering distance LT's paw shot out and grabbed a small fish, which he pulled out, stepped on and bit through the head before adding it to the pile. 

Rudy ran up to LT. "I didn't know you knew how to fish!  Why don't you fish at home?" 

"No good fish in that pond thing across the street.  Plus, there are all the metals and tailings from when they tried to drill for oil there.  No good fishing there.  Plus, the Daddy buys us fish, even if it is in cans."  LT proudly added his fish to David's catch.  He'd taken almost as many, although they were smaller fish. 

David cleaned the fish at the site and wrapped them in foil with some savory stuff and put them over the coals, saying they'd take a while to cook.  The smell of the steaming and grilling fish was heavenly.  After Rudy's walk up the lake with David she was ready to eat, but since the food wasn't cooked she helped herself to a mouthful of crunchies.  When she came out David was telling LT about the kayak.  It appears that one of the doors underneath the floor on the outside of the RV held a kayak and David hoped to do some kayaking in Kansas.  He pointed out that he had life preservers specially made for cats, so they could come along if they liked.  Neither cat responded to that.  It was highly unlikely either would want to be in a boat that was designed to roll over and come back up.  Water sports involved water, and cats didn't involve water, except to lap with their tongues. 

When the fish was finally cooked and cooled enough to eat, David got his camera, the newspaper and posed the two cats with their fresh fish dinners with the newspaper as backdrop.  He'd make sure to put in a caption that LT had caught his own and part of Rudy's dinner.  The cats almost inhaled the food, it was that good.  Moist, with a smoky and savory taste.  Wow.  If Rudy was right and your food was cooked to order in Pottawatomie, this is what LT would be ordering every other night. 

The sky was clear and the temperature comfortable, so the three sat out by the fire, which had been built back up, and enjoyed the quiet evening.  They had the campground almost to themselves.  There were a couple other groups, but they'd gone into town to the bars.  What a silly idea that was when there was a full moon, owls, bats and fine company.  They all fell asleep outside, moving inside only when they began to feel a bit damp as they dew started to rise.  As Rudy staggered inside, she revised her opinion of travel.  It wasn't bad if the stop at the end of the day was worth the ride.

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