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Exploring

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I had to work in Monroe last week and I brought a kayak just in case there was down time.  Unfortunately there wasn’t much down time and I was only able to get out for a few hours one day.  I elected to spend that time on Caney Lake, launching from Jimmie Davis SP.  It was chilly post-front conditions that day which resulted in some quality time paddling and no time reeling in fish.

IMG_5045 Although I didn’t catch any fish, I did see a few deer, a beaver, and several nutria.  I had no idea they were on freshwater lakes too, but Caney was ate up with ’em.

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I fished a lot of good looking water, maybe it was a case of right place, wrong time, or maybe I have no idea what I’m doing, it was my first time fishing Caney so I wasn’t too bothered to not catch anything.  This is a lake known for big bass and I could see why, even if I only explored one branch of the lake.

The rest of my time in Monroe was spent working, but I did make it a point to stop by Flying Tiger Brewery one night to see how the local beer scene fared.  I went in with low expectations just based on where I was and maybe a breweries location shouldn’t matter, but I don’t typically expect to get great beer from anywhere in the bible belt.  I came away pleasantly surprised as they had several quality beers.  The saison, IPA, DIPA, and milk stout were all very well done, enjoyable beers.  On top of that the building was fantastic with a great big outdoor seating area too.  I’d recommend a stop in there to anyone heading to Monroe.

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On my way home from Monroe I did manage to fit in another short fishing outing, this time on Lake Rosemound.  I had to make sure I could still catch fish and I’m happy to report back that I can.

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I’ll just need to work on catching bigger fish now.

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Last month I got the opportunity to spend a few days working near Breaux Bridge.  In my down time I explored Lake Martin, though not by kayak on the water, but on foot at the Cypress Island Preserve, which is property around the lake owned by the Nature Conservancy.

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In two mornings I covered the entire trail system and can say with certainty that there is no better place in south Louisiana to take someone to see an alligator than Lake Martin.  The clear waters of the lake hold an abundant population of the big lizards.  The fishing for bass, bream, and sacalait can be pretty good too, from what I hear, I haven’t put in the time there to tell you from experience.  It is a beautiful lake, full of Spanish moss covered cypress and tupelo trees.  It’s a place, I imagine, that is exactly what tourists picture in their minds when they think of our part of the country.  The levee trail at Cypress Island makes for a great place to take a walk.

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LCHM

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My wife and I traveled to Utah recently to attend a friend’s wedding.  We had a wonderful time at the wedding and all of the events and festivities that went along with it.  It was fantastic to spend an extended amount of time with friends I haven’t seen in years, especially when they are all incredible, inspiring, motivated people.

The hotel we stayed at happened to be within walking distance of the Land Cruiser Heritage Museum.  I didn’t book our hotel because of this, but was pleasantly surprised when I saw it on Google Maps while doing a little research after-the-fact.  With free time available to us the morning of the wedding we walked in a snow storm to go check the place out.

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I have an appreciation for Toyota 4WD vehicles, having owned some form of Toyota truck or SUV my entire driving life (going on 18 years now), including the modern FJ Cruiser, so it was not a stretch for me to get excited about a museum dedicated to Toyota Land Cruisers.

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The museum itself is a totally unassuming brick building on the outside.  The only evidence of it’s existence is a logo sticker on a solid metal door.  Once you step through the door though you’re greeted with the awe inspiring sight above.  Whether you’re a Land Cruiser fan or not it is jaw dropping to see in person.  Even more impressive is that the majority (98%) of the vehicles in the building are one man’s private collection – Mr. Greg Miller.

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Since we braved the snow, Amanda and I were treated to a private tour of the place with Dan Busey, Land Cruiser expert extraordinaire.  His knowledge of all things Cruiser was as impressive as the collection itself – the man knew his stuff.

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It was amazing to me the effort that was put into the collection – the various models of Cruiser over the years and the foreign models that most Americans will never see in their lifetime – to have them all in one place is pretty special.  You can find the first Cruiser ever sold in the U.S. here as well.

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Also on site is the only vehicle to have ever been driven on every continent (Antarctica included) – it was part of the Expeditions 7 global adventure.  A short web series of that accomplishment is available on the Expeditions 7 site, I’d recommend checking it out, I can’t even wrap my head around the logistics of such a trip, I have a tough enough time planning a Cutt slam trip.

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The museum really was about all things Land Cruiser, they also host an extensive amount of toys, models, and pedal cars based on Land Cruisers.  The pedal cars looked like little death traps for children, I’m not quite sure they’d meet consumer manufacturing standards today.

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If you find yourself in Salt Lake City with a bit of time to kill I can honestly recommend going visit the Land Cruiser Heritage Museum for yourself.  Budget minded travelers will like to hear that admission is free, so go check it out and tell Dan or Kyle I said hello.

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This video is a bit older, but it’s appropriate right now as I’m currently working on a presentation for the Red Stick Fly Fishers for their upcoming Red Stick Day Fly Fishing Festival that is taking place Saturday March 3rd at Perkins Road Park.  I’m going to be talking about bluelining North Georgia and shed a little light on what is probably the closest wild and native freestone trout water to Louisiana.  The event is free so if you’re in the Baton Rouge area and you’ve got any interest at all in fly fishing come check it out.

If you have a spare 30 minutes this is worth a watch, I actually found it on Amazon Prime.  It’s amazing to see what fly fishing can do for a community.  The people of Rewa, Guyana knew they had a special fish with the arapaima and wanted to make sure it was around for future generations.  They decided to protect the fish, establish an eco-lodge, and try to become a tourism destination.  Costa sent a few anglers down to figure out how to reliably catch these fish on the fly, which may have never been done before.