Saturday, May 31, 2008

Rochester Public Market.

After a great evening in Ithaca, we had to burn some midnight oil to get to Rochester for the Public Market. We pulled in pretty late, but were able to set up that night, which gave us a little chance to sleep in. When we awoke, the skies were threatening rain. Being a denizen of the Pacific Northwest, it would take a more than a little rain to slow Fin down.

As usual, Fin was popular was the center of attention for the adventurous and curious.

Alas though, as the day wore on, the sun broke through the clouds and turned into a beautiful last day of May.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Ithaca wins it!

Davis, CA got out to an early lead in the first round with a healthy stack of postcards, only to be beaten handily by Madison. Madison defended it's title against worthy opponent Ann Arbor. In the next round, however Ithaca, the plucky little college town at the south end of Cayuga Lake in New York pulled a thrilling upset, taking the one-day postcard lead!

Ok, so it's not a game or a race, but, man, were we well recieved in Ithaca. We were set up all day on the Ithaca Commons (If you look at the Commons Cam in the link, we were set up just out of the frame at the bottom left.) And we had folks coming by all day.



And Night

The evening was part of the Ithaca Festival Preview, and we were treated to live music by some local bands. Vicki Taylor, pictured below with Bobby, works for the Ithaca Downtown Partnership and organized both the concerts, and having Fin on the Commons. She was a great help in making the day a big success. Thanks Vicki!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Fish Repair Shop

It's been a long road trip, and Fin's getting tired. At least the casters she sits on are. We noticed in Pittsburgh that they were starting to give out. One problem: They were welded on. We would need some professional help to fix this one. Luckily we found it at AFS, an energy company based in Harrisburg that specializes in biomass and renewable energy systems. They have a metal fabrication shop to build their custom projects, and if fixing casters on a giant fish isn't a custom projects, I don't know what is. We'd left Fin there overnight so they could get to work first thing in the morning. By 10 Fin was good as new. They guys down there, Paul, Tim and Jim were really excited to work on something that was a little different than their normal projects. Here's Jim, fly fishing enthusiast and welder extraordinaire relaxing after a job well done.

Then it was off to Cabela's in Hamburg, PA for the afternoon.

In the future, please don't let Bill near a Cabela's. They do things like have flies on sale for $6.99 a dozen, and when that happens he can't help but drop $80 dollars. This is not good for his personal finances. Sadly, he lacks the self-control to avoid this behavior. It's best to keep him out of situations that encourages his bad habits.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

They boys pulled out of Pittsburgh first thing in the morning en route for Harrisburg. The morning pit stop turned into a rig maintenance: oil change, gas, propane, water dump/refill. They rolled into Harrisburg just in time for the Senators game.

This was a special stop for Nate. His childhood friend, Brandon, plays minor league ball for the Akron Aeros, who just happened to be in town for a three game series versus Harrisburg. Nate had never seen Brandon play in the minors before, and was thrilled that their traveling schedules overlapped. Brandon put on a good show, hitting a home run in the 5th inning. Nate was able to get the Home Run Ball.

Brandon's homer was part of a bad night for our hosts, The Senators, they lost the game 10-1.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pittsburgh Zoo

Monday and Tuesday the Road Show was camped out at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. We were swarmed with folks wanting a to climb on in and see Fin. During the day on Tuesday, SOS staffer Bobby Hayden and Ken Undercoffer, PA Council Chair for Trout Unlimited went downtown to meet with Stan Caldwell, Executive Director for Senator Arlen Specter's Pittsburgh Regional Office. As a solid leader in a state known for it's commitment to conservation and respect for hunters and anglers, Senator Specter has an opportunity to step up and help solve the Snake River salmon crisis effecting salmon, fishing communities, and American taxpayers.

We also had a very special guest stop by, Elizabeth Hartmann, one of the Winners of the SOS children's art contest.

Upon exploring the zoo, the road show crew was very happy to see a strong conservation message accompanying many exhibits. At the PPG Aquarium they had a great booth on sustainable seafood that promoted the health and environmental benefits of Wild Salmon.

The Pittsburgh Zoo deserves a big gold star for their efforts. Thanks Guys!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Eastern Market, Detroit

It's Memorial Day in Michigan. If you're not Up North, that means it can only be time for one thing: gardening. Eastern Market, in Detroit is the place to get your flowers, starter tomatoes, and almost anything else you can think of. The market, combined with The Red Wings, Pistons, and Tigers playing at home (Pistons in the playoffs, Wings opening up the Stanley Cup Finals) the city was almost literally buzzing with excitement. Buster couldn't resist coming out to peruse the wares.

Buster the Wild Snake River Sockeye Salmon ponders the evolutionary significance of adaptation in both orchids and salmon - two of earth's most beautiful beings. How thoughtful, fish guy.

And Speaking of The Red Wings, I think we know who Bill's rooting for.

(Official SOS Stanley Cup Update: Wings win game 1, 4-0)

Big Fish at Big Fish

When you're in Dearborn, Michigan with a 25' salmon sculpture where do you go? Big Fish Seafood Bistro sounds logical to me. Which is precisely where we went.

We had a chance to have a great meal (a nice break from what we have taken to calling "Rig Food" which is what we're able to throw together in an RV). The staff was able to come out and snap a pic with Fin.

Bill got a big surprise when his Grandma stopped by, wholly unannounced. They were able to catch up for a bit, and took the obligatory picture by the big fish.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Friday we made a big push to thank all of the members of Congress in the Detroit area that have been real allies to Pacific Salmon. First on the docket, Rep. John Dingell. Congressman Dingell was crucial in getting protections for fish and wildlife included in the Northwest Power Act of 1980. Unfortunately, salmon and steelhead numbers have dramatically declined since this time even as the number of federal dollars spent on their recovery has skyrocketed. Congressman Dingell's chairmanship of the Energy & Commerce Committee means he has the opportunity to be a leader, provide oversight on this issue, and find solutions that work for salmon, fishing communities, and American taxpayers. We had a great meeting with Field Representative Ryan Werder, joined by Kris and Jodi Matthew, local leaders from Michigan United Conservation Clubs. It was a productive meeting and we're glad Ryan had the time to sit down with us.

Then, after fueling up on some Timbits, we headed to Rep. Kilpatrick's office in downtown Detroit. How lucky did we get when the Congresswoman herself pulled up right behind Fin and the gang. Rep. Kilpatrick was very enthusiastic and posed for a great picture.

This was a special highlight for Bill, because he grew up in her district. It was a big boost of confidence for Bill to see his hometown Representative so excited by the issue he cares so much about.

Turned out Congressman Conyers' office was only a couple of blocks away, which meant we were left with little choice but to stop by. Unfortunately we didn't have the same luck with running into the Congressman as we were with Rep. Kilpatrick, but we received some encouraging words from his District Director Pat Hartig, and Shawn Campbell was able come out for a photo op. Thank you Pat for thinking of us!

The drive to Sander Levin's local office in Roseville was a little longer, but well worth the trip. We don't think we've seen a local staff more into Fin to date. These folks loved her, and were crawling around inside in no time flat.

We would like to thank all of the staffers that took a some time out of their days to meet with us, and look forward to more great leadership from the Representatives we visited today.

Saginaw, Michigan

Thursday in Saginaw dawned a little chilly and cloudy, but that didn't slow down the Road Show Crew. First up was a meeting with Rep. Kildee's local staff. Jim DeClerk from Saginaw Field & Stream and MUCC, and Jim Lewis, Deputy Director for Rep Kildee's Saginaw office (lots of Jims, I know) came out for a picture. Both Jims are avid sportsmen, and were obviously having daydreams of catching a beauty like Fin. Thank you Congressman Kildee for your strong support for salmon solutions!

The weather improved throughout the remainder of the day, which we spent at the Saginaw Children's Zoo. They were so excited to host Fin for the afternoon, they made up a great banner to publicize the event. It was such a great welcome that Buster had to come out to give it the official SOS Thumbs Up!

Being The Children's Zoo, there were, logically, children (Fin's favorite). Thank you Ann and all the staff for their help!

We finished the day with a drive to Mom's house outside of Detroit, where we were welcomed with some excellent pizza and a good, hot, proper shower, which beats the RV shower any day of the week.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Paging Mr. Colbert

We're on to you.

Ann Arbor

Fin and The Road Show arrived in Ann Arbor, in Bill's home state of Michigan. Being so close to home, his mom, Faye and to come out and see her son. (Not to mention a giant fish.) Here's the both of them with Fin. See any family resemblance?

Mom brought Bill a backlog of Christmas presents, some homemade salsa, and some walnut frosties (the best Christmas cookie on the planet.) and all the love and hugs a boy on the road needs. But it wasn't just a family affair. Plenty of folks at the Farmer's Market stopped by to have a peek at Fin, including everyone from Perry Nursery Shcool.

Nearly everyone we talked to liked what we were up to so much, said we should come back Saturday, but it's off to Saginaw for us. While in Ann Arbor, though the road show picked up a hitch-hiker, namely SOS Staffer Bobby Hayden from the Portland Office. He'll be travelling with us through Michigan and Pennsylvania.

And always remember: It's great to be a Michigan Wolverine.

Last Day in Chicago

Our last day in Chicago focused on visiting congressional offices.

In the morning we visited Senators Durbin and Obama. Given the logistical difficulties of getting a 25' salmon to the 38th and 39th floors of the Federal Building in Downtown Chicago, there was no real opportunity for a photo.

However, we had more luck with other visits.

Karolina from Rahm Emanuel's office had a moment to pose with Fin.

As well as Joseph, Nate and Marianne from Rep. Lipinski's office.

We also stopped by Rep. Gutierrez's office to thank him for his work, but lack of parking made the photo opportunity difficult.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Have you ever wondered what two guys and a giant fish might do in Chicago?

Hit a sporting goods store.

Check out some fine restaurants.

Where they sample some fine food.

Discover a great bar

And learn that Fin is a Cubs Fan.


Not too shabby for one weekend.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Carthage College, Kenosha Wisconsin

Friday found us on the shore of beautiful Lake Michigan, on the campus of Carthage College in Kenosha. It was a perfect spring day and the lake was downright beautiful.

Conservation instructor Scott Hegrenes brought a class by and Professor Bogaard gave a quick lecture on the issues facing Pacific Salmon.

Professor Bogaard pointed out that Pacific Salmon are found in the Great Lakes. Chinook and Coho salmon were introduced in the throughout the 60's and 70's to control Alewive populations that had entered the Great Lakes. An invasive species, the alewive population would explode, then crash creating massive fish die-offs which littered Great Lakes beaches. Today, the salmon and steelhead are managed for the popular sport fishery that quickly followed their introduction. Aside from Chinook and Coho, there are even some scattered Pink salmon populations in the Great Lakes stemming from a one-time (some say accidental) introduction to Lake Superior.

Sadly, this was our last day in Wisconsin. We've had a lot of fun (almost too much fun) in the Badger State. Bill can't wait to get back and do a little fishing, and Nate is threatening to move to Madison. Too bad the tour can't just stay in Wisconsin, but we have to move on.

As the Blues Brother's put it:
ELWOOD: It's 106 miles to Chicago, we've got a full tank of gas, a half pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses.

JAKE: Hit It.

Sweet Home, Chicago.

Wisconsin Outdoor Expo

The Road Show crew embraced their inner Carnie, spending Wednesday night at the Dodge County Fairgrounds in prep for the Wisconsin Outdoor Expo in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. On Thursday the Expo was in full swing. Rachel with the Wisconsin DNR came by to give Fin an official inspection, which Fin passed with flying colors.

In true 'Sconnie style, Nate and Bill traded in their normal lids for these fantastic hunter orange caps.

As usual, Fin was the center of attention and it seemed that there were kids climbing in and out all day long.

As things were wrapping up for the day, the Road Show crew took a minute to try their hand at archery.

Turns out Nate is an ace shot.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Fond du Lac

Wednesday was supposed to be primarily a travel day. But since we weren't going far, we took some time to go to Fond du Lac (properly pronounced Fon d'lack) to visit with Rep Petri's office. He's been an absolute rock-star on Salmon issues, one of the best leaders in the country so we were here to thank him for that. His staffers, Tyler, Clare, and David were excited to see Fin and really appreciated the visit.

The plan, then was to stop at a nearby thrift store, get JB a blanket so he could spend the night in the RV without getting too cold and then grab lunch. That was the plan, at least. The staff at the store were so excited about seeing the fish, they called the local paper, but Nate on the line for an interview and arranged to take some photos at Lakeside Park, downtown. In no time flat, Fin was on the shore of Lake Winnebago posing for some shots by the lighthouse. It was mostly improvisational in nature, but when you're on the road with a giant fish, sometimes that's what it

Big Fish on Campus

Not until our last day in Madison did we get a chacne to get on Campus. Getting Fin into place was a bit of a challenge, but Nate and Bill are getting to really know how to wrangle a salmon. We were hosted by the Wisconsin Hoofers
, an outdoor recreation/outing club on campus. They were a big help in getting everything set-up and spreading the word. Club President Ben spent most of the day with Fin and the guys.

Here's a big thanks to Ben and all the Hoofers who helped out.

In the evening, we had the opportunity to do some salmon tasting with the Madison Chapter of Slow Food USA. We had a great chat about the issues facing wild salmon, as well as some delicious smoked wild-caught salmon. Susan at Slow Food did a great job at throwing the event together at the last minute, and we sure appreciated the hospitality.

That's it for Madison. And as I said, we had such a good time, we don't want to leave. But, alas...