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Fuel prices & the outdoor experience

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POSTED April 22, 2012 8:21 p.m.

I recall as a boy that our family would save for our summer vacations in the mountains by saving silver dollars all year. Whenever a silver dollar or “Cartwheel” would show up in the cash register of Dad’s store, he would take a one dollar bill out of his wallet and replace the coin with it. The accumulated cartwheels would go into a canvas money bag saved for use on vacation. We would regularly fill up the tank on our jeep for three or four dollars!

About twenty years later, my neighbor Arvel Gipson & I would regularly go fishing in either his truck or mine. One Fathers Day, Marie Gipson asked her husband Arv, what he’d like for Fathers Day, and Arv replied that he’d really like $20 so he could fill his truck and we could go fishing. Heck, even at the outrageous price of a dollar a gallon you could top off your pickup for a twenty bucks.

The other day I was delighted to find gas at the bargain price of $3.99 a gallon until I filled my tank & it cost me over $100. There’s something seriously wrong when we think that four bucks a gallon is a bargain! I got an email the other day from one of my readers in Australia who told me that their fuel prices are hovering right around $1.50 per liter which equals just about $6 bucks a gallon! And we think we’ve got it bad.

The outrageous price of fuel has changed the way we fish, hunt and vacation. Now I’m much more likely to fish for bass in one of the valley rivers close to home rather than for my beloved trout in the high mountains. It’s much closer to pursue wild boar in the foothills than deer or bear in the forests. Who knows? Maybe the fuel crisis is turning us into more well rounded outdoor enthusiasts than we were a generation ago. It’s sad to admit, but I’m seriously considering replacing my V-8 Dodge Ram with a smaller more fuel efficient truck. I’m gonna miss my old Big Red.

I guess that the only thing we can absolutely count on is change. The Trout limit is no longer 25 fish per day, but 5 and I rarely keep any at all. My heart races when I hook a largemouth with my flyrod instead of a flashy little brook trout. I suspect that our parents and grandparents would be a bit bewildered by the outdoor experiences we have today, but then that’s probably been happening since the beginning of time. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to get out there in whatever way I can to enjoy the glory of nature.

Until next week,

Tight Lines

 

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