woodstock weekend

Two weekends ago Steve and I traveled south through Chicago and headed northwest to the Great Outdoor Expo in Woodstock Illinois.  It was good, bad and ugly; call it a crazy weekend of nothing but extremes.

It all started with the weather, first, sunny with spring like weather until we were in the heart of downtown Chicago. Then came a hard wind from the northwest followed by a temp drop from 46 to 33 degrees, and in less than an hour, it went from sunny and clear to a very heavy snowstorm.  Thankfully, we were out of downtown and into the burbs before the roads turned terrible.  We talked to many people who were not so lucky and sat in traffic for hours.  The only reason we weren’t stuck in downtown traffic; Steve and I forgot about the one-hour difference between Michigan and Chicago.

We safely arrived at Woodstock and to get off the roads we headed for an out of the way parking lot. The snow is falling fast and there is four inches of the heavy wet stuff on the ground. We pull off onto an access road and head across the lot. Steve says, “Hey bud, something’s wrong.”  He stops the car, opens the door, “We’re on grass!” We sat there in my wife’s Corolla for four hours, until friends arrived to push us out.

In Michigan, large square areas with adjoining buildings rimmed with lights are parking lots, apparently in Illinois that is not always the case. (Some are soccer fields.)

Car pushed out, booth set-up, and it was time for some excellent Chicago style pizza with home brewed beers and hanging out with cool people.  I worked on my presentation on the ride to Chicago, during the pizza get together and put the finishing touches on it late that night.  My talk went good enough the next morning that nobody heckled or threw anything, a success in my book.

We were able to get our picture taken with Lefty under our new banner, the only carp banner at the show.  Scott at Chelsea Signs does our banners, they looked great, were affordable and he designed, printed and got them to us in three days. When you need a banner or sign call Scott.

So at the show, Steve complained about a sore tooth and Steve never complains about anything.  By noon, he’d consumed several handfuls of begged painkillers and a tube of Orajel.  Then, later in the day, he said he was coming down with the flu, I though maybe he was sick from eating a tube of Orajel.

Our friend Kurt Kopala from ATightLoop was generous enough to have Steve, myself and others stay with him for the weekend and even hosted a small party on Saturday night.  Steve’s suffering progressed to a fever with chills and even more tooth pain. “I need to lie down,” he said, and that was the last we saw of him.

Kurt put together an awesome, fully homemade and authentic Mexican dinner but no Steve, and mind you, Mexican is his favorite.  Kurt’s mom owns a quilting business and at some point that night Kurt showed us his favorite quilt.  We all agreed that it was pretty cool, I ordered two.

We didn’t see Steve until morning, and there he was, left side of his face, fat and swollen and according to all us experts caused by an abscessed tooth.  Steve had to skip the show on Sunday and the planned fishing trip that Monday. Austin Adduci, of Grab Your Fly Charters, had invited us to join him and our hosts for a morning fishing trip.

And how is Steve now? Sadly, he couldn’t get a dental appointment until Wednesday.  Over four days of suffering for poor, not so “Sweet Chili Martinez.”

Again, it was the weekend of extremes, great food, beer and people contrasted by terrible snow storms, mud stuck cars, tooth pain and Kurt going on-and-on about all the fish he caught with some other guide (photo below).

The fully healed Sweet Chili will be heading to Sheffield Ohio this Wednesday, March 14, to talk streamer swinging techniques and patterns for the Firelands Fly Fishers.

Kevin Morlock and Steve Martinez with Lefty KrehKurt Kopala and Kevin Morlockfavorite quiltFly tying, hot sauce and whisky

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