Just returned from the 2015 Colorado Rodmakers Reunion in Marble, CO, what a great time! Wonderful to see old friends and meet new ones. The programs Gary Young set up were great (especially my snake twisting demo :) just kidding). The weather cooperated for the most part, we got a little shower on Thursday, clear on Friday and a downpour on Saturday, so what else would you expect for the Rockies?

I put several items in the silent auction and can report that all were sold, a new $45 Snake Maker brought in $95! Donated several impregnated silk leaders that all did well and a table saw and band saw jig for cutting bamboo. Got an order for more leaders and Snake Makers, always like making a few extra dollars, sure help make it possible to go to these gatherings.

Now that I'm back home it's time to get back to work on the Deluxe and 1952 so I can take them to SRG!


Where do I begin ...

After almost 32 years working at Lockheed Martin I get laid off. Let me say that it wasn't a surprise, I got my notice in November 2011 and got the pink slip in January 2013 so I had lots of time to think about the next phase of my life. Well at 59 I wasn't too interested in starting a new career so I looked at that lay off as a blessing. I think I figured that over the 32 years I worked the equivalent of something like 38 years in time so any break was welcome.

 So let me back up a moment. Since I was about five I've always been a fly fisherman so in January 2010 my wife and I go to the Denver Fly Fishing Show, there we meet the coolest bunch of guys that build bamboo fly rods. Now I've fished bamboo for many years but this was the first I'd seen of guys building bamboo, so long story short I'm now interested in building bamboo fly rods.

 When my dad died I inherited all of his fishing stuff to include several fly rods, both graphite and bamboo, fly tying supplies and  a ton of fly fishing related books, among all the books was  a small three ring binder entitled Handcrafting Bamboo Fly Rods by Wayne Cattanaugh.  I poured over that book and after the second reading I decided I was going to make bamboo fly rods. I found a website from Thomas Penrose about making planing forms and set out to get what supplies I needed. Well I eventually finished the forms and was still interested  in making fly rods. I next needed to learn how to plane bamboo so I ordered some and started splitting strips and planing.

 Okay, back to the Fly Fishing Show. Among the people I met there was a gentleman named Lowell Davis, he was the registrar for the Colorado Rodmakers Reunion, a group of guys that meet yearly in Marble, CO and have demonstrations about making bamboo rods. I got an invitation from Lowell to join them in July. 

So July rolls around and I make it to the Rodmakers Reunion and I am excited beyond words! I meet many rod makers and they are all so helpful. Oh yeah, during the time from the Fly Fishing Show and the Rodmakers Reunion I've been looking for a lathe and wouldn't you know it Alan Kube (a great guy from Denver) is giving a demonstration on making ferrules and he has a Sherline lathe with him, well after that demonstration I know what lathe I want to buy. So I'm there for three days that seem to fly by, I've got a head full of information and I;m ready to make bamboo fly rods!

I'm still an employee of Lockheed Martin for at least the foreseeable future, during this time I've learned about splitting bamboo (probably my least favorite endeavour), planing, making snake guides, making ferrules and reel seats. I've acquired a great set of planing forms from Al Ritt of PEAK Outdoors of Loveland, CO, half a dozen planes (you can't have too many) and many accessories and attachments for my lathe, also purchased another lathe from Sherline and one of their mills.

My last year of employment is rather uneventful, I'm working standard eight hour days and no weekends. Since I know that my days are numbered I've decided to get some medical work done starting with a MILD (minimally invasive lumbar decompression) in January 2012 followed by a cervical fusion in March and finally a lumbar fusion in September that keeps me out for the remainder of the year. My medical leave is up on January 4, 2013 so it's back to work, or so I thought. Tuesday, January 8, 2013 I get my two weeks notice (second day back, they waste no time). I've had no contact with anyone on the job since I went out on medical so all my access has been cancelled (so no eight hour days for me). I spend the last two weeks seeing friends I've made over the last 32 years and on January 22 I turn in my badge, I AM NOW UNEMPLOYED! Since I had almost 32 years on the job I get a decent pension and can tap into my 401k (which I've rolled over into an IRA) so my wife and I decide that it's time for retirement.

Thus the end of the work chapter and the beginning of the retirement chapter, stay tuned for what I hope are exciting new adventures as I learn to sleep late, not drive in snow storms and generally be a house bum!