Time is the ultimate commodity. You hustle from point A to point B, checking to-dos off the list before heading to C. Instead of taking advantage of the down time, most people pick up the phone to fill the gaps. But you already spend enough time on your phone, so when life gives you an unexpected break, even for a moment, be prepared for fun in any form.
When hitting the long and lonesome road, I’ve developed a method or two to help me take advantage of cell phone dead zones and pit stops. Here are a few tricks and staples you may want to incorporate into your rig as well.
I bit the bullet and dropped the cash on a pre-fab truck bed system. This particular system is a lightweight, simple, two drawer set-up. With some additional ammo-can style buckets: two cab side, two tailgate side. I keep a spare cook kit and stove, headlamp, soap, pack towel and collapsible bowl in the back two; toilet paper, hand sanitizer, heavy latex gloves for those road-kill opportunities; ratchet straps, cam straps and duct tape for the unexpected; tire chains inside a sealable five gallon paint bucket, tow strap and spare oil for when things really get messy. The fun stuff lives in the drawers.
It’s always archery season
You only shoot as well as you practice, and opportunities arise when you least expect them. In the driver’s side drawer I keep a two piece recurve and a dozen arrows inside a sleeping bag. The bag works just as well as a bulky hard case and doubles as a sleep kit. I also throw in a full size pillow; this is truck life after all. A small target with a tie-down point is nice, but I just keep a bird point on an arrow and pester the occasional dried cow patty or tree stump. Remember, we’re trying to maximize time here.
That leaves plenty of room in the drawer to slide in the shotgun or rifle, season depending. Although I have been known to bust some rocks with my long rifle to stay sharp, the re-curve is my go-to. Summertime construction zones offer a great excuse for lateness. The evening caddis or the aforementioned stumps aren’t there to judge. Nothing brings some chill back into your shoulders like pulling onto a piece of interstate-side BLM and letting a few arrows fly.
I call the passenger side drawer “the tackle box” and stock it with fishing gear from stem to stern. Breathable waders, wading boots, extra socks and a small hip pack are simultaneously gear and padding. I keep two rods strung up in a two-piece double fly rod case. My do-it-all, go-to rod combination is a four weight and a slow action seven weight, ready for anything.
The light rod is typically rigged with a may-fly of some sort. The seven weight (aka the meat stick) dangles a sex dungeon. You’re darned right that’s the real name! Isn’t fly fishing accessible all of a sudden? The secret to fishing on the run is simplicity. I don’t bring the kitchen sink, just a hip pack with enough to play the game. Tippet, some floatant and a fistfull of extra flies. No wasted time figuring my way through a gear pile, I have what I have. If the fish bite, that’s gravy.
I guess that’s the secret to getting those days in. There are no excuses, no water too high or road too long. Keep your gear simple, organized and accessible. Keep your passions in mind and ready to be drawn like a knife. When life gives you the nod, turn off the cell phone, pull over and waste that time in the best way possible.
Feature image via Morgan Mason.