Tuesday, September 3, 2019

JEFF KENNEDY - Gates Lodge "Artist in Residence" Journal #1

It's a Tuesday that feels like a Monday (thanks, long holiday weekend...) and now I'm mixing it all up that much more with artist Jeff Kennedy talking about his Sunday.  This is the first daily journal from Gates Au Sable Lodge, where he's on an "Artist in Residence" week there.

If you missed the prelude to this journal, please circle back to last week's T.F.M. post which includes some background and a quick Q&A with Jeff Kennedy.  Otherwise, here we go with Journal #1...

I am up at 5:30 a.m. and ready to roll North.  I packed the truck the evening before so I had to do was roll out of bed, shower, kiss the wife goodbye and head out.  I had to make a stop in Grand Rapids to visit my buddy, Mike as he generously offered to lend me his 5, 7 and 8 weight rods.  This trip up North, I am running bare bones on my gear.  The reason is that my gear is packed up and heading west to Montana so it will be out there when I arrive for my upcoming fishing trip. 

I picked up the gear, swapped a few stories and hit the road again.  As I rolled into the parking lot at Gates Au Sable Lodge, I was amazed to see a very large tent set up in the casting and overflow drift boat parking area.  The place was abuzz with people and activity and I soon learned that a wedding and reception occurred the night before.  

I knew things would be running late with all of the activity so I set out to go and say hello to the river.  I decided to drive to the Thendara access.  Not a soul in sight.  I grabbed my ice tea and sketchbook and just sat by the river.  It was a beautiful sunny day with temps in the mid-seventies. The river was full of drifting kayakers and canoers.  All getting in their time on the river before the big holiday.

After watching a few rising trout, long after the watercraft had passed, I headed back to the lodge to set up for the week.  Things were still a bit crazy as the staff was still cleaning up after the wedding.  I unloaded the truck and headed up to the boardroom to setup.  The plan is to set up a canopy outside the shop so that I have more exposure to people going to the fly shop and restaurant.  With all the activity, I decided today I would hang out in the boardroom and prepare for tomorrow.  By the time I get set up, it was time for dinner. For those who have not dined at Gates Lodge, they have a fantastic restaurant that serves great food all day long.  I decided to have the special of the day which was a beef short rib stroganoff with herbed dumplings.  As usual, it did not disappoint!

After dinner, I headed back to my room and decided to build a visual wall with some ideas that would guide my stay.  As an Industrial Designer by trade, we often use these techniques to guide our design process.  I will say that we go through a lot of Post It Notes!

With that done, the evening was settling in.  I have been looking forward to the evening because it was predicted that there was a strong possibility of seeing Northern Lights!  I have yet to catch this phenomenon and I had been anticipating finally seeing them!  I got in the truck and drove a short way to a rise in the road that would give me a great view of the lights.  Well, the only view I had was of the darkness.......no lights.  

Once again, the Northern Lights eluded me.  But fear not, I will eventually gaze upon that green dancing geomagnetic light.  I drove back to the lodge and packed it in.

Jeff Kennedy unplugged his website but the Drawing Flies 365 blog is a great trip down memory lane.  You can follow along with his latest fishing exploits and studio news on Facebook and Instagram.

Gates Au Sable Lodge is on the banks of the Au Sable River outside of Grayling, Michigan and has a longstanding history as a mecca within fly fishing.  If you haven't been, plan to go, fish, eat and stay.  Following along on Facebook and Instagram is a good idea too.

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