I have been taking fly fishing road trips for as long as I can remember. My most recent trip last week over to the Missouri was a reminder of how much things have changed over the years. Back in my twenties most of my fly fishing road trips were spur of the moment. They usually involved 2 or 3 other guys and a couple of dogs jammed into a pick-up truck. Money was short in those days so the beverage of choice was usually whatever 30 pack of beer was on sale, and the food budget put Ramen noodles at the top of the list. Hotels were out of the question so the tent was always with us. One of the more memorable trips was to the Beaverhead river in the spring. It was beautiful in Missoula, but we showed up on the Beav to find a foot of snow and the only clear ground to pitch the tent was right up against the FWP outhouse at the access. The wind had scoured a bare patch of earth next to the shitter. It was so cold that by 3 am we were all huddled back in the idling truck drinking beer and waiting for the sun to come up. I think we only caught one trout that whole trip, but we had a great time.
These days fly fishing road trips have a whole different feel. Now, with just two of us we can fill up a whole truck with all the gear we take. Not much camping anymore either as rental cabins seem to fit the bill with full kitchens and comfortable beds. Elk steaks, stinky cheeses, and bacon and eggs have replaced the Ramen with red wines and high-end bourbons instead of cheap beer. I still miss those hastily planned road trips of my youth, but I do enjoy the creature comforts of my trips today. One thing that hasn’t changed is my desire to travel and fish, the road trip remains a constant in my fishing life.