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Trout Bums at Large is a monthly column appearing in the Yakima Herald-Republic and the Seattle Times. The column is written by Randal Sumner and Mark Littleton. We will be keeping an archive of these articles on this page.

Old Whitey
by R.Sumner

A 100 years ago I would have had a horse to get around on, maybe even a team of horses to do some work, but I am sure I would have had a favorite hay burner among them.

 He would have been special dependable beast with a personality simpatico with my worldview, like a human pal with really big teeth. An old nag named Red that would have hauled myself and my gear to the river: a fly fishing horse. Imagine casting huge caddis flies from the saddle at dusk, now that is Cowboy.

             This, though, is 2006 and my 1989 Isuzu trooper was about as close to a loyal horse as Iím going to get.

 This fall I had to replace my fishing truck, after sixteen seasons in the sun ;Old Whitey was retired to pasture. I sold it to a guy from England who seemed pretty happy about the whole deal, he wasnít much of a negotiator but I walked him through the counter offer process. As he drove off in Whitey I had a feeling the two of them had made a good match.

            Getting rid of the Trooper was a big deal for me because when it comes to vehicles Iím miserably cheap. The whole idea of throwing money into an asset that is in fiscal freefall from the moment you buy it makes me queasy.

 Iíve heard it said that you are what you drive. Until this fall, that would have made me a dusty, over the hill Troutbum with a slight oil leak. These are same people that say that, over time you begin to look like your pet or is your spouse. Hereís the truth, you are NOT what you drive and itís the pet that begins to look like its owner. Woof

The beautiful thing about Whitey was it was perfectly suited to my image of understated poverty; this is a good thing in the guiding business. No one wants to hire a guide that has more money than they do, clients like to feel the fee they pay is making the poor buggerís trailer payment: ďand hereís few extra dollars for some corn liquorĒ. Whitey was wonderful prop she had great stage presence when meeting clients for the first time. Thereís no business like fishing show business.

Whitey only had 237,000 miles, in horse years thatís practically nothing. One of the the things I will miss is the occasional visit to see Old Whiteyís vet, I mean mechanic, Mark Malin owner of Boslers Automotive. If you donít know Mark he is a savant of car repair but more than that a renaissance man giving lectures on ancient Mayan astrophysics one minute and tearing off the top end of an Audi the next. Iíll continue to stop by the shop and soak up a little local color and philosophy from time to time. A great car caregiver is like a gifted MD; you want to stay in touch because sooner or later youíll need them.

  I was going to end this installment with some sentimental trip down memory lane; all the places that truck had taken me fishing etc. but I think not. Let just say that truck gave me the best years of itís life.

I replaced Old Whitey with a new Nissan Xterra; I guess weíll see how she does and yes, it is white.  

More Trout Bum Articles:
05/01/2015: The wolves will always eat the sheep by R.Sumner
11/17/2014: Red Fish Redux by R.Sumner
08/01/2014: Retirement by R.Sumner
07/02/2013: Custom by Randal Sumner
05/01/2013: Subaru Magic by Randal Sumner
01/19/2012: Ding Ho by RandalSumner
04/06/2011: A Cautionary Tale by Randal Sumner
01/26/2010: Redfish Round-up by Randal Sumner
11/24/2009: Kentucky Don and English Bob by Randal Sumner
08/25/2009: A word about Bears by R.Sumner
06/30/2009: Polar bear hugging by Randal Sumner
01/27/2009: Christmas letters by Randal Sumner
11/25/2008: Trip to Eden by Randal Sumner
08/07/2008: Mime Time by R. Sumner
06/02/2008: fuel vs fishing by R. Sumner
05/01/2008: Long sleeve Hawiian shirt by R.Sumner
02/07/2008: The Empire by R. Sumner
11/29/2007: Troutbum self-help by R. Sumner
09/04/2007: The Perfect Client by Randal Sumner
07/02/2007: High Anxiety by R.Sumner
03/29/2007: Grasshopper by Randal Sumner
01/25/2007: Chinese food by R. Sumner
09/28/2006: Chief Holland USN retired by R. Sumner
07/10/2006: BBQ by R.Sumner
05/30/2006: Cashmere by R. sumner
03/30/2006: Sterling Choices by Randal Sumner
01/26/2006: Tying with Pablo by Randal Sumner
12/01/2005: Brrr by Mark Littleton
11/24/2005: Thanksgiving 2005 by randal Sumner
09/01/2005: Anchors Away by Mark Littleton
07/01/2005: Some kinda fun by Randal Sumner
05/01/2005: The Base Lake by Randal Sumner
04/01/2005: Humble Pie by Mark Littleton
03/01/2005: Dance monkey dance by randal Sumner
01/01/2005: Where are the Instructions? by Randal Sumner
12/01/2004: Das Boat by Mark Littleton
11/01/2004: What me Worry? by Mark Littlton
10/01/2004: Priorities by Mark Littlton
09/01/2004: Falling In by Mark Littleton
08/01/2004: Ice Fishing by Randal Sumner
07/01/2004: Honey, I flooded the basement by Randal Sumner
07/01/2004: Elvis Lives by Randal Sumner
06/01/2004: Coyote by Randal Sumner
05/01/2004: Redfish and Capt. Dan by Mark Littleton
04/01/2004: Vested Interest by Randal Sumner
03/01/2004: Are you a Troutbum? by Mark Littleton
12/01/2003: Christmas presents by Mark Littleton
11/01/2003: Oklahoma by Randal Sumner
10/01/2003: Steel heading JuJu by Randal Sumner
09/01/2003: Motor Home by Randal Sumner
08/01/2003: Life is Funny by Mark Littlton
07/01/2003: Deschutes by Mark Littleton
06/01/2003: Class of 2002 by Randal Sumner
05/01/2003: BOAT FISHING by Mark Littlton
04/01/2003: ALASKA, LAND OF THE MIDNIGHTBLUE TARP by Randal Sumner
03/01/2003: MARCH BROWNS by Mark Littleton
02/01/2003: DEEP IN THE HEART OF IDAHO by Randal Sumner
01/01/2003: TOP TEN by Mark Littleton
12/01/2002: SAN MIGUEL by Randal Sumner
11/01/2002: DISNEYLAND by Randal Sumner
10/01/2002: CAMPING by Mark Littleton
09/01/2002: MMMM MAYFLIES by Mark Littleton
08/01/2002: CARNEGIE HALL by Randal Sumner
07/01/2002: CRAWFISH PIE by Randal Sumner
06/01/2002: Sons and Pals by Mark Littleton
03/01/2002: Visitation by Randal Sumner
02/01/2002: Ouch by Mark Littleton
01/01/2002: Death by Randal Sumner
11/01/2001: Leakers by Randal Sumner
09/01/2001: Poser by Randal Sumner
08/01/2001: Snake River Diary by Mark Littleton
08/01/2001: It's Hard by Mark Littleton
07/01/2001: Etiqutte by Randal Sumner
06/01/2001: June by Mark Littleton
05/01/2001: Road Trip to Paradise by Randal Sumner
04/01/2001: What Are They Doing Up There? by Mark Littleton
03/01/2001: Gear by Randal Sumner
02/01/2001: Soft Hackles by Mark Littleton
01/25/2001: Motivation by Randal Sumner
12/28/2000: Winter Fishing by Mark Littleton
11/30/2000: Old Blackie by Randal Sumner