Since I was two years old, my family has been making an annual pilgrimage to June Lake, a pristine lake situated high in the Eastern Sierras of California. Life got the best of us in recent years and we've skipped the past few summers; this August is our first year back at it, with all of the old characters making appearances - Leon Gull, Atticus Finch, Return of The Jodi and, of course, Mr. Bishop.
This is a trip we all adore incredibly fiercely, though it's
difficult to adequately communicate just how deep that love goes, and
why. This year's Pump-Up Letter, as written by the venerable Patrick
Diller, puts it into words more perfectly than I ever could:
Family, Golfers, Fishermen, Poker Players, Drinkers, Softball Players,
Tri-Tip Eaters, Jamie's next ex and the rest of the Noordmans,
Over the last 20+ years we've gained many friends and grown our
families and group immensely. Unfortunately, we have also lost a few
icons along the way. But this is the year that we pick ourselves back
up, dust off the old tackle box, and get ready for greatest comeback in
the history of mankind. In 2 weeks we will ascend upon the great Lake we
call June. Perched high in the Eastern Sierra, June Lake is a place of
remarkable beauty. A place where a ridge is named for the "Oh" face that
it gives you. A place where Diller Men become boys, and the new
generation of Diller boys will become
Fisher Men. A place where birth names are left near the Alabama Hills
and you can become Atticus Finch, Leon Gull, or Mr. Bishop. A place
where Los Lonely Boys prowl for local talent to degorge. A place that's
governed by The Code and disputes are settled on a cribbage board. A
place where fish tremble and so does Byron. A place where a field of
dreams turns to nightmares and Stephensons fall like turds from a tall
indian. A place where Brady will be missed, just like every softball
he's ever swung at. A place where the official language is shit talking.
A place where the scent of powerbait lingers and the sheer mention of
tri-tip initiates a Pavlovian response. A place where your hopes and
dreams of winning the tourney at BCC can be shattered like a phonebooth
window in a single put. A place where "Schatting" yourself could mean
you left a map of Argentina in your pants or that you simply are covered
in crumbs from some delicious bread. A place where bears roam as
freely as Kris Stephenson's hands during crowd surfing. A place, the
only place perhaps, where you once could be called out at home plate by a
thumbless umpire. A place where the grass actually is greener, thanks
to Bob Toomey's years of incessant watering. A place where ants feed on
dropped globs Grandma Donnie's Jello and garlic bread crumbs. A place
where a grown man can nap or play pinochle without his sexuality coming
into question. A place where the Monorail Guy gives nightly tours of
Disneyland. A place where a quick glance upward at night could pay off
with a full frontal nudity shot. Yes, it is a place where legends are
both made and destroyed in as little as a single cast. And it is with
those memories, and the anticipation of new memories to come and new
legends to be made, that I do hereby welcome you all to the next
generation of June Lake. So pack those bags, stock those ice chests,
sharpen your wit, and head on up to Brenner Street for The Moore Clan,
Getting there was quite a long travel day for moi: 4am wake up call for a 6:30am flight out of LaGuardia, brief stop in Houston which required a full sprint from one plane to the next, touch down in LA just before noon, renting a car from the most ghetto hole-in-the-wall shop ever (thanks a lot, Priceline), then finally hitting the road toward June. My fam was headed across the state around the same time I was, so we planned to meet in Mojave so Leigh could jump from their car to mine and I wouldn't be stuck driving the whole way alone. They ended up getting to there slightly before I did, so Leigh was stuck waiting in a sketchy McDonalds for a bit, but I picked her up a half hour later and off we went.
Highway 395 is long and beautiful and boring. I was very grateful to have a passenger along for the ride.
Not-so-pretty Lake Crowley.
Coming up over Oh! Ridge...
I see the lake first!
It's official - we're here!
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