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Steve Fraley, BBT
Co-owner & Guide

July 21, 2016

Hey Guys! I keep thinking I’ll get out on the river again and catch a big one to post so I’ve been putting this off, but alas, I’ve been fairly busy with other things so just the fact that I got out once, had a great float and fished long enough to catch a couple little guys will have to suffice for now! It wasn’t that long ago I wasn’t sure I’d be fishing at all very much in the future, but things are most certainly turning around for the better…


I’ve had a number of people that are not following me on Facebook ask about the car accident so I’ll touch on that briefly first. Basically, it was just a freak accident involving a tire blow out, wheels tracking thru the soft sand with the inability to turn the car back to the road or stop before getting ramped into a nearby tree. Yes, I know, it’s a super fast sports car so the immediate assumption is excessive speed, but no, I was not going fast at all per my wife’s request on our Mothers day cruise… (Determined to be no fault with no tickets issued.)


Getting some love from John & Heather’s daughter Alex in the Reed City Hospital just prior to the ambulance ride to GR.

Karen wound up with multiple fractures in her right forearm requiring lots of hardware, both of her eyes needing surgery and a broken left foot among other things. I came out with bad compression fractures in my L1 & L2 vertebrae and a fracture in my ankle among other things. We will both recover and are happy to be alive! I’ve been told the photos I’ve seen of the Porsche do not do it justice at all and everyone is amazed that anyone lived thru it including my buddy Brandon at AA Collision who recovered it and has seen it all.

After a few days in Butterworth hospital we were both transferred to Mary Free Bed for a stay and came home together a couple of weeks later, both with new wheels, but not the ones I wanted to replace the Porsche! That being said, the insurance company was actually easy to deal with and without too much bickering we settled on the car. Having nothing else to do I spent plenty of time researching and deciding on a replacement. In the end I wound up with a nice car and some work done on my Harley to replace the birthday gift from my dad and we are more than happy.

June 20, home again in our new wheels!

Karen got back in the saddle with me as soon as she was physically able to on July 3rd.

Patrick Kelly out of Grand Rapids does nice work! Just wish I could ride it now...

OK, so that’s that… In the meantime my blood issues had continued to run unchecked and due to the accident I missed my appointment with my last U of M specialist the insurance company wanted me to see before permitting me to go to Mayo. Luckily, I wound up getting a new appointment on the 24th of June where they ran some test that told them nothing, but they did put me on a daily dose of steroids (A steroid I had asked another specialist to try back in April that got shot down.) to run further test on August 10th. My hemoglobin numbers continued to drop for a little bit and per usual, my next two units of blood were right on my every two week average.

On July 5th I went in and got, what has thus far turned out to be, my last transfusion so far! On Monday the 11th my blood test revealed the highest hemoglobin number I’ve had since this saga started of 10.2, Thursday the 14th showed a slight drop to 9.9 (There is a .5 margin of error) and this past Monday the 18th revealed a new record high of 10.4!! Whoot, whoot!! Now, I’m trying very hard not to foster false hope and not get too excited until after my visit to U of M on August 10, but that is difficult to do when you’re showing an all time high on a day that would normally show a number requiring my next transfusion…

Fingers crossed! Maybe July 5th was my last?!?!

Hopefully this thing is either running its course or, the steroids are working. Either way I’m happy about it “right now”, but still wish they’d tried it when I suggested it back in April after hearing another person’s story from Clint at Red Moose. Let’s face it, not to get too “political”, but with my current forced health care situation and the inability to choose my own healthcare providers you’re pretty much stuck with what you get and you kinda have to try and solve your own issues when they aren’t…

Enough of that now as I am breaking my own promise of sorts not to bore you all with my health situation unless you are silly enough to follow me on Facebook. The BBQ at the shop on the 2nd to celebrate our 20th year in business was a huge success and once again, it’s all thanks to you!!

The 6th was a great day again! I woke up with plenty of energy from my new dose of hemoglobin the day before, David Ruimveld stopped by the house to drop off a couple of works to me and I wound up making plans to go fishing that afternoon/evening with John Robinson and Clint Anderson!

Brightened my day to start off with! Wonderful works including the Alagnak River where I first guided in Alaska back in 94’ and the Steelhead originally commissioned for my Stealthcraft boat where it was first and still displayed!

My “Ruimveld Wall” is complete for now and as of today with the addition of “Heroes” he just dropped off! (Except for hunting related work I have on another wall.) Thank you David!

Didn’t have the strength or stamina in my back to fish very much at all without too much pain, but regardless, it was the best time I’ve had in a very long time and even the couple of dinks I caught on dry flies were as rewarding as any big fish I’ve ever caught! A few hexes did go after dark, but not much looking up to them that night and the few bigger fish we did hear only fed once or twice at best.

Thanks for the ride, friendship, dinner and camaraderie guys!!

Since then, I’ve been working out lightly to get back into shape for this fall’s guiding season, getting out of the house almost daily even if it’s just for a run around with the top down, a stop at Barski for a beer and some social activity and just getting my house in order…

Jake was and has been a life saver to Karen and I staying with us for a while and giving personal care when we needed it as well as performing his normal shop duties. Can’t thank him enough or too often!

Lets do this! ;^)

On the 15th my longest running and bestest buddy in the world Kirk came up with his wife Haile (You may remember I officiated their wedding some time back when I became the Reverend Fraley! ;^) from Toledo to check up on us, visit and help me with some projects. Kirk has made regular trips up here since the beginning of all my issues hanging out in hospital rooms etc, and is a brother in the truest sense of the word to me! He also brought me a t-shirt as a gift and stopped by the air brush artist place in GR on his way up to pick up my bike parts…

Sorry about the language or if the message offends you, but I had to post our twins photo!

A few close up shots of the bike work: Front of front Faring…

Side views front faring...

Rear of front fender…

Front of front fender…

On the 16th Kirk and I drove over to Mt Pleasant to load up his truck with some of my grandson’s things as he is staying with Karen and I for a whole month before going back to his fourth year of college at CMU!! Some of you long time followers may remember some of his childhood memories…

Good times with “Uncle John”, grandpa and Taz!

Still to this day one of my favorite A’s even though he graduated High School with honors and makes the Dean’s list regularly in College!

Kirk had to head home on Monday morning, but Baile went with me to see the orthopedic doc in GR who did some x-rays and released me on the fracture in my ankle. More good news! Tuesday found Baile, Steve from Barski and I all out enjoying our second amendment rights and practicing for a class that Steve, Jake and I would be taking the next day. Simply put, we had a blast (Pun intended!) killing some splatter zombie targets that my son Brandon had bought me for Christmas!

Baile refrained from shooting my ultra light snub nose 44mag revolver after watching Steve and I, (I don’t blame him, that thing kicks like a mule, has a small hand grip being so light and is really only meant for if a bear is ever actually mauling me in Alaska or a close up home intruder only!) but he did great with my plinkin’ AR and Steve’s 9mm pistol! Not only were his shots impressive, but I also didn’t have to remind him even once about pointing the firearm in only a safe direction, always setting the safety, announcing intentions, etc, etc… Proud!

Just a quick Iphone video of our fun. Hit the four "full screen" arrows to make it actually fit in the screen...

The next day, yesterday, Steve, Jake and I took a course needed for concealed carry here in Michigan and I want to thank Rich Martin and his wife Dawn ( Click Here for information on the class! ) for putting on a very professional and informative CPL class with just the right amount of comic relief involved! Not sure my back was quite ready for 8 hours of class and range time as it was quite sore by the end, but we powered thru and it was well worth it. We all learned a lot more than expected and we were all seriously impressed! Thanks again...

A few “shots” from the day... (Yea, another pun! ;^)

That pretty much brings you up to speed except that I’m seeing my spine guy on August 1st and hope to have a bunch of restrictions lifted! He seems to think I should be rowing fairly soon after that if not right then and provided my hemoglobin levels stay steady or rise as they should I am seriously looking forward to working this fall!

Tight Lines All,

P.S. Don’t forget it’s “Troutarama” weekend here in Baldwin if you like a good beer tent, rides, carnival games and such!!!

Other reports by Steve
June 30, 2016 Happy Fourth of July!!
April 29, 2016 04/29/2016
April 12, 2016 04/12/2016
March 31, 2016 03-31-2016