"Welcome back my friends, to the show that never ends..." The latest road trip, on this thrilling adventure ride we call San Diego Long Range Fishing, started last August when I contacted the offices of Royal Star about an opening I had seen on their Spring schedule. It was a first for me, yes, even at my age there are firsts. A 17 day/ 11 night excursion that allowed for flights to and from Cabo San Lucas to board & depart the boat. It's a great way to avoid those long three day boat rides to & from San Diego. You can ride either way, if you like. It's an option available to all, but chosen by few. I like the option to spend fewer nights on the boat, yet still having the choice to fish either the Shimada Seamount or Clarion Island, or both. This trip was being sponsored by a San Diego based fishing radio show called Let's Talk Hook Up. The young lady in the Star office answered all of my questions, handled all of the arrangements, and for some unknown reason, maybe she's got sales skills, maybe she's just a nice person, she treated me more like a friend than a customer. I sent a deposit check before she found out who I was and changed her mind. Some guys call me a nut, the nice ones just say I'm enthusiastic. In January, I started planning in earnest, replenishing my supplies and scouring the internet for discussions on the latest in tackle and techniques. In March, I saw my friends Sean & Rosie from Fisherman's Processing at the Fred Hall Fishing Show in Long Beach. F.P. and Royal Star are affiliated companies and share some common owners. When I told Sean I was going out again, and would, hopefully, be in need of his services, he said, "Let me grab my book." He started flipping thru the pages and asked me what the dates were. I told him. He asked me what boat I was riding this time? For the first time, in our long relationship, I said, "Royal Star." He put his pen down and extended his hand to me. He shook my hand and said, "Finally." "Welcome to the family." I felt like a "made" man in the mafia. Rosie came over and gave me the customary kiss on each cheek. Sean told me I was number one on the list for same day service. About a month later, the young lady in the office sent out a mass email to all of the participants. One name in the address bar jumped out at me I knew I had heard of him, but I couldn't recall the where or the when. I contacted a mentor of mine, a guru his own self, and asked him who "that guy" was. "Oh Joe," he says, "you are in for a treat." "You're about to fish with, one of, if not thee, finest gentlemen in the fleet." That's pretty high praise and coming from who it was, it meant a lot. I was really looking forward to meeting this individual. Looking at a fishing website I occasionally visit, I noticed there were a couple of "Bloody Deckers" on the trip as well. The young lady in the office told me one of them was on the same flight as I, and asked if I might keep an eye out for him. She probably warned him about me. I contacted Warlord, aka Steve Rohmine, of the famous Kansas Rohmine clan, and suggested that if we somehow "got along" at the load- in on Saturday the 16th, that maybe we might share a cocktail while waiting for our flight to Cabo on Tuesday, the 19th. He was agreeable, and when we met, I knew right away we'd get along fine. I had one more pre-trip obligation to take care of. I don't know who is who's sidekick anymore, but my good fishing buddy, The Kid, aka Nick Rekrut, got together one Saturday morning, so he could wish me luck, and I could raid his tackle box. He offered me some Soft Steel fishing line and I asked if he had any J hooks he didn't want anymore. Because he is one of the "cool" guys, he's a circle hooker now. He gave me a couple of handfuls of ringed J hooks in the 5/0 and 6/0 sizes. He discouraged me from using them, but resigned himself to the fact that I was unable, as he put it, "to think outside the box." The Kid forgets how old I am. I was there the day they built "the box". Despite that argument, we kissed and hugged, and he bade me, "Good Luck!" He knew, and I knew, I would need it. Truth be told, I missed The KId a lot this trip. We've been buddies for a few years now, and I guess I've gotten used to having him around to liven things up. Missed him a lot at the beginning as I transitioned back into being a "solo".