Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Jet Boat Trip Up Oregon's Rogue River Is Superb

Written from Gold Beach, Ore.--

This was my first time in this town at the mouth of the Rogue River on the Oregon coast since my son, one memorable spring day several years ago, caught an 18-pound salmon near the Pacific on the Rogue.

But today's experience -- a 104-mile trip up the river with Mail Boat's jet boats -- was memorable too.

Don't take this trip, if you're not willing to get wet. But we had many older people on today's excursion, and everyone seemed to enjoy the countless spins and splashes caused not so much by the rapids, as by two adept pilots who, it seemed, could spray any section of the boat they wished to simply by braking suddenly, or turning sharply.

The seven-and-a-half hour trip to the first rapid the jet boats could not get through, cost $74, which the company charged to my credit card when I made my reservation two weeks ahead. Service was smiling. An excellent buffet lunch enroute cost an additional $12.

There are a lot of boat trips, frankly, that are not worth the money. This one was.

The river is extremely colorful, with fishermen frequently seen hip deep in the water, boaters of all kinds passing by, other jet boats, fine cabins, and, in the last 30 miles of the journey upstream, dozens of rafters who have come down wilder sections of the river further upstream, and have passed through spectacular rapids. The kids and I once took one of these raft trips, but that's another story.

Today, we saw many kinds of birds, including blue herren, osprey and bald eagles, quite a few deer, some river turtles, some minx and at least one bear, possibly two. I say, possibly two, because I did not quite pick out the second one. The first, though, was obvious, eating some of the millions of black berries that grow in this idlyic region in July and August. Bears, of course, are not the only ones who can pick the berries free of charge. We saw no jumping sturgeon, though they have been seen on other days.

This was a marvelous trip for children, and there were many on the trip. I'd certainly hope to return when my grandchildren get a little older.

It was such a bright and sunny day that we were glad to get wet, because it was cooling, and we dried out quickly. How often did we get wet? Perhaps 30 times, particularly on the downward trip, when we thought erroneously the thrills were over, as the boat hit 55 mph. The pilot along this segment was a man named Dave. I hope you get him as your driver.

Gold Beach is about 30 miles north of the California line on the coastal highway. There are many spectacular turnouts along this rock-strewn coast.

The town itself is nondescript and not too impressive, but on the road that goes several miles along the north bank of the river, there are many fancy and not-so-fancy lodgings to suit any taste or pocketbook, including some RV camps. Particularly to be recommended is the Tu Tu Tun lodge, but I tried too late to get reservations. They are very popular, and also, not cheap.

This is a travelers paradise. Come and enjoy a great spot on the West Coast. And be sure to take the river trip, also offered by an outfit called Jerry's Jet Boats.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ken, I do enjoy your travelogues. Far preferable to your rants on Iraq. Have you ever thought of giving the blog a rest and seeking a second career as a travel writer?

8/06/2007 9:39 PM  

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