Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Another great trip to Hood River...and another surgical strike mission (quick 4 days in the Gorge) with my partner in crime, Rob.   However, this was the first time we didn't hike or go mountain biking at least one day, and for good reason - we had wind every day!  The wind blew at least 25 mph every day.  We were mostly on 4.2 sails and windsurfed every day, plus two Viento to Hood River SUP downwinders.  And the weather was perfect - either 70s or low 80s and sunny every day (while it was in the 90s and humid back home).  Score!!  No video from this year's trip but here are some pics with captions.

the flight into Portland - passing right over the town of Hood River at sunset with Mt Adams and Mt Rainier in the background

Mt St Helens, Mt Rainier, and Mt Adams (Left to right)

Event Site, Hood River

Rob and I visited LP Foils in Bingen, WA for a little research

Peter is a windsurfer and used to work at Seatrend way back.  He showed us around, we talked shop, and he answered all our questions.  They make a foil that fits a regular Tuttle fin box and it turns out I have 2 boards with Tuttle fin boxes.  This allows me to leverage the boards I already have and not have to buy a new board just for foiling.  

Dougs Beach and rigging a 4.2 on our first day

the local Hood River vibe is always good

You see all kinds of great adventure vehicles outfitted in the craziest ways.  This one was an original I hadn't seen before.

Live music at Double Mountain - great blues/rock band Jive Coulis
These two food trucks next to the Pro Motion wetsuit shop didn't disappoint - Gustavos and Noodle Heaven...I could have eaten at either every day

the town of Hood River from the WA shoreline, with Mt Hood in the background

Mt Hood

In the evening, it seemed like every other car in town had a dog waiting for their owner

The Big Winds downwind shuttle

getting dropped off at Viento State Park to launch the 8 mile downwinder in 30mph+ wind

Columbia River Gorge downwinder between Viento and Hood River

Check out that breaking wave behind Rob.   It got big out there and was a ton of fun.  Long runways and long glides.

finishing at the Event Site

I took my GPS & heart rate monitor on the SUP downwinder.  Top speed was just under 10mph.  And the heart rate was thumping.  Between miles 1 and 5, you're really working it in the big swells.  The big swells disappear between miles 5 and 8 (unless you paddle on the WA side through Swell City and The Hatchery) but there are still some bumps to be had.  For those that don't know, you're paddling with the wind but against the river current.  So you need at least 20 mph wind speed to really make it a good downwinder and even then, your average speed isn't as fast as most other downwinders where you're going with the wind without a current.

We were on the downwinder from 11:30am-1pm (and windsurfed in the afternoon)

The next day's downwinder conditions again 11:30am-1pm, and windsurfing in the afternoon.

We had to remove our rental car seat headrests so we could cram the boards in there

Rowena, OR - our first time sailing there..we liked it there.

our stick - 85lt JP Australia Freestyle Wave - great board

this old Naish board was in our house rental backyard

The Hatchery

Dougs Beach windsurfing

ending the trip at the Sandbar again before heading back to Portland for the red eye home


2015 Video

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Improvise (Reeb Ranch & Dupont State Forest pictorial trip report)

It was time to improvise.  Original plans had the whole family going to the beach for a long weekend recently, until we realized one of the kids had a commitment we almost forgot about.  So we backpedaled a bit, realized we still had 32 hours between their commitments, and starting thinking about what we could do in that time.  We improvised to a quick getaway trip to the mountains.

The road into Reeb Ranch

The barn and barn apartment.  They have weddings and events here.

Its a crime we have neither spent much time in the Brevard area nor mountain biked in Dupont State Forest.  That had to change.  I had heard about the Reeb Ranch nearby Brevard, owned by Oskar Blues Brewery (Reeb is beer spelled backwards).  You can tent camp onsite or stay in their cabin or barn apartment.  We opted for the cabin and we're very glad we did.  It was very private and we even had our own waterfall with a creek running right by the cabin.   Katie was very helpful answering my questions over the phone and email before we booked it, and was very accommodating and helpful at check-in.  The Reeb Ranch also includes a bike park, pump track, and is home to the annual Burning Can Festival.  It is also located next to Dupont State Forest, so you could ride your mountain bike from the ranch to Dupont's trails and back if you wanted to.  It is a beautiful place.  

The Cabin

Wild turkeys on site
As soon as we checked in, we went for a family waterfall hike at Dupont State Forest.  Since we had our old family dog (who is in bad health) with us and had limited time, we opted for a short and easy hike and chose the famous Dupont "3 waterfall hike".  It included Triple Falls, High Falls, and Hooker Falls.  It was probably a round trip of approx 3.5 miles and the kids got to swim.

High Falls

Triple Falls

High Falls

High Falls

Hooker Falls
After the hike and a quick picnic lunch we had packed, I went mountain biking in Dupont State Forest.  I found a great recommendation here and here for the best trails to hit.  I wanted a good mix of the area's trails (single track, fire roads, slick rock, climbs, downhill, creek crossings, etc) so I put together a combo of the two recommendations.  That would also allow me to get in the famous Ridgeline Trail as well as Cedar Rock and Big Rock slick rock trails.  It was going to be approx 22 miles of riding.

This is where the improvising continued.  About 8.5 miles into the ride, I got a flat tire.  I haven't had a flat tire while riding in several years.  That was the moment that I realized the extra tube I had in my trail pack doesn't fit my bike.  Doh!  Luckily, I also had a patch kit in my pack.  So I patched the tube and was good to go.  The patch fix seemed to hold just fine as I checked it every mile or so.  Until mile 13.5.  The patch fix stopped holding, the tire went flat again, and I tried to patch again to no success.  The hard reality that I could no longer continue finally set in.  Luckily, I was less than a mile from a trailhead lot, yet it was on the other side of the whole Dupont State Forest from my car.

So I hiked my bike back to the trailhead, found a group of young college kids who were leaving, and hitched a ride with them.  They were local summer camp counselors enjoying an afternoon off and were actually on their way to Oskar Blues Brewery, so naturally I gave them beer money as a small token of my appreciation for getting a ride to my car.  They had a small car so I ditched my bike in the woods at the lot, got a ride with them to my car, drove all the way back to get my bike, and then finally drove back to the cabin to meet the family.

All good and very grateful for the day but I unfortunately wasn't able to finish the ride I set out on....and missed out on the Ridgeline Trail.  The trails I did ride were awesome however, so I guess I'll have to go back!

The view from Big Rock Trail

Cedar Rock Trail

creek crossing

We then set out for dinner and opted for the ChubWagon Food Truck at Oskar Blues Brewery.  I was introduced to the original Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons, Colorado by my friend Neil.  He had Dales Pale Ale at his wedding reception many years back.  I still remember being blown away by the concept of craft beer in a can at that time, as Oskar Blues was the first to do it.  Of course, now many craft breweries are canning their beer.  So its very cool that Oskar Blues decided to expand and open their east coast operations in Brevard.  

Oskar Blues Brewery in Brevard

Our dog Cooper hanging out at the cabin with us.  He's getting old and not in good health but he really enjoyed it.  

It got a little chilly at night

The view of the cabin from our private waterfall

Shoal Creek Falls at the Reeb Ranch

The next morning, we slept in then went for a short hike to the waterfall and bike park on site that my wife and kids had enjoyed the day before while I was mountain biking in Dupont State Forest.  The kids really enjoyed the bike park at the Reeb Ranch on their own bikes.  After playing around at the bike park, we packed up and headed home but not before stopping for a great lunch at the dog friendly Flat Rock Wood Room in Flat Rock, NC.   Nice outdoor patio, very good food, and our waiter was excellent.  

The entire weekend trip, door to door including travel time of 2.5 hr drive each way from where we live near Lake Norman, was 32 hours.  We packed a lot in that trip for sure.  And there is so much more that area has to offer (Pisgah National Forest is also next door) so we definitely want to go back and explore some more.  Sometimes the best laid plans don't always work out, so you just have to improvise.  And it turned into a great weekend getaway.

My daughter made a great video of the trip.  Hope you enjoy!