Day 90

Tuesday, August 23, 2005Gold Beach, OR
Miles: 106893 x 350 = 1050? Nice.

So . . . after a nice relaxing day on a quiet secluded beach, we decided that it was high time for a high speed riverboat adventure. We've done the leisurely Snake River Raft Trip. We've done the whitewater trip down the Deschutes River. Now it was time to sit on our butts and let a madman steer a 40 passenger aluminum boat with three 350+ horsepower Ford engines strapped to it's underside up and down the Rogue River. And who better to do it than a small business known as Rogue River Mail Boats? (Well, there was one other company, but this one worked out better for our schedule.) So, when Keath finished up his work day we headed out to the other end of town and booked ourself a ride!

When you're that big a boat, but have that much non-propeller engine, you can go quite fast. You can also go up whitewater rapids in the wrong direction. You can also travel in less than 10 inchest of water. (Therefore you need a fairly rock-proof underside; we'd hate to see what the boat bottoms look like at the end of each season!) And best of all, your tour guide (who, oddly, builds and repairs aluminum HydroJet boats in the off season) can do spinouts and splash huge waves at foolhearty swimmers.

He's also got a hell of an eye for wildlife. Although he started the tour by warning us to look out ourselves since he'd need to pay attention to steering, nearly every wildlife sighting was his doing; usually emphasised by an abrupt swerve and about face or full stop and reverse in our jet boat. Highlihts were a young black bear looking for berries and a bald eagle searching for some fish. Okay, the bathers with waterguns egging on the huge jet boat was kind of funny, but not quite as nature-oriented.

Although they were large jet boats, this trip was actually more remote than the two raft trips we've been on. This is partially because a majority of the trip is through the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest. The jet boat companies need licenses from the NFS to take motor boats on the Rogue. And they are no longer granted! Wahoo! (Jerry's Jet Boats and Rogue River Mail Boats were grandfathered in, so they are the only two companies on the water.) There were some fishermen (and women) here and there, some of whom had boats, but it didn't look like they were allowed to put the motors in the water. This high, forested canyon walls help too. All in all, it made for a very nice, secluded trip.

One of our last wildlife spottings was actually a family of river otters. As one of the kids on our boat informed anyone who was listening (multiple times), river otter families always consist of mom, dad and three kids, who are always of the same gender. (He wasn't sure how to tell whether they were boys or girls, but was certain they were all one or the other.) Sure enough, when they came up on land for us to count, there were five; two big and three li'l ones. We sat there for a while watching them dry off in the dirt and then brush off on the rocks for an evening lay down. Then we set off to follow the bear and eagle's examples and have dinner.

We opted for the most veggie-tolerant option of the three riverside eateries and had a great time at a little place called the Singing Springs Ranch. They had a delicious salad and desert bar and plenty for us to eat. The buffet option also left us plenty of time to lay out in the camp beds they had laying about on the lawn and kick the oversized, underinflated medicine ball around a bit. Keath foolishly attempted to pop it in the air like a volleyball scoop, which resulted in a downward force sufficient to knock his legs out from under him and piledrive him in to the lawn. Ceridwen was mighty amused.

When we returned to Gold Beach it was nearing sunset. We confirmed that we did not win a free photo of us on the boat and headed out to the beach to watch the sunset. It was Pacificerrific. Ceridwen did some oceanfront yoga while Keath practiced his pseudoninja moves and moved stealthily about the rocks without her noticing. Or so he thought.

Exhausted and highly fulfilled, we headed back to the campsite and called it a night.

UPDATE: If you've been studiously keeping up with our catching up, now is the time to revisit day 89's photos for the one and only Amelia Jane!