Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Jet Boat down the Rogue River to Hellgate Canyon

Sunday 8/30/09 We have been here a week and are definitely ready to "move on" tomorrow. We saw and did everything we wanted to in this area and are now headed down to Grants Pass, OR for our jet boat trip down the Rogue River. When we started the trip up Hwy 101 we wanted to take the "mail run" boat trip out of Gold Beach, OR but Will was not feeling well that day so we cancelled the reservations (there's always a reason things happen) and said, maybe when we come back, fully knowing that probably wouldn't happen. As luck would have it while we were visiting Crater Lake we met a "biker couple" who told us of a jet boat ride out of Grants Pass, OR on I-5 so when we got back we called & made reservations. Our reservation are for Tuesday 9/1 and they only have one boat a day leaving at 12:45 pm it seems the jet boat ride plus lunch ended Aug 31, it's the same 2 hour scenic ride plus lunch - $49; the dinner version - $57 was already sold out so we settled for just the scenic ride - $37 and we are definitely looking forward to it.

Monday 8/31/09 Grants Pass is another short trip of 75 miles so we always seem to pull into the RV park by lunch time. This RV park is out of the expensive book, Trailer Life but is right in the old part of town and only 2 miles (& on the same street!) as the jet boat excursion office. It's a small park and right between a Subway & Carl's Jr and across the street from Wendy's. We can even see the Burger King sign from the bedroom. This place has every fast food restaurant know to man. After we get settled we head out for the Super Wal Mart to buy groceries & stuff. It's a bonus for us when we find a town with a Super Wal Mart because you all know how Will feels about Wal Mart!!! I do notice that they have a nail shop inside Wal Mart and decide after we return home to go back & treat myself to a pedicure. Actually, it is becoming more of a necessity as I can't see well enough to cut my toe nails anymore so I just enjoy the luxury of it.

When I return I discover they can't take me for 1 1/2 hours so I set out to find another nail shop, as you know there is ALWAYS another Asian nail shop. I find one about a mile away next to a closed up Gottschalks, now there is a bit of nostalgia for you! I go in, they can take me immediately & I settle in for some pampering. When I return home I fix a pretty nice dinner (I do cook on occasion) we watch a little of Monday Night Football to see how Brett is doing and then it's another day....gone, just like that.

Tuesday 9/1/09 Grants Pass is a very hilly city so my morning walk is not easy and I'm really struggling by the time I return home and of all days missed my street & walked further than my 3 miles. However, it's jet boat day and I am excited, I wash some clothes, walk over to the Visitors Center to buy some postcards and Will has lunch. Now actually we are very early, and remember we are only 2 miles from the place but we decide to leave anyway and just check out the historic part of town. This really is a cute town with lots of great shops to wander in and out of. Great old restored houses to look at but we only have today and then we leave again Wednesday morning.

With that we arrive at the Hellgate Jetboat Excursion office www.hellgate.com to pay for our tickets & find out what we do. Of course they have a big, beautiful office with LOTS of things to look at & buy but I just pay the $74 tab, the lady hands me a card & says cross OVER the bridge & they load at dock A. We are on this side of the bridge & think it's strange they don't bus us to the dock but we get back into the car & cross over the bridge & now find we are away from the Rogue River & wind up in a Bi Mart parking lot.....a much cheaper version of Wal Mart. Now this town is composed of lots of one way streets & we have no idea how to even get back to the excursion office. In the parking lot I approach this man & tell him we are lost & are looking for the jet boat dock. He is a local & knows right where it is but because the streets are so "screwy" he says follow me & I will take you there. Of course we are delighted & have no options but to trust that is exactly what he is going to do. We follow close behind him & he drives into the parking lot directly across the street from the excursion office & shows us where we need to go ...UNDER the bridge (that would be - walking under the bridge & wait over there at dock A) Now obviously I heard wrong in the first place (she says) but of course I'm mumbling that the directions were not clear enough. Ok, no damage done, remember we left early and now we are the third couple in line and I clearly want to be in the front row.

Now the front row has of course the best view, but they say it is also the wettest. My seat is on the left side...first seat, first row & Will is next to me. The boat holds about 60 people and is completely sold out. We get loaded up and off we go and we start out really fast and then he just stops & everyone gets wet. Fortunately, the sun is out and it is a hot day, the low 90s, so the water feels really good. We head on down the river while the drive/guide tells us about the Rogue River, the wildlife (we saw 3 deer in the river) and the birds (several osprey & their nests) Beautiful houses line both sides of the Rogue River for several miles then as you get further out, no new houses are allowed. The river is shallow this time of the year and pretty empty of fisherman, rafters & swimmers which was lucky for us as he was able to go from side to side and then when he did his 360 spins.....they were fabulous. Everyone held on perfect (just like he showed us) that he did more (so he said) then he normally does. The best part was, the front row stayed pretty dry while the second & third got drenched. Actually the lady on the outside right (I was outside left) also was soaked....so my seat was perfect. The trip was FABULOUS and anyone who gets near this town should definitely put this on their "to do list." When we got back I was sorry we weren't staying another day so we could go again.

After we got back to the dock, we went back to the excursion office to purchase our $8 picture they took of our entire boat as we were leaving the dock. They had a camera person standing on the bridge above us & he snapped a picture as we were leaving. Of course we bought it & a wonderful memory of a great day. Oh yes, I couldn't resist telling the manager when I was in the excursion office he needs to instruct his help on being clearing on directions about boarding the boat....my parting shot. With that we went home exhausted, I guess it was too much excitement for the day. Treated ourselves to dinner at Carl's Jr. and then home to collapse.

Wednesday 9/2/09 Another moving day, gosh I'm was getting used to staying in locations for a week so moving every two days is much different. We each have our jobs to do, Will of course unhooks all the outside stuff & does what he does and I do my inside jobs, all the shower stuff on the floor, rugs up, counters cleared, windows closed, doors locked, etc. - we move the heater & big TV together, hook the car up to the RV & are now ready to head out. We have a little further to go, approx 100 miles to Weed, CA, yes that right, we have crossed back into California. It's hard to believe we left June 1st and have been gone for 3 months, we just can't believe how the time has flown by and of course all the wonderful things we have seen. It truly has been a wonderful opportunity for both of us & we are grateful.

We arrive in Weed, CA about lunch time and after lunch head on down to the Visitors Center. Weed is at the base of the awesome Mt Shasta which is beautiful & still has snow on it in many places with a cloud that sits above it & looks just like a halo. Will remembers coming here many years ago & riding a tram up to the top, which he wants us to do. Unfortunately, they lost that tram some years back due to an earthquake or bad weather...all we know....it isn't running any longer. Today we decide to visit the old downtown area & go into the local museum. It was our very good fortunate to meet Sam Catalano, an 88 year old Italian, who was born in Weed & has lived here all his life. As a matter of fact his sister lives in Fresno, at Sierra & First Street & his cousins owned Catalano's Market....a small world. Sam was absolutely delightful and we spent several hours with him learning all about him, his family and the town of Weed & surrounding area. It was delightful.

Afterwards we headed out of town about 10 miles to view a Living Memorial Sculpture Garden, a place to remember, a place to mend. It seems some years back a Vietnam Vet returning from war and struggling with the healing process, set out to build/weld these sculptures as a way to help himself and others that were struggling. The setting is high desert, some trees and the different sculptures that display different scenes. You drive into the area and then are able to walk and view them. There is a bench at each sculpture, with a title & you can sit & just observe. The first one I went to was POW MIA, a soldier in a cage, as I sat down on the bench I just started to cry. Some of the other titles of sculptures are: Those Left Behind, a woman holding a folded flag; The Greatest Generation, Those Coming Home & many more. If you have a chance, please go in & look at this web site to experience what this is www.WeedLMSG/org It was a wonderful experience & one I won't soon forget. The absolute silence of the desert, the wind, the sun it was an emotional experience.

One last note......wishing daughter Nancy & boyfriend Howard a wonderful 11 day vacation in Italy. They leave tomorrow..Thurs 9/3 for "the boot" of Italy - Sicily & the Almafi Coast. Have a wonderful time you guys and don't forget to buy me something!!!!! Signing off with much love to family & friends.


setzergirl said...

Don't I ALWAYS buy you something? It's quite a scam you have going with me. How about I buy you a trip to Hawaii?

Have fun! Talk to you when we get back! XO

Cheryl said...

Carole, I don't know who has the more wonderful life - you or Nancy!
Your rafting trip was less exciting than my cousin Barbara and her husband's in Alaska. Larry was washed overboard with 8 others in the raft and they all ended up in the hospital being treated for hypothermia. Think they'll get a free cruise out of the deal?!?!?!?!