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The Gorge - First Trip
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Joined: 25 Aug 2013
Posts: 369
Location: Vancouver, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is a follow-up to our recap our very first visit to Hood River and the Gorge.

My wife and I had an excellent time visiting Hood River and the Gorge for the first time. Although it was a windless, hot, and eventually Smokey visit, it was a great experience.

We arrived back home here in Vancouver BC Sunday evening. We left right after the swap meet.

To continue where we left off on day 1.

Day 2.

In the morning we attended the Gybing clinic presented by Jim Oaks and Tim from Northwave. Thanks for the donuts and the sail loft tour Tim! I hear Jim Oaks is a legend down there. It was a great clinic with plenty of useful tips. Really appreciate being able to take part on this clinic. Thanks Jim!

After the clinic it was off to Bette’s Place for a tasty albeit totally filling, club sandwich. Totally stuffed. You guys have BIG portions down there.

The afternoon was “supposed” to be for sailing but, well..., you know... so we jumped in the van and decided to drive the circle around Cascade Locks, Bridge of the Gods (we bought some fantastic cherries at a fruit stand below the bridge), Stevenson (Checked out the interpretive centre), Hatchery (no one on the water), and back over the bridge to hood river. It’s a very scenic drive with lots of interesting stops along the way. We passed through Cascade Locks less than a couple hours before the Eagle Creek fire broke out. There was no sign of the inferno to come. However, by the time we were crossing the bridge back to Hood River you could see the smoke mushroom cloud billowing high about the mountain. That's how fast it spread in such a short time.

Day 3.
We got up nice an early to be the first ones at the swap meet. We saw some familiar faces that we met the previous two days including Gary (and Harvey) from the Gorge Surf Shop, as well as Zach (you know who you are and thanks for the tips and gear spotting!). We found some good deals at the swap meet. We bought a small Chinook carbon boom (although not as new as I was hoping for). We bought the boom and a 430 SDM mast for $120. We found a 3.2 and 3.8 Sailworks Revo for $50. This helps round out our high wind quiver. We also bought a 4.6 Revolution for $40. The 4.6 at the time seemed like a pretty good deal. I was aware it had a small hole in one panel. I thought that was the only issue and worked in the cost of replacing the panel. My wife sailed it yesterday and we discovered it had multiple holes. Hmm... kinda got hosed on that sail. I wish the seller was a little more upfront about that. We bought a Starboard Pure Acid 86L in very good condition for $200. My wife is pretty excited about this board as it will mostly be hers. The two most important items on my list were a small carbon boom and a 400cm mast. While I was negotiating on the boom I noticed the same seller had a 400cm RDM mast for $80. Perfect! Just as I was about to check it out someone said “I’ll take that mast” and handed him the cash. Bummer! I need to be more on my toes. At least I know how much a second-hand 400cm mast “could/should” go for. I still need to find one though.

We had planned to stay for the Sailworks event that evening but decided to call our trip early and drove back that afternoon. I’d love to hear how it was.

On our drive home out of the Gorge we passed through Cascade Locks and the Eagle Mountain area again. This was before the big flare up. However, it was obvious the fire had grown significantly since it started the afternoon before. We saw fire trucks and police roadblocks. There were bumper-to-bumper traffic jams on some side roads (likely from evacuees). The smoke got very thick as well.

It is really crazy to think we were in the Gorge just as this chaos was starting. Our hearts go out to all those affected by the forest fires.

In conclusion, we went to Hood River to Windsurf but it was not meant to be. We learned that for predictable wind it is probably better to go earlier in the summer and ideally stay a little longer. This is what we will do next year.

Thank you to all those who provided valuable tips, information, events, and friendly faces during our visit. We’ll likely call on your experience again when the time comes to actually sail there. See you next year!

PS... I still need to find that 400cm mast (somewhat urgent), A current model Chinook 135-185 carbon boom (white grip), AND I REALLY WANT to find a Starboard FUTURA 111-114. If any of you come across any of these at a fair price please contact me.
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Joined: 05 May 2014
Posts: 13

PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glad your trip was still enjoyable and productive.

When I have some time I will make a thread about my personal first trip to the Gorge as a beginner. I almost got into some serious trouble in the water, it will be a lessons learned and what not to do thread.
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