When we drove into Gold Beach at the end of our first day of our amazing road trip to San Francisco, I noticed the sign that read, “Jerry’s Rogue Jets.” I immediately laughed, thinking this is not a business name that instills trust and reliability.
Little did I know that I wouldn’t have much choice in the matter.
A soggy start
The day rose in good old, gloomy Oregon fashion. Aaron fretted, and I merely sat back, excited for what the day would bring. I love surprises, and Aaron had everything all planned out. I didn’t know our morning plans placed us outside in the increasingly damp day.
We pulled into the parking lot of Jerry’s Rogue Jets, and I had to laugh once more at my remarks from the night before. Evidently, this establishment directed jet boat tours down the Rogue River; they did not rent out dubious aircraft with questionable loyalties.
And then I wryly laughed at our sorry luck with the weather.
Now understanding what we were getting ourselves into, I was willing to take the day as it came. We had done jet boat tours at home in Portland, and it’s a blast on a hot day. The boats whip around in water-bound donuts, turning into their own wakes, joyously splashing their unwitting occupants. I knew we’d get wet anyway, so I figured it didn’t really make much of a difference. Besides, I’m always a silver-lining, lemonade kind of gal; even miserable experiences can give you something to chuckle at later!
A drizzly disembark
We donned what meager rain-repellant gear we had with us (measly windbreakers), and made our way down to the dock. I didn’t want to get my camera wet, so I left it behind in favor of the little point-and-shoot I could tuck into a pocket (or a ziplock bag) at a moment’s notice.
I’m certainly glad I had at least something, as we were a laughable sight. Most of our fellow unfortunate souls were likewise huddled under colorful hoods and plastic garments resembling saran wrap. And it got even more ridiculous when our tour guide handed out wide strips of bright blue tarp to drape over our legs in a vain attempt to ward off the deluging liquid.
Thus bedecked, we disembarked.
With the boat zipping forward, the engines thrumming underneath us, it quickly became apparent that we and the rain were to become best buds – whether we wanted to or not. The thin, “waterproof” layer was soaked in short order; the water rapidly seeped in.
A rainy ride
Even though this was the end of June, summers in the Pacific Northwest – particularly near the coast – are quite mild. Without the sun overhead, it’s easy to get chilled. Our rain is likewise not the warm bathwater from the sky that you find in Florida or Hawaii. Needless to say, we were rather cold and miserable.
Our pilot was cognizant of this, and he went easy on us as far as the splashing went. We took a few in good spirits – mostly because we were all already wet – but it lost its appeal very quickly. He adjusted his technique to maximize spin thrill while minimizing the splash zone, which was greatly appreciated.
As the morning continued, the rain thankfully let up, and we were able to enjoy the ride a bit more. However, the sun had still not yet appeared, so we had only the wind to keep us company in our soaked garments.
A wet return
The tour included a stop at the end for some lunch, and we all gratefully squished our way into the lodge to hopefully dry out a bit. We were told on most days, the weather is pleasant enough to invite riders out to the back patio overlooking the river. But on this day, we all remained huddled inside, eating our sandwiches and wringing out our clothing.
The way back was slightly better, mostly because it had finally stopped raining. We were still wet, but we could shed the ridiculous blue tarp from our laps. We got a few more spins in, but we weren’t ready for the full splash experience.
We were also fortunate enough to spot some wildlife on the river. My little point-and-shoot couldn’t really do the eagles justice, but we spent some time with the sea lions, and we were able to get close to their rocky beach. Those adorable faces almost made the whole soggy soiree worth it… almost.
The moist memory
We managed to dry out a bit afterwards, and we ventured out to Meyers Beach that evening. Because of the weather, we practically had the beachside trail all to ourselves, and we were able to appreciate Gold Beach’s namesake in quiet solitude. The sand was rich and soft, the rock formations were magnificent, and the golden grasses rendered the hillsides almost pettable.
It was an interesting day in Southern Oregon! In the end, we just had to laugh at ourselves and the whole absurdity of it all. It wasn’t quite the adventure we had signed up for, but it sure makes for a fun story to regale now!
Next up – Road Trip: Hiking Among Giants – Day 3
Have you ever had an adventure go off the rails in a hilarious way?