May 6th ~ Gold Beach, Oregon
We had been warned that the first part of our jet boat ride as we left the harbor and headed up the wild Rogue River could be windy, wet and cold. I bundled up to the max – long johns, heavy jeans, long sleeve shirt, vest, parka style jacket, boots, gloves, scarf and stocking cap.
I was a walking sauna…
Taking the Jet Boats up the river has been a tradition and a “must do” if passing though this area.
First a little history:
“Jerry’s Rogue Jets was established in 1958 by Three brothers: Jerry, Alden, and Court Boice. They revolutionized commercial boating by being the first to develop, install, and use hydro-jet pumps in a boat in the United States. Jerry’s Rogue Jets became the first commercial jet boat tour company in the USA and set the standard for commercial jet boat tours.” ~ Roguejets.com
Closed during the winter and reopening on May 1st, we were barely under the gun. In early May, only the 104 mile trip is offered. It is an all day excursion. During the prime summer months they also offer a 64 and an 80 mile trip.
We were delighted to take the longest journey that travels all the way from the ocean up to the furthest part navigable by motor boat to Blossom Bar Rapids. The last wild section of the river is where the best rapids and scenery are found. It is also only accessible by boat.
We lucked out and managed to get front row seats. Warm wool blankets were passed out to place over our laps. Wonderful added touch!
Leaving the dock, we were waved goodbye by two friendly harbor seals.
Our pilot was Darin, one of two grandsons of the original founder who are still running the river today. He is knowledgable, witty, and well versed on the river. We felt like we were in extremely capable hands.
Along the way he pointed out places one could stay along the river, told us stories, pointed out places of interest and spotted a couple bald eagles and stately blue heron.
Fishing boats were anchored along our route. One fellow proudly showed off his catch.
On the way up the river we take a short 20 minute restroom stop in Agness. This is turn-around point for the shortest trip. Still worth it, but please, if you have the time, take the longer version as that is the prettiest, wildest and most scenic portion.
Of course doing 360 degree turns at high-speed is a thrill!
Continuing on, the river narrows and we see numerous kayaks and rafts working their way down the currents.
Other scenic highlights were pointed out along the way, such as a tree growing out of a rock.
A family of wild geese with eight or nine goslings moved slowly along the rocks.
Almost to the turn-around point, we meet the boat ahead of us as he is headed back down stream. He of course had to do a spin in front of us!
Michael and Tim both shots some videos for us to share.
At Blossom Bar, we sadly turn around and head back west.
Once again we stopped off in Agness for a one hour lunch break. Lunch is not included in the price of the ticket, but a reasonably priced, warm meal is available for purchase.
The remaining trip back toward the ocean flew by as Darin showed us how fast the jet boats could travel, yet in areas wide enough he thrilled us with more 360 degree turns – first going right, then back left.
Over the course of the day, we probably got 20 or more spins.
SO MUCH FUN!
They seem to have though of everything, as when we disembarked back in Gold Beach we were invited inside to have fresh brewed coffee.
Across the parking lot is a free museum and gift shop which are well worth checking out.
Today the founding brothers are all gone and the company is owned by Bill McNair, a former classmate of mine from Medford. I was delighted to be able to have a nice visit with Bill, meet his wife, one of his two sons, a daughter who is almost due to have a baby, as well as several of their grandchildren. They have a beautiful family.
You can get more information about Jerry’s Rogue Jets by clicking here.
GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful that I was able to reconnect with another classmate and meet his family. It is wonderful seeing someone you “grew up with” become successful and thrive. Our time on the river was thrilling, scenic, educational and fun. Each high-speed spin brought out squeals of delight mixed with laughter. We can highly recommend spending a day experiencing the wild Rogue River with them!