Endless Winter – Our Usual Misguided Attempts at Windsports
So seeing as we are wizened sage wind-gurus at this point what do our instincts tell us when we are looking for a late November thanksgiving trip to get our wind fix? Why head to the Oregon/California coast of course! Our conversation went something like this: Pierce: Hey Zach, it’s windy on the pacific coast in the winter right? Zach: Yea totally! Its gotta be windy right, that’s how nature works? Well our usual research didn’t lead us to much kitesurfing in the pacific swell, but we did have an awesome thanksgiving road trip along with some surfing and mountain biking to boot!
The impetus for this trip was Zach getting a serious case of wanderlust syndrome and having a bunch of United miles to his name, he decided to book a quick flight to Portland. The night before Zach was due to arrive Pierce packed the car with enough kitesurfing and car camping gear to keep even the most grizzly old kitesurfing bum happy. The plan was to pickup Zach, and then head as far south down the Pacific coast as we could manage.
The day of the trip arrived and Pierce put in a half day of work before blasting off to PDX to pickup Zach. On the way east on 84, the winds were just nukin around rooster rock with big ole whitecaps and sideways trees. After picking Zach up we quickly decided to call an audible and drove the 20minutes back from PDX to rooster rock to try some kitesurfing. Getting into our 6mm wetsuits is about the second worse thing known to man (after getting out of them). We laboriously suited up until it was time to put our hoods on that we discover that Pierce had put his on backwards. What a goober! 20minutes later, wardrobe malfunctions corrected we were wading across marshes with our kites for a surprisingly awesome afternoon of kiting!
This quickly turned into a photoshoot of Pierce in his wetsuit, whose condom hood gives him quite the rugged model look:
After struggling out of our wetsuits in the rain we were pretty chilled to the bone and decided to just head back to Pierce’s garage top apartment in Hood River and make pizza and Taylor Tonics instead. Zach had his usual flare when decorating the pizza.
The next morning we woke early and got on the I5 heading south in an absolute downpour with little sense of a destination in mind. Driving through the rain for 10hrs straight we quickly turned into grumpy creatures. Arriving in California we were greeted with a break in the rain and a glorious drive through the big redwoods where we eventually hit the coast. Seeing the big pacific waves pound the northern California coast was exactly the kind of scenery we were searching for. Moods were improving!
And then they quickly dissolved again as we hit a wall of California traffic. Pierce was a very grumpy camper, and as the light faded from the sky we picked a random campsite on the coast from the ultimate campground app that looked somewhat remote and set our sites on that as our destination. This turned out to be a harrowing drive over some of the bumpiest, pothole filled roads ever! As we pulled into the campsite in the dark the suspension from Pierce’s 4runner was making all sorts of bangs and creaks! On the plus side we had located a great campground at Mattole State Beach. What an awesome spot!
The following day was thanksgiving and we took our time taking the long route back to the pacific coast highway from Mattole beach. This actually turned out to be the coolest portion of the drive through giant redwoods on dirt backroads with zero traffic. This was more the style of trip we envisioned!
We hardly made any miles that day as we slowly drove through the redwoods and stopped for lots of pictures. That night we found a nice campground somewhere off the PCH and cooked ourselves up some Hobo pies for our thanksgiving dinner. Zach shows his typical finese and grace when starting the fire.
The next day after observing the lackluster wind forecast we decided to try to push onwards to Santa Cruz and hopefully get some surfing and mountain biking in. Not much to report here. Just driving on crowded California freeways with the 4runner suspension making all sorts of disconcerting bangs and rattles. On arriving in Santa Cruz we quickly found a cheap grungy hotel and donned our wetsuits and went to the beach to rent some surfboards. The waves were perfect 3ft ankle biters for our poor skills, and we managed to catch a few! The only picture we have is of Zach in his wetsuit upon returning to the hotel. What a sly stud.
After our salty surfing session we were mightily parched and followed Zach’s highly tuned nose to the Santa Cruz pier where we quickly ended up at a Mexican bar overlooking the coast and surprised to discover some tasty $5 dollar margs. Talk about some Manstinctuition right there! Possibly 1 or 4 margaritas later the night quickly devolved into typical debauchery as we explored the streets of Santa Cruz (quite fun) and returned to our hotel late in the evening for games of scrabble slam and nertz (which Zach somehow wins everytime…. blast him).
The next morning we woke to an absolute downpour. We were planning on going to demo mountain bikes from the Santa Cruz factory, but due to the weather we decided to blast home for Hood River. We cranked on the audio book (ready player one!) and ate up some highway miles with the suspension on the 4runner magically fixed somehow (never could figure it out). We arrived home at a decent hour and managed to go to Double Mountain for some refreshing pints before crashing after a long day of driving.
Although we didn’t spend much time on our road trip, being back in Hood River actually turned out to be a great way to end the trip. We ended it in classic Hood River style with a few days of Mountain Biking, Kitesurfing, and nights at Pfriem playing chess (Zach always wins!!!! Jerk).
All in all, it was a solid week of exploring the PNW. Stoked for the next adventure! More pictures for your perusement: