First week in Hood River

Well, we’ve been here about 10 days now and are just getting into the swing of things.  We spent a few days checking out the different launches for kiting, moving in, finding our way around.  When we got to our HR rental, it was a bit different than the pictures.  Twoo weeks prior to moving in, they had a fire.  The new wood fence that surrounding the property burned down, along with most of the trees in the front yard.  It looked pretty dismal, since Kim (the owner) had a load of dark topsoil/compost delivered and the front was mainly black dirt.  Things grow pretty quickly around here and Kim had decided on a natural landscape—a combination of sunflowers, vegetables and unmowed grass.  The sunflowers are growing visibly every day and are already 2 feet tall.  Beans, squash, corn, kale, cukes and tomatoes are scattered everywhere.  The hardest thing for me is to not pull the weeds (keeping with the natral theme).

Our house is a tiny house before there were “tiny houses”—about 400 sq ft.  It has everything we need—no burners or stove, so I am getting used to cooking on an outdoor grill.  The neighborhood is really convenient—a wood land trail (for bikes and walkers) or a street ride about 1/3 mile to the grocery store.

The weather here has been a bit cool—the sun is strong, but the breeze has been cool.  With the river level being high, we haven’t gone out kiting yet, but have checked out all the spots, looking for a safe and relatively uncrowded pace to launch and land.

Two days ago we were at Rufus—the wind was blowing like crazy with gusts up to 45 mph.  There was one guy out on a kite; he looked to weigh about 160 and was on a 4.5 meter kite….YIKES.  We ran into an SPI friend, Alex, who works as a designer for Slingshot kites.  He’s checking on a demo 4.5 for me since our smallest is a 5.  There was one big surprise at Rufus.  Butch spotted a tree covered with berries.  He had never seen a mulberry tree.  This one was absolutely loaded with berries.  The wind was blowing them off, so we got a container and filled it.  Our hands were purple when we were done.

Even though Hood River is above the 45th parallel (comparable to Pittsburg NH), the growing season is amazingly long.  Their winters are relatively mild.  Yesterday I picked ½ gallon of cherries from the tree next door.  The pears are already 2’’ long.  The nice things is that the big orchards up near Mt. Hood will have their fruit ripen later, so that there is in season fruit for most of the spring and all summer.  We’ve seen loads of places to pick blackberries as well.

We’ve had two good rides at Post Canyon and are just starting to find the hidden, less rideen gems.  A lot of folks like to ride the Grand Prix—a long downhill, bermed trail that can be shuttled.  Yesterday we rode Mitchell Ridge—a twisty cross country trail that looks down on the Columbia and goes through old growth forest.  The bonus is that is had some well designed berms for a fun downhill run.  Some turns had a high pucker factor until you trusted the trail and let the berm steer you.

Today looks like our first day of kiting and tomorrow we plan to ride the 44 trails just out of town.  Things aren’t too busy here yet, but we will see how the weekend looks—we’re pretty close to Portland, so we anticipate lots of windsurfers, kiters and bikers around for the weekend.

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