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The Gearboat Chronicles

Old Building, New Cheeseburger Frontier & Big Water

The award for Best New Name For An Old Building is . . . The Redd. It’s in Portland. On Salmon Street. Note that street. A redd, for those suspicious of the two d’s, is a nest excavated by fish to lay their baby fish eggs in. The internet assures me ‘redd up’ means to clear or tidy an area. The expression is used in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Pennsylvania. I guess that makes sense, if that’s the connection, because fish do clear bigger rocks out and sort the gravel when digging redds.

Normally symbolism and the like symbolizes for me that my eyes are about to roll, but in this case you’ve got: Salmon Street; fixing up an old warehouse to kick off new life for businesses and whatnot; little baby fish/businesses growing up to make a healthier stream/street. I like it. It’s good. Give whoever thought that one up a high five.


Spencer and Bobcat after steelhead on the Wild and Scenic Grande Ronde.

I heard about The Redd project from Spencer Beebe. I know him as a steelhead fisherman, rower of boats and card player. But he’s also the founder of EcoTrust, the conservation outfit in Portland, who are behind this revamping of the 16,000 square foot warehouse intended to be a place where jumper cables can be applied to good ideas. Last time I saw Spencer was on the Salmon River last fall. We sat down along the Grande Ronde River this month and played a round of ‘What You Been Up To?’ and Spencer definitely had me outgunned in the cool-sounding projects to make the world a better place department. Although I did put a new roof on my house this year and I don’t recall Spencer mentioning any roofing projects. So I got that going for me. Which is nice.

Anyhow, learn more about The Redd and other EcoTrust goings-on by internetting here. To learn about playing the card game Oh Hell, stay here.


Remember to spey and neuter.

The card game Oh Hell is pretty simple. All you need is a deck of cards, a float trip in the fall, a wall tent full of steelhead fishermen, a little woodstove crackling in the corner of the wall tent to dry waders and keep you toasty, something to drink while playing – also to keep you toasty – then you get dealt some cards and there’s either a trump suit, or not. You bid how many you think you’ll win, or not. And . . . I don’t know. It’s easy to play but hard to explain. Better have Spencer or his pals explain it. Anyway, it’s super fun and you should try it. Here’s what the inside of a wall tent after a game of Oh Hell looks like:


The steelhead fishing catch rate for our late October trip was off the charts – if you used small charts. Slowish, or challenging, would be accurate. Water levels, temps, recent pulse of rain, all that jazz had me optimistic that we’d get into the fish all right on this 5 day trip. But the steelhead were being hardheaded, or were dallying downstream. The crew went after it hard, though, and did get into some fish. And river otters. This next picture shows Silas Beebe laying some casts out and those two little heads just upstream of him are otters working their way downstream. (Click to enlarge.)


 Cheeseburger Redefined

Jared Wilcox helped Paul and I run camps on this foray, and burger night got stepped up a notch beyond the already powerful high mark of using local, grass-fed happy cows from Carman Ranch. Jared and I went the extra step to stuff smoked cheese and bacon INSIDE our burger patties. Repeat: cheese and bacon were INSIDE our burger patties. The overall effect was . . . well, this is a family website so I can’t go into too much more detail. Let’s just say it was [Edited to comply with windingwatersrafting.com standards] and could only be compared to [Edited to comply with windingwatersrafting.com standards] that I heard about one time from a guy I know who was in the Navy.


Cheeseburger revolution.

Dessert wasn’t too shabby, either. Here’s Paul warming fruit compote to go atop ginger cake. Thanks, Hilary.


And a nice, peaceful shot from one of our favorite GR camps with some misty morning action.


This just in:

The Boathouse Shop will be OPEN this December on Fridays & Saturdays from 12-6PM. Great spot to buy unique gifts. 30% off on all apparel.

Also: WWRE is planning a big whitewater trip for springtime. Check out our “Hells and High Water” Adventure May 15-17, 2015. Special early-season pricing.