Jerry's Rogue Jets does not take river tours lightly. The company employs a staff of Coast Guard-certified jet-boat pilots who navigate tours through the federally protected Rogue River Canyon. The route includes a turbulent, 12-mile stretch that the company has exclusive commercial access to. Each of the company's voyages takes place on a boat custom made by Wayne Adams, a direct descendant of the Adams family that homesteaded the canyon in the 19th century. Once they board the boats, passengers embark on one of three round-trip tours that aim to integrate adventure, nature, and comical, unscripted narration.
The calmer 64-mile Historic Mail Route follows a path that Jerry's mail boats still use to deliver mail each day. The 80-mile Whitewater Excursion and 104-mile Wilderness Whitewater adventures extend into more tumultuous waters. All of the tours—which throughout the years have attracted guests such as Jimmy Carter, Meryl Streep, and Clark Gable—include a 90-minute meal stop to keep passengers from filing their teeth until they are sharp enough to eat river rocks.
The accolades accorded several of LaVelle Vineyards' wines in the pages of Wine Enthusiast magazine serves as evidence of the diligent work of founder Doug LaVelle and his son, Matthew, who tends the vines today. After taking over the winery?then one of the oldest in Southern Willamette Valley?in 1994, Doug took it upon himself to make a number of improvements to its antiquated technology and distribution network. He started the wine club in 1995, and just recently opened a brand new wine bar and tap room off of International Way in Springfield called the LaVelle Tap Room. The tap room serves as an in-town location for wine club members, but also to provide a new wine-bar-meets-tap-room experience with more than 30 wines to choose from and several local beers on tap.
Doug's investments paid off. Today, with Matthew as lead winemaker, the winery ferments grapes both from its original Willamette Valley location and another site in the Columbia Valley in eastern Washington. At the rustic Elmira winery, visitors can recline on the sunny deck, tour the winemaking facilities, or outsmart tipsy minotaurs in the garden's labyrinth.
Hooked for Life Guide Service’s founder and head guide, Jarrod Kelso, caught his first fish at the age of 4 and has adored the sport ever since. As a native Oregonian, Jarrod has developed an intimate understanding of the state’s waters. He puts that knowledge to work during guided trips, some of which track down salmon and steelhead, others of which chase mammoth redband and brown trout up to 15 pounds in size. Jarrod leads fellow anglers into Oregon’s waters aboard his new Willie custom drift boat.
At On the Move Fitness, instructor Lyida Espinoza motivates her students to tone and shape their bodies through the fun, invigorating workouts of Zumba. Combining the infectious rhythms of Latin music with muscle-toning and fat-burning aerobic exercise, Zumba entertains as it slims and strengthens the body.
Over its 155-mile path from the Cascade Mountains to the Pacific Ocean, the Rogue River alternates between slow-flowing Class I water to roiling, Class IV rapids that challenge even experienced paddlers. Rogue Rafting Co. is situated mere steps from the dynamic watercourse, making it easy for paddlers of all ages and abilities to go exploring by raft or kayak.
Professional river guides lead tours that range from three-hour forays to multi-day camping trips. Though they challenge guests to brave the Class IV Nugget Falls and Power House rapids, they consider passengers’ comfort paramount. To that end, they welcome nervous guests to jump ashore, walk around the more challenging rapids, and then rejoin the group on the other side. Additionally, guides can customize tours to suit groups’ interests, whether it be tackling the most difficult rapids or taking time to spot eagles, osprey, and nomadic watercolor painters who roost along the shore.
Though Will Volpert founded Indigo Creek Outfitters in 2011, his river-touring experience began much earlier. As a kid, his parents ran an outfitting business in Salmon, Idaho, where salmon guides would stay with them for the summer. During six-day rafting trips, he learned the ways of river culture and fell in love with fishing and navigating rapids. Today, he shares his expertise with families of all experience levels, leading whitewater trips on the Rogue River and building custom vacations in Oregon and Idaho. For a bit of local flavor, the staff also organizes walking tours of local restaurants and tastings at nanobreweries.