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Three producers, Kena (famous big mountain skier, turned
producer), Sasha, and Brian Lippy (long time producer of kayaking TV shows)
teamed up for the 10 day Jackson RV Tour filming session. A one-hour TV
show is being produced in high definition for Rush HD and National
Geographic TV. The show is called, "Nomads" and is about our life on the
road. The trip started in Portland with me flying in from New York where
I was invited to spend a day auditioning with NBC for an announcer position
for the next Olympics. I arrived in Portland at midnight with Kristine
picking me up in Emily’s Subaru. Kristine had the RV parked south of town
about 10 miles so we headed there to load the Subaru up on the trailer and
start our drive to British Columbia. At 1am, the car was loaded and the
trip started. I was tired, and had already missed a night’s sleep going
from Jay Kincaid’s wedding reception directly to Portland to fly to New York
two days earlier. I wasn’t sure how far I could drive that night.
Sasha, Kena, and Brian Lippy were following us in their rented RV, with a
ton of HDTV filming gear. I got started and the thought of getting to
Skookumchuck in time to paddle the next day was enough to keep me awake
through the night and well past dawn when we crossed the boarder into Canada
and ultimately got to the ferry that would take us across the bay to
Landsdale. The ferry ride is only 1 hour long but the whole process took
us 4 hours from waiting for it, to loading, to crossing, and then unloading.
From Landsdale we booked along the windy road, following the coast to
"Skookumchuck Rapids", which is a tide driven rapid that you surf as the
tide goes out. The wave is quite famous, but this would be my first time
visiting it.

We were clearly "filming" as Sasha, the main producer, would ask us to get
"another shot" of one thing or another, as well as set up interviews. We
filmed just about everything on the trip.

Nick, Dane, Emily, and I, and LP (a new regional team member on his first RV
excursion), along with Clay Wright and Jesse Coombs in Clay’s vehicle, where
more than anxious to get on the water. We found a parking spot about 2
miles from the rapid, but right on the water. The only way to get to the
rapid is by a 2 mile long trail, or by boat. We all got dressed and 1/2 of
us paddled from the RV down and 1/2 of them drove to the head of the trail
and then walked in. The paddlers got their first. We didn’t waste a
second from the time I arrived from New York to Portland to that moment we
were on full steam ahead. As I came up to the rapid and saw the wave, it
was totally green and didn’t look to be quite surfable yet. I dropped in
anyhow and miraculously it started breaking 2 seconds before I hit it and at
that moment the wave was just surfable! What timing! The level was 10.8
knots that day, and each day thereafter the level would get higher up to
13.2 knots. The wave was fun but not super big on the first day. The
scenery and overall experience was full on, however. Seals would pop their
heads up and follow us around like playful puppies that want to play, but
are too afraid to let you pet them. Whistling and saying "come" doesn’t
seem to work for the seals. Nick, however, got the full on Experience when
he was surfing the wave and a seal dropped in on him ducking under his bow
at the last second. Snow capped mountains in the background, big
evergreens, and a majestic view in any direction make you relax and enjoy
being alive. Kristine brought Rocksey, Rio, and Target down to the wave
via the trial. They found that they love both kelp and muscles and spent
the better part of the day trying to eat as much as they could. Kristine
enjoyed the experience from the shore and watched as her family and team
played like the kids they are until the tides slowed and the waves
disappeared. We stashed our boats at the wave and I decide to get a good
workout in by running back up the trail to the RV (about 3 or 4 miles).
The lack of sleep was catching up with everyone. We ate an early dinner and
got to bed at 8pm.

The second day the waves got bigger and more fun. We spent more time on the
water. Emily, Dane, Nick, and I paddled our slalom boats to the wave for a
workout and then back. I paddled like in the old slalom days and did a 30
minute hard endurance workout to finish a 6 hour paddling day. Sasha, and
Brian filmed all day and Kena took photos. We did interviews that night and
some of our group attempted to eat the "skookumburger" a 1 pound burger with
a huge bun that nobody finishes.

The third day Nick and I raced on foot to the wave. It started out as a run
to the wave but when I tried to pull up beside Nick, he thought I was trying
to pass him and sped up. I thought he was simply racing so I sped up and
the race began. I attempted several times to pass him on the single track
trail by cutting on the inside of a tree or rock, etc. but he sprinted or
blocked each time and I decided to drop back behind him. I taunted him by
hitting my paddle on his and prentending to pass him a lot to get him
thinking about me behind him. When we were in sight of the wave and only
about 2 minutes left in the race, I stayed close on his heels but didn’t
attempt to pass. On the final steep uphill and only 30 seconds from the
finish, I made my one full on sprint pass with a paddle block (boatercross
style) that tripped him up enough for me to bolt ahead in a narrow section
not wide enough for two. I took it home and the race was over. Nick was
clearly running as well as I and wouldn’t let me by. It took a good passing
strategy to get by him and luckily it worked. OK, now let’s paddle for 6
hours, sweet! The water was a good cool down. The wave rocked this day,
our last and we got some big moves, and best of all had a great time. Clay
was paddling really well and Jesse is getting his wave skills down to
compliment his creeking skills. LP did his first Pan Ams and Air Screw,
while Dane and Nick killed it like the top wave surfers they are. Emily did
a ton of sweet moves as well. We decided to double surf during the whole
time, making it a group event where you could watch close up.

We loaded up our boats on a water-taxi which the guys used to film right
next to the Skook wave to head back from the wave to the RV. We were all
sore from three days of 6 hour days doing big wave tricks. Our abs were the
worst. We were tired too. Dinner, and RV loading came next and we
anticipated driving to the ferry right away and parking there overnight to
catch the 6:20 ferry. Instead we crashed, too tired to drive, and woke up
at 4am to drive. We made it right to the opening of the ferry terminal and
decided to get a quick bite at Tim Hortons. Clay and Jesse were just in
front of us and Kena and I came with credit cards but no Canadian Cash. We
were the only ones awake and ran back to the RVs to get cash to pay. We
paid and ran back out to get to the ferry which leaves at 6:20. It was
6:10. Just as we entered the terminal the gate closed and they wouldn’t
let us in. Clay was on the 6:20 ferry and we weren’t. We waited at the
gate until 8:40 for the next ferry. It now seemed unlikely that we would
get to Hood River, Oregon, in time to paddle the Upper White Salmon or the
Little White Salmon. A six hour trip through Seattle traffic ruined any
last hopes of creeking on that day. Luckily we had two days left to go

We arrived in White Salmon, Washington (across the Columbia River from Hood
River) at Brian Lippy’s house. Brian told Emily and Nick about his VW
Westvalia he was selling, knowing that Emily had been looking to buy one.
Emily and Nick ran to it to check it out like kids running to a Christmas
Tree in the morning. Sure enough it was exceptional. A 1989 VW Westvalia
in great shape. Engine with only 60,000 miles, clean body and like new
interior. We bought it on the spot. Emily and Nick are buying 2/3’rds of
it and we are buying the other 1/3rd. Emily just bought her first home!

We went to my good friend Eric Sandford’s house and had a cookout. My
friends Dick and Penny came, as did the whole crew we were paddling with and
the film crew. Nate and Heather Herbeck also came. Eric’s house is about
300 feet up on the cliffs of the Columbia Gorge with a 200 degree view of
the Gorge, Mount Hood, Hood River, and everything in between. We ate like
kings, with Eric at the helm of the grill on the deck. The Full Moon came
up at about 9:30pm and was double normal size capturing everyone’s attention
for a while. Great night!

It was Upper White Salmon Day next and we did a 6 hour run down it. (see
previous article on that run) photos to come later when I get some from
either Nate Herbeck or Kena.

On the second day we did the Wind River (also see previous article on that).
The filming was pretty much all inclusive. They burned up about 60 hours
of tape total.

We did another power drive into the night to get from Hood River to Golden,
Colorado. This drive was void of traffic, but getting over the Cascades
into Idaho takes a long time in either an RV pulling a car, or in a
Volkswagon van! Nick was now following us to Golden and would experience
his first ever EJ/Kristine powerdrive! We ended up getting a couple of
hours of sleep before starting again in the morning.. Kristine broke free
of the RV at 10am to rush ahead to pick up Loren and her mom at Denver
airport and we met her at the Golden Whitewater park. We found out that we
missed prelims for freestyle, thinking that they were on Wednesday but they
were on Tuesday. Luckily the event was laid back enough that they gave the
kids a "bye" and let them compete. I didn’t ask the organizers for any
special treatment and it seemed the most of the competitors preferred to
have them in the competition. It was a weird moment for me to know if it
was OK to accept the "invitation" for the kids to compete in finals or not.
Had there been any athlete, or parent of an athlete that didn’t want them in
I wouldn’t have let them compete. But, luck has it that they both competed
and won. Jason Craig did some clinics for the organizers before we got
there and got rave reviews as a 13 year old that handled the large group of
kids like an adult and put on a great show as well.

More filming around the event, including some slalom paddling we were doing.
I have paddled my Ricochet every day since I got here and so have the kids.
They are really starting to get into the sport of slalom and are enjoying
the challenge. That brings us to today. Emily, Dane, Loren, and Jason
have all done their first runs. Each of them primarily a freestyle boater
doing slalom. I encourage them to do anything available in a kayak, and
slalom is a super fun way to learn better boat control for downriver moves.

Nick and Emily are scheduled to start driving tonight to the Ottawa so Nick
can start coaching the Keeners. I am going to call Joe Kowalski and see if
Nick can have one more day before he starts so that Emily can compete in the
second event of the slalom race tomorrow.

After tomorrow, the Jackson RV will drive to Washington, DC for the Potomac
Festival. After the Potomac Festival, my partner Tony Lunt and CFO Dave
Olson arrive in DC for our mid-season review of how Jackson Kayak is doing.
We will have our official Board Meeting which consists of Tony, Dave,
Kristine, and I. I don’t know what most board meetings are like, but ours
will end in a strong resolve to do what is right for the next stage in our
business, for our customers and the business.

The following weekend, Dane and I are teaching clinics for Valley Mill Kayak
School in DC and Tony Lunt, my partner, will attend too.

OK, long enough update,

Time for Kristine’s tomato, mozzarella, and Balsamic, sweet!




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HD Filming Gear

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Jackson Family in British Columbia

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Jackson RV waiting for Ferry to Skook

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More Interviews for Rush TV

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Nick and Emily enjoying a morning ferry ride to skook

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Our RV on a Boat!

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Sasha and Kena at 6am in their rented RV