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I met Annette on the bike path leading into Cascade Locks, OR. Annette lives across the river in Stevenson, Washington. She is captain of a charity walking relay team that will be trekking from Portland to the ocean (about 135 miles) and she was on the path training.

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This is Jason and Andy in the Double Mountain Brewery in Hood River, OR. Andy, on the right, is a Hood River native. He is getting married in two months to one of Jason’s friends from “back east”. His fiancée is a neo-natal doctor and they will be moving so that she can find work.
Jason is from Worthington, Massachusetts. He is married to a Hood River local and they have two young children. They will be moving to Williamstown, Massachusetts this August. He is leaving a “tech” job to become the downhill ski coach for Williams College.
We spoke at length and I asked them why this tiny town of 4,000 people was so vibrant. They gave me the following reasons;
1) Tech jobs. Oregon is loaded with them and there are lots of related companies and some of those companies are here in Hood River.
2) Wind surfing! The Columbia Gorge is famous for winds blowing west to east. And even though the river is dammed there is still a strong current flowing east to west. When the wind and the current are just right, there can be 10′ standing waves, so tall that a surfer in one trough can’t see a surfer in the next trough! (Apparently this is really fun if you are a wind surfer.) Wind surfing got huge here in Hood River back in the 80’s and continues to be popular today.
3) Mt. Hood is 30 miles away and offers year round skiing. It rarely drops below freezing in Hood River, but will be snowing like crazy on Mt. Hood.
4) Hood River is on the line between “wet” Oregon and “dry” Oregon. Jason and Andy told me that it might be raining on the west side of town and the sun could be out on the east side. Often the view to the west will show dark clouds. Turn around and blue skies expand beyond the horizon to the east. (This is one of the reasons it is always windy.) The Cascade Mountains serve as a “rain shield”, squeezing the moisture out as the clouds roll up and over them.
5) The logging roads are paved! Jason and Andy told me that they will do epic road rides through the mountains on perfectly paved surfaces and only see a vehicle once every 30 miles!
6) Beer (and wine, but remember, we were in a brewery). There are no less than 5 micro-breweries within 5 miles of where we sat. The biggest and longest established is the Full Sail Brewery. The brewmasters make their mark there and then open their own brewery nearby (I guess no one wants to leave the area). I was drinking the Double Mountain Kolsch and that is probably why my photo of Jason and Andy is blurry (exactly as I remember it).
And on and on they went, extolling the virtues of Hood River. And they are both moving. They both told me they may be back someday.