Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ray's River Dories

If you ever have say 100 plus hours of free time on your hands and the desire to work with wood, my suggestion is to buy a kit for a drift boat and have at it. The best manufacturer of these kits is, in my humble opinion, Ray Heater based out of Multnomah Village here in Portland Oregon. Ray has been doing boats for over twenty-five years and just walking into his shop is like breathing spiced cedar scented air. His kits are straightforward and yield surprisingly excellent results, even for neophytes. Check out his website for a sampling of his designs and prices-

I bought his 17' rogue River flyfishing model back in 1996- the year my second son was born. I spent the hours between 10pm and midnight working on it, after putting in a full day of attorney billable hours, and, upon completion, promptly moved from Oregon to Maine. As much as I love Maine, it's rivers run a poor second to Oregon's. This boat pined away from my enclosed shop for ten years to get back, and now it gets out at every opportunity, usually to the Deschutes, but soon enough on the McKenzie, the Rogue and the Umpqua. My current goal is to get adept enough with the oars to tackle white horse rapids on the Deschutes, a three day paddle through class III and IV water. I'm still a way's away from that but soon enough.

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