Surf’s UP: Hampton Inn PDX

Flying to Mexico, Hawaii, California or points more exotic for your standup paddle or surf adventure. Traveling with a SUP or longboard is an adventure (not always a good one) in itself. We had to drive from Bend to Portland in order to catch a plane that would carry a board longer than 115″ (LXWXH). Rather than have the drive and negotiate the timing to make our morning flight, we decided to come in the night before and stay somewhere that would safely keep our car for a good value price.

Imagine our delight at the experience we had at the Portland (OR) Airport Hampton Inn. We checked in about 6 PM (using the Stay and Fly process found online) and were delighted at our clean, modern, large room. Before crashing for the night we decided to drive the short distance to the north side of the airport to enjoy the view, the beer and the grindz at The Deck. It is a unique “secret” place well worth the hunt.

Back at the Hampton we had a nice cup of tea and enjoyed a movie on the flat screen television. Wifi is free so we did some Facebook updates then off the sleep. We had time to hit the clean, well-equipped fitness room for an hour of cardio, catch up with the news and some balance and strength training with the kettlebells and medicine balls. By then we welcomed fresh fruit, coffee, eggs and sausage for the complementary breakfast. The waffles looked great but we had beaches waiting for us.

We arrived at the airport easily 90 minutes before our flight – rested, exercised and well fed. Consider the Portland Airport Hampton Inn when you fly to your SUP or surf destinations.

A Sense of Wonder: Joyful Ripple Efect

Every day we wake up one day older – physically. Each day we have an incredible choice- to be a kid at heart, weaving wonder and joy into simple, ordinary moments. Last December, I had the opportunity to meet a woman whose personality, generous heart, wise spirit and open heart has changed and inspired the lives of her family and hundreds of others. I had a chance to chat with Carolyn Jackson for a few hours.

Carolyn’s life was too short, she passed on while surrounded by the love of her family just last month, but her spirit and energy remain alive – rippling out through the people she touched. Last night at her celebration of life her daughter, Shawneen Schweitzer, shared parts of this blog article written by Carolyn over nine years ago. One line resonated back to my heart this morning as I set out on a short walk along the beach on Maui.

“Come for a walk with me as I envelop myself in the abundance of Maui. Take a deep breath and see yourself cavorting with nature. This is the most wonderful way to start my day.”

The first thing I spotted along my walk were many joggers collecting their miles – and I wondered if they were collecting their smiles along the way. So I did what many friends of Carolyn’s mentioned last night, “Smile first.” So, I did. Soon we were all collecting smiles.

I was  dressed in shorts and a shirt, planning a calm walk along the shore. I recalled some questions Carolyn asked in her wonderful article, “How many of us are that capable of being true to our own inspiration. Should I do it? Should I get dressed [as Mary Poppins with her umbrella] and dance on the boardwalk? Should I completely embarrass my family? mmmm I think I should. What do you think?”

I felt pulled into the crystal clear water and stood knee deep watching the shore break swell cascade from my left toward me. Mesmerized, I watched it growing in size until I was eye-level with deep blue as the wave crashed at me waist-high, dousing me with kid-like pleasure. Normally, I would have jumped out of the way (keep your clothes dry, grownup). Not on this morning. I felt Carolyn there being an anonymous player in the sea with me.

ionsHer grandson, Zane, shared some facts I hadn’t heard before. If you stand with your feet sinking into the gooey, soft sand at the water’s edge, positive ions will flow from your body and you’ll receive energizing negative ions. Ions or not, as my feet sank deeper, to calf high, I just grinned. Now I was stuck and the waves played tag with me. My grin couldn’t have been bigger. A fresh spirit washed over me along with the salty water.

My day began in a wonderful way. No matter what your current sense of wonder or your existing spirit of presence and loving kindness, I invite you to let it expand even more by sharing this blog, “Clarity with Carolyn.” Begin your own ripple effect. The Blue Life Journal is my method of sharingIf you have thoughts on the subject or blogs/articles from which you glean inspiration please feel free to add them in the COMMENTS.




SUP Surf Photography: Maui

launiupoko217Sometimes I wish we had a drone with a great camera – and of course, some sweet editing skills to really document the fun we have had on knee to chest high waves on Maui this week. The zoom on our iPhone can’t quite capture the take off, far out from shore. Sometimes a still shot catches the wrong image. The videos show a small dot moving across a sweet wave. What can we do to really grab the most amazing images from a special trip?



This image was taken by Dennis Oliphant from the water at a spot in Mexico, no zoom needed.

So, I have no great pictures from this week, but I do have a strategy. I have a collection of images captured in my mind. It is a skill I learned from my son about 15 years ago. I requires an active and vivid reflection on the experience you want to save as an “image in the mind.”

I was out at Launiupoko and it was bigger and different than it had been the past few days we’d been there. I got some rides and I got hammered some. To be 68 and to get pounded is cool in itself. Anyway, I was taking my last wave in and I caught a chest high glassy swell. It was a right (my fav) and the wall held up so that I could carve up and down the face of that beauty.

I can feel my feet on the my board, the rail responding to shifts in weight bring me from the left angled take-off, to a bottom turn toward the right. I see the green blue of the wave face shimmering ahead of me. I usually find a breaking wave in front of me, but on this ride the wave held up and I carved toward the top, then slid smoothly back down. There was time to do this twice, so rare for me. With very little effort i can bring the image to my mind at will. I believe that ride will stay with me for a long time.

The funny thing is, the ride is a lot more beautiful and extraordinary in my mind than it likely would have been even if the best videographer captured it. I invite you to hone your mental-image photography skill.

I cut out of the wave, went in and now we had a Big Swell IPA while watching the US Open at a bar on the beach. Life is so good.


Class of ’67: Florida Reunion and Hood River Tradition

Fifty years ago when this Florida surf chick wannabe was graduating from high school in Hollywood Florida an icon of Pacific Northwest hospitality opened its doors in Hood River.  Last weekend my daughter and granddaughter and I enjoyed another wonderful “girl trip” experience at Best Western Plus Hood River Inn. With “new” properties vying for your vacation attention pop up all the time it is refreshing and grounding to enjoy the amenities and customer service 50 years in the making. The culture of Hood River Inn greet you from the first moment.

On April 29, 1967, the Eddie Mays Inn original hotel-restaurant complex opened as a 64-unit, two level motel, two level restaurant that incorporated a lounge, main dining room, 24-hour coffee shop, two banquet rooms, and fruit grower’s sales building. Its opening attracted thousands of people, for tours of what would be a premier destination for lodging, dining, business and social events in the Gorge.

This weekend under the sunny skies of Hood River, surrounded by the sparkling waters of the Columbia River just steps away from the newly renovated riverfront dining areas and deck, we enjoyed the first night’s sunset wine and dinner outdoors. Were we hungry for the fresh and local fare? Absolutely! We had sunned and splashed at the outdoor pool protected from the wind by clear glass that allowed a full view of the river and sweeping panorama views.

It’s an easy walk to the event center where you can rent SUP, windsurf or kiting equipment and lessons. A mile will take to downtown amenities and you are close to the fruit, berries and wineries Hood River is known for. World class fishing is literally a stone’s throw away.

Think modern, clean, attention to detail and comfort when thinking about the accommodations. In 50 years, the Hood River Inn has more than tripled in size by many measures, into a 194-unit hotel, vibrant restaurant and lounge, providing 12,000 square feet of meeting space. Some of the hotel’s mid-nineteenth century “modern” design character remains, but the operations are firmly planted in the hospitality standards of today. The Best Western Plus Hood River Inn currently ranks as one of the best hotels in Oregon*on top review site, TripAdvisor, for “Best Value + Top Rated.” It’s among the top five most-reviewed hotels in the state on the same site. Its many awards and honors are evidence that, in its 50-year history, the Best Western Plus Hood River Inn has become one of the best destination and convention hotels in Oregon.

It’s summer – make your reservation now. And plan ahead for Fall. That’s a season the Hood River Inn is stellar for water athletes and lovers of fruit, leaves and fine dining.