Took the family on a roadtrip through CA & OR with the furthest point being Hood River. We stayed in Hood River for 5 days and then made our way back.
Getting there: We drove and camped our way but most people fly into Portland and drive an hour.
Riding conditions: This is one of the windiest places in the country and the constant ebb of the river adds about 3 knots to the wind speed. I flew a 9M everyday and had to sit out one afternoon as people on 7s were getting blown off the water.
I can see why iKitesurf/iWindsurf started here. I can be blowing 30+ 5 miles in either direction but be 12 where you are standing. I kited the spit 3 days because it was closest to the campground. I also got in an excellent session at Stevenson. Stevenson is a sketchy launch but once you're in the water you don't want to come out. Very steady wind and the ebb is just like an elevator. I wonder if the Gorge kiters ever have to learn to go upwind...
Familyís conditions: The family was pretty happy. Grassy campground to run around. Nice public park & swimming pool in town. Lots of rocks to throw in the river. Tons of orchards. Kids picked blueberries & cherries. Visited an apalcas farm. The wife thought the town was much like European village. Local wine & pear eau de vie were good too!
Sidebar: There was a really weird vibe between the windsurfers and the kiteboarders that I've never felt in the Bay Area. I think individually the windsurfers are all great people. However, it's kind of like they wouldn't want their friends to see them caught being friendly with a kiter. Like we might rub off on them or something. I was really surprised how much the windsurfers outnumber the kiters. At the campground I only met one other kiter. When I rolled out my kite to pull the bladder for repair, it was like I just coughed in the bong or had lepresy.
Endorsement: The dudes at AirTime found a pinhole leak in my LE bladder and fixed it for $30. Very cool. I had the thing out & submerged in a crystal clear lake and couldn't find it so kudos.
All-in-all, a place every kiter should hit at least once.