This time of year you can practice at Willamette ramp in downtown. If you want to fish too and you have a big enough boat to get to the Columbia in a reasonable amount of time, Cathedral Park ramp in St. Johns is wide. Choose one that has at least room for three trailers so if there is a problem you aren't tying up the whole ramp.
If your inexperience is with backing up I have a sure-fire trick for you. Practice a bit in an empty parking lot and you'll be amazed at how fast you can do it.
Grab the bottom of the steering wheel with your left hand (important that you keep it there). Look over your right shoulder and begin backing slowly. Turn your HAND the way you want the TRAILER to go. DO NOT let go of the steering wheel or it will mess you up. Keep backing and correcting as you go. Just remember to keep your hand on the bottom of the steering wheel and to turn your hand the direction you want the trailer to go. After you have the confidence you need you can start trying the mirrors and putting your hands wherever they are comfortable.
Make sure you use the ready area to get everything transferred to the boat and to prep the boat for launching. Tying up the ramp to do that will not make you any friends. If you do a search on ramp etiquette you'll find some great threads about polite use of the ramps too.
Thanks for your thoughts. I can back up, pull the boat off the trailer, put it back on, etc. But, as you all know, you can't do it by yourself real easy. My wife wants to go but has no experience with any of the above. I guess we'll just have to jump in. Thanks again.
Teach HER the backing technique, Hand on the bottom of the steering wheel. Then you can walk right next the truck as she backs it up and you can both launch so it's faster. It really works. Or have her take the boat off. Just don't yell. Nothing forces a significant other into the fetal ball position faster than you yelling.
Oh yea, and if you have her drive the boat off the trailer, make sure the fuel lines are connected to the engine. Especially if there is fuel already in the engine so it will startup and work for about, I don't know... a few minutes.
Otherwise when you walk back down to the dock to be picked up, your wife might be floating down river yelling at you. Ah.... at least that is what I have heard could happen. :shocked:
Rustyl would know since that is what happened to us.
The ramp at Sauvie Island near the firestation is a great ramp to learn on(not sure of it's name). Make sure if your wife is taking the boat off the trailer don't yell at her.