GETTING STARTED: Come prepared, as this is sparse, service-starved country. Fossil is the last real town you'll hit for groceries and provisions. Stop at Fossil Hardware & Supply for tackle and licenses--it's $33 for a three-day Oregon fishing license. If you want to do a guided trip, book it here through Mah-Hah Outfitters (starting at $125 per day; 888-624-9424; johndayriverfishing.com). Your very last stop before hitting the water is the tiny outpost of Service Creek. Eat dinner and bunk the night before at the refurbished 1920s Service Creek Stage Stop (starting at $55 per night, with breakfast; 541-468-3331; servicecreekstagestop.com). Or you can camp at the BLM Service Creek Campground ($5 per night; 541-416-6700). The Service Creek Stage Stop's boat rental and shuttle service is a block from the river. Kayak, raft, and pontoon rentals run about $95 a day. They'll also take you to the Twickenham boat launch and shuttle your vehicle to the takeout for $75. There's a self-sign-in for river floating permits.