Welcome! I would love to make it out west someday. Asfor the drift boat...Do it! my Dad bought one back in Sept. 2009 and we have never regretted it. There are so many places in TN, NC, KY, and GA as well as in the midwest to use them. The great thing about them is being able to fish parts of the river that aren't fished nearly as much. (the big ones seem to be there!) It is also nice for storage purposes too. We keep ours in our garage and keep all our fly fishing items in its compartments. I am not sure what brand you are looking at, but we have a Hyde Pro Series Low Profile and highly recommend it. I have been in a few clackacrafts too and they are very nice. One suggestion though, if you get one, make sure you buy the lighter oars. They are a little more expensive, but well worth it. Once again welcome to the board. I look foreward to hearing about some of your trout fishing adventures!