Thursday, July 31, 2008

One last word on the tubing trip.

For the most part, the trip was a huge blast. The water was cool but not too cold. The section of the river we ran is below the dam, so the water coming off the bottom through the spillway is always cool. The dam keeps the water at a decent level most of the time, with the chances of flooding minimized, so all sorts of rich folks build nice houses along the bank. Many of them are normal looking houses, maybe 1960s or '70s vintage, only they have beautiful big yards leading down to the water (like that ol' fat cat Mushy's house) and a nice dock. It's cool to look at all those and see how the other half lives, and maybe dream about some day. Maybe some day.

Most of the folks who are on the river in tubes have been doin' it for a long time, and some of them are set up like you wouldn't believe. There's always a few guys who have rigged coolers as boom boxes with waterproof speakers, so we get to listen to some nice tunes as we float along, sippin' adult beverages. One dude we hung next to for a while had a car stereo rigged up in a cooler with a battery and a six disc changer. He floated up to us playin' tunes from Bostons first album. He got about half way through the third or fourth cut when the tunes shut off as he started to change the CD. We all groaned our disapproval, but he just groaned back "This ain't a damn democracy", and cranked up a live CD by Jerry Jeff Walker. I was in bliss, and Denise was having a wonderful time too. You should'a seen her, sippin' her Seven & Seven (I set her up with a thermos of the stuff), pattin' her little feet in the water and gigglin' while I leaned back under the shade of that big hat and smoked a fine cigar.

The first rapid we went through was small and the water was low, but the second rapid we went through was really fun. It was big and fast but it wasn't dangerous at all. As I floated down behind Denise and the cooler tube another big guy floated down behind me. Both of us had our stogies up in the air, tryin' to keep them dry. I looked up at him and he smiled back down at me in mutual recognition. I said something like "So long as the cigar stays dry were good!", and he said something in agreement. Then we both reached out to high five one another with our cigars. That was one of the best moments on the river for me.

At one point though, the peace and serenity of the river was violated by one "family", that paddled through our group yelling obscenities at one another. We were enjoying the tunes, the drinks and the cool water when we started to notice the discordant tone working it's way in our direction. A man and woman were paddling an inflatable canoe with three little kids in life jackets riding in the front. The two adults were yelling at one another, accusing one another of various things, with the guy saying stuff like "I knew what you were when I met you!" The female would respond with "Fuck You!" and he'd reply in kind. All we could do is notice the sad, pitiful looks on the faces of all three kids.

The oldest little boy (I'm assuming), closest to the two "adults", was looking at the man with intense hatred. The other two were looking like they were about to burst into tears. We watched in shock as these two paddled by and listened as their obscenities slowly became less audible. As they went along in front of us we could see other tubers looking on with the same disgust that we felt.

After the fact I thought about what, if anything, I could've done. Sitting in a tube, floating down a river, you're really not in a position to intervene in a domestic situation. I tell ya though, if that guy had started hitting that woman there would'a been a bunch of us in the water, swimming in their direction. As it was, I really wanted to swoop in and take those kids away from both of them. What the hell can ya do? You can't save everyone. It was very, very sad.

It wasn't too long after that that we hit that big ugly rapid I told you about in the previous post. After making it through that we were increasingly ready to get off the river, but we were stuck. The thing is, we'd parked our cars at the tube livery and then they'd trucked us up stream a few miles where we got in the water, so we had to finish the trip to get back to our cars. By the time we made it back we were all tired and tellin' one another we'd gone on about two hours too long and that we'd never do that stretch of the river again.

Now, having spent the last few days thinkin' about it, aside from that one rapid, I think I'd do it again. Hell yea. It was a lot of fun. We'll look for another tube livery and try again in a month or so.


Walrilla said...

Man, it's a damn shame to have a nice trip tainted by a spectacle like that. Some people just have no sense of decorum anymore. Hope the rest went well.


pat houseworth said...

Only "tubing" I've done is one being pulled by a speed boat on Grand that is a rush.

As far as the idiot parents...? You wonder why some people stay together?

phlegmfatale said...

man, ya gotta wonder about people.
I am baffled that anyone would act that way in front of a child. For shame.

Mushy said...

Nearly killed myself the last time I went tubing...hmmm, some 25 years ago. Maybe I should blog it in.

Anyway, you should have put a hole in that canoe an given him some real problems to worry about.

Becky said...

I've gone a couple of times in Texas and the last one will keep me from doing it again. I got a UTI afterward and I permanently messed up my knee by hitting rocks (after falling out during rapids).

Have a great time on your road trip!