Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The weekend, and some new gear.

Denise and I took Mom to Dynasty Friday night and we all had a great time.

The folks there still treat us well, remembering all the times I came with Dad. The waiters and waitresses are all just as sweet to Mom.

Denise isn't into Chinese food or seafood, but they have enough variety of good food there that everyone has a great time. That is, until I take this camera out. That's when the cussin' starts.

Saturday morning, 8AM, Denise and I met some friends over on the campus and then we all drove down to Gruene, near New Bruaunfels, and we went tubing on the Guadalupe river. I didn't have a dry box for the camera so I chose not to take it on the water.

Normally I rent a canoe on these occasions, but the place we normally rent them from went tits up last year because of all the rain. The high water closed the river down to tubing, and the loss of that years business ruined them. The place we went to this time only rented inflatable boats. Between that and the fact that Denise had never been tubing before made me decide to just rent a tube. I'd take the leisurely side of things this time, rather than hauling all the coolers and paddlin' all day.

I got two shots from the day.

This first one shows the group sitting around, waiting for the ride to the river. Left to right, that's Dave, Denise, Dave's son-in-law (drinking) and his daughter (with her back to you in the orange pants).

After everything was over I got the camera and took this shot of myself, five hours of tubing later. I was one hot, sore, pooped padna! That's right, five hours of tubing. It was a long day.

The water was cool and comfortable, and the people on the river were mostly fun and happy folks, but the water was low and one of the rapids we went over beat our asses. I'd never tubed this stretch of the river before and I had no idea it was up there. We wouldn't have gone down it if we had. I seriously wouldn't have let Denise go down it if I had. I wouldn't even have gone over it in a canoe.

The rocks were exposed by the low water level and they beat a lot of people up pretty bad. Lots of bruises and contusions. My buddy Dave was tumbled out of his tube and his cooler was dumped in the river. He lost most of his beer and water and his cigarettes and dinged up his legs. He looked like he was almost in shock when he came to a rest on a rock shelf where we were sitting after having gone through it ourselves.

I guess I'd been prepared for this sort of thing, having turned over in a lot of rapids on canoe trips. I'd had enough safety training to know to tell Denise to go feet first and not hang on to anything, but I'd forgotten enough to not realize I shouldn't have to tubes tied together.

I had our three tubes tied together in the flat water so that we'd stay together and have easy access to the cooler, the cigars and the sun tan lotion. It makes sense to do that in the slow water, when you're trying to stay together and relax on the river, but not in fast stuff.

About a third of the way through the rapid I found myself standing with both feet on a rock, my back to the fast, powerful current. Denise had gone down one side of that rock and our cooler tube had gone down the other. I stood there, tied to both, all three of us hung up, just long enough to tell myself "Man, this is wrong!", and "This ain't gonna end well!"

I tried to slide myself down the right side of the rock, pulling the rope over the rock to let Denise go. The result of that was that Denise went down the rapid feet first and upright, but I was tumbled out of my tube and ended up going down the rapid feet first, one arm over my tube and the other over the cooler tube. She actually got through it OK, suffering only a scare and a bruised ass. My ass was sore, but mostly I was pissed off that they hadn't warned us about that rapid when we rented the tubes. I jokingly told my buds later "Hey, that's why they make us sign a release!". Fuck them! We'll never do that stretch again.

After that we were ready to get out of the water, but we had at least two hours left on the trip. By the time it ended we were done, and that last rapid had convinced most of my buds to forgo the final rapid, just before the take-out and walk to the livery. I kinda wanted to run it, seeing that it looked ok, but I was done. Five hours was enough, so I helped folks carry their tubes and we headed back home. Denise and I stopped to shop a little in Austin and then ate at a BBQ place in Roundrock. It was 10:45 before we got home.

We lazed around most of Sunday morning and then went out to the lake to have dinner with those friends of Denise's. They were driven back up here in their RV by the hurricane and were camping for a few days out at BLORA, on Belton Lake. We had steak, corn, taters, and ice cream, and smoked cigars and had a great time.

Monday afternoon, after my lunch time classes, I went over to Temple to get my new glasses and see Mom. And yes, she fed me. What? How the hell do you think I got this big?

Anyway, how do they look? Those are Dads old Air Force glasses with new plastic prescription lenses in them. I got them from mom after he died and have been determined to get them fixed so I could wear them. They had heavy glass lenses in them when he had them. You could'a beat someone to death with those friggin' things, they were so heavy. Now they're lighter, and I must say I love the hell out of them!

When you combine the shades with my cool new hat, open the sun roof and light a fine ceeeeegar, you're livin' large. I do make this look good. Y'all take care and we'll talk. Cheers.


H2o said...

Look at you...looking all handsome and cool.

Les Becker said...

Sorry about your sore bum... and I can't figure out, after 5 hours of tubing a river, rapids and all... how do you get back to your car?!

Nice shades, though!

Christina LMT said...

Cool shades!

Not so sure about the hat, though...*ducks for cover*

Jerry said...

I used to go tubing in Pennsylvania several times a summer. Half the battle was knowing the stream that you are on. Sometimes we would have to take out chainsaws and clear the trees after a storm so that we wouldn't float into them. We also used to have a small tube that a cooler fit perfectly inside, dragging a fishing net behind for the empty beer cans. We had it down to an art.

Sorry about your sore butt. The shades are very cool.

Suldog said...

Damn straight. That last photo is pretty much The American Dream incarnate. Love it.

~Fathairybastard~ said...

H2O - Now, don't slobber on everybody. Seriously, thanks. Those shades do look cool.

les - They truck you up stream and then you float back down to where your car is.

Christina - Hey, I loves to wear me some stupid hats. It lets people have fun makin' fun.

Jerry - Cool. Yea, they have things called creeks in PA that we'd call rivers in TX. I bet it was fun.

Sully - Yes sir, the dream lives.

Mushy said...

Those hats are illegal in Tennessee! Besides, there's something better to wear here!

Looks like it's a canoe for you and Denise and a kayak for me and Ron. Hope that floats you're boat!