Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Redneck Rafting

The kiddo and I went camping with some friends over the weekend. Our final activity for the weekend involved floating down the river in inner-tubes. I used to do this when I was a kid at summer camp. They called it tubing. I'm told that, around here, the activity is called "floating". Apparently, tubing involves being pulled by a boat and floating is just floating with the river current.

I had no idea what a popular Summer activity floating is. There were enough groups of people at the launch site to cause a bit of a queue to form. Anyway, I hooked kiddo into her life jacket, secured the cooler into its own tube and set off down the river for a little leisurely adventure. It was a the perfect day for floating for the wind was gently blowing, the current was steady and the Sun was shining in a nearly cloudless sky. I cracked a few bottles of Sam Adams Summer Ale, conversed with my friends, my daughter and various random people who floated on by our group.

We planned to stop for lunch at a sandbar at the midway point. The current was pulling me and my daughter a bit too hard, so I flipped out of my tube in order to push ourselves onto the sandbar. It was at that moment that my legs gave out and I experienced a painful double Charley horse which was obviously the result of dehydration. We were at the mercy of the current as I writhed in agony. Thankfully, a group of people on the sandbar saw our predicament and swam out to pull us in.

I recovered on the sandbar by drinking a fair amount of water and having my sunblock re-applied. Our group pulled our pre-ordered Jimmy Johns sandwiches from the cooler and relaxed for a bit. We soon shoved off again and happened upon a rope swing tied to a tall tree protruding far out from the shore. Many of us stopped in order to swing from the rope and drop into the river. I was about to step up for my turn when my daughter forbade me to participate. She was worried that I would be hurt. I laughed to myself and excused myself from my place in line. She would behave in the same manner when we reached the end of our journey which was marked by a bridge across the river.

A number of people both in and out of our own group wanted to jump from the bridge into the river. However, a police officer was sitting up the road in his cruiser waiting to catch underage drinkers as they emerged from the river. My daughter and I helped the others in my group deflate the tubes and pack up the rest of the equipment while keeping a keen eye on the police officer. It wasn't long before a random car sped down the road which prompted the cruiser to give chase. The second the officer whizzed across the bridge to pull the speeding car over, a gaggle of tipsy rednecks ran up the side of the bridge and jumped over the edge into the river like a bunch of horny lemmings.

And that's how I ended my day. I was a little sunburned, a little dehydrated but genuinely very pleased that I'd had such a good time with my friends and with my daughter.

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