Sunday, August 21, 2011

First they play a two-step, then a Cajun waltz. If you don't dance, then it's your fault.

La Belle Dame Sans Merci, Der Alter Jo, and Heidi The Goat-Girl and I (along with respective spouses) went down to the river this weekend. We stayed in an elderly farmhouse with wavy floors and an entire batallion of mice, ate tons of smoked sausages and bratwurst and potato salad, and floated the Comal for a record five hours. The Comal wasn't much lower than I'd ever seen it (and I've seen it once about four feet higher, which is a story in itself); we just hung out in the shade under a bridge for about an hour.

It was a good weekend. There was plenty of food, plenty of beer and tea and coffee and bottled water, plenty of cold spring-fed river to tube down, and I only lost a couple of things in the chutes.

For the uninitiated, the "chutes" are places where the city fathers and various engineers have decided that the river is too dangerous (second chute) or the bridges too low (first chute) to be safely navigated by crowds of semi-drunk people in big rubber innertubes. Years ago, you had to haul out of the river and walk around one particular bridge, but the more moronic segments of the population didn't, and got stuck under the bridge and drowned horribly. Hence, the chutes were put in--one at the low bridge, and one just above a small waterfall that's much more treacherous than it looks. I nearly drowned going over Stinky Falls once.

Anyway, here's how it works: you're sitting in an innertube, thoughtfully provided with a drink holder and handles, and probably tied on to other innertubes containing either people or coolers or both. Right before you get to the chute, you untie from everything except your cooler tube and manuver yourself into position so that you're (ideally) going down the chute feet-first.

As you enter the chute, you're going slowly. Then things begin to go very wrong indeed, as you spin around, lose sight of your companions, and eventually get spat out of the chute going remarkably quickly, into a surprisingly strong whirlpool-like current. That was where Der Alter Jo rescued the tiny baby snapping turtle, who was as dizzy and confused as she was.

The second chute is a bitch. It doesn't help that the signs above the river warn you that a "Tube Shoot" is coming up--it makes it sound like rednecks with guns will be taking potshots at your sunburnt self. It was at Stinky Falls that I managed to get the cooler tube (with water, not beer, in it) and my own tube safely over the edge and down into a companion's hands, then fell over the edge of the falls and lost my hat and the bottle of sunscreen.

The River Gods got a full set of clothing from us that day: La Belle Dame's shoes went first, followed by two T-shirts and a cute little cover-up, and then my hat. Nobody lost their sunglasses, their mind, or consciousness. We all got vaguely, patchily sunburned in weird places. We all stayed well-hydrated.

And then we finished Saturday night at the best damn dive bar I've ever been to. A band called The Chubby Knuckle Choir played, we ate cheeseburgers and drank Maker's Mark, and wrote our names on the wall behind the table. It's the only dive bar I've ever been to with a haunted flush outhouse.

Back to work this week, with a follow-up with Dr. Crane and His Band of Merry Sinus-Scopers and a remolding appointment with Dr. Elf. I wish I could move the river to my front yard.


messymimi said...

Sounds like fun, and more adventurous than the places for tubing around here.

Good luck with the appointments.

Might as well, can't dance... said...

So you must have met my friends Matt Skinner and The Amanda Brown at the five bar??? We hired them for a private show in July and will do so again in September! Glad you had fun!

Anonymous said...

You did good. One time I went our driver lost the car keys in the river on a holiday weekend. I'll bet the locksmiths around there make really good money.