Sunday, July 25, 2010

Goodbye, so long, farewell, via con dios

Well, this is probably my last blog I'll write while in Texas. The packers come tomorrow and my computer will be boxed up. I have to blog on my latest adventure as it was chalk full of "excitement," to say the least.

As a Last Hurrah some friends (Robert, Jennifer, Alice and Jason) planned a trip to Greune, TX to float the Guadalupe and a Roger Creager concert. We stopped in Shiner on the way there for a tour of the brewery, free beer and souvenirs. I've done the tour before and recommend it. It's a great place to stretch your legs on the drive between Houston and San Antone. We had dinner at the Gristmill in Greune which was excellent! I had the best chicken friend steak and tasted the ribs one of our party had ordered. The meat is so tender it just jumps into your mouth as soon as your lips touch it. We called it a night early since we planned to leave for the river early.

Let me preface this story with the fact that I am no fan of natural waters. I'm a weak swimmer and I'm creeped out by the critters that you can/cannot see. I hate to be high-maintenance about these sort of things but there it is. We all have our "thing." Despite this, I have always wanted to float a Texas river. It's something, as a Texan, that just should be done. Like taking pictures in blue bonnets in the Spring, it's a part of Texas culture. Besides, there was that leaf I turned this year to do things that scared me.

Before we even left town I stressed to my husband the importance that he keep his float with mine. At the float rental I wisely chose a float with a bottom attached. I was not going to have a rock up my butt.

When we got to the river, we all got in out tubes and headed off. The river just picked everyone up and sent them down the river. Everyone except me. The river chose to push me off to the side a bit, where it was more shallow, and I ended up beached. I was pissed. I was mad at my husband and friends for floating off with out me. I was mad that the river seemed against me. I was mad and embarrassed that I can't float off with the same ease everyone else had. I mean, there isn't much "skill" to a river float. The river does the work of transporting you down and the tube does the work of keeping you above water. I felt like a tool as I tried to push myself out of the rocks, then with in less then a foot of the last bank, managed to get beached again. I finally get out and am heading down the small rapids the rest of my party had just maneuvered. Oh joy. I get to go down backwards.

Once over this minor hurdle I caught up to my party who is cheering for me. I was not cheering. I was humiliated and did I mention pissed? It was then suggested that we hook on to one anothers floats by hooking our feet under each others tubes. My short legs failed me and could not quite reach. So I had to rely on my friends to anchor me in. Just another bit of control I lost on the river.

After we were all hooked up in our pod of tubes my good husband, who was floating with the cooler, passed down a much needed beer. As the beer took it's effects and the river kindly pushed us along, the river thing started to seem pretty darn good. We waved to campers who were squatting at the river bank. Sometime down the way a camper came to the shore feeling the need to warn us of the doozey of rapids that we would soon be coming upon. He predicted we would lose our cooler. Most of our party laughed. This wasn't their first rodeo! They were sure we would fare fine, thank you very much. I....was not too sure.

We eventually could hear the approaching rapids and it was decided that we should not go down connected. We unhooked and somehow I am leading the pack down the rapids. This was a longer patch of rough waters then the first. With in the first dip I was tipped and under water. I tried to grab my raft but the river yanked it out of my reach with in seconds. I tried to stand up but the waters pulled my feet out from under me and I was down again. In my head I recalled from old westerns that you should just ride the rapids if ever one finds themselves in this predicament. But my body wanted to fight and I kept trying to stand up while my head kept saying "go with the flow." I fought the river and her rocks for a bit as I rode the rapids out with no tube and suddenly was pulled out by Alice, one of our group. I held onto the side of her tube while I continued to fight this bull. She tried to coach me to put my legs out and front and ride it out but for some reason I just couldn't kick my feet up. It seemed like too relaxing a position to assume while trying to keep my head from being gashed open on a rock. Shortly thereafter, Rob came up along side and I held onto both tubes until we came to a smooth part of the river where I could sit on a rock to calm down. It was about this point that I realized that my breathing was a gasping staccato. I caught my breath and assessed my damage. Lot's of bruises and scrapes on my legs and a serious wedgie, otherwise I was fine. Some kayakers had noticed the trouble people were having coming over that part and had been at the end catching tubes and such. I was so relieved to see that they had caught mine.

Another member of our group did not make it over that set of rapids either. Jenn and Aaron had chosen a little bit of a detour that would shorten the rodeo Rob, Alice and I had gone down. Unfortunately this route beached Jenn. She got out to try and free herself but somehow managed to lose her tube that then got taken away by the turbulent waters. She tried to catch it but also got caught up in the racing waters and also rode the rapids bareback for a turn. After getting ping ponged between the rocks a ways, Aaron caught up to her, pulled her into his tube and they rode down together. I have to say that Aaron was a serious River Cowboy. He saved our friend and did not lose the beer or his cowboy hat. ;) I too saved my hat. Well...I had it but it had a much different shape. :/

After retrieving my breath and my tube, the river and I made amends and the remainder of the float was pretty uneventful sans one last rough patch at the very end. Except for scraping my knuckle on something, I came out nearly unscathed.

After the best nap I have ever had we enjoyed a steak dinner and then headed out to Greune hall for the Roger Creager concert. Sadly, Jason was sick and had to go back to the condo. Heat exhaustion? The rest of us sat at the tables lining the outside of Greune hall. We watched the opener from there. Sitting on top of the table, sipping a Shiner, we watched Cody Johnson's performance through chicken wire. It was quintessential. The nearly full moon, Greune water tower above, and live Texas music. I cried. I love this state and hate to leave her. We moved inside for Roger Creager's performance which was STELLAR! The crowd was great! Sweat ran down my legs like my thighs were crying, it was so hot, but it was so worth it!! What a great way to spend our last days in this wonderful state.

The packers are here to preview their job for tomorrow. Drew is following Aaron and the packers through the house and telling them what will go and what will stay.

"Of course our stuffed pets are coming with us." He tells them. Stuffed pets, some furniture, clothes. Not to mention, memories and anticipation.

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