Tubing Troubles

2 08 2011

I’m going to be honest friends, but since my “A race” at Rocketts Landing, I’ve been feeling a little unmotivated to do any run, bike, or swim workout. I still have two races left in my season, mostly for fun, but I’m tough on myself, and I’d like to do well at them.

I sucked it up last week and did workout Tuesday through Friday, but honestly, I think I can only count 1 as being “quality.” What I really needed was a mental break from training. As it turns out, I’ve had a tubing trip planned for July 30th, and it couldn’t have come at a better time!

A few weeks ago, my friend Sue Ellen invited me on a tubing trip to Harper’s Ferry, organized by her roommate Darren.

Sue Ellen and I, a few months ago

Sweet! This was one of the things I’ve been wanting to do since I’ve been in DC. Sitting in a tube and floating down a river with a cooler next to me? Sign me up!

I soon came to find out that this was an annual thing- this year would be the 7th year her roommate has organized a group!

A souvenir koozie for the occasion!

And by “group” I mean a fully chartered busload of people with 50 of his closest (or soon to be closest) friends!

Pretty awesome, right?

So instead of waking up early on Saturday for a long brick workout, I woke up at 8ish so I could be ready to go by 9. The plan was to meet at Sue and Darren’s place at 9, and then drive 1.5 hours there and beat some of the crowds to get on the river. Well, things didn’t go as planned.

That, my friends, is the back of our bus. Stuck. In the asphalt. Yes, our bus tore up the cement.

And, yes, that sign does say no trucks or buses. Why? Because the grade of the incline is too steep and they get stuck!!

We were still in Arlington at this point, because the bus driver started going on the highway in the wrong direction so he needed to turn around. Unfortunately, we spent at least an hour here trying to fix it ourselves and with the help of AAA.

Unfortunately, nothing worked, and a new bus came to take us to West Virginia. For the most part, the ride was smooth sailing. Its not like when we arrived at the place the driver cut the corner a little tight and demolished the white picket fence in front of the rental place…oh wait, that did happen.

I’m not exactly sure what became of that situation, but the poor bus driver looked painfully embarrassed afterwards…Poor guy.

But finally, we had arrived!!

That’s the river we’d be floating down! So pretty, but LOTS of rocks! EEK!

We checked in, got tubes, and waited for the school bus to take us to the starting spot for our trip down river.

After tying our tubes together in a group, we were off!

(Photo compliments of Darren)

So, that looks a little scarier than it actually was. There were a few TINY rapids along the way, and because the river was pretty shallow, there were a few times where several of us needed to get out and direct the tubes around or over rocks. My number one tip: WEAR WATER SHOES OR OLD SNEAKERS.

I wore an old pair of sneaks (thrown out immediately upon return home), and it was the best decision of the day. Because we walked on gravel from our bus to where we needed to get our tubes, climbed into our tubes after traversing some more rocks, and used the rocks in the river to push off of when we were stuck, sneakers were KEY. I would have had some torn up feet without them!

Check out everyone’s stylish water shoes!  (Photo compliments of Darren)

We floated down the river for awhile, and snapped some shots on the big rock before we had to turn into shore. Now, if you look closely at the above picture, we didn’t do the best job of roping our tubes together. Yes, some of the tubes are on one side, and some are on the other. Not exactly ideal. But, what this picture doesn’t show is how fast the current was running right here! If we hadn’t straddled the rock the way we had, we might not have been able to stop!

Anyhow, we did eventually get unhooked from the rock, and then we detached a few more tubes from our pack because we thought it might make it a little easier to get towards shore. Um, that SORTA worked, but let’s just say I left my tube a few times to make sure that one person from our group didn’t get stranded. (You know who you are 😉 )

All in all, it was an awesome day, with lots of laughter and some relaxation. I’m definitely looking forward to next year’s trip! Maybe we’ll need two buses?

(Photo compliments of Darren)

Question of the day: What’s your favorite summer activity?