August 11, 2010

Rafting in West Virginia, part 3

Looky here!  I have raised the bar back to 3 times in a week.  Whew, my fingers are tired just thinking about it.

Lots going on at work, spent some time with a cool customer, they have the fun and young image and so I really need to connect more with them.  They get good "Buzz" and if you have stuff with them, you'll get good buzz.  I never really understood that until I stuck with a single industry for so long.  This office furniture stuff is kind of crazy.  I try to avoid mentioning the customer names because they have web crawlers that locate this kind of stuff and besides, I don't want to be an instrument of the man.

Day 3 of the white water trip.

We got up at 6 again to get the boys moving.  Had breakfast at Buffler's again, same menu, this time I focused a bit more on the fruit. 

Today our tour leader was a guy named Johnny.  Our group would be made up of 5 large rafts, each with a guide and up to 8 "guests".  Why they refer to us as guests I'll never know, when you're a guest in my house you don't work, you are served.  Here you have to help haul the boats up and down and all around.  We only had enough in our group to fill 2 rafts and then 4 of us were put with 2 others, a man and his young son.  There was also a full boat of couples and a full boat of housewives from Cincinnati (Johnny took the boatload of housewives).

Once again we suit up with a PFD, a helmet and this time a standard oar.  The first thing that I notice is that these are either a lot less work or the current is a lot faster.  Cool thing was we put in for this part of the adventure at the same place we got out yesterday.  So we're seeing quite a long stretch of the river over 2 days, very cool.

The day passed even more lazily than with the duckies because there was less paddling.  There wee lots of rapids and they were closer together.  Just like the day before we had lunch on a beach.  It was hot and humid, but whenever we got to flat water the guides offered that we could get out and swim.  The water temp was still about 80.

This leg had a Jump Rock was about as cool as the one the day before.  The cool thing that they had was a spot that they called Karma Cavern.  It went like this, you jumped in about 5 feet off this big rock and you landed in a fairly strong current.  The current sucked you down, under water into a really large and deep hole.  It was like this for me:  Our boat pulled up and I've got butterflies in my stomach, I'd heard that this will suck you under water for 10 seconds.  I'm not sure I want to try , but the boys are already lining up to jump, Ian and Spencer are behind my boat, can I let them see me pass on this?  No way!  I get out and get in line with the rest of the lemmings.  As I wait I can barely hear Johnny telling them where to jump because of the noise of the white water roaring around the rocks.  Soon enough it's my turn, with Ian and Spencer now getting out of the boat to get in line I knew that I had no option, I had to jump.  I asked Johnny to point out where to land.  He smirked and pointed to a spot about 5 feet out and 2 feet up river, "there's the best spot to land, right there!" he said to me.  I crossed my arms over my life jacket, used one hand to hold my glasses in place and leaped.  I landed right where he said I should!  Swoosh, I went straight down, just like jumping off into a a pool, but I seemed to go down for a really long time.  I had no sensation of rising, only going iwth the current.  Would my life jacket be enough to lift me up?  5 seconds.  How long could I go?  Should I kick my feet to go up?  No, remember the warning, when you're in the river keep your feet from the rocks, foot entrapment is a real an scary deal.  8 seconds. Am I drifting up?  I am, nearly to the surface.  I turn my face down in an attempt to slow my rise to the top.  Finally I break the surface and am on top.  I look around and see Johnny, 50 feet away, he nods at me and says; "Good one." and then turns to tell the next to jump.  It was totally awesome!  I wanted to swim back up stream and do it again.

I was able to watch Ian and Spencer take the plunge from the unique position of floating in the river.  I don't know if they hit it as well, but I was really proud to see them go as hard as they could trying.

The rest of the day was great, but by comparison, nothing to write home (aka to you) about.

The ride home was on yet another converted prison, I mean school bus.  The guide that was with Ian and Spencer sat next to me and we talked about what a great couple of kids I had.  He was curious about why the Dad wouldn't be in the same boat, and all I said was they need their space, I pointed out that I was never far and normally fairly tuned in, but willing to let them learn from him.  That was impressive to him. I asked about what he was doing there.  I got a smirk that really reminded me of Larry and this response; "It's a life style choice."  He knows he doesn't have as much as others his age, but he was truly addicted to white water and being on the river.  Nice to see, when he was in his twenties, wonder how he'll do as he ages?

Later that night we had dinner at the Smokies, a fancy restaurant that made room for us and our buffet of hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, potato salad, chips and cookies.  A great meal?  Not so sure, it was the same as the previous, tasty, but boring.  Even the boys were talking about revolting if we had to eat the same food again on the next night.

Some of the adults went for a walk after dinner and we ended up on a platform overlooking the New River Gorge.  I took this with a timer, in it is me, Tom, Gil, Tim and Steve.  Missing from the adults were; Eric and Vicky (Tim's wife).  Great group of guys to hang with on this kind of adventure.

That night there was a band playing in the common area across the road and they had wings on sale for the low, low price of 3 wings for a buck.  We went and listed to the music.  It was really fun to watch these guys, no amps, a single microphone and they playing blue grass/folk/country/great music.  What a great way to end the day.

Have a great day!

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