Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lazy River Tubing 101

Picture from here.

I agreed to go tubing even though I was dubious about it because a) I don't particularly like the idea of lazy floating with nothing else to do and b) one of my greatest fears is river monsters.

BUT I'm happy to share that it is SO much fun. It's a weird way to very quickly bond with people, get some great outdoors time in a low-impact activity, but still get a decent workout and if you're more careful than me, a decent tan. I, of course, ended up with an epic sunburn despite repeated reapplications of sunscreen that was obviously not a high enough spf for fair old me. 

Let's say you, too, are interested in floating down a lazy river. I learned a few lessons from the experience; follow this advice, and you are guaranteed a fun time:

Tubing 101

1. The first most important thing is that you or a friend book a cooler tube where you can keep things you might need on the river, namely sunscreen with a high SPF and Solo cups. This is also a spot where you can stash your ugly fake Crocs, which are unfortunately, the best choice of footwear to navigate the slippery rocks. Someday we'll come up with a better sartorial option.

2. On one of those cooler tubes, you're going to want to have a giant container of Orange Crush: Vodka, Triple Sec, Cointreau (optional), Sprite and Orange Juice. It's splendid and will make your journey a great one.

3. On another cooler tube, have someone pack a cooler of sandwiches, chips and cookies. They will taste like magic after you've exerted all that energy.

4. Speaking of exerting energy, don't get out to swim unless the water is shallow and you can see the bottom fairly well. Seriously. I stupidly got out to swim in the absolute deepest part of the river and immediately realized it was going to be impossible to get back in my tube comfortably until I had something to launch from.

5. There are occasionally rapids, which are the best, most fun part of the trip, BUT keep your eyes out for scary rocks. Gotta lift that butt!

6. If you want to keep your sunglasses, wear the dorky little neck loop sunglass holder thingies. OR buy kitschy $5 heart-shaped sunglasses like me, with full knowledge you'll probably lose your love shades.

7. Bring a waterproof boom box. We didn't and we wish we had. But, sometimes you have to make your own music, so I hope everyone on the river appreciated our rendition of "Friends in Low Places."

8. Your arms will be so tired the next day, you'll be stunned. Your abs, too! Apparently lifting your butt in the rapids is a workout!

9. By the end of four hours, it is normal to have 6-7 pairs of dragonflies having orgies on your legs.

10. Last but not least, come ready to make friends, either with the people in your party, or with the random parties you end up spending the day floating with. It's a weird and wonderful experience to travel down-river with folks...but you already knew that from Huckleberry Finn, right?

p.s. If you're curious, we had our river adventure with Shenandoah River Outfitters and the campground/tubing was great!

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