1997 W. Va. Trip!!

Well, now ya' did it!

[The Story]         [The Pictures]

West Va. Vacation
Friday, 8/22/97

Golden Boys Row Their Boats
Hico, WV (GP)

Getting There
Thursday was a travel day.  Dad, Steve, and Bob took the quick, scenic route to Fayetteville, WV and made pretty good time, too.   :)   Gas was as high as $1.38/gallon, so I guess we got lucky because we didn't need any of THEIR gas. We arrived at our next place of lodging, another cabin, at around 1:00pm. The cabin was new and clean and had a hot tub, too. But, no phone and, for the boys' sake, no cable TV!!   Ooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhh, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.  That put a quick stop to Dad's communication with the outside world.  We scouted around a bit, got groceries, and figured out possible eating places for dinner.  Went back to the cabin and discovered that there was no toilet paper.  Bummer.  Back to the store...a carry-out this time since it wasn't worth the drive to the "big" store.

We went to bed early anticipating a big day on Friday and awoke to yet another cool, rainy morning.  We were right on schedule (no surprise here) and arrived at the North American River Raft--whatever (NARR) lodge at 8:45.  We got outfitted in very snug life jackets and yellow helmets.  Of course, Steve managed to get his helmet on backwards.  And, the life jackets were great for "chest-butting" which Dad, Steve, and Bob did all day long.  Dad had to take everything he had with him back to the car.  This was going to be a very wet day, indeed.  We were off by 9:30 and at the river at 10:15 - a nice, bumpy 45 minute ride on a bus.

Rollin' on the River
At the river, it became apparent that we were not going to be on a big raft, rowing with a bunch of other people.  The big rafts were for the sick, invalids, babies, and those generally near death.  What we were going to get to do was paddle our own small, inflatable boats, called duckys, down the river.  The paddles, themselves, consisted of an oar with a paddle at each end, requiring one to be somewhat coordinated in paddling on alternating sides of the boat all the time.  Of course, for Dad, they had a one-of-a-kind special boat.  It was the kind that had two inflatable tubes, one on each side of the river.  You end up sitting in the river the entire trip.  Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh boy!  Dad then knew he had the wrong shoes for this ride----wrong clothes, too, come to think of it. Dad's boat had a slow leak in the right tube, requiring him to lean to the left to keep the boat level. The leaning action became somewhat of an irritant after a while. Then, Dad learned that a pump was on board one of the rafts! AAA to the rescue and Dad didn't even need his AAA card! (Not that he even has one.....)

This was quite the aerobic workout with 6 or 7 series of rapids (and this was the easy part of the river) and about 8 miles of paddling, overall. Bobby got stuck on rocks a couple of times (he just doesn't weigh enough and he isn't strong enough to paddle out of trouble). This was always exciting...another excuse to whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine. Steve, Bob, and Dad enjoyed(?) playing dodgems in the water and Dad got a kick of hanging on to a strap at the back of Steve's boat and letting Steve try to tow Dad.  Talk about zero movement....

Lunch on the Shore
We stopped for a simple, yet elegant lunch consisting of some Italian stuff.  These guides really have their act together.  They brought a full course meal, stove, etc., etc.  Steve and Bob played in the muddy water and tried to stay clear of the poison ivy.  Dad tried to get Steve to stick his hands between the many rocks in the area, in search of snakes and spiders, but Steve just didn't seem to be up for that (for some strange reason).

Jump Rock
Right after lunch, it was time for the crazy people on the trip to jump off a big rock (20 ft. or so) into the river.  The place was called Jump Rock (or something similar).  And, just who was first in line???? Bob.  And just who was second in line???? Steve.  No surprises there. Each of them got about 6 jumps in before it was time to go.  Oh yes, Dad didn't jump.  In fact, he didn't even think about jumping.

The last rapids on our trip were called Surprise because of the quick drop off into water that .... well, does something strange.  Of course, the only person of the entire group to wipe out (capsize) on Surprise was Steve.  He actually enjoyed it - didn't want to get back into his boat.  When Dad saw the capsized boat and floating oar, he figured it had to be Steve.  This is the spot where the $16 dollar pictures were taken.  They are good pictures and you can see them  below.

Finishing Up
Dad felt compelled to race to the finish line so he could say he got an aerobic workout.  Then, after carrying all the boats up a rather steep hill and loading the track, we were ready to go back to the lodge.  Oh yes, we encountered a kind of unique ( to us, anyway) restroom building.  You look down and see a rolling, gurgling sea of, well, you know.  Pretty gross and even eerie.  We returned to the lodge and changed into dry clothes (and what a great feeling that was).

Going Home
We rolled out of NARR at exactly 4:40pm, enjoyed a very interesting drive along the back roads of W.Va. until finally reaching the freeway.  Almost exactly 5 hours later, we were home.  Actually, it was kind of strange to think that, just a few hours earlier, we were on the river deep in the mountains (ok, tall hills) of W.Va.

In Retrospect
This was a great day at the end of a great week.  It may not be possible to out-do this trip, but we'll try next year.  We hope you enjoyed the tales of our journeys this week!

The Pictures!!


Bill on river

This is Bill riding the rapids!  Now, you know he'll stay afloat!


Stephen on river

This is Steve attacking the rapids!  He was the only person to capsize (and, by choice, too!),


Bob on river

This is Bobby surviving the rapids!  Off to a slow start, but he caught on!