We are exploring areas to possibly move. Since my father-in-law lives in Bend, OR that is one area we are considering. It’s quite wonderful and many Californians have already migrated there from Northern and Southern Cal.
One key element of outdoor fun in Bend, is floating the Deschutes River. This river runs through the town. The city is in the process of creating a section that divides into rapids on one side and lazy slow-moving river on the other side. During the construction, you are forced to exit at one point and carry your float about a half a block, and reenter the river. Although this can be a pain, it’s not that big of a deal. Then you float the most fun part of the river, admiring the houses on the banks and fallen trees half in the water that are great for climbing.
sounds relaxing, doesn’t it? It kinda was the 2nd time around…
…but HERE’S what really happened the first time:
I think I was already scolding the kids before we got into the water. My in-laws let us borrow “double-seated” floats that had to be pumped up by an air pump and then the kids argued over who was going to carry tube and who was going to sit with dad. An unlucky child got stuck with me and pouted.
To make matters worse: We didn’t have water shoes, only flip flops. Double-edged sword either way. It’s a RIVER… with muddy areas that you sink into and will lose some shoes (like flops or lose fitting water shoes), but nice to have tight water shoes for those huge rocky areas that smart-like-hell when you kick ’em and are sharp.
Then you combine that with kids that are not quite comfortable with the “idea” of floating on “uncharted” territories (charted by them, personally)-
it’s cold, it’s got stuff in it- what is that floating? Ew, what is that?
mixed with mom’s anxiety of ensuring the keys, license, cell phones stayed secured in the “water tight” box and in the center “ice-chest or dry compartment” area of our floatie and didn’t fall out with the kids constantly getting in/out of floats. (or my monstrous attempts to reenter the float that almost capsizes it) YIKES!
Then, the hubster didn’t plug one of the air tubes correctly, and as water surrounded the opening of the plug area, I kept hearing and seeing bubbles (indicating air was escaping) and half-way through our trip my son and I were going FLAT. At the half-way point, where we were forced to exit, my husband had to blow this sucker back up manually. Although not too terribly flat, he almost passed out because it’s HUGE… at least, it wasn’t a hole and he figured out how to screw on the tightener correctly. (we didn’t feel badly for long, as another group right after us had the same floats and same issue, but their float was completely FLAT.) Bill showed them the issue with closure/tightener (seriously, it took an engineer to figure it out), but declined blowing it up for them. hahahah! Hey, our “be-a-good-neighbor” has its limits.
These bigger floats are good in “theory,’ but more difficult to guide to areas you want without paddles. You do have to go around little islands, miss hitting the banks of the river, and avoid the rapids they are constructing. Although the water is slow moving (slower than the lazy river at the water park)…However, no amount of “hand paddling” is going to properly guide, especially when you have an 11-year-old that refuses to help paddle with his hands… so at some point, someone has to brave the mush (not so bad) or rocks (awful!) below as we drifted too far and push/guide to proper area. It is so ridiculous because the water moves very slowly, yet, we were goof-balls and were awkward about everything.
Also, we got stuck in a current (in the middle) when we needed to exit on the right side of bank for the bus to return us to the starting point. (BTW: great buy, wristband for all day $3.00- float, get on bus -floats go in back trailer and return you to the starting area) Anyway, I felt foolish trying to swim and pull the raft with my heavy, muscled 11-year old boy just sitting and refusing to help…and after struggling a bit and not getting very far, realized I could touch the ground at that point and pull more efficiently. Hahahah! 🙂 Then, I turned and yelled at my son, “you gotta help!”
My daughter wanted to go again and my son wanted to go home, which is funny because he likes to water ski and wake board- and they are both strong swimmers- past summers being on a swim team. He didn’t want to expend any effort. To give something an honest good try, it requires a second attempt. We knew what to expect and were prepared for the river exits this time. So we did what any good parents would do… “Guys want Icees?” That changed behaviors for the better.
The 2nd time, the kids understood what it was, and my normally timid 9-year-old demanded to go again and was more secure in the activity and got my 11-year-old more involved. “Jump in with me!”
Dare I say, they actually had some fun? It is much easier when they are willing to help more…and actually willing to enter the water…but still requires a lot of effort for a “relaxing” event. I think we’d need 10 more tries, with water shoes, and individual floats. Then we’d ROCK that!
Hey, LOOK- they actually worked together the second time around…of course, they argued what side of the loading area to enter. 🙂
Read more on our 2015 summer trip travels.