This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A raft, some family and jazz hands

Yep, that's me in the middle, with my jazz hands all open and free. It was my first full day in the front of the raft. Day 12 (maybe) of my recent Grand Canyon River Raft tour with Outdoors Unlimited. And this one turned out to be family day. Luckily, I'd finally found my mojo on the river by then and was willing to face the rapids head on. Without ducking.

Up to that point, I was only halfway there. I still feared the big ones. Thankfully, because the river level was high during the two weeks plus we spent on the Colorado, we weren't really facing "big ones." Even the Big Kahuna of rapids in the 280 miles we'd float, the one called Lava Falls, just wasn't that horrendous. Of course, our guides fought them mightily anyway. Just in case. The rapids were still bubbly enough to pull you in, flip you over, and send you slamming into deep schist if you didn't hold on tight enough. Trust me, I held on. And those gloves I'm wearing have the rips and broken seams to prove it.

The strength of our guides (I've never seen bigger muscles underneath someone's forearms before) is the very reason you see that big smile on my face. They pushed and pulled us through high-rated rapids and drops of 30 feet, more and less, as if we were simply part of a parade. They made it look easy. And because we were smart enough to raft the entire length of the Grand Canyon, the time allowed them to ease in the chickens like me. The rapids got rougher as we made our way down river. So that, even though I was scared out of my mind at first, by the time we reached the rapids that required scouting, I was feeling secure enough when that rush of water came barreling down on heads, neck and feet. Even when it knocked me up off the raft, by then, I knew my hold on the ropes would keep me safe and dunk-free. I'd had enough experience behind me to see for myself. Yeah, the death grip really works. So I held on. Good and tight.

What a trip! You can expect to see more photos like this one in the days ahead. This one, by the way, was taken by Rebecca Albrecht. She was part of the "family" tour I was on for this 15-day excursion. I add those quote marks, because I'm not the actual family member. I am the girlfriend of the boyfriend who couldn't go. And the boyfriend is the family member. I was the fifth-wheel. But they let me play anyway, and I have never had so much fun before in my life.

So let me send props to the raft, family and jazz hands. All three made this a trip filled with more joy than sand on the beach. And let me tell you, there's a lot of sand on the shore of the Colorado. I should know, since I brought extra home with me--in my shoes, my socks, my hair, my ears, my clothes...

Can you tell me about a time you spent with family that left you reeling in laughter-filled memories long past the event? Post it in a comment below. Or just share your thoughts about what it would take for you to give yourself two weeks of carefree fun.

7 comments:

Vera Marie Badertscher said...

I'm so glad you had this opportunity. Can't be beat. I was not with family when Ken and I went. And unlike you, I never ducked form the rapids. Matter of fact, each time we went through one (including Lava) I said--bring it on! I am not generally a courageous person, but the skill of those river rats gave me complete confidence.

BIKE LADY said...

Vera, I had a great time. But it did take me several days to feel that confidence. I was petrified. When I'd first hear the roar ahead or see the water bubbling up from a distance, anxiety began it's ugly work. I experienced a noticeable difference each day, though, as I learned to trust the guides and relax so I could be like you and say, "Bring it on!" I'm glad that did happen for me, and that I was able to enjoy something fully that at first really did frighten me. The river people are an amazing bunch. You can't help but get caught up in the spirit of it all.

Heather said...

That trip looks so awesome. I do understand ducking. Although I haven't done the rapids, I was a little fearful the first time I ziplined. Then it was utter pleasure after that.

Julie said...

A 15 day vacation? So jealous! The "only" time we even thought about spending that much time on vacation is when we talked about taking a 10-12 day mediterranean cruise when our daughter graduates from college. We keep saying we're going to do it, but it's now 1.5 years away and it isn't booked yet? Hmmm...

BIKE LADY said...

Heather,

I've tried ziplining as well, though not as successfully. I couldn't make myself jump off the platform and had to be helped down. I'll try it again some time, though, now that I see someone else feared and conquered it. Good to know. Thanks for sharing that.

Julie,

Maybe this is crazy, but I didn't even think about how much time I'd be gone really. I just marked the time off on my calendar and planned my best around it. So why not just set the date and mark it on your calendars and see what happens? A year and a half isn't that far away, you're right, but you can find a travel agent who can help you get the trip you'd like best. Also, if a cruise doesn't work, maybe you can book stays in a few of the countries and travel that way. You'd probably see more.

Marla Markman said...

All I can say is "drops of 30 feet!!!" OK, I love white water rafting but that does sound scary. Glad you had a blast!

BIKE LADY said...

The drops were pretty subtle, though, Marla, spread out over several lateral feet. So it wasn't as scary as I initially imagined. There were a few roller coaster-like moments, though, and that was fun. Once I moved past the initial fear and anxiety. ;-)