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Monday, June 9, 2008

Float trip!

Jeff and I spent the last weekend on a float trip/camping trip at Huzzah Valley Resort near Steelville, MO. The trip was a joint bachelor/bachelorette party for one of my teacher friends and her fiancee. We were a little worried on Friday afternoon when the torrential rain, thunderstorms, and tornados were popping up all over the St. Louis area and put off leaving for about two hours. Every time storms like this come up, we're reminded once again that our camper is uninsured (and Bonnie can tell you that you never know when a tree limb is going to come through your camper!).



We finally left around 4:30. We still had to drive through some rain and sit through some rush hour traffic past St. Louis, but the major storms were past by then. By the time we checked in at the campground it was around 8...and then our fun really started. We took a wrong turn in the section of the campground we stayed in (guess who was navigating?? oops) and ended up at a dead end of a narrow campground road. Jeff had to back the van and camper up about 150 feet in the dark in an unfamiliar campground on a very narrow road. Luckily (or not) he was assisted by several (very drunk but quite nice) campers who were camping nearby...and probably didn't want their tents run over! Jeff is generally amazing when backing up the camper...he can whip it around like driving a car in forward, but circumstances were against him here. Finally we got backed up enough to turn around and head to the right road, but our trouble wasn't over.



Next, we had to drive up a fairly steep, rocky, very wet hill, and our van got about 2/3 up before giving up. The tires were spinning all over the wet rocks. Once again, Jeff had to back down so that we could turn around and take a (thankfully) flat road to our campsite. Once we met up with our group, the rest of the evening was pretty smooth.



Despite all of the recent bad weather, the weekend was absolutely perfect for camping and floating. Saturday was hot and sunny. The weather was gorgeous. There was a slight breeze blowing, so you never got too hot, but it still felt great to be in the water. The river itself is beautiful. It may have spoiled the Meramec for me. Look how clear the water is...



FH000008



The next morning, a bus picked us up at about 10 a.m. to take us to the put-in spot for the float trip. Like our van, the bus had a rough time on the hills and was picking up NO speed even as we went on the highway. Plus, it smelled terrible and was smoking like crazy. Turns out that the emergency brake was stuck on. Here's what the bus looked like by the time we got to the put-in...


Smoky bus


I wish you could see just how much smoke was coming out when we first pulled up! Be glad you can't smell it, though. :)



We had 17 people in our group in 8 canoes and 1 kayak. I was very proud of Jeff. He's a fantastic paddler. Other people had all kinds of issues....



Capsized!

Sideways across the channel AND falling out!



Not us, though. Jeff did a great job. Here he is with part of our group behind him...


Jeff and the group



He did so well, in fact, that there really wasn't much left for me to do...


Lounge lizard
I mean, I didn't want to get in the way or anything!



All in all, we did great. Our canoe never tipped...though I did. One minute I was getting in one side of the canoe...the next second I was in the water on the other side! I asked Jeff what his favorite part of the weekend was, and he mentioned this incident. Nice, huh? haha



Kate and Jeff


He may be a rat, but he's my rat!



One of the funnier moments of the trip (aside from my falling out of the canoe, apparently) was the theft, hiding, and retrieval of a paddle from one of the canoes in our group.



1.Up he goes2.The man is like a monkey3.Tying the paddle4."I'm gonna kick your..."

...and...5.Oops!  Alcohol + tree climbing=fall

Don't miss the fact that Bob, who retrieved the paddle, ended up falling into the water at the bottom of the tree!



Our float took us about 4 1/2 hours, which was enough for all of us. We all loaded back onto a (different) bus and headed back to the campsite. We spent the evening playing wiffle ball, washers, and hillbilly golf.


Washers
Wiffle ball game



All in all, what a fun weekend. And now, in less than 3 weeks, we get to look forward to the happy couple's wedding! Hopefully we'll be able to get together a family float trip later in the summer. Anyone interested??

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