The days here start out chilly, and our camp site is tucked in under trees so it stays shaded and cool.
Saturday we left early and headed to Home Depot, for the millionth time, to buy more things to try to fix our
toilet issue. Drove back through the back roads and popped in at the winery we "worked" at way back in
2005. Couldn't raise anyone (typical, they let just anyone work there after all... ) then got back to the RV and
installed a new shut-off valve, which promptly leaked. Defective. What luck.
Sunday I discovered the supply line itself was leaking. This is
connected somewhere in the wall behind the shower panel, so it
was not a fun discovery. I addition to this newly discovered toilet
saga info, it was the same chilly morning, and I'm sure if we hadn't
planned it all out the day before, we would not have even
considered tubing. But by the time noon rolled around it was nice
and hot out, and I needed something to distract me from our toilet
drama, so we went and grabbed the tubes, and the dogs, because
of course we would take the dogs tubing down the rushing Russian
River rapids, right?
My phone - on which I take oh so many pictures - has been on the
fritz for several weeks. Any time I try to switch it to selfie mode, it
shuts down, "camera failure" and I have to go into settings and
delete the cache and all that. So, no regular selfies. I've been
having to do it old school and hold it backwards and stuff. (You
young kids probably don't even know what I'm talking about... ha!)
So regular pics only, and even those don't always work. Then, I
had bought some sketchy "waterproof" pouches, 2 for $7 so you
know they're quality stuff, which was hanging around my neck
containing my defective phone.
We get down to the river with these nice tubes that have a fabric
cover. This cover allows you to sit down into the tube and not lose
everything out the bottom. Richard mentions that if you flip it over
and ride it upside down, you won't get wet.
I ignored this comment as just one of those ridiculous things he says, because clearly this wouldn't work well,
and no one would do this... Richard was already in, so I jump on my tube and grab Fluffy and off we go.
Richard is taking forever to get going, and due to the swift flow of the river, Fluffy and I are getting farther
and farther from him. Steve got impatient with Richard, sees us getting farther away, and starts swimming
after me. Great. When she finally catches up to us, I grab her out of the water by her harness. After her
strenuous swim to catch me, she was happy to settle in on my lap. Not Fluffy. She is not liking the float, and
keeps trying to jump out. I'm holding on to two dogs and trying to take backward selfies with my phone in a
sketchy case around my neck while trying to paddle through rapids. I had to give up on the camera and
Steve because Fluffy was seriously trying to jump and I had to steer. Fluffy almost tipped us once, Steve fell
out, I was able to quickly grab her and drag her back in, the entire time we're still floating quickly down river.
Fluffy almost tipped us a second time, and finally, on her third try, she succeeded. In hindsight, I should
have let go of her and let her jump out, but we were in the middle of a rapid and I was hanging on tight.
Over we went. Fluffy smartly swam for shore. Steve, special Steve, swam towards me, but I was swimming
away from the shore we needed, and towards the tube which was quickly escaping me downriver and
towards the opposite shore. I caught the tube, caught Steve, then realized I hadn't yet caught my breath.
I'm swimming across a swiftly flowing river with one hand on my tube and the other shoving Steve in front of
me to steer her to the proper shore and I seriously had to take a second to check why I wasn't breathing.
My brain checked off the possibilities: Do I have water in my lungs? Nope. Am I injured? Nope. Finally I
realized, the water was SO cold I couldn't breathe! My chest was clenched! By this time I was acclimating to
the shock of the temperature, and beginning to breathe again. Fluffy is successfully on shore, Steve is
almost there, I'm heading that way with the rescued tube held firmly in my hand, and finally, here comes
Richard. Turns out, he was serious about thinking riding the tube on top of the bottom fabric thing was a
good idea, and that's why he couldn't get going at the beginning. Being that high up, he couldn't reach the
water with his arms to paddle. But he had persevered and gotten going anyway, then he promptly hit a rock
in the middle of the river due to his lack of steering capability, and turned over. So while the girls and I were
fighting our way down the rapids and I was doing my best to keep all three of us upright, Richard was still up
river, already turned over and struggling to get back on to his intentionally up-side-down tube. He showed
up sprawled across it, looking like Superman. We were only about half way down the 10 minute float that we
had planned to do along the campground shoreline. Not ones to be defeated, we walked back up to the
start, convinced the only problem was that Steve hadn't stayed in the tube with Richard. Only one dog per
tube was surely going to make it much better, right?
Off we went again, Richard correct
side-up, Steve with Richard where she
belonged, and Fluffy a bit more settled in
with me. Still hard to steer with one hand
while holding on to Fluffy, but we made it
through the half-way mark and to a
smoother part of the river. Fluffy and I
were ahead and once again whipped out
my sketchy waterproof bag around my
neck to grab a photo of Richard and
Steve. I was facing up river, floating down
river and jacking around with my faulty
camera, and of course we floated hard
right into a tree. Whoops. Fluffy hung in
with me and we paddled away from the
tree with just a scratched shoulder.
So I put in a plug on the line instead and decided I was done with
toilet repair for the day. We were still pouting, tucked inside the RV
late in the morning, being lazy and warm, when I thought I heard
someone yell help. I decided, being a good citizen and all, that I
ought to go investigate, and the girls likely needed a potty break
anyway, so I hooked the dogs up and we headed out for a walk.
Never heard the help-yeller again so either I mis-heard, or he got
help, or he's dead... Since we were outside already, we headed
down towards the river in my long pants and long sleeve shirt I had
been chilly in that morning. I was hot. I couldn't believe the
difference in temperature! The dogs were frolicking in the river and
I took my shoes and socks off and waded in after them. The
campground rents tubes for river floating. We didn't think floating in
October would be realistic, but it was very warm, and forecast to be
even warmer, so despite the ice-cold water chilling my tootsies, we
headed up to the lodge to investigate the possibility of tubing on
Sunday. Got that all sorted, and later that afternoon we headed
back into town for more toilet parts and to attend the Octoberfest
Note the upside down tube!!
2nd try - tube right side up!
Around that bend Steve and Richard finally caught up with us,
and it was clear that Steve was NOT a happy girl. She was
shaking and trying to get out of the tube. Richard let her go
and she swam to the shore. Can't keep a water dog in a tube I
guess. Richard bailed out too, but Fluffy and I were in it to win
it so we continued on. Steve's antics had gotten Fluffy riled up
too now, so she wanted out and I had to hang on tight to her
through the last set of rapids. Richard and Steve met us at the
exit and Special Steve swam out to great us or maybe she
thought she was rescuing us? Fluffy lept right over her to get
off the tube and onto the shore. Fine. No more dogs on
tubes. Took them back to the RV and Richard and I leisurely
tubed over and over for the next couple of hours.
The good news is the sketchy waterproof neck bag was truly
waterproof. The bad news is it seems to have also been good-
photo-proof. Very few non-blurry options...