Adventures in Tubing and a Hint

Floating down a river on inner tubes just sounds so easy -- why is it that I always have some "adventure" when we do it?! Last year we had the two hour float that actually turned into about 18 (or so it seemed) because the river was moving at the speed of a slug and there was no place to get out and hop on one foot -- backwards -- the rest of the way, which would have been faster than floating the five miles. Then there was the time I dropped my Blackberry in the river -- it does dry out eventually but is never the same. And what about the time the eagle was eating a live fish directly in front of me -- majestic and all that but I have an extreme fish phobia and nobody is allowed to suggest that there are fish in the river so that was a little traumatizing. The Camp Berner float was very fun -- except that Zaida's mom, Barb, kept trying to drown. You get the idea -- somehow floating peacefully down the Bitterroot River is never as idyllic in real life.... (Remember -- click "Read more" for full blog)

Western Montana had a very wet year and so the Bitterroot River has been too fast and high for floating until about now, and yes, it is still speedier than normal (well, last year was our first year floating so not sure I am qualified to say what is normal but let's pretend I am). So the good news about that is that faster is fun and more water means less butt-bumping on the bottom and the bad news is that there are now trees down in new places. But I am getting ahead of myself -- I need to explain how to float on an inner tube down a river...

So the first thing you do is go to the tire store and get your new tubes -- they are about $15 each and get pumped up to easy chair size, which means you have to have a decent size vehicle as shoving those in a small car would be amusing to watch but likely not very successful. Second, you need two cars -- so Car 1 and Car 2 caravan to the designated end point of the float, and Car 2 gets parked there so you have a way back. The driver of Car 2 hops in Car 1 and together the floaters (in this case, me and Dear Husband) and the tubes drive to the start of the float. Did you follow all that -- it is a critical part of this story...

So, there you are at the start of your float -- you get the stuff you need and put it in the waterproof bag. What does one wear for a float? Shorts, tee-shirt, sandals, sunscreen -- those are the essentials. So properly attired and equipped with the waterproof bag and tubes, you walk out to the river and plant your self in the tube and start floating -- it looks like this (look very closely and you can see Dear Husband in this picture):

Isn't it lovely??

And yes indeed -- beautiful!!!! Let me just say that the so-called "dry bag" that Halo won at the Specialty had an inch of water in it after my first near-drowning experience. Okay -- likely I was not actually THAT close to drowning but the new trees in the river were scary and when you see remnants of tubes and rafts caught in them as you are being carried directly towards them by the faster than normal river -- well, you have to wonder if the people are still caught under them!! And if you and your tube are the next victims...

Clearly, since I am writing this from home I am not trapped under a fallen tree in the river but it is not because that river did not try. The second tree experience was even worse and good thing I have strong legs and a guardian angel - that is what I have to say about that! And yes, the river is shallow and you can almost always stand up in it but still -- scary!

Kim found out how shallow because the second tree experience took him and his tube out - he claims he was distracted by my panicked screaming but let me just say this -- I did not fall off my tube one time so that make me the clear winner of the float. Here is my win photo:

And here is Dear Husband before he fell in:

Okay, so we survived the trees and marveled that we were going so fast -- maybe 2 mph we decided -- or even 3! Floating is not for the impatient -- or at least not long floats :) So about half-way along our meandering trip down the Bitterroot River I mentally reviewed the contents of the so-called dry bag -- phone for safety/pictures (luckily also in a zip lock bag!) and the keys -- to Car 1. My mind took a minute to process all this -- phone, keys to Car 1....

Do you see where this is going?! Car 1 was at the start of the float -- Car 2 was at the end. Where were the keys to Car 2???? Answer: In Car 1.

I started laughing -- in fact, I was laughing so hard I could not talk and when I did, Dear Husband did not believe me because I could not stop laughing. I just thought it was so darn funny that once again, a float trip could not be simple -- and besides, what else was there to do??!! So we floated along and ignored the reality of our situation -- an excellent plan for handling life problems that cannot be immediately solved.

After about two hours of floating we were at the end -- here is Dear Husband trying to get out of the river shortly after taking his tumble off his tube, which he -- as I mentioned -- blamed on me:

Dear Husband quickly realized I was completely serious about the lack of keys to Car 2 and asked me what exactly we were to do -- I announced that we would be walking back to Car 1 - he was both incredulous and dripping wet.  He had another idea -- call Heidi.

Heidi works with me and is our neighbor, which in Montana means she is only eight miles away from us. We LOVE Heidi!!!!!!!! But I said no -- we would not be calling Heidi.

Dear Husband was even more incredulous -- why wouldn't I just call Heidi? Give him the phone and HE would call her, he announced. NO -- we would NOT call Heidi -- we were walking. All of this was done while laughing -- there was no big marital spat over this.

I explained that we would not call Heidi for two reasons. First, I always call Heidi when I have problems like this and I already owe her scones, carmelitas, cookies, and a gift card for things she has done - I could not incur further debt! Second, we were soaking wet and I was not about to ask her to transport us when wet. Dear Husband helpfully offered that only one of us had to be transported, but I could not quite understand how one wet person was somehow better???

He resorted to threats: "I am going to tell Heidi about this!!!" Sigh. We started walking. Here is a picture we took along the way because it looked like us (sort of):

Let me just say that walking four miles when soaking wet -- well, you are dry when it is over but by then it is too late to call Heidi.  Dear Husband was a very good sport, but  I think he will not be so keen on soon repeating what I called our Montana Triathalon Day. You see, we bike almost daily and so had already done a good bike ride before tubing -- so we biked, floated, and walked -- The Montana Triathalon!!! He did not find this quite as amusing as I did, and kept asking, "are you ready to call Heidi yet?" Nope -- I wanted to save my Phone-a-Friend for when I REALLY need it :)

And so ends yet another tubing adventure -- just another reminder that what seems so simple rarely is...

Moving along a little quicker than the river, let me change subjects and share that Zed and Terri recently got a very cool award -- check it out:

Terri shares: "Zed and I entered his cart in the Hot Wings and Wheels fundraiser at Boeing last week. Employees bring in their fancy cars, models and honest to goodness airplanes to show off to each other and of course all attending. I entered one of our dog carts in the "Green" entry. We sat out the decorated cart and set up a couple nice story boards with carting dogs shown from the 19th, 20th and 21st century. Zed won the Chairman's Choice award. He did great and was a big hit all day long. He will be a great therapy dog."

She sent this picture:

Congratulations to Terri and Zed (CH Kaibab'z Five Z's Zed). Zed is a wonderful boy -- great temperament, pretty, smart, hips are excellent, normal elbows and so on -- gosh, he sounds practically perfect, doesn't he?!

Off to Seattle today with a certain girl -- hope to see some of my Northwest friends and create the H Litter. Anyone up for tubing next week????


by Anonymous on Fri, 08/12/2011 - 08:30

This is just a thought but you seem pretty up on technical stuff... you should do a live feed puppy cam of the H litter!! It would be very fun to see them grow :-) just a thought. There is one right now on a berner puppy that has a cleft pallet :-( She seems to be doing well though.

by Mary-Ann Bowman on Fri, 08/12/2011 - 08:34

Galen has already suggested it and I *think* will help us make that happen :) Good suggestion and I hope it can work out!

by Kris Bazzano on Fri, 08/12/2011 - 08:35

Funniest story ever! I laughed the whole way through - great way to start the day! Thanks :)

by Marti Simons on Fri, 08/12/2011 - 09:15

Bwa ha ha! I was laughing at the trees, last year I was talking to Mary and pleasantly minding my business when all of a sudden I was sucked out of the middle of the river and zooming along towards the trees! OMG on the keys! I would have sided with Kim, call Heidi!

by Barb on Fri, 08/12/2011 - 11:16

I was disappointed to be there when the water was too high to tube. BUT glad to miss the triathalon!! I think hitchhiking would have worked-someone might have picked you up and let you ride in the back of a truck..
Is practically perfect going to be the H litter sire???

by Marianne on Fri, 08/12/2011 - 12:28

You guys just crack me up! Good thing you are young at heart AND physically fit. Being wet, walking miles while carrying inner tubes and other paraphernalia.... laughing.. :D Kim get's the Good Sportsmanship Award!
Keep the adventures coming :D

by Jennifer on Fri, 08/12/2011 - 16:59

I am another one who is so glad the website is back up. I include it in my breeder referral e-mails as a great resource for understanding clearances and all of the other great info about finding a responsible breeder. As a regular blog reader, I was intrigued at this planned breeding which led me to a question for you about OFA's and full disclosure. In your litter summaries on your website you note 'affected' for hips or elbows for some of the dogs, but on Bernergarde and the OFA website, only the passing joints seem to be listed. I was really surprised by that because I know how important full litter data is to you, as well as openness about that data. I am wondering if you have a specific reason for not disclosing (or perhaps your puppy buyers do not know that they have to check a box to disclose non-passing readings) the grade or even the fact of not passing OFA's. I would think it would be helpful to know if (hypothetically) two littermates had bilateral grade III elbows versus unilateral grade I's, or if hips were mild or moderate, etc. if a potential puppy buyer was considering a litter. Those are certainly things that I look at, and I tell ppo's to look for that data when considering a puppy for a litter. Since I _know_ you do not do things in any way casually, I am thinking you have a specific reason for not disclosing the grades of non-passing joints. I do not intend this to sound like a criticism, I am truly curious. I love the blog and the website :-)

by Heidi on Fri, 08/12/2011 - 20:56

CALL ME!!!!!!

by Maddie's Mommy on Fri, 08/12/2011 - 23:01

For Jennifer--I can't speak for everyone's puppy, but if you follow the F litter link and look at my Maddie (Kaibab'z Free Spirit) you'll see her full test results disclosed, both on Bernergarde and OFA's website. Zoey and Maddie got their x-rays one after the other and I remember as I filled out the paperwork that Mary-Ann leaned over and reminded me to check the "full disclosure" block. But perhaps other puppy parents didn't notice that small check-box if they got their x-rays done on their own?

by The Other Heidi on Sat, 08/13/2011 - 21:18

So funny. And I agree: Heidi's are people that like to be called upon! It's in our name contracts. :-)

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