I'm at my soon-to-end job and I can honestly say I'd Rather Be River Tubing. And that I miss my backwards hometown sometimes.
I went home this weekend and it was buckets of fun. I drank and danced on Friday, had family time on Saturday (reminded my mom of her timeliness by claiming everything I wanted when she died) and ate all of my favorite North Country treats. My most adventurous activity, however, was river tubing the great Saranac River.
It all started at the local Super Walmart where I met up with two of my childhood friends, straight bros. They were dressed like true locals with scraggly beards, low-slung tanks, aviators and Crocs (shudder). I was not surprised to find them in the fishing department.
There, we debated over which tube was best for our needs. Was it the standard, yet aptly named, River Tube with canvas reinforcements and a mesh bottom that would guarantee a wet bum? Or was it the more luxurious, totally lax, Floating Water Lounger? Boyfriend, Caseman and I ended up getting the (cheaper) River Tube while my other guy friend, Ajax opted for the complete package and purchased the Lounger. I later regretted my frugality many times over.
We started the trek to inflate our tubes -an adventure in itself. We went to the Stewart's nearest to the drop off point, utilized their free air for inflation, and took multiple trips down to the drop. We contemplated leaving my 17 year old sister (whom I had to cart along with me before we began so she could drive my car home) at the drop with half of the tubes and the 10 Labatt's and 4 Bud Light tall boys we had for the trip ...until we imagined the hilarity should a police officer happen upon her. Plus she kept glaring at me and telling me how much she hates me, so I stayed and waited for the boys to return with the remaining tubes.
Finally, our ride began! Us with the mesh bottomed tubes suffered freezing consequences while Ajax leaned back in his lounger and mocked us. The sun started to warm our skin and the beer started to relax us so soon the mesh bottoms were no longer a problem, even pleasant, as we sailed down nature's Lazy River.
The river soon took a turn for the worse and presented us with some minor rapids. Us country bumpkins handled them with ease, arching our backs to spread our weight and protect our bums. My suburbanite boyfriend did not possess these innate skills and somehow managed to get stuck in the rapid. As my friends and I drifted about two football fields away, laughing hysterically, Boyfriend thrashed and swore, his skinny arms failing to free him. Eventually he escaped the terrors of the rapid, furiously paddling to catch up to us. After that, we were all able to relax and joke about how much better this trip would be if it were a hunting trip and we were able to shoot game from our tubes. We also discussed having checkpoints were you could get SHOTS. And gambling. Lots of promising options for the river, if any Saranac River promoters are out there. OR I'll take the idea for myself!
The rest of the trip was mostly tumultuousless (an awesome word that rolls off the tongue that I just made up) except for a temporary situation where we fruitlessly tried to avoid some rapids, rapids that ended up being the most invigorating part of the trip. I also tried to stop my tube at one point to let the boys catch up to me (because I'm that kind of badass) and ended up boozily falling off of it into the river...and losing my sandals. That shit happens when you're in the river.
The most exciting part by far, though, was after we decided that we would do it again. We deflated our tubes, reinflated them (I was shoeless the whole time, like a true hick), got ten more tall boys (Boyfriend wore a low-cut tank that just said "Plattsburgh" and an Icehouse hat)(he later said it was his most self-conscious moment ever), I passed out in the tubes while waiting for boys to return, Boyfriend got ICEd (RIP), and we continued on the second run. If that seems like an unconnected train of thought, it's because that's how my mostly drunken mind remembers it.
We traveled on the river, my bum and lumbar hitting many more rocks than last time, since I was suffering from intoxicated laziness. Even worse than me was suburbanite Boyfriend because, minutes into the second trip, he completely popped his tube somehow. We tried to rectify the problem by him parasiting onto my tube and trying to simultaneously blow up his tube. Hilarious to look at, I'm sure, but not to be under. Finally, we pulled over next to a field alongside the river and dismounted. Caseman noticed a garage at the other end of the field and I offered to sprint to it to see if they had duct tape (the hick's cure-all). I sprinted to the garage, across the (approximately) 3 football fields long yard, only to find that it was not a garage but just a hangover for an ancient tractor. Determined to fix Boyfriend's tube, I looked around for another source of tape - until a red Plattsburgh State truck caught my eye. I ran, barefoot, across cement, excited to see that the truck's driver had left the window open. While there was not a free roll of duct tape available, in true Upstate fashion, the center console was d-taped shut, an obvious solution to my problem. After momentarily scoping the scene, I reached in and ripped a decent chunk of the sun-heated and ripened duct tape off the console and began running with all my might.
As I covered the 300 yards back to the river, grass cushioning my bare soles, all I could think about was why would I want to leave this? Couldn't I just hang out here for a year or so, river tube and lounge in the summer and ski in the winter? I knew plenty of people who were taking a similar route! But I know that I need more than that. I fucking hate the politics of that place. I am disgusted that I go home and girls that I have not seen in half a decade (or sometimes, girls I have never met) give me dirty looks, looks for reasons that I can not recall. I also know that I crave success and Plattsburgh will never give me that. Plus, I need something to rub in everyone's face every once in awhile.