This is just a funny little personal story that may bring on a laugh or an urge to go tubing. One fine summer day my mom thought it would be fun to take the grand kids and their cousin tubing on the Delaware River. Now I must preface this by saying that my mother and myself are not really outdoorsy people. That being said we packed the kids in the car and headed out on our adventure. I have to also say this day will live forever in our memories.
We got to our destination, purchased our tickets, found some tubes and boarded the shuttle bus that took us to our starting point. With excitement we geared up for our six-hour leisurely float down the river or so we assumed. We thought to ourselves this will be fun, we can do this. I thought floating along in a tube would be a great way to catch some rays and let the kids splash around. I figured the only thing I was missing was a frozen daiquiri to make this even better. Boy were we wrong…
My mom watched the two girls as they were older and were having an easier time navigating their tubes. My son was a bit younger and small for his tube so I tethered him to me and we were off. Our instructions were that about half way through our journey we would be directed to the “hot dog man” whose stand was on an island in the river. This of course was the only place to get any lunch so we were surely keeping our eyes peeled for the hot dog island. Easy right? Oh so wrong were we!
Apparently unbeknownst to us there was a strong current in the river that day. My mom and the girls had a bit of a lead on my son and I but still no cause for concern. Finally signs for the hot dog man came into sight after a few hours. By this time my son was already doing the “I’m hungry” whine. As the island came into view we made our way over to it but somehow kept floating right past it. I paddled, I kicked, I pulled but we got no closer. As we were passing the island by my son was now crying “I’m hungry!” I promised him as many hot dogs as he could eat once we got to the end but that was not appeasing him. So in turn I got out of my tube and tried to swim us to the island rather unsuccessfully. At this point I am now also crying because I have lost my mom and the girls and my son was hungry. As the current carried us farther away from the island I notice someone waving and hollering for me from an embankment. I realized this was my young cousin and to my shock she was alone. I managed very difficultly to get us over to her. She then tells the tale of how she, my mom and daughter also got carried far from the hot dog island. She had managed to make it over to this embankment but the current carried my mom and daughter away from her and by now she was pretty scared. The three of us then set off to find my mom and daughter. I was half holding my tube and half holding my son’s tube and we were trying to swim to get to my mom. At this point I’m falling into the river and barely treading water to try to keep us all above water. Do you know how hard it is to keep your head above the water while holding two large tubes and keep your calm “mom” face showing? Yeah lets just say by now panic had set in.
As we were heading down the river in pursuit of our lost tubers we notice that they caught a ride back to the hot dog island with the help of some kind passer bys. Now I’m really in a panic lol. I began swimming, crying, and hoping someone would help. Yes a power boat came out for us!! Now I am holding on to the side of the power boat with one hand and my son and his tube with the other. Umm impossible task I must say. As we are motoring along my hands are slipping, my head is under the water and oops there goes my bathing suit top somewhere down around my waist… Thank goodness for tank tops or I would have added flashing to my list of skills for the day. Somehow we made it to my mom and daughter and what a happy reunion that was.
We were still far from the hot dog man but luckily we were able to get to him by land or so we thought. We climbed over dunes and debris and waded through some shallow bits of river just for a hot dog?! I am to this day not sure what is crazier us deciding to go tubing or the desperation involved with wanting a hot dog. I guess six hours with no food and 3 hungry kids would drive anyone to race to the hot dog man. Well with just a few scratches and scrapes and some water-logged hair we got to the under water picnic area. Yes I did say under water picnic area. The next time I swim up to a serving counter there better be a bartender and I better be at an island resort, just saying. So now bellies are full we can try to get through the rest of our tubing adventure right? Weeelllll not so much now we hear, “where is the bathroom?” It’s time to find a spot in the woods and grab some leaves. Now we can finish our journey.
The rest of the day went by rather smoothly. Till we got to the end and they were flagging us out of the river and my mom decided she was tall enough to stand because she saw some guy doing it and oops there she went way under the water. Well after sputtering out some river water lol we did all manage to trek through the mud and to the shuttle boat. I think it only took us 8 hours to get down the river but hey we all made it out alive and grateful for a few hotdogs. All in all the laughs we share made up for all the scary moments. Of course my mom and I can share a few glances the kids will never understand at least till they are older. All I have to say is we came we say we went. We will never go tubing again but at least we can all say we tried…
Hope you shared a laugh with me.