Beyond River Tubing

Summer Adventure number 6: Beyond River Tubing

I was about 8 years old when I first experienced the thrill of venturing into the River. My dad used to own several commercial ponds to raise prawns  and I remember that he would bring us there during the harvest season. We would ride a small wooden boat that would bring us from one pond to the next. Borrowing my son’s words, ” it kind of freaked me out” each time since the boat was too narrow, does not have any support on the sides for balancing and more importantly, no safety features. Back in those days, a life vest is unheard of. Usually there would be two other siblings with me and we would tease each other to pass the 20 minutes boat ride. My dad would remind us to avoid any unnecessary movements but that’s  hard to follow when you’re sitting next to a 7 and 6-year-old. I remember that we would all suddenly keep still as soon as the boat starts tilting unsteadily from side to side as if it’s about to turn over. Though somewhat scary, it was also an exhilarating and adventurous event. I would place my hand under water as the boat drifts creating small waves. At the same time, I would gaze at the top of the trees amazed by the different birds nesting in the area.

The River gave me another chance to savor the fun and thrill it provides but this time I was lucky to share it with my son. As part of our July 4th weekend getaway, I decided to experience the famous river tubing at San Marcos River with him.

We arrived at the River around 2 P.M. We were both exhausted from our walk from the Aquarena Center to the tubing area. It was hot and humid at 100 degrees.We rested for a while under a big , shady Oak Tree while figuring out where to start. The sight of the emerald-green water and of the people drifting on their tubes were hard to resist. My son kept telling me, ” lets jump, dad, lets jump!” I told him to just wait a bit while I try to find  a more shallow area.

We saw a couple floating under the bridge, laughing as they try to decide which one to put in the  third tube, their adorable little dog or the medium-sized cooler. The answer was kind of obvious. The cooler won and the woman held the dog on her lap. Wise decision if they are to finish the 2 hour river tubing. The water level is low this year because of the drought. The current is slow and in some areas people need to walk.

We finally figured out where the tubing starts. It was next to the  Saltgrass Steak House. People would either start at the Rotary club to rent the yellow tubes and a vehicle transports them to the river tubing’s starting point or individual’s bring their own. Either way, a fun ride awaits them at the river.

” Oh, my Gosh,” the water was so cold. It was in the low 70’s. That’s cold for most Texans. There was a woman next to me shivering and shrieking while her other companion splashed some water on her back. What a friend , huh?”

My son was all over the place. Waddling back and forth. He looked so happy and excited. I was trying to catch up with him. I didn’t want him to go to the deeper waters. The current was still strong compared to his small size. He wasn’t paying attention to the possible dangers. He was too busy swimming, playing with the river pebbles, catching water plants and socializing with the other kids. Besides , he knows that dad was watching his back.

There were several younger people in their 20’s drifting happily in their tubes as a group. They reminded me of my college days when there was no worry in the world other than making good grades. We would go out of town and have a great time exploring nature. More than missing the care-free good old days, I miss the friendship. Everyone followed their own path after graduation, a lot went to migrate in Europe and the United States as registered nurses. It’s amazing how my country exports man power and not some products like shoes or bags. I never imagined that I’ll be part of the migratory flock until 2 years before I left my hometown. Can’t say no to destiny and his plans for me.

My son found a friend while playing at the river. He was about 8 years old. The boy found a turtle. My son was helping him build a fortress for their new found pet. They would pick up rocks forming a circle to serve as the wall. I was surprised they could carry a rock as big as their trunk. I guess those multivitamins worked.

My wife called several times asking if we were done but my son kept begging to extend the fun hours. He kept saying, ” 30 more minutes dad, 30 more minutes. okay?”  His persistence paid off. We stayed for another 2 hours.

Beyond the river tubing experience, I was able to create another fun and exciting memory for my son. I was also able to remember things that I used to do with my dad and my siblings. I thought my subconscious self parked them permanently somewhere inside my brain. It was a beautiful rediscovery of my younger self. It’s like watching a movie, only I’m seeing myself in it.

We left San Marcos around 7 P.M., all tired but satisfied of our respective adventures. Shopping for the girls, outdoors for the boys. My son slept pretty much the whole 3 hours of our return to Houston. We all hope to go back before the school starts.

I hope you enjoyed today’s river tubing adventure. What’s your river story?

 

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About Island Traveler

A father, a husband, a son, a brother, a friend, a traveler, an optimist hoping to create something good & meaningful to every person he shares his world, his home, his dreams, his hope & heart with.
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49 Responses to Beyond River Tubing

  1. misswhiplash says:

    That was a wonderful story. I so enjoyed reading it. I never had a proper dad to play around in the water with but when I was about the same age as your son.. I did go to Benfleet Creeks which is a marsh area that floods with the tide. It is part of the Thames Estuary. Then I would get a rowing boat from somebody and row out to the marshes. It was always great fun. and it smelt very salty ( strange how I just remembered that)

    have a great day

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    • Thank you. That sounds like a lot of fun. you are an adventurous person. It’s amazing and beautiful at the same time how we can recollect our childhood good old days with the posts we make and that of others. It makes me appreciate my parents for the great childhood they gave me. growing up with 5 siblings is fun in itself!

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  2. barb19 says:

    What a great adventure you had that day with your son – you are such a good dad giving him wonderful experiences which he will remember the rest of his life.

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    • Thanks Barb. I hope the good things we do now, he will do the same for his future family. Sometimes even when I’m tired, it all goes away when I’m with him. He makes life’s struggles light.

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  3. My what an agenda you have…already Adventure #6. Your family times are fun! So glad you could enjoy it. There’s a map of dry points due to the drought.

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    • Thank you Georgette. I’m targeting 10. I already have No. 7 and 8 but I need to gather my thoughts and hopefully the words would flow. I’m glad I met some wonderful people like you this Summer. Feels like a wonderful Sunshine.

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      • Idea: Have you done the Battleship Texas, Lynchburg Ferry and San Jacinto Monument. They’re all right there off of I-10 E. Also, perhaps your son is too old for this but this is fun Houston Area Live Steamers (HALS) off of 290. They have a website too.

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      • Thank you Georgette. I will check them. He would love going to those places. His into those stuff lately. I’m hoping to take him to NASA too. We made a rocket ship made of a paper towel roll yesterday and made some cut out planets. Inexpensive fun.

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  4. Aww tubing… oh, how I have missed the. Thanks for sharing. Brings back a lot of memories. 🙂

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  5. suitablefish says:

    I enjoyed reading your story of adventures on the cold waters of the San Marcos, such fun! Nice pics, too. When I saw the first photo I thought, Barton Springs! I used to skip down the hill to the springs and swim with cormorants. I only tubed the San Marcos once and had a great time. Great Dad, Great Dad. Thanks for sharing the story.

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    • Thank you for the wonderful comment . I learned something new again today. Barton Springs? I need to check that out. I went to Austin 2 years ago and visited the amazing Capitol building but I’m more into nature than city life. Austin is beautiful though, vibrant and lots of talented artists. The colors of wildflowers during Spring is spectacular. Just have to take tons of allergy meds.

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  6. Miss Emm says:

    A while ago someone told me that “we are our memories”. Makes no sense I know, but it is every little memory from our childhood that has made us the person we are today. Imagine if you did not have that specific experience with your father. What kind of a person would you be today? Thanks for sharing. It was a great story.

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    • Thank you. That is so true. Our childhood memories shape the way we are as adults. Kids who grow up in a happy environment tend to be happy as adults and it shows in how they live their lives as well as in how the raise their families. there may be exceptions but from those that I have seen so far, seems to be a logical explanation of who we are now as adults. Have a wonderful day.

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  7. MOL says:

    Heard it was a three digit temperature day again in Texas. I hope the photos kept you all cool just remembering it. Looks like fun!

    I like your recounting of your childhood and the canoe trips. Yes, safety was taken for granted a lot back in the days. I believe, in some parts of the world, it still pervades. It’s great that you can draw from present day experience and relive some great memories of the past. It makes the current experience even that much more meaningful.

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    • Thank you. I wasn’t even aware of those memories until I started writing the post and this is one reason I continue to Blog. It makes me rediscover happy childhood memories that I thought were long gone. It’s amazing how a simple spark ignites a kaleidoscope of past, celebrated experiences. Yes, its 3 digits again today. If not for the air conditioning, that’s way uncomfortably hot. Take care.

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  8. Water tubing is so much fun and I definitely enjoyed viewing these photos of your outdoor adventure. I love spending time with family so this is definitely something I would do to relive my childhood. Such a wonderful post

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    • Thank you. This experience thought me that happiness is not about how much you have but on how you live your life, valuing family, appreciating the goodness around you. I’m glad you like it.

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  9. ristinw says:

    Your photos are magical. I could hear laughter and sound of the water in my mind when viewing those happy pictures! Thank you for sharing your happy moment with us and making us smile as well. 😀

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  10. eof737 says:

    The river tubing sounds like great fun and the photos gave it a great push… I tried it once and fell out… Glad you both had a memorable time. 🙂

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  11. Susan says:

    What a wonderful post! And what an amazing day of memories you made with your son! I’ll bet he will remember that sun-drenched, fun-filled day with his dad for the rest of his life.

    I grew up in the land of the Three Rivers (Pittsburgh, PA) and only went out on the river a couple of times. I’m more of an ocean or lake person.

    Your blog is delightful! Thanks for sharing!
    Blessings,
    Susan

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    • Thank you Susan. Wow, ” land of three rivers” seems like an amazing place to grow up. But your right , the ocean and lakes seems to be dream scape for those who love the water. I hope he does remember this event and this Summer in general. Our years are too short to not make great memories. Have a blessed day and wishing you and your family the best.

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  12. cocomino says:

    There seem many kinds of animals and culture in this river.
    I enjoyed your posts as always,I’m sure that children could have a great day.

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    • The river is full of life. We saw a couple of small fishes, unfortunately we didn’t have a net with us. There’s frogs, bugs, turtles, water plants, just all you need to sparkle the child’s imagination. hope you daughter’s can have a similar adventure in the future. Just make them wear a vest. As a parent , it scares me that he may be swept by the current. the water was on a low level though. take care.

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  13. I have yet to wade in the river before although I’ve always preferred to just watch at the bank.
    Anyway, what an excellent way to spend time with junior 😉

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    • Thank you. Watching the banks and seeing all the people reactions while enjoying nature seems like a great idea unfortunately my son was all over the place. He was too excited. but hope to one day just sit still , be calm and enjoy the spectacle that’s in front of me. Have a great Summer.

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  14. What a blast you all had on the river! And a turtle thrown in for extra fun 🙂 I bet your son will talk about this day for quite a while- what a great memory to have.

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    • Thanks. his face was lighted up when he held the turtle in his hands. He keeps asking me, ” are you working dad?” His waiting for my next off for another adventure. Summer is almost over but there still more time to make more memories with him. I think this is the Summer that we did a lot of activities together as father and son. He’s at that age that his identifying with a male figure. I’m just happy that I’m being given the chance to do all of this with him. Life if good.

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  15. Jenny says:

    I love your stories of your childhood tied into these activities with your son. Wonderful memories to share and to make with the next generation so he can do the same thing with his children. Your photos and story made me feel like I was there. The water looks so refreshing.

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    • Thanks Jenny.I’m glad you like it. Your post for this week and the things you and your family did this Summer is such a fun and joyful event. Your 3 boys looked like there are having the most fantastic and adventurous time. The biking activity must been a blast for them. those blueberries fresh from the garden looks delicious. I admire how your family plant your own fruits and veggies. Have a blessed week, can’t wait for your next post.

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  16. looks like so much fun! i went snow tubing in toronto once and that was fun too ::)

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    • Thanks. Snow tubing, sounds like an exciting activity. Do you have a post or pics of that? That I would like to see. We had snow 2 years ago in Houston for 2 days and the most we can do is build a snowman and play ball.

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  17. thedailydish says:

    Fun fun fun!! I’ve always wanted to go tubing but our family’s yet to try. One day…

    So glad you & your son had such a great time. But with that water, who wouldn’t?!

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    • Thanks. I hope your family will got to experience it one day. Your daughters would love it. I just don’t know how the water gets cold in your area. My son got some sniffles a day after our trip. Bur he wants to do it again. Have a blessed and fun Summer my friend.

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  18. this looks so much fun! i’ve never gone tubing of any kind before, but i want to! looks like you’re having a very lovely summer (and awesome weather, too). i’m jealous!

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    • Thanks. I heard about the river tubing years before but never took the time to try. Most of friends are into something else like Disney, Sea world and some other generic amusement park but somehow it caught my attention as I was browsing the “things to do” in San Marcos. The rest is history. Hope I do one more before the classes start. Nice to hear from you again. Have a wonderful Summer

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  19. I have never gone river tubing but it sounds like so much fun! The photos are fun and fantastic and makes me wish that summer lasted longer. A lot longer… Hope you’re having a great day! 🙂

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  20. jhirzel88 says:

    Hopefully another reason why you stayed a little bit longer at the river was because of the scorching hot temperatures. Here in New Jersey, it’s about 96 degrees but the heat index will make it feel like 105. I wonder how hot it was in Texas when you were there? It must have got really, really hot!

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  21. sweet read ! touching how u see your own childhood bliss reflected in your son’s eyes 🙂

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    • Thanks Habiba. He does help me remember things that I would have forgotten. Sometimes it takes someone, or something or an event to bring back good memories of the past. As we get older with more responsibilities, it’s harder to find time to reflect and recollect. Have a blessed day. Hope you are a great Summer.

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