I am going to say right up front that I am like the worst blogger ever. Even though I knew I wouldn’t be taking my camera on my rafting trip, I meant to at least bring it to the check in station and take as many pictures as I could in the prep. But of course, I left it in my purse, which I did not bring. GAH!!! So once again, no pictures on my latest “I did it while I was overseas, why can’t I do it while I am at home” series. Another thing I rarely do at home, but I do tons while overseas, take pictures! Yes, I am the worst.
While in New Zealand and Australia, every time rafting was offered, I did it. The first time was in Rotorua, I rafted off the highest waterfall a commercial company can legally raft (7m, whatever that is, I have since forgotten and when I went over, I had only been in the country just over a month, so I had no idea at the time either). And on my trip to Christchurch, I specifically took a day trip out for a full day of rafting. While not as rough as Rotorua, we spent loads more time in the water, including jumping off quit high cliffs. There aren’t many places to raft in Australia, but one of the most popular places is near Mission Beach, rafting down the Tully River. It was sort of a mix of the two places, it took all day and while rougher then Christchurch, we didn’t ride down any waterfalls.
Once again, I discovered River’s End Rafting on Groupon and they offered two deals, an hour trip or a half day trip. Since the company was located near Bakersfield, about a two hour drive from where I live, I chose the half day trip as I wanted to spend more time rafting then I did in my car driving back and forth. I was really glad I chose the half day. I checked in at 9:30 and after being put in a group with a family of 3 and a group of 2 couples and being outfitted for life jackets, we loaded onto a bus for a quick 5 minute ride to the river. After an extremely brief safety instruction, we were on the river. My group seemed really low key, which was good and bad. Good, because no one annoyed the hell out of me and it was all in all, a good group. Bad, because I think our guide was kind of board with us. When asked who wanted to paddle in the front, no one volunteered, so I did. So glad I did, the rapids started immediatly and we all got soaked within 5 minutes of getting on the water, which was a welcome relief for the wicked hot day(s we’ve been having). There were some more rapids before getting to a calm area were the guide flipped the boat and we all fell into the water. After climbing back into the raft, we floated through some more rapids and checked out the scenery, which are empty, dry rolling hills. As we went through a slow patch, I noticed the side of the river. It was so disgusting, beer cans everywhere, some scattered, some in huge piles. Either way, blach. Kern County is so white trash, we saw some people floating down the river in inner tubes, beer cans in the cup holders, beer ice chests with their own inner tube, blach. We made a side stop for jumping off a very small ledge (nothing like the cliffs of New Zealand) as well as making a slip ‘n’ slide out of the bottom of the raft as we ran down the dirt hill, jumped on the raft and slide to the end into the muddy river. Unlike my whole, take advantage of every opportunity, I didn’t do either of these. The slip ‘n’ slide looked gross and I sort of regret not jumping off the ledge. Part of my package was to do the run again and I vowed when we stopped again, I would jump, but unfortunatly, during our second run, some people were fishing in that spot, so we had to go to the next inlet were they only made the slip ‘n’ slide, which I again passed on. After the spot, we got back int he raft and floated a bit farther before the end of the run. The whole thing took about an hour. There was a 15 minute ride back to base were a decent sack lunch (pretty good sandwich, chips, cookie, various sodas) was waiting for the full day people.
There were more people on deck for the second run and I was with the same guide and group. We got a better boat this time, one of the ones I have used while overseas that just allow the water to float in and out, so we weren’t weighed down with our water intake. The boat had to be patched before we left and we kept an eye on it and since we had paddled together already, we were much better matched for the second run. While we knew what was coming this time, it was still really fun. We spent more time out of the raft floating down the river. The biggest downside was not stopping at the platform, which I already mentioned, which made it even better that I signed up for the day runs. If I had just been on the second run, I would have been kind of annoyed. It definitely felt a lot shorter, maybe because I knew what was coming.
The bathrooms back at base were port-o-lets and they had a bunch of changing rooms. When everyone was milling around at the end of the day, I asked if I could fill my large water bottle up, but the base is actually off the grid (hence the porto’s) and the guy at the front desk just gave me a bottle, which was really nice. Nice and cold too!
Since I was all the way in Bakersfield, on my drive in, I saw a Sonic Drive-In. We don’t have them in Los Angeles, yet they buy national spots on cable, so we see adverts all the time for them. The closest one is actually in Anaheim (wait, I just looked it up and apparently there is one in Duarte, which is still a good 30 miles from where I live) and then next closest is Bakersfield (scratch that, Palmdale, which might as well be Bakersfield), so I wanted to try them again. I have been to them once before when I was on my Louisiana/Mississippi/Arkansas road trip a few years back, but I ordered inside. Though this time, since I was just in my bathing suit and tshirt, I called for car service. So much fun! You press to order and then scan your card right there, so easy! The server came out on roller blades too, appologized for taking so long, since I just ordered a chocolate shake, but said it was okay, since I had never been before. It tasted great too! Very chocolately, for a fastfood shake. Perfect before the 2 hour drive home.
Moral: I love rafting!! I totally forgot how much I loved it until we went over the rapids. I am really glad I went on this trip, though it was a bit small for my experience. It was perfect for first timers, which most on my raft were. I am really glad I discovered this place and am glad I did it once, but I don’t think I would do it again.