Monday, July 05, 2010

Royal Gorge Rapids and Bishop's Castle

Daily chores do not elude even when on the road; so I sit this morning in a laundry room hogging five machines. I guess when it is barley six o'clock it is hardly hogging, most sensible folk are still sleeping. But we are on the move again today, so it is a chore that is a priority. Also a good time to have some peace and blog.

Now I am sure you are wondering about our adventures....

On our second day in Canon City we took to the white waters of the Arkansas River. We have rafted the river before but not the Royal Gorge- Class V rapids. We agreed as a family after several white water experiences that we were ready to tackle the fast moving waters. D admitted to us and our guide to being a little scared but was ready for the challenge. We rafted the calmer rapids early in the day, stopped for a great lunch that the guides prepared for us and then back in the water were we warmed up a bit in preparation for the big Class V rapids. We tackled the rapid named "sunshine" fine...then let me give it to you in the words the guide gave D in case she has to write a "what I did on my summer vacation" paper...we were teeing up ready to make the bird bomb on the sledgehammer.... Okay this is the part in the adventure were we had to A. put all the safety talk into play B. let my mother's heart calm and follow those safety directions C. control King Ralph from his innate being to always be in emergency response mode--you can take the cop away from the job but can't take the cop out of him. As the raft hit the rapid known as sledgehammer I looked to the right side of the raft directly opposite D on the left side and watched my baby bounce up and over the raft. The guide screams calmly directions and for King Ralph to sit down, as he was ready to jump in and save his little girl from the rushing waters. Safety lesson number one is don't jump in after someone, then the guide is saving two. We are all yelling at King Ralph to follow the paddle commands: forward paddle, stop, back paddle stop, right side paddle forward, stop. All the while I see my baby in that rapid head up assuming the white water position and her eyes open wide as a saucer. D said her first instinct was to swim till she saw large rocks then remembering the safety talk she flipped to her back, arms stretched out to paddle. In those 40 seconds that felt like forever our guide Brady directed D back to the raft where he and King Ralph grabbed the shoulder straps of her life vest and pulled her back in. Her eyes remained saucers for a few more minutes. We paddled to the bank so everyone could calm the nerves. When D was asked if she felt the shock of the cold water as she went over board she said she felt nothing, only thing on her mind was to stay clear of the rocks. Woooshhhh smart thinking. Later she said she was praying the whole time in the boat to God to keep her in the boat and safe. I replied to her that God answered her prayer, maybe not the in the keep in the boat part but the safe part. Safe is answered in different ways--in this case being pulled safely from the rapids was the answer God gave.

And, in the end, D says she would raft the gorge again.

So assume we had a blast. We did. Have a blast.

Then it was onto a bit of roadside America. I had found Bishop's Castle on before we left town, suggesting we visit and see this construction wonder for ourselves. After a drive through the San Isabel National Forest, which was absolutely beautiful, we came to a sea of cars lining the roadside and crazyville. Cra-zee-ville I tell you! Mr. Bishop's castle is two parts: one part construction marvel (no blue prints required just vision) and one part insane man. While I navigated the shady construction, at times questioning my safety...oh ya when you sign his guest book it is to stand as a waiver that you are basically agreeing if you fall through his rod iron welded balconies you won't sue (which I didn't sign since he was out of paper in his tablet and ink in his pen)...I decided I had to turn back. My fear of heights without safety boundaries came into play and I felt my heart beating. I had already had enough excitement for one day. The rest of the family ventured to the top scaling the shady construction job and rang the bell. As they scaled and explored the top portion of the castle I stood center castle on a wood plank floor listening to crazy man Mr. Bishop rant to visitors about our president and secretary of state. He used colorful language. Language that was unfit for young ears and offensive to grown ears. He has personally designed signs stating his political standings on paying taxes, the unlawful need for a driver's license, and my favorite was the signs that left the "r" and "d" off of Republican and Democrat and replaced with symbols. In the case of Republican the "r" was replaced with a swastaca. I may be a registered Republican but I ain't no Nazi! I promise you that, Mr. Bishop!! We strolled his gift shop which offered a sampling of mood rings and plastic Viking helmets...'cause every castle has a Viking (and every Viking ship has a princess).... Roadside America, gotta love'r.

And so ended June 29 and a wonderful stay in Canon City and the Royal View Campground.


Lin said...

It sounds like you are having a GREAT time! Well, except for the laundry part.

Love the rafting, but I was freaking out about the kid falling out. I'm not sure I could handle that. Sounds like you had some good guides on that trip that prepared you all well.

Have fun and stay safe on the rest of the trip. I love that you are blogging as you go along. :)

JODI said...

Lin- I can't even begin to explain the feeling as a mom to see your kid go over in a Class V rapid. I just was starring, paddling and hoping she wasn't gonna drown. But, like I said Demi was okay, freaked for a while after, but totally had fun. I still can see the look on her face sticking up from that rushing water. I want to forget it!

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