Caulking the Wagon

Sunday was my fun day; we went rafting down the Illinois River!

Malinda was kind enough to drive Indi and I up to Talequah for the day. I got to use my AT&T Navigator (yay! I’m a dork!) to help provide directions but otherwise it was a pretty uneventful drive. Once we got to War Eagle (our boat rental place) we got ready. I bought special swim trunks just for the trip; they look like a Hawaiian shirt. Indi was not impressed.

On the bus trip up the river my lower back started to ache a bit. This has been an ongoing issue and I’m pretty sure it’s my left kidney. As long as I drink plenty of water, it goes away. The fact that it’s persisted for about two weeks is a little worrisome, but I don’t have my insurance stuff yet, so, I just deal. We get the raft in the water (our raft was Indi, Malina, myself, and our cooler) and we’re off.

It was a supremely pleasant day. Partly sunny, partly cloudy…temperature wasn’t too hot, water wasn’t TOO cold (boy it was a shock to get in though) and there was a breeze. About a mile down the river, though, my back was starting to REALLY hurt. I had been drinking a lot of water to try and counteract it but it wasn’t working this time. I started to get scared. What if I had a serious infection or something and I’m out in the middle of the wilderness? I don’t have a Jack Shepard to take care of me.

I relax in the boat for awhile but it’s no use. By the time Indi suggests I eat some pineapple I would’ve done anything to get rid of the pain. I ate quite a bit of pineapple and cantaloupe and, thankfully, the pain started to subside about a half hour later. My wife is great, isn’t she?

At some point, we pass these two guys floating down the river without a raft. They just have a log. With a cooler strapped to it. They looked at our raft and said, “Hey, if you had done it our way, you’d have that extra money…for more beer!” We called it their Beer Log. So I guess you could say they were Blogging down the riverl. epic lulz.

We floated in and around about 4 other parties pretty consistently throughout the day. Early on, we bumped a raft and knocked a guy off; every time we got close to them he made sure everyone knew what had happened and to be careful.

We stopped about halfway through for a break, using the restroom etc. Malinda bought some beers that didn’t all make it (Busch beer seems to constantly try to return to the earth) and Indi got an ice cream. We started that morning at about 11 and wrapped up at, I’d say, 5:30? We all had a great time.

Can’t wait to go again!

About rhysfunk

Rhys Martin was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1981. In 2009, he sold everything he owned and left the country, living out of a backpack for ten months. He discovered a passion for photography while traveling throughout Southeast Asia and Europe. After returning home, he looked at his home town and Oklahoma heritage with fresh eyes. When he began to explore his home state, Rhys turned his attention to historic Route 66. As he became familiar with the iconic highway, he began to truly appreciate Oklahoma’s place along the Mother Road. He has traveled all 2,400 miles of Route 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles. He has also driven many miles on rural Oklahoma highways to explore the fading Main Streets of our small towns. Rhys has a desire to find and share the unique qualities of the Sooner State with the rest of the world. Cloudless Lens Photography has been featured in several publications including This Land, Route 66 Magazine, Nimrod Journal, Inbound Asia Magazine, The Oklahoman, and the Tulsa World. Rhys loves to connect with people and share his experiences; ask him about enjoyable day trips from Tulsa, locations along Route 66, and good diners or burger joints along the way.
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