Much of Friday was spent in Vegas’s less than touristy nether regions. We took no pictures of that. There really wasn’t much to see. We got the new 5600lb axle for far more than I had expected(originally they quoted for a 2000 lb, but that was the wrong one), drum, brake and hub assemblies and I got them back to the RV. It was much easier to install the new axle than I had previously thought it would be(aside from bolts being slightly stubborn). And we were back on four wheels. I re-leveled the RV(lifting the thing to put the wheels and axle on kinda messed up the level… WOOHOO the door closes better.).
I have to admit, I kinda wish the better half would have taken pictures of me replacing the axle. It’s not because I think it was exciting or anything. No, it was purely for the lack of any pictures for Friday. It makes it seem like Friday was a big nothing. It was, but with a few more pictures maybe I could have made the nothing more fun… It’s probably my fault though. I said, “I’m just going to kind of set this in place.” That turned into, “Well, I can at least put these U bolts on… Oh and this other side… Well that back plate isn’t bad…” and before you know it, I was putting wheels back on.
Afterwards we wandered over to the old Willow Beach campground. Sadly there was a flood that wiped out the old campground in the 1970’s.
With Friday being essentially a lost cause, Saturday was our big day. It was about ten in the morning and we headed down to the beach to launch our kayaks. We were going to paddle up to the Arizona hot springs, and back. This sounds like a lovely idea. So we started paddling UP the river. I gotta admit, I’m not in the best of shape. But we got started, and it seemed nice and easy.
The first mile wasn’t too bad. The wind was at our back and the water was calm. Once in a while a large boat would pass and threaten to tip us over, but all in all, the pace was steady, and easy. I would occasionally dunk my hat in the water to cool me off. There was a spot to pull off and it looked like a kinda cool place to camp, but I suppose you’d have to row to it because there are no powerboats allowed up river on Sundays and Mondays. You could be there Friday night, but Saturday night would leave you without a way to get back to the marina on Sunday.
The second mile got a bit tougher. But it was still manageable. I realized why they have the two days without the powerboats allowed up the river. There are some really deep spots, that allow the waves to really toss you about. It seemed too that every time a large boat was passing us by, the wind would pick up and try to steal my hat. So there I am trying to paddle with one hand on my hat as the waves are trying to toss me over. It doesn’t help that my kayak has thrown me in the water before… And this water was just about as cold.
We passed the old gauge. As we paddled up stream, we saw the path this guy would have had to walk. There were two pulley carts that he had to cross, but the rest of the path was just a narrow strip. I would guess this person would have to be in much better shape than me. Of course it’s all done electronically now, so there’s no need to do that. Another job eliminated with technology. I’m wondering when they’ll be able to eliminate computer techs with technology. On that day, I’ll be out of a job, but I think most people still like a person to yell at when things don’t work.
The remainder of the trip up to the hot springs was filled with more random wind and waves from boaters. It got more and more difficult as we traveled up river. The last two miles of Colorado River before we got to the hot springs again wore me out. I was hot, burnt, and starting to get sore. All I wanted was to float down the river. And then we saw the glorious sight of the two outhouses. We made it. We pulled our kayaks out of the water to walk around the Hot springs.
This time the desire for the hot springs was due to our aching muscles. By this point we had arms that simply would not function as they had before. It was nice to be there when we weren’t thinking about returning the rental boat. Though paddling eight miles up stream with varying levels of difficulty isn’t exactly quick.
We climbed back to the hot springs and as we were relaxing, we asked, that critical question… How late is it? I’m usually a pretty good judge of time. But when in canyons, and unable to see the position of the sun, my time can be off. I said, “Probably about 3:30” She checks her phone, “5:15, you got it wrong?” As I said, I rely on knowing where the sun is. I couldn’t see it. We decided we wanted to get back to the RV before it was too dark, We didn’t bring our kayak lights, so we were worried we would get run over by some power boater if we didn’t get back before dark. Back in the Kayaks we went for the return.
It seems that people must have been feeding the ducks, because I don’t think we went an entire mile without having some ducks follow us. You may want to keep that in mind if you decide to paddle up the river, or down. But I didn’t have anything to give them yet they still followed us. Correction… ME! It’s like I became a duck magnet. They followed me for miles. Some people seem to draw in the animals. I happen to be one I guess. Though I suspect it has more to do with people feeding ducks, and them wanting the handouts. Either that or I look like an attractive duck…. I’m not ruling that one out. I feel pretty dammit.
We paddled downstream a ways, and as the better half was taking pictures of the rocks, she almost missed seeing a bighorn sheep gnawing on a bush. Before this point we had been battling the wind the entire way down river. Seriously, fight the current all the way up, fight the wind all the way down? That just isn’t fair. And before now she was telling me it was a bad idea to take the kayaks up the river and back. Suddenly seeing nature, being… naturish, changed her mind. And mine. I’ll be frank, I was saying it was a stupid idea, too. I mean really, we’re not in the best of shape, and here we are paddling sixteen miles of Colorado River, and… Oh look a Bald Eagle! Oh. My. God! WORTH IT!(sorry no pic, he was there and gone)
At about, mile, whatever-my-arms-hurt, I began reflecting on the interesting fact that the kinds of rock formations we had seen on our trip were so very different. At Valley of Fire, the formations were mostly sedimentary rock laid down at the bottom of lakes and sea beds, and worn down by years of wind and rain. But here in the Colorado River, the formations had been carved out of the igneous rocks that were forged in the fires of volcanoes. Thrust up and cooled to solid rock when their parent volcano died. These stone walls were not laid here peacefully. They are here in defiance of the river. Yes, broken by the will of the river, but still standing tall. Or… maybe I’m over-thinking it… Yeah probably.
As night began to take hold we hurried back to the launch site. Almost all of the boat traffic had dissipated, and the wind began to die down. As we paddled further down the river, and took advantage of the current to push us as much as we could, there came an audible buzz. This buzz was the familiar sound of mosquitoes. Are you kidding me? We get done with the wind from hell pushing us back up river only to be drained by mosquitoes? Thankfully, they didn’t seem to want to bite. I know, weird. But that didn’t stop that horrible sound from bothering us… All. The. Way. Back. We began praying for bats to come and eat these bloodsuckers.
And then, the bats arrived. I could hear them before my girlfriend could. I got “super high pitch hearing” from the crappy super powers bag. Everyone has a crappy super power. Thank our radiation loving parents. Yes, I hear dog whistles. I never understood those shows with the “silent” dog whistle. For me they were just annoying loud whistles in real life. But then I realized it was just me that could hear them. Now, if only I could find a use for that super power.
We stumbled to shore way past dark. We thanked the ground for being firm once again, and stumbled to the truck. I hosed off the kayaks, because apparently there are some mussels that like to party in other lakes. Then we headed up to the camp site for water and alcohol. And I got sunburned… It’s been a long time since I got a sunburn. Still not a fan of them, oddly enough.
The next day, we returned home. Which is rather fun trying to drive with jello arms. And you know what, here’s where I rant a bit about stupid drivers(please ignore if you just want vacationy stuff). Look, I know I’m not faster than you. But trust me, when I’m going fifteen miles an hour, chances are it’s not just me being a jerk. There’s likely someone in front of me doing that speed. If we’re on a two lane highway, and there’s a sign that says, “Passing Lane 500 feet” DON’T try to pass me and then later try to run me off the road, because you aren’t willing to admit your mistake. For heaven’s sake 500 feet. And you’re going to try to kill me because YOU were stupid enough to pass and worse after you saw there was a line of cars at least 500 feet long STILL decided to pass… GRRR! The only reason you’re alive today Mr Blue Honda is because I don’t want the OTHER person to have your skull on his windshield…