The Frio River; a redneck paradise where cheap beer and chewing tobacco are required, while teeth and bras are optional. It’s a place where the redneck truly shines through the backwoods engineering of coolers that double as speakers, and weedwackers that are transformed into margarita makers. This past weekend I went down to an obscure town just north of Mexico to sit in an inflated tube, and float down the river tied to my friends. Being my first river trip I had no idea what to expect, yet being a nearly native Texan what I saw did not surprise me.
After a long yet beautiful drive across south Texas, we reached the river and began to prepare for our float. After deciding to do the 7-hour float, we packed our coolers with what we thought was enough food, loaded onto one of the sketchiest buses I’ve ever seen, and traveled to the top of the river. It was a Saturday so the river was full of people and for the first hour or so our trip was the ideal river calm. Well except for my friend Londyn, she is not one to do nature and refused to touch the river bottom. However, mother nature had a different idea for her seeing as Londyn found herself amidst the weeds.
As the day flowed on the river did too. Well most of the time. There were a few occasions where the river slowed to a crawl and our redneck raft of coolers, twine, and inner tubes came to a stop. We each took turns getting out of our inflated oasis to re-gain momentum for the sake of the group.
At times the river got a little rough and our redneck barge split apart because either I decided to go down the waterfall despite the warning signs, or Hailee somehow managing to make land fall on the sole rock in the middle of the river, or because I was ejected from my tube by the cooler attached to me, causing me to ride the rapids from under my tube instead of on top of it.
Or my personal favorite when Sean somehow managed to go from the group leader pulling us through a shallow section to being steam rolled by the momentum of inner tube barge, the momentum that he created.
No matter who was separated or what spectacular course of events caused them to get separated we managed to stay together for the 7-hour float. Working as a team to ration the little food we had, passing around the sunscreen to try but ultimately fail at preventing sunburn, and most importantly call out, “Butts up” when a shallow section of the river was up ahead.
Hot, tired, and slightly (some more than others) burned, we made it to the end of the river and loaded back onto the sketchy bus. That night at some obscure yet tasty Mexican food restaurant we devised a better plan for our float the next day. Ensuring that all the problems of day one were not repeated.
Working as a team, with a shorter route, more food, better sunscreen, and a pair of pajamas (yes I said pajamas), we had an even more enjoyable float on day two. Putting a nice cap on one of the best yet shortest vacations I have been on in my lengthy 20-year life.
The Frio was fun, but the part that made the trip so special was the caring people that I was tandem to for most of the float. Places and things are cool, but it’s the people that go to the places and do the things with you that make life enjoyable. So hold close to the friends that will stick with you on a 7-hour float, even when the cooler you are attached to runs out of food.
As always, make good choices, share if you like what I said, comment if you have something to add, give that follow button a hit, and I will see you on Thursday with an explanation of why I needed pajamas to float the Frio.