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Days Eight and Nine - May 23 and 24, 1999

Rafting on the San Juan River


As the days got hotter, the water fights got more and more frequent and prolonged.  Basically, it was a way to get cooled down after baking in the sun.   Someone splashes someone else, and before long you've got a full-blown water skirmish on the river.  Alliances are formed and dissolved before you can wipe your eyes clear of silt from the last barrage.  Ducky drivers are dumped in the drink.

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Mark prepares for a dunking

Tom, after a ceremonial dunking

As we escalate from squirt bottles to buckets, someone yells out "******* A" as they get drenched with river water.  Someone else yells, "Did you say that was Bucket A?" and everyone is now yelling "Bucket A!" where they would normally be yelling "******* A", and we instantly have a JerkFest '99 rallying cry - Bucket A!

I am sitting on the side of the boat and Mark loudly announces that he thinks I'm not wet enough, and within milliseconds several Jerks converge on me and throw my ass in the river.  Because my hat and glasses are securely fastened, I lose nothing except my dignity.  Revenge will soon be mine.

Later on, Mark is in one of the duckys and vengeance is mine.  Heh heh heh.

Dinner on day three was steak or fish.  This was definitely a highlight for the guides, as they prepared potatoes au gratin, salad, steaks cooked to order, and strawberry shortcake for dessert.

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Uhm, dessert hasn't been served yet!

Monday morning was the beginning of our last day on the river, and we get an early start.  We enjoy omelets and bacon, and then tear down camp.

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Camping omelets

Tom gets the day going by singing "Black Dog" (Led Zeppelin) at the top of his lungs in the middle of the canyons.  The rest of us join in with air guitar, singing Jimmy Page's parts. 

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Gratuitous image

Lunch is served en route, which was probably the peak of laziness for the trip.  You just lay on the raft, call out your sandwich order, and it was delivered within minutes!

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Lunch on the water

We arrive at the take-out point at about 2pm on Monday.  A driver from Holiday Expeditions is waiting for us with the van and trailer.  After loading out the rafts, we are ferried about a mile out on a dirt road where we are to meet two small planes that will take us back to Green River.  The planes land on the red dirt road next to the van, and we load the gear and seven people into these puddle jumpers.   Mark estimates the density altitude is about 8000', and the planes take off with the stall horns whining until we are at least 200' about the road.  The engines were running at red line for the whole trip.  For you non-pilots, this means that the planes were overloaded.  But we made it back safe and sound.

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Taking off on a dirt road

Mark checked into the Comfort Inn through the front door, while five Jerks slinked down the hall to take showers in our room.  The motorcyclists among us are staying in Green River tonight, while the rest of the Jerks are headed back to Salt Lake City to play golf in the morning at then return to their respective homes.  How exactly do you explain to the front desk that you need more towels when, in theory, there are only two people in the room and there are four towels?  Fortunately for us, lots of river rafters stay at this motel and no questions are asked.  A group of six creatures from the dark lagoon are transformed, through the magic of soap and hot water, into nearly respectable middle-aged Jerks.

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Me, before the shower

We headed to Ray's for a last dinner, and debriefed JerkFest '99. 

Carl, Jim, Tom and Jerkmaster Lyle loaded into the car for Salt Lake City, and Mark and returned to the motel room filled with dirty, wet towels.  Tomorrow we are back on the road.

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The end of Monument Valley

Happy to be back in the land of soap and hot water,

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