Past family reunions always included a run on the flume over the Independence Day Holiday. Virginia is floating peacefully along. I chose this picture to show what the flume looks like with dappled sun, shadows, and growth on the banks of the gunite flume. It was built during the gold rush to bring water to the miners.
A staying hand, a paddle or two, and the tube obeys in the swirling waters.
Flume Master, Doug, is the hoss, picking the best drop-in to start and the best, and the safest, pull-out near an eddy. He wanted to introduce his friends, Dirk Christianson and family to a unique waterway.
Everyone carries their own tube. You can jump in anytime but a low spot we’ve nicknamed the beach is Doug’s choice to launch. The gunite can be rough on knees and elbows so an anchor helps people up the bank. The flume is practically in our backyard, so it’s been our air conditioning for years. Jump in, get your clothes wet and stay cool in half damp clothes for the rest of the day.
Mother, Kelly skipped the first run. She is strong and supple and has the appearance of a yoga maven.
And that is the way she sat her tube. Doug told me later that she is a yoga aficionado. I love my yoga and thai chi, so we have a lot in common.
…and her friend, Jenna were enjoying the ride. The water is high this year, but that is a relative term. Some places are thigh deep, others calf deep. In a low year, your butt can’t always clear the rocks.
Dirk is watchful, and takes the tubes out for the girls
Young and nimble, they need no help to get up the bank.
They tell the Flume Master all about their experience. It looks like Kendal has twigs caught in her hair.
Time out for snacks between runs.
…and third runs, the girls are relaxed and playing games. Kendal admitted they were careful on the first run, watching for poison oak, spiders, the swift curves and maybe other things Doug teased them about.
Dirk liked the flume. He also pulled out some plastic garbage tangled in some bushes. The girls snagged a flattened tube someone ditched on the bank. Our rules are you take everything out that you bring in.
Dirk found himself a cool spot, hanging onto a tree root, to sit and enjoy the cool water in the shade.
…the winner was Theo, first under the bridge.
Mom was a close second.
When Theo made it up top, he was surprised to find out that his dodge past a patch of blackberries left him souvenirs. The flume is not a straight shot. It winds around and around to slow the water and passes several spots for water to be taken out in case of fire.
Cedric opted to snack and stay on the bridge with Owen who appeared to be feeling poorly, though he denied it.
Hmm! I don’t know. There has to be something amiss with a 17 year old who doesn’t pay attention to two beautiful girls. Time to do some digging and turn that sad face into a smile.
Back at the house, the Flume Master also reigns as Master Meat Chef. Doug makes some amazing tri-tip, ribs, sausage and chicken come off the grill.
Neighbors Cindy and Gary Gonzalez joined us for eats, along with my brother, Bill. Pushing eighty he looks terrific for his age. I’d like to steal some of his natural curly hair. He told me to meet him at the barbershop and take home what I wanted. That wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, doncha know.
Happy Independence Day tomorrow.