This stop on the tour was bound to be a little different than the others. In Lake Powell we were scheduled to pick up some hitchhikers for this and the next leg of our adventure. Michael is Kristi’s brother and his wife Dawn and our niece Kiley joined the adventure on Saturday. We are not just happy to have them along but really happy to see them. They live in San Diego and as you can imagine we do not get a chance to see them as often as we would like. I have a hard time calling Michael a brother in law. We go back 25 years and to me Micheal is simply a brother. Our relationship with Dawn and Kiley is no different. They are all very dear to us and to have them join us on the road is a blessing. 6 year old Kiley brings a whole new element to the trip. She is so funny and full of life. Her and Colby are two peas in a pod. Hunter is now the big kid in the group, but is certainly not beyond snuggling up with Kiley after a long day and watching her favorite “My Little Pony” video over and over and over again…They are all great kids.
The plan for Lake Powell was to enjoy the lake as it was meant to be enjoyed. By Water! We rented a boat for a couple of days and began the exploring. The lake is a little intimidating to navigate. With more shoreline than the entire West Coast of California, there are a lot of places to get lost. During our first day we took the kids tubing and this fat old man got the bright idea that he was going to try to wakeboard. It is like a snowboard for the water and I have been snowboarding for 25 years. How hard could it be? It took my about 4 seconds after jumping into the water to realize that the correct answer to that question was going to be “VERY HARD”.
Step. 1. Strap yourself into the boots of this evil contraption while floating. Keep in mind this thing is extremely buoyant, so you must do this while floating on your back and using your ab muscles to pull yourself up and help maneuver your feet into the bindings. The process should take no more than 15 agonizing minutes!
Step 2. Now that you are securely strapped in. Float on your back and slowly bring your heart rate back down to a healthy 180 beats a minute.
This took me about 5 minutes while everyone on the boat laughed and pointed cameras at me.
Step 3. When you feel you are out of “stroke” territory.. make your way to the tow line 50 feet away while strapped to a giant piece to plywood.
Step 4. Resist the temptation to repeat step 2 because now you really look like a tool.
Step 5. With your heart rate back up to a brisk 200 beats a minute or so, grab the tow bar and tell the driver to “hit it”
Step 6,7, and 8. The good thing about the last steps here is that it will take several hours to feel the pain of all the muscles that you just tore in your arms, neck, and back. What you will feel almost immediately after your second or third attempt at pulling yourself up is panic. At a heart rate over 200 beats per minute, you loose the ability to do most anything and your thoughts are not as clear or rational as they should be. All I wanted to do was get this damn sheet of plywood off my feet and get back in the boat. Much easier said than done. The boots were like bear traps. It was near impossible to pull my feet from them. Even with my 6 pack abs flexed into a position that I could use my hands to pry on them, they would not budge. Here is where the panic started. The smart thing to do would have been to simply lay there on my back and let my heart rate come down and try again in a few minutes, but as I said earlier, I was not thinking rationally. In my mind, I was drowning. I eventually managed to pull one foot out and swim towards the boat. This whole ordeal was so exhausting that I could not speak. Everyone on the boat was yelling at me:
“Are you OK”?
“Are you drowning”?
“Did you break something”?
“Can I put this on you tube”?
By the time I made it to the boat I had managed to pull my other foot halfway out of the boot. Everyone glanced down at the approaching wounded walrus and gasped at the sight on what appeared to be a compound fracture in my ankle. It really just looked that way from being half in and half out of the boot, but I did not have the breath to correct them. Hunter dove in to save his daddy and the cameras were quickly stowed now that they thought I was really hurt. Hunter helped slip my foot out of the binding and I was winched onto the deck. When I regained my breath, I explained to everyone that I had not hurt anything. It was simply a heart attack.
On Day Two at Lake Powell we got smarter.