I have always had an adventurous spirit when it comes to travel. From the time I was very young, our family would hook up the travel trailer and take off on the road. I remember pulling the ice chest in between the seats of our van and talking with my daddy as he drove. I never could sleep on a road trip because I was too excited to get to our destinations.
As I got older, I started to realize that having an adventurous spirit was a necessity being a part of our family. You see, my dad was a lot like Clark Griswold. You guys know him right? The guy from “National Lampoon’s Vacation”. I am pretty sure he was modeled after my dad.
Whenever we took trips, it didn’t matter where we were headed, we would always find ourselves with something going wrong. On the particular trip I am thinking of, we were in New Braunfels, Texas for family vacation.
New Braunfels was not that far from home, but we loved visiting there because of the water access. I mean lets face it, when you reside in Texas in the summer, you want to live in water! The rivers in New Braunfels were perfect for tubing and for exciting rafting trips. They were especially exciting if your dad decided that you didn’t need a guide.
Yep, you guys guessed it! My dad, mom, sisters and I headed down the rushing Guadalupe River without a guide because my dad “had it all under control”. Unfortunately, that wasn’t exactly true. Within 20 minutes of the start of the rafting trip, we got stuck underneath a small fall and our raft filled with water. We watched as all our snacks and drinks raced ahead of us down the river. All we could do was watch and wave goodbye:(
If you thought the story ended there, it didn’t. We managed to somehow free ourselves and continue floating down the river. The rest of the trip went fairly good. Well, except for the fact that we were pretty hungry and thirsty. I’m fairly sure my dad thought he was in hell since he was trapped inside a raft with 4 complaining, hungry women for hours. However, he was probably pretty used to being tortured since he was always outnumbered 5 to 1. Did I mention that my grandma lived in our home with us as well?
Anyways, on to the end of the story and almost the end of my life. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not.
As we got to the end of the rafting trip, the water was moving very rapidly. We were watching the rafters ahead of us as their guides managed to safely steer them to the side of the water to exit the rafts. My dad, Clark Jr. was still feeling very sure of his guiding skills, however the rest of us in the raft had tunnel vision of an upcoming bridge that had no space between the bottom of the bridge and the rushing water.
Panic began to set in as we realized that we weren’t getting any closer to the edge of the river, but daringly close to the bridge. Try as we may, the water was too strong for us to fight and we began to cry feeling sure that this was the end for all of us. After all, if we got to the bridge, we would be sucked underneath. Thank goodness that several of the guides finally noticed our impending doom and rushed in to help my dad get us to safety.
Needless to say, after that rafting trip, we have NEVER taken an unguided trip since. Hey, even Clark W. Griswold knows his limits!
Do you have a Clark Griswold “Vacation” story to share with us? We would love to hear it!
Camping provides families a great way to be together and enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Whether you choose to tent camp, RV or rent a cabin at your local KOA, you are sure to share your own exciting fun and adventures together.
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I wrote this post as part of the KOA Community.