Sunday, July 30, 2006

Only in West Virginia

It's 9:15 pm in Chez ErinAnnie, and a blazing 90 degrees inside my apartment. Strangely enough that is the same temperature outside where there isn't air conditioning. But I'm glad the landlords of Washington Lee Apartments think the a/c in here works just fine.

Don't you just love our fancy a/c system? Wall unit with mega fan set up directly in front of it for maximum air dispersement!

I know you can't really read this little magnet thermometer. But take my word for it, it reads 85 degrees at 10:45 pm. And for those of you wondering what this magnet is, he is the pissing boy statue from Brussels.

But let's talk about something other than sweaty armpits in your own house. For instance, let's talk about whitewater rafting! This weekend was the first McBride Extended Family and a Few Friends Whitewater Rafting Trip. This was a pet project of my father, who was excited to get the family together for something other than mashed potatoes. From the "Maurice McBrides"- Dad, me, Steph, and friends Joy and Rachel. (Mom was along for the ride, but chose not to raft.) The "Dane McBrides" brought in Uncle Dane, Matthew, and KristiAnne. Aunt Darla went solo (too many pregnant and recently pregnant members of her family!). The Skeens produced Uncle Jim, Michael, Katrina and JC (Rice), and Evan. The Reo McBrides brought along "Unca Reo" and Christopher R. for our ride, while Aunt Keri, Carson, and Alexander went for a more tame trip down the Upper New River. The Whitehursts failed to represent. And the Jones family showed up with Uncle Michael, Savannah, and Christopher M. So really, Joy and Rachel were just completely overwhelmed with McBrides on all sides, but they held their own well.

Now, the McBride family isn't exactly known for its athletic prowess, but we try! It is always greatly amusing to watch our family of lawyers, doctors, and PhD's, get out there and play sports.

I will save my commentary on the extended family's fashion sense for another day. (pictured- Aunt Darla, Dad, and the back of Uncle Jim.)

I think we held our own on the river yesterday. We went down the Lower New River in 3 guided rafts with the North American River Runners. Rae, Joy, Steph, Michael and I were in a raft with the guide and 3 guys from Ohio. And let me just say for the record that the 3 white guys from Ohio made the McBride family look like Olympians at rafting.

But it was fun! I think there were 10 different rapids, including 3 swimming rapids (where you can get out of the raft and just swim it instead), a jump rock, lunch, and a couple of swimming lengths. Now, not many people know exactly how bad of a swimmer I really am. But please, let me assure you, I suck. You never have to tell me twice to wear my helmet and life jacket. I like wearing them! (But then again, I also like wearing bullet proof vests, aka body armor, so what does that tell you?) I usually don't get out of the raft and swim in the river since swimming isn't my strong suit. But this time I had a lot of fun getting out in the water! I even did one swimming rapid. The water moved fast enough that I didn't have to worry too much about not being able to swim back to the rapid. I could just float along and keep up with the raft for the most part. And when I did lag a little behind, my darling little sister Steph, was kind enough to let me hold on to her foot while she pulled me down river.

Apparently while I wasn't looking my baby sister found my camera and took several self portraits. It's a good thing too, or I might have forgotten what she looks like!

Did you know "down river" is a bit of a misnomer with the New River? There are only two rivers in the world that flow south to north, the Nile and the New. So on this particular journey you start "downriver" and work your way up to the New River Gorge Bridge. Just for fun- did you know it is the second highest bridge in the world at 876 feet high? And it is made out of steel, which rusts on the outside, somehow making the inside stronger. And of course, they save money by not painting it and letting the rust control it. Only in West Virginia would rust be considered a positive feature.The New River Gorge Bridge in all its rusty glory

So we survived the river, and had a great time. After the rafting Rae, Joy and I got back in the car for our very 5 hour drive back. We made a pit stop in Buena Vista to visit Rae's sister.

And while we were there it occured to me I should call my cousin Jonathan as well. So our impromptu visit to BV resulted in seeing not only Rae's sister, but also seeing J, and meeting his fiance Sarah.

I offered to loan Joy some relatives so she wouldn't be left out. But she declined and ate her fries.

And then we did what girls do best and visited the Wal-Mart. I mean really, what spells Saturday night party more than 3 exhausted girls in a Wal-Mart in nowhereville, VA??

All in all, a good weekend. And I'm looking forward to going back to the Gauley River in the fall when they open the dam and get in some really fast rapids. We're hoping to make it for Bridge Day when base jumpers launch themselves senselessly off the New River Gorge Bridge. (We'll raft the Gauley one day, and then the New the next day, so we can be in the water to watch the jumpers.) Now, just to get through the month of August, the heat, the packing, the moving, etc.


  1. Zwoelfet15:03 AM

    Hate to disagree, but there are a lot of rivers that run south to north: some in Siberia and Canada, the Rhine, and, of course, the Jordan (UT).

    Sorry about the A/C; hope the one in the new place works better.

  2. It turns out you are right, and the guide in our raft was quite mistaken.

  3. Our guide had a lot of West Virginia Pride. Who can blame her?

    Our office building has been without AC all morning (and during the weekend). Bleh.

  4. jules5:27 PM

    I was just going to point out the the St. John's in Florida flows S to N as well. But I think it's like local pride, because we've been told that there are only 2 as well--the Nile and the St. John.

  5. in a happy turn of events, it is strangely only 85 degrees in here this evening!


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