July 23, 2011
A few days ago my family and I spent the day at Schlitterbahn – also known as “The Hottest Coolest Time In Texas”. It’s a water park that’s been voted #1 in the country for 13 straight years.
Every time that we’ve gone, the plan has been to get there really early so we don’t have to wait in long lines in the sweltering heat to get on the rides. It finally occurred to me this time that everyone else is thinking the same thing, so there’s no real value to getting up early and rushing to get there.
My 15 and 12 year old daughters brought 3 of their friends who had never been there before.
Upon arrival, we went through our usual routine of getting a locker for our valuables and securing a covered picnic table where we could stash our coolers. That’s one of the coolest things… they let you bring your own food. You just put it under the table and nobody messes with it.
There is one small caveat. They search your cooler for glass and alcohol when you come through the door. Not that big of deal. At least you don’t have to subject yourself to an enhanced pat down by the TSA. Come to think of it, what does a terrorist in a swim suit look like?
Once settled, it was a bee line to the tower where you can choose to ride The Master Blaster, The Wolf Pack, or The Black Knight. The girls chose the Master Blaster even though the wait was 1 hour and 45 minutes. We chose the Wolf Pack because the wait was ONLY 45 minutes to an hour.
The Wolf Pack is kind of like 3 Men In A Tub with water pushing you down and around a fast curvy chute. I was facing backwards this time and got the benefit of hearing the screams and seeing the expressions on the faces of my wife and daughter.
After that, the girls all decided to explore things together and we decided to leisurely ride the Torrent River. It’s a circle of water about 5 ft. deep that winds around the park and has a strong current accompanied by small Tsunamis at various points for added thrills. Most people ride inner tubes provided by the park but you can go solo as well.
We kind of lost track of time and in our fun ended up going around a lot more times than I realized. That resulted in me actually getting a little sea sick from the jostling water and the heat. Nothing bad though, just a little uncomfortable. At that point it was around noon so we decided to stop and get something to eat. Isn’t food the cure for everything?
After lunch the girls headed to the original part of the park and we went to Boogie Bahn. I was still feeling a little sluggish so my wife found me a lounge chair that we strategically placed beneath a big oak tree. I decided to take a nap while she waded into the Crystal River. It’s similar to The Torrent River but without the Tsunami surges.
While trying to take a nap it occurred to me just how derned hot it was. I was in the shade with my cap over my eyes and I had to keep adjusting my cap just to breath. I felt like weanie on one of those hot dog rotisseries.
After about 45 minutes I got up and felt a lot better. It was at that point that I spotted the people next to me feasting on chocolate ice cream from a cornucopia disguised as a waffle cone. It was a signal from God that I needed some ice cream to be whole again.
So we set out looking for an ice cream oasis. We found one and I zeroed in on the mint chocolate chip. It really was what the Dr. ordered, me being the doctor of course and at that point I was completely revived. So I took advantage of one last ride in the original park before heading back to meet the girls. The ride was called Soda Straws. And if I don’t go down the Soda Straws when we go to Schlitterbahn… it’s as if we didn’t go at all.
Once back at the Torrent River concrete beach my wife and I put some beach chairs in the water to just relax and observe people having fun. So what did I observe?
A man that was so hairy he looked like he was half ape.
People with tattoos ranging from the interesting to the WTH ridiculous.
More cleavage than a night at the Oscars.
A guy with nipple rings.
A girl that was 6 ft. tall with pink hair and tattoos that snaked around her body from her shoulders to her feet. She even had a wedge of hair cut out of the top side of her head where her scalp was inked. I’m sure if I had a chance to talk to her I’d find she was really “sweet”.
I saw all different sizes of people from the anorexic to the morbidly obese.
But one of the most interesting things I observed was people trying to get out their inner tubes when they washed up close to shore. Many couldn’t get out because they let themselves get too close to shore and they didn’t have the buoyancy of the water to help push them out. They ended up having to roll out onto their stomachs onto the cement. And once out, many of them in their forties and fifties had a helluva time just trying to stand up without help. It was kind of funny until I thought about what other things they couldn’t do because of their poor physical conditioning.
It made me realize there are a lot of people who could use my help.
We don’t stop exercising because we grow old. We grow old because we stop exercising.