Friday, May 08, 2009

NW Float Trip Creates Big Splash

Ever spend an entire day floating down the rapids of a raging river in an inflated raft? Imagine bouncing around the boat and being thrown from side to side like captured inside the spin-cycle a coin-operated washer. All while being scared to death and not knowing what to expect next. As you approach every twist and turn of the river you begin gritting your teeth as huge rocks lie in the path of the raft making navigation intense. All while thinking you're going to flip-over into the cold rapids of the river? Sounds exciting and similar to an adventurous scene from an Indiana Jones movie. Right? Well, maybe not so dangerous as the story sounds but certainly a experience to brag about for years to come. Such is the case in this actual story as selected members of the Northwest Record community were invited on a river raft expedition sponsored by radio station KZFN in Moscow, Idaho.

Nestled in the beautiful backdrop of the Salmon River Canyon, this scenic area was the ideal location to stage an grandiose event. The event was organized by Program Director and part-owner, Gary Cummings, who welcomed all dare licks from the Seattle music industry to partake in this wild weekend of fun and frolicking. "I came-up with the idea one night when my septic tank began acting-up and accidentally spilled-over into my music library" chuckled Cummings. "Not really and all joking aside, I wanted to do something special to show the radio station's appreciation to a wonderful group of professions for all their support to the local community." Cummings popular radio show combined with his efforts in the area's civic work established him a key player in community interests. But little did Cummings know that asking record folks to take two days off from work to witness the area's beauty was like asking their expense accounts to do their thing.

To begin this adventure required all participants flying over from Seattle and touching-down into the lost metropolis of Pullman, WA. The airport was located somewhere in the middle of a giant wheat field making you wonder if you'd landed in the right location. Next you had to shuttle over to the hotel located in Moscow Idaho which was some 35 minutes away. Upon arrival at the hotel, Cummings had organized a dinner party that evening in preparation to count heads and conduct a gut-check prior to the event the following morning. "Everybody got their life insurance policies paid and up-to-date?" Cummings asked. Suspicious heads turned cautiously while some people began squirming in their seats wondering if he was kidding. But Gary's zany sense of humor was contagious and the festive dinner party preceded well into the evening with some folks getting a little tipsy.

The following morning the departure for the raft trip began at 6 AM while the hotel lobby was littered with caffeine addicts in search for their favorite beverage. But nobody told them the bus departure was exactly one hour prior to the opening of the hotel restaurant. coffee, no donuts. But that's when the sarcastic desk clerk declared, "Hey man, we're only in Moscow okay?" Seems some of river rafters who were from the heartland of Starbucks city and still a little hung-over from the dinner party were unprepared for this shock. At that time everyone boarded onto the bus and began the 3 hour trek to the river destination. In route, the morning sun was extremely bright whereas if you forgot your sun were considered a moron.

By 7 AM the bus ride was beginning to rock. All I remember is someone began serving drinks while other people began singing. Around 7:30 AM people began getting a little antsy as the bus made it's first pit stop. It was about that time when I first began to smell the sweet fragrance of...insense...or something burnt rope. Hey man, what's burning? Giggles abound.

Back on the highway the river ran along side the road and posed a delight for those on the bus. It won't be long now before we reach our destination and floating down the river too.

But wait. After viewing this sign we wondered what we'd got ourselves into. I was starting to have flashbacks to the dinner party where Gary Cummings was asking about our life insurance policys. Surely he was kidding. Wasn't he?

After traveling for almost 3 hours the bus arrives at riverside during the midday sun as people begin to unload their essentials.

The troops have arrived and anxious to get started. But hey, how many people can you get into a raft? (*editors note - this photo was later published as Motly Crue's x-rated "Nightmare" album cover)

Wow! This is indeed the group that I'd like to raft together with, not including the dudes ofcourse.

These three oarsmen were out on a weekend release program from the state.

With everyone aboard, finally the rafts depart the shoreline. Plus, the weather conditions were perfect and the water was calm.

A pair of two-man rafts were exchanging waves as they departed shore. However, all of a sudden, the air was filled with that funny frangrance again.

Ah yes, looks like someone's got the right idea. Let the women-folk do all the work.

I'm not sure but I think this rouge group of Boy Scouts were trailing our raft group and harassing us by asking, "Hey, yall got any beer?"

Whoa! Looks like our raft was begining to speed-up while just around the next curve appeared to be serious white caps.

There's those same guys again. This time they're asking for something called Zig Zags.

Some major white caps and a speeding current contributed to the thrill.

Several hours later everyone arrived safely and proud of their finish.

Back on shore rafters were all smiles and in a celebrative mood...

...While others were showing off their tans.

However, nobody was paying any attention to her tan...except for Mr. Woody.

I promise I don't know this person. Really.

Are photographers allowed to have fun?

Where the heck are the fashion police when you need them?

Here's a picture of some escapees from the local asylum.

A touch football game broke out when we ran out of beer.

I'm betting on these guys because they're all so cute!

The adventurous raft expedition ended with a long bus ride back to the hotel in Moscow several hours away. The following morning everyone was dragging from the trip and shuffling to catch their individual flights to return to work. Needless to say, this was a trip of a lifetime and I am extremently grateful to our gracious host, Mr. Gary Cummings of KZFN Radio. As the editor of this story, I can truly say that a brief blog posting can only do so much justice to describe such an event. While constructing the story, I must have gone through more than 200 photographs and regret not being able to use them all. My appologies to those individuals who's pictures were not included in this memorable occasion and done so because of space capacity alone.


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Raft outfitter; Salmon River Experience

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