Smorgasbord Letters from America – July 1986 – Rafting on the Guadaloupe and between a rock and a hard place by Sally Cronin


It is now July 1986 and we manage to get a weekend away with our friends before my niece Emma arrives from England for three weeks. We head off to San Antonio and plan to raft down the Guadalupe.. and no doubt drink margaritas. This is my letter home to my parents in the UK after our trip.

July 12th 1986

Dear M & D,

We are just about recovering from our weekend away, although some injuries may take a little longer to heal! It was action paced and a lot of fun and accommodations were interesting to say the least.

The condo only had two bedrooms and a sleeper sofa between the 8 of us. Paul and Kyle shared one bed, Debby and Anna another, Walter and Alison, David and I shared the living room with two in the sofa bed and the two of us on cushions on the floor. Debbie and I were up at 7.00 cooking breakfast for everyone which got their attention as bacon aromas drifted through the condo.

We set off for the river at 8.30, laden down with coolers of beer and wine with sandwiches for lunch, plastic bags and elastic bands (reasons later) and two rubber tubes (for the coolers). We arrived at the rafting centre and rented two, one for the four boys and one for us four girls. We attached the rubber tubes to the backs of the rafts and placed the coolers of liquid refreshment inside them to keep everything cool. Once we were under way the plastic bags were filled with river water and sealed until each boat had 20 or so each, and then the war began. We all ended up in the water at one time or another but quickly dried in the sun.

We got to the rapids and rocks where we disembarked whilst the rafting company crew got us prepared for the next section.. We we poised between two rocky sections and were told to get in the boat as quickly as possible and they would push us down the small cascade to the next river section. I was last one in and had one leg in the raft and the other by side of the chute when the guy pushed the raft. But my leg was trapped between two rocks and I was jerked off my feet and back into the water. Luckily the raft was not too far down the chute and they caught it so I could get in. Unfortunately I now have a very painful and bruised shin bone. I had it looked at by a medic at the centre at the end of the ride, and luckily it was not broken but I still have to use a stick. They say should be fine in a few days!  I seem to be accident prone. I am sure that the three beers I had in the first couple of hours had nothing to do with it!

It took six hours in total to navigate the river and a bus took us back to the centre where we had left our cars. A quick change and with me hobbling, we descended on a fantastic Mexican restaurant along the river walk in San Antonio that had a large outside area. The meal was amazing, almost as good as Pappasitos… and we had a great time. It ended up with two mariachi bands having a contest at each end of the table for nearly an hour and they ended up playing “Felice Navidad” as they had run out of things to play. We all sang along and soon all the other customers joined in for several choruses.. I can only assume that passersby thought we were all nuts in the middle of summer.

When we got back we headed down to the river that ran alongside the condo, and it was shallow enough to sit in the cold water for half and hour and it did my leg a lot of good. We then all slept like logs and then headed home in the morning. We were in bed by 10pm and I still needed a siesta yesterday to catch up.

Today I have done a big shop ready for Emma’s arrival, shampooed the carpet and been for a couple of swims to try and ease my leg, which as predicted, is feeling a bit better today.

And we have made plans for our trip home in September.  David is running an exhibition in Manchester from the 10th, so I will come home to see you for the first week and then go up and join him before we go to Prescott together to see what his company has planned for him next year. It will be lovely to be back for your anniversary on the 11th having missed last year and looking forward to seeing everyone at the party.

Better get an early night before the great day tomorrow… so looking forward to seeing Emma, and the gang will all be here on Saturday for a curry lunch to meet her, and we will ring you on Sunday to tell you all about it.

 

Please find enclosed a photo taken by the pool a few weeks ago… we have some new members to the group…..

love from us both.. S&D.

©Sally Cronin

If you would like to read any of the other letters from the two years we lived in Texas and our travels you can find them in this folder: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/letters-from-america-1985-1987/

Thanks for dropping in and your feedback is always welcome.. Sally.

 

 

 

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Smorgasbord – Letters from America – Houston – 1986 – Birthdays and Plans


It is now 11th of January 1986.. and David’s birthday and the day before my father’s in England.

Dearest M & D,

I cannot believe that we have been here a year as so much has happened and it has flown by. I am sorry that we missed New Year with the family, but it sounds like you had a good time.

The weather has turned very cold with sleet threatened… not something I expected as when we arrived here around the same time last year it was very balmy. And it did not get chilly until later in February so hopefully getting it over with now.

David says thank you for the card that arrived earlier in the week. We are going out to Pappasitos with the gang this evening to celebrate so possibly sore heads tomorrow. He doesn’t normally ‘do’ birthdays but the guys are not letting him get away with it!

We are having a small dinner party on Saturday for him and I may have to break into my New Year detox to have a glass or two… well perhaps three of bubbly!

Sunday, weather permitting, some of us are planning a day in Austin to stretch our legs, how early depends on when we get to bed on Saturday! It is 165 miles from this side of Houston so we want to get on the road early to get there my midday. Austin is the capital of Texas and apart from all the historical sites is on the Colorado River and there are some great trails and hikes. If the weather is as cold as it is today it may well be the movies instead!

I am glad that the cheque arrived safely to buy the champagne for your birthday Daddy, not sure that it will buy enough for the 28 you are expecting but hopefully you will keep a bottle just for yourselves. 70 is a milestone birthday and I hope you have an amazing day. I have posted a separate package of photographs from your trip to us in November which I was hoping would arrive for the day.

I spent the quieter time since Christmas putting all the photographs we have taken here in Houston and on our travels into an album, plus a separate one with over 250 postcards we have collected. I plan to write about our time here one day and it will provide a useful reference. I have put our copies from your visit into a separate album as that is very special.

You will be amused to know that your letters are shared with everyone as they are still talking about your trip. Walter, Monty and others have to be kept informed… so I think you were well and truly adopted. Sutherland Walter’s cat is back at the vet and is on anti-biotics for another kidney infection. If his stomach problems do not clear up within a week it looks like he is going to have to endure and operation. $150 already spent and with money tight I know Walter is worried about the cost. We have come to love having Sutherland over several times a week and he has made himself at home.. we will help where we can.

There will be a gap now for a week as we are heading out on our road trip with Walter to New Mexico to the Carlsbad Caverns and importantly we are hoping that the elevation above the caverns, and the lack of light pollution will allow us to see Halley’s Comet which is only visible every 76 years. It is 700 miles and we will share the driving, sleeping when we can. Really looking forward to it.

Happy birthday again Daddy.. look forward to hearing about the party.

love from us both.. S&D.

You can read the other letters from 1985 : https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/letters-from-america-1985-1987/

Thank you for dropping by and hope you have enjoyed this snapshot of our time in Texas.. thanks Sally.