Rail and Raft Adventure

August 2006

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We took the "Sierra Railroad Rail and Raft" trip in August of 2006 and really enjoyed the experience. The trip consists of riding a train up into the foothills and then rafting back down the Stanislaus River back to the car.

The "rail" portion of the trip was very relaxing. The train is very "historic" looking inside.

The train only travels about 25 miles an hour, so the ride is slow but scenic.

Included with the package was a box lunch on board the train. The lunch was what you would expect from a box lunch. (Sandwich, chips, orange, cookies)

During the train ride we were boarded by bandits! They were pretty entertaining and it was a bonus to the trip that we were not expecting.

After about two hours on the train, it came to a stop and it was time for the "raft people" to get off and journey towards the river. The picture to the left shows the train robbers preparing for a battle!

After leaving the train, we all boarded a bus which took us to the Stanislaus River. The ride was quite an adventure, as our bus driver was practicing his race car driving skills! This was a genuine "E-Ticket" ride. ( I guess anyone younger than 40 won't know what that means....)

The Raft Experience

We arrived at the Sunshine Rafting and Camping site after about a 15 minute bus ride. When we arrived things were a little unorganized. They grouped us into groups of 8 and provided everyone with life vests and paddles. (Lets just say that the life vests looked older than the guides!)

The trip was largely "un-escorted". They told us that "just around the bend" is the only set of rapids. "Go right at the rapids and left at the fork", was our instructions. When we hit the rapids we went a little sideways and we ended up taking on LOTS of water. So much so that we stopped and emptied out the raft. We were told that everything "could get wet" but we didn't know it would happen so soon!

After the class 0.5 rapids, we hit smoother water. This allowed us some time to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Then we came upon a large rock in the middle of the river. Terry, our self appointed captain, said "everyone paddle on the left" This caused us to spin up on the rock. We got stuck. But more importantly, for me, was that I was thrown out of the raft. (See picture at left) I was floating down the river watching the rest of the team stranded on a rock in the middle of the river. I can tell you that the water was very cold. I floated for awhile and then was finally able to find an area to swim over toward shore. It took everyone about 5 minutes or so to finally get off that rock.

After that adventure, the rest of the trip was pretty easy going. We ran into a raft of drunken women (see pic) which were dead drunk drinking bottles of Wild Vines and rafting down the river. They seemed to never have ANY problems with the river. It was only us with the life vests and paddles that were having difficulties! I guess we should have all been relaxing with some cheap wine!

We ended up back at our vehicles at the end of the day. As you can see, everything in the boat was wet and we had to take some time to wring everything out. Overall we really enjoyed the trip. It was a great way to spend the day. Everything is taken care of for you. All you have to do is show up and enjoy the day!