The bus rattles to a stop back at the All-Outdoors parking lot along the South Fork American River. Taking a deep yawn you stretch your limbs and climb out of the bus into the bright sunlight. You say a last goodbye to your guide. It’s sunny. The day seems like it’s only half over, like you could re-up your energy and have a whole other adventure on the day. And why should the trip be over? In my opinion a rafting trip starts when you wake up in the morning to drive to the river and ends when you fall asleep at home at the end of the day.
Here’s my route for extending a rafting day:
1. Take a shower at the All-Outdoors facilities. I actually don’t do this first step myself, as I like the feeling of being sun-kissed and a bit dirty. But for many, washing off the rafting grit feels absolutely refreshing. Our showers are nice too.
2. Drive left out of All-Outdoors and go until you hit a dead end. Turn left again and you’ll drive over the river. Hotshot Imaging is on your left, but we’ll get to that later. Drive straight on by and you’ll come to your first destination…drumroll…the Shell gas station (Tada!!!) This might seem to you like an unlikely first stop, but in through the door and to the left are a couple of big freezer boxes full of frozen, ice creamy treats.
3. Turn left out of the Shell station and backtrack down to Hotshot Imaging. They took your photos on the big rapids of the day. It’s a great place to check out your pics and finish your frozen treat. Don’t forget to gaze over Hotshot’s “Rafting Wall of Shame.”
4. Now turn left yet again to go back towards the Shell station. Pull into the parking lot just before the station and get yourself some dinner at Marco’s Pizza. The place has a great vibe, and on weekends there is often live music.
Now that you’ve made the most out of your full-day rafting extravaganza, you can brave the drive home and drift blissfully to sleep in the comfort of your own bed.