Schlitterbahn: Let the water decide

19 Aug

schlitterbahnA couple hours into our trip to the  convention for shirtless White trash with cringe-worthy tattoos, *Schlitterbahn, I was pretty sure we wouldn’t want to write about it. The plan had been to leave the apartment by 9 a.m. to get there right when the park opened at 10 and avoid lines for the slides. It was now 1:45 p.m.,** we’d barely been in the park an hour, and we hadn’t even set foot in the water yet. We entered the side of the park that had no slides or lazy rivers Caitlin felt comfortable on, dropped $10 on a locker and needed to take a bus to the other side of the park that would possibly offer us something we were looking for. At that point in the day, I had no idea our time was about to turn from bad to good to unforgettable. We just had to let the water decide.

*Zack could not get over how many terrible tattoos there were at Schlitterbahn. To be fair…there were a lot. Infinity symbol on a guy’s back? Check. A collage of poorly drawn images including a gun and some flowers? Check. A lower-back tattoo on a lady that said “Mason”? You know it.

**We set the alarm for 9AM. We just rose very slowly from that point forward, packing and taking Scooby on multiple walks and generally getting ready.

schlitterbahn_master-blaster-dropI’ve been white water kayaking in some serious rapids, so even the wildest water slides don’t intimidate me. I knew going into our trip that the fastest, steepest water slides would be off-limits for Caitlin, and I was happy to stick with her on less intimidating rides, but even that was proving difficult*. In that first hour, we wandered around and Caitlin didn’t feel right about any of the slides or lazy rivers and also felt bad that she was holding me back**. I could have been far more understanding and sympathetic, but I was becoming more and more agitated that the whole day and expensive tickets would be going to waste. We hopped on the bus to the other park and found our happy place.

*When I envisioned the day, I really thought I was going to rock it. I’d been to a water park before where the lazy river just floated in a circle forever, and that’s what I thought I was up against. When we got there and I realized I couldn’t see a full ride all the way around, I froze. I don’t do well with unexpected drop-offs – I have to have some idea of what I’m up against to feel comfortable.

**I really felt terrible. I could tell Zack was getting more and more impatient, and was trying to figure out a way to get him in the water while I took my time working up courage to do something, but he wasn’t wanting to go on anything without me and his agitation made me feel even less safe and more like a frightened turtle trying to just ball up in my shell and hide away forever. I was kinda pathetic.

stock-photo-happy-smiling-couple-refresh-under-fresh-waterfall-at-summer-swimming-pool-110390504

Before we found our special spot, we found ourselves underneath the slides. A constant stream of water was pouring out the sides and formed a waterfall. I ran under it, drenching myself and encouraged Caitlin to do the same. She was game*.

*I could tell Zack needed me to channel my 2010 self, the girl who danced with a gorilla and a banana on the side of the road post-ACL, right before I drove Zack home for the first time. I gestured for Zack to step back, and ran through the water that was pouring down.

_Schlitterbahn_Aug28-2010-777Torrent River was just what the doctor ordered. It had waves, but no drops. It had tubes but we could stay together the whole time. And most importantly, Caitlin could see all of it before hand, so she knew what she was getting into. We loved it*. There’s a waterfall on one end that drenches you if you lean into it, you’re constantly moving at a fun pace and you can stay on as long as you want. An ideal combination of wave pool and lazy river. We went around 10 times.

*This was the exact ride I remembered from a previous water park experience, and I was so, so relieved to have found something both Zack and I could enjoy. I started to get a little braver after taking this river around for a while.

TheFalls1As great as Torrent River is, The Falls was easily our favorite. Billed as “the world’s longest water park ride in the world” it’s a 10-minute long epic journey that takes you up the “aquaveyer” ramp and propels you around 3600 feet of river. I wasn’t sure Caitlin would be up for this*. We checked out the line and she decided to investigate more**. We followed the falls along a path for a few minutes, so she could see the spot where most people flip over, decided she could handle it and off we went. It was exactly what we envisioned when we’d pictured a lazy river. We wanted to ride it all day***.

*Neither was I.

**We asked a life guard if there were any significant drops on the ride, and he said, “No, not really…there’s this one turn that’s a pretty sharp and steep turn around to the right, and everyone seems to flip out of their tube right there for some reason, but I don’t know why.” Gulp.

***I cannot overstate to you all how much fun this damn ride is. It gives you a great adrenaline rush — I was grinning from ear to ear, laughing with strangers as we bumped into each other, sliding down little mini-slides and getting drenched in (very small and gentle) rapids. It was the best rush and I really could have just sat in it all day long.

Next, we made the mistake of trying to ride a water slide at peak hours. Wolfpack seemed like a nice option and the line didn’t seem too long. I’m literally shaking my head as I type this and remember it. That sign that said 90 minutes from here had to be an exaggeration, right? I mean, we’d already been in the line for 30 minutes. Well, we probably should have believed the sign. It was two hours for a one minute ride, but it was worth it for Caitlin to overcome a fear of water slides and it was a solid one*.

*I joked with Zack that we should get “I survived the Wolfpack” shirts at the end, not because we survived the slide, but because we survived the hellish wait. I really do think hell is a waterpark slide line. It was terrible, hot, little children kept touching my butt for some reason (by accident, but still. Keep your hands to yourselves, ya pipsqueaks), and I needed a drink of water (ironically) so, so badly. But for me, it was 1,000% worth it to overcome my fear with Zack. I was so proud of myself and had a blast slip-sliding down with my man in our Wolfpack of two.

As we neared the end of our wait, we considered leaving after the slide, as it was coming up on 6:30 by that point and we had a lonely dog at home. But we found ourselves right next to the Torrent River and had to go for a couple laps around. Annnd as we walked back to collect our stuff, we happened to walk by the entrance to The Falls and found no line*. We had to take one last trip around. Oh, and then we ended the waterpark day the only way you can end a waterpark day. Ice cream of the future past, Dippin Dots!

*I actually insisted that we at least check it out, and I was SO glad I did. We literally walked right up to the entrance, VIP style.

dippin-dots

I’m thrilled that Caitlin overcame her fear of waterparks and was a trooper and we ended up having an awesome day and can’t wait to go back next summer. Maybe even this summer, if we’re lucky and win passes back! But yes, we’re already thinking of doing an overnight out at the park because it was that much fun. We bonded, I pushed my own boundaries, and we have memories that I know are going to last me for the rest of my life. Just as I was promised all throughout my childhood, it really was the hottest, coolest time in Texas.

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4 Responses to “Schlitterbahn: Let the water decide”

  1. jessthetics August 20, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    I’m so jealous, I LOVE waterparks but since i’s never sunny where i live there isn’t a great abundance of them. It sounds like a great day 🙂 xx

    http://www.jessthetics.wordpress.com

    • Caitlin August 20, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

      It was seriously awesome! I’m still thinking about it days later. I feel like a kid at Christmas – I can’t wait for us to go again next year:)

  2. Brett Leach August 20, 2013 at 12:05 pm #

    Any day that ends with Dippin’ Dots has got to be pretty damn good.

    • Caitlin August 20, 2013 at 3:56 pm #

      Truer words were never spoken.

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