by Danielle Leahy
Ahh, the college river/road trip. I remember it fondly: great friends, laughing for days, the sun on your back and the river beneath you, drinking too much and sleeping to little. Crowded, smelly cars and waking up on cheap motel floors stuffed 6 to a room made for 2… Err… HOLD UP. Actually, there was a lot of room for improvement in those early adult, cash strapped, college days. Maybe there are some lessons to be learned and improvements to be made to our annual Summer Road Trip now that the majority of us have rounded the corner on 30?
Yea, I thought so too.
If there are over 9 of you rent a Passenger Van. There are a variety of reasons to rent a 15 passenger van over taking 3 cars: The rising cost of gas, the logistics of keeping 3 cars together on the road, the accidental “left behind” friend, or any other roadside hazard. Passenger vans can be rented in the Dallas area through Enterprise for only $125 per day (or with the basic Insurance which even covers Roadside Assistance for $20 more). The rental’s come with unlimited mileage in Texas and the surrounding states are can be rented through the Enterprise Corporate Office ℅ Mark Penson at 214-688-8300 during the peak Summer months or through your local branch during fall and winter. Even with 2 full tanks of gas you still average less than $25 a person for 2 nights.
Buy your tube’s at Walmart or Academy instead of renting. The average cost of renting a tube for the day is about $12 for a tube without bottoms, $15 for one with (most people prefer bottoms). These are for basic, black tubes. Intex brand River Rider tubes can be bought at either Academy or Walmart (we bought ours there in New Braunfels) for $13.99 and comes with a bottom, back rest, holding rope, and 2 beer holders. A two-person tube with center cooler can be purchased for only $28.99. This is the Cadillac of tube’s. We got stopped multiple times on the river by people asking about it.
However, if you are going to use a rental company I suggest Landa Falls. Home of the longest float trip on the Comal, their float trip boasts almost double the river time of the rest of the guys and even though they are slightly more expensive they do not charge for 2nd trips or shuttle service like many river operators.
Get out of the Heat. If you are looking for a different type of adventure during your River trip weekend let me suggest visiting the Natural Bridge Caverns. Averaging 70* inside, this amazing natural cave system has a variety of tours and activities that range from simple walking tours to a 3-4 hr intensive rappelling and climbing course, a jewel and precious stone sluicing area, and an outdoor zipline and climbing tower.
Eat Well. The entire area around New Braunfels and Gruene is known for it’s German Heritage. Founded by Prince Carl of Solms-Braunfels in 1845, he helped organize a large migration of German people into the area, resulting in the wonderfull German culture that can still be found in the area to this day. Two of the most popular German restaurants in New Braunfels are Friesenhaus and Oma’s Haus. Both specialize in traditional German food such as Schnitzel, Strudel, and German Sausage and have in-house bakeries specializing in German breads and pasties. Friesenhaus also has live music on Friday and Saturdays. Yodelers, Accordion players, and Chicken Dancers Welcome!
In the end a River Trip can be as crazy or as laid back as you make it but here are a few words of advice no matter how wild you plan on getting: stay hydrated, wear sunscreen and a hat, don’t take anything into the river your wouldn’t mind throwing away, hide your booze while in the park on your way to the river, and drink responsibly. Getting a Public Intox, or worst, a DUI is sure-fire way to kill the party no matter how old you are.
With just a few simple tweaks, you can turn your college weekender into a respectable 2 day get-away with friends. And who knows, you might actually wake up in a nice fluffy bed instead of on the floor for once.