Monday, January 29, 2007

Road Trip to Texas

Ed Ben and Junior in the bus  Five members of the River Riders team, including Junior, Ed, Ben, Simon, and Matt took a road trip to New Braunfels, Texas; the self proclaimed tubing capital of the world. The purpose of their visit last week was to check out their operations. We took one of our newly acquired E-450 bus/vans for its break-in run. We put about 3500 miles on it in 5 days. Although the 30 or so outfitters there are closed this time of year, it gave us ample opportunity to check out their bases, storage, and equipment hauling methods. 

  About 250,000 guests tube the Guadalupe and Comal Rivers outside of San Antonio annually. This means that the outfitters must be very efficient in transporting the guests to and from the river in a timely manner.

modified landscape trailer  Pat and Denise Gattuso of Gattuso Distributing gave us an in depth tour of the river areas and introduced us to several of the outfitters. They also graciously (and bravely) put us up in their home for two nights. We spent a whole day touring the outfitter operations and observing their equipment. We were interested in how the outfitters haul their tubes and gained plenty of knowledge on how they had modified their trailers to meet their needs.

Gattuso Distributing  We were able to give the outfitters some details about how we ran our operations as well. We all came away from the experience feeling that we had learned some valuable details that we'll be able to put into practice this season. It worked out for Pat as well because we picked up some new items from him that we saw in his warehouse.

  As a side note, we drove through New Orleans on the way back and were all amazed at the devastation in the Slidell area of the City. It was worse than any of us had imagined. We saw miles and miles of homes, malls, and businesses that we severely damaged and abandoned. It was shocking to see it in person. The French Quarter seemed amazingly unscathed and business people all commented on how they wished the press would give them some positive publicity because they were all open 100% for business. Vast disparities were seen among the various parishes of New Orleans.

  In the end, the team came back from their trip with experiences that will be unforgotten. 

Sandals from the Guadalupe Slide

Guadalupe Take-Out Rapid

Rockin R outfitter
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