Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hot Dog Island

Some places sound too good to be true. Take Hot Dog Island, for example, a place heavily promoted by Delaware River Tubing, a company that offers to put you in an innertube, put you upstream in the Delaware River, and pick you up later. Midway through your happy float, you arrive on Hot Dog Island, a floating oasis of hot dogs, barbecue, veggie burgers and floating picnic tables. As I planned for this excursion, I began to think of HDI as a special, mythical place. Which is of course what it turned out to be.

When we arrived at Delaware River Tubing, we were warned that due to the high level of the water, HDI was closed. We were still, however, charged for the full price, which would otherwise have included a meal there. In fact, all of the prices at the tubing company say that the meal was included. But wait! One lost lunch was not the extent of the problems.

Cognizant of the weather forecast, I asked what the procedure was if there was a thunderstorm. We were told that boats would come by and pick us up. Armed with this protection, we happily floated for two hours before the clouds rolled in. No boats appeared. No boats appeared when it started to really pour. Oh and no boats appeared when lightning hit the hill across from us. Scrambling out of the water and up the embankment, things got even worse when one of my more outdoorsey friends noted, yes, that is poison ivy. When we flagged down the Delaware River Tubing school bus, we were immediately asked by the driver where all of the innertubes were. Survivalists that we were, we dutifully hauled up the tubes through the poison ivy. My conversation with the owner next day went equally badly, as he relayed his lack of sympathy in light of the business he lost due to the weather.

Hot Dog Island will remain a myth for me, and perhaps for you, if you take my advice and avoid Delaware River Tubing company altogether.

Photo credit to the Delaware River Tubing company website.

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