Colorado River 2006

We took the I40 out of Newport Coast 420 km to Needles, a small town on the western bank of the Colorado River for a holiday weekend of boating.

Needles is known for extreme heat during the summer. It is frequently records the highest daily temperature in the US, and occasionally the world.  It didn’t disappoint when we arrived about 9.00 p.m. The temperature was still 109oF (43oC).

The next day was spent on the Colorado River. Cold, cold water from ice melt in the Rocky Mountains and slamming hot desert air is a difficult dichotomy to deal with.

Crazy, crazy boaties. We were fortunate enough to have two boats. One towed the ‘biscuits’ and the other was the ‘guard boat’ to protect us when tipped out of the biscuit. The guard boat would quickly race to the person(s) in the water and shield them from drunk, drugged, inattentive, incapable, macho boat drivers piloting over-powered craft at insane speeds. Even with the guard boat it was still scary.

‘Rafting up’ in the shallows was banned. Too many drunken parties. Four or five boats stationary but apart in shallow water was overlooked. Deputies in choppers and boats aggressively patrolled against potential on-water parties that traditionally have turned ugly.

Many, many millions of dollars worth of boats were going up and down the river. All types of boats. Jet skis, ‘cigar’ boats, ski boats, muscle boats, thunder boats, inboards, outboards, punts and a variety of others.

Getting the boats out of the water at the ramp was chaos. Deputies were coordinating idiots who couldn’t drive a boat or reverse a trailer over five ramps and an overcrowded carpark.

A different holiday weekend, a weekend of American excess.

2006
300 words
70 photographs

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