Friday, July 06, 2007

In OUT THERE this moring we had a story about Toobing (my prefered spelling) on the Arkansas River.
My wife, The 'Zette's cool summer intern
Jessica Sidman, and I floated the Ark a few weeks ago and had a great time. We even rescued a bat who was trapped in the water. Here are some pics from the morning.
By the way, the float from the Pueblo dam to the takeout at the Nature Center is 3.75 miles. You can float all the way downtown, but there is a dangerous low-head dam you have to portage at about 5 miles.


Tube Guy said...

Hey, can you better explain where the dam is and what it entails. What would be better than a 8 mile tube ride to downtown and then hit up a pub?

angry80903 said...

So I read Dave Philipps' article on tubing down the Arkansas River in
Pueblo and thought, 'Wow, what a well written article, that sounds like
a lot of fun.' My girlfriend and I packed up and headed south.

I had already heard through the grapevine that Philipps printed the
wrong directions and some poor Gazette reader ended up on his way to
Kansas, so I looked the article up online thinking the directions would
be updated on the Gazette Web site. Thank God I decided to double-check
them on Google Maps. As of July 14, 2007, the directions were still
wrong. Mixing up east and west can seriously ruin someone's day trip.

After all direction nonsense, we finally find the Pueblo Nature Center
and paid the weird "do-it-yourself" parking pass deal of $3; which was
not mentioned in the article. Then we had trouble finding the place to
rent tubes and where to pick up the shuttle. The reason we had trouble
is because there is no shuttle, nor was there ever, and the guy
"renting" tubes in fact was a shady two-bit crook circumventing any and
all licenses and business ethics, with a house arrest ankle bracelet to
boot, and he doesn't rent tubes at all but assures us he can "hook us
up." So Mr. Shady leads us away from his bicycle shack and to a building
clearly marked "Condemned. Unsafe to Enter" but before we see any tubes
the police show up to drop off a group of teens who were just ticketed
for no life vest. The cop car freaks out Mr. Shady and he told us to
hang out and act casual until the cops leave. At this point I don't know
what's going on.

Finally after we've been there for nearly a half an hour the cops leave.
We enter a condemned building and there is a stack of tubes and life
vests. He hands us each a tube and a vest and says that will $30. The
article says $10 for the package, but Mr. Shady explains he doesn't rent
us anything, you'd need a proprietors' license for that. Instead he
sells us a tube and vest for
$15 and when we get back he'll gladly "buy them back" for $5. Then he
actually states "That's how I get around the law."

I'm feeling very uneasy at this point, but we did drive all that way and
used all that gas, so we decide to just do it; I mean, we're here, we've
found tubes, we're on the home stretch, right? Wrong.

When I ask about the shuttle he tells me the police won't let him
shuttle people or tubes to the top of the river (without a license). So
I ask if there ever was a shuttle. "No" he replies.

"How do we get to the top of the driver?" I ask.

He then proceeds to give me driving directions. This whole trip would
have been so easy and fun had this place been remotely close to Dave
Philipps' description.

We attempt to follow the very fast and rather unclear directions of Mr.
Shady and of course we get lost. We end up driving a very long distance
heading west of Pueblo and finally turn around when we get to the top of
a large hill and see there is just no river in sight.

We make our way back to the Nature Center and get our money back. I
repeat the directions he gave us and the path we drove and Mr. Shady
says yes that's it. Only on the third time I repeat them he realizes he
had left out a turn. I think he should put driving direction mistakes on
his resume and apply to be an Out There reporter at the Gazette. Seems
to be a trend.

Now on the way home, dry and still having never experienced tubing, I
come to the conclusion that Dave Philipps has never been to the Pueblo
Nature Center. He may have floated down the Arkansas River but he did
not use anything he wrote about. The tubes in the photos are not the
ones you "rent," there is no shuttle, you have to pay to park and the
cost is more that described. I do enjoy fictional writing from time to
time but not in my newspaper. I will never read nor trust anything
written by Dave Phillips.

Dena Rosenberry said...

I'll ask the Web folks to update the article online, which they should have done.

And I sent your note to Dave regarding the tube rental guy. Perhaps he didn't have a biz license and the city cracked down on him. And now he's paranoid. It happens.

We did not say the tubes in the photos were the rental tubes. Nor did we say there was a shuttle. We said here's how you shuttle. Whether you take two cars, or walk or bike, here's how you do the trip.

The story does give directions from the nature center to the put-in.

Dena Rosenberry said...

Regarding the tube rental guy...
The man Dave talked to is an employee of the city. Perhaps you ran into another person?

As for the rest of your comments, snide asides get you nowhere.

Dave did not take the photos. The photo caption does not say these are the tubes you get when you rent.

Dave did not say he rented equipment. Just that you can.

angry80903 said...

"Dave did not say he rented equipment. Just that you can."

Well, you can't. You can not rent anything there. Mr. Shady also confirmed he was the man The Gazette spoke with. If Dave spoke with a City Employee then it was NOT at The Pueblo Nature Center because there are a number of large signs stating The Nature Center is a Privately Owned Business.

This article was misleading and full of inconsistencies. I just checked, directions are still wrong at 12:10pm, July 16, 2007.
Whether he 'rented' tubes or not his facts were flat out wrong.

I wish The Gazette would put the same effort in to decent reporting as you do defending his poor reporting.

angry80903 said...

oh, and i asked several of my coworkers. This line made them think there was a shuttle as well:

"The shuttle: You will need to leave a vehicle or bike at the Pueblo Nature Center - unless you plan to walk."