Summer Guide 2012
Daytrippin': The Comal River
Published: June 20, 2012
After securing your tube from one of the nearby vendors (we chose Rockin' R River Rides, 1405 Gruene, just outside historic New Braunfels), it takes about 20 minutes of slow floating in a crowded pool to reach the first chute, which has a knack for separating groups. Floaters have to hold onto whatever they can to wait for the friend who's inevitably stuck behind the current, flipping anew with each splash of another floater falling out of the chute. After two more chutes you can lay back and apply some more sunblock to your knees. This is the time to pop open your cooler (Coldplay blaring from a nearby radio-cooler is optional. Avoid if possible). You might even see a few river cops busting folks for bringing aluminum beer cans. The chumps. The city recently passed a controversial can ban, so you want to pack your drinks in old-fashioned thermoses.
Two hours downstream, you can exit through Rockin' R's private pen and grab a shuttle back to your car. Now it's only a couple miles down the road to Gruene and stick your wet butt on the wooden benches at the Gristmill (1287 Gruene). Half the occupants of the large, rustic restaurant are located outside, enjoying the shade trees and whistling cicadas. The place is bustling even in the early evening, but Karson and the other waiters work as hard as they can to supply healthy servings of baby back ribs, which he recommends above all else. After dinner your waiter hands you a dessert menu. They should just bring out the pecan pie. Yes, that's a tip/hint/what have you.
You'll be tempted next to waddle through many of Gruene's stores or check out the source of the country music you've been listening to all night at Gruene Hall (1281 Gruene). The hall is as old as the city itself and the antique shop across the street has a collection of cowboy boots for those who lost their shoes in the river. That sunglass tan is another matter.
Price of Trip
$12 Bottomless tube
$20 Dinner at the Gristmill
$15 Non-disposable containers
What to pack
3 thermoses (One for lemonade, one for water, one for wine/beer)
Snacks (Cheese and fruit leave minimal trash and are easily portable)
Don't bring anything you're not OK with getting wet (Like a book, or a cell phone)
Miles round trip: 80
Threat Level: 3
You're liable to take a dunking, but that's not so bad.