Thursday started with a 7:30am (ARGH!) wake up after an evening where I got very little sleep. I have never had problems sleeping on vacation before and there was no good reason for it happening this time, although there were several small ones…the room was too warm, then it was too cold, Joe and I had switched what side of the bed we slept on (so I could have a better view of the clock. I HAVE to know what time it is the SECOND I wake up. I don’t know why.), we couldn’t find a good channel on the TV that had “music to fall asleep to” (we are big fans of channel 433 at home to help us get sleepy), plus my mind kept thinking about really, REALLY stupid stuff and just. Wouldn’t. Shut. Off. So although I think I slept from around midnight to 2am and from 5:30am to 7:30am, the rest of the night was a just a hodgepodge of every trick in the book to try to fall back to sleep. It wasn’t fun.

So anyway, 7:30am came and after throwing on bathing suits and then clothes to wear over them, we went downstairs for breakfast.


View 1 of the Dining Room


View 2 of the Dining Room


The porch outside the dining room, which overlooked the Comal River

Although it filled up more and more on subsequent days/nights, we were the ONLY people staying at the B&B that first day so we had the entire dining area to ourselves. The owner of the B&B, Lloyd, apologized for having such a small spread but his son, who usually did the cooking for the establishment, was out of town and coming back later that day. So we would have to “make do” with “just” scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits & gravy, yogurt, fruit, pastries, cinnamon buns, cream puffs and about 3 or 4 other delicious things to load our plates with. Apologize indeed…he didn’t realize we had had 2 years of powdered eggs and dried-out bacon at the Gruene Homestead Inn. This was a feast in comparison! The food was delicious and the coffee was good too…but I was disappointed to see that they didn’t have yellow stuff (Splenda). They had blue and pink and white stuff (which was better than the Gruene Homestead Inn, who only had pink and white. I can deal with blue in a pinch but the pink stuff is NASTY) but no yellow. It was OK because I always bring my own supply, but it meant I needed to remember to bring some packets down every morning. Shrug…a small price to pay.

They had a player piano in the lobby of the B&B, which they played every morning during breakfast, usually Broadway songs (I recognized Phantom, Les Mis and My Fair Lady, to name a few). This morning though, when it was just us, it played an hourlong medley of classic Disney tunes. How did he know??? Was it because we lived on Orlando? We certainly hadn’t mentioned being Disney fans to him. Whatever the reasoning – or coincidence – we enjoyed our breakfast with “our” music (yeah, it even played “our song” – grin).

Before we went out the door, we got to meet the Gruene Apple’s two cats, Sam and George. I don’t know which was which but they were both very friendly. They’re not allowed into the guest rooms but are otherwise indoor/outdoor cats and come and go as they please.


Above and below: Sam & George or George & Sam

Schlitterbahn is a wonderful water park but their food is NASTY. However they allow people to bring coolers with food & drink into the park (just no glass and no booze), so besides the stuff we brought from home, we stopped off at Walgreens to pick up some luncheon meat, bread, bottled water, ice and a cooler.

Whereas we arrived on Wednesday, Steve’s plane wasn’t coming in until Thursday morning so we had plans to meet him at Schlitterbahn at noon, with contingency plans in place when he had “Steve luck” in his travel. As it turned out, he had no delays in his flight (Steve. No flight delays. THUD!) and was able to meet us at the park when we arrived at 10:30am.

Schlitterbahn is divided into 2 parks: Schlitterbahn West (that’s the original park that opened in the 70’s; the majority of its rides are tube chutes, slides and other attractions fed by the Comal River) and the newer Blastenhoff/Surfenburg area (which generally houses more modern “thrill rides”). The two parks are about a mile apart and they have ongoing free shuttle service between the two. We decided to start at Schlitterbahn West so after grabbing lockers and a picnic table in the shade, and slathering on LOTS of Coppertone SPF 8,362, we were on our way.

And these are the things we went on…

(All ride descriptions have been taken from http://www.schlitterbahn.com)

RAGING RIVER
The world’s longest tube chute! A swirling 45-minute float from one end of the original section of the park to the other! Riders can float directly into the Congo River or the Tunnel Tube Chute. Halfway through Raging River Tube Chute you will choose to finish your ride in the Congo River Float or through the Tunnel Tube Chute. Get with your party to decide which way you are going to go.
Attraction Rating: Red Diamond
Ride Type: Tube chute
Height Requirement: None (WHEW!)
Ride Length: 1414 feet
Ride Time: 45 minutes
Water Source: Spring-fed Comal River

BAHNZAI PIPELINE
Twin, translucent slides tower above Schlitterbahn West marking the start of the Banzai Pipeline. Riders bring their inner tubes to the top of the tower and get a brief bird eye’s view of the park before dropping into one of two tunnel slides. Then it’s nearly 600 feet of twisting fiberglass as riders bank through turns and spiral through drops before splashing down into a pool four stories below the start.
Attraction Rating: Red Diamond
Ride Type: Tube Slide
Height Requirement: None (YAY!)
Ride Length: 581 feet
Water Source: Closed, treated system

HILLSIDE TUBE CHUTE
Beginning at the base of the Schlitterbahn Castle, the Hillside Tube Chute snakes through a series of hairpin turns, rapids and whirlpools before splashing down in the Lagoon Pool.
Attraction Rating: Red Diamond
Ride Type: Tube chute
Height Requirement: None (SCORE!)
Ride Length: 1,060 feet
Water Source: Spring-fed Comal River

CLIFFHANGER TUBE CHUTE
Another of Schlitterbahn’s unique tubing experiences, the Cliffhanger Tube Chute is perched atop the cliffs overlooking the Comal River far below. The adventure begins with a series of rapids and pools, weaves through the trees and past the Der Bahn speed slides before taking a plunge to the river’s edge. Finding the starting point for the Cliffhanger can be a little challenging. Riders access the stairway leading to the entrance from a walkway that runs midway along the cliff side. This walkway can be reached from a stairs near the Castle Entrance or from the walkway that borders the Comal River. Because geography makes it a little harder to find, the Cliffhanger often has one of the shortest waiting times of any Schlitterbahn tube chute.
Attraction Rating: Red Diamond
Ride Type: Tube chute
Height Requirement: None (YES!)
Ride Length: 746 feet
Water Source: Spring-fed Comal River

Above: Part 1, Below: Part 2

WHITEWATER TUBE CHUTE
This is a ride that really lives up to its name! Adventurous riders begin their journey with a twisting vortex before plunging down a huge waterfall. After that, it’s a series of whitewater rapids as the tube chute drops down the cliffs at the edge of the Comal River. The Whitewater Tube Chute begins near the Castle Entrance and ends at the lower walkway along the Comal River.
Attraction Rating: Red Diamond
Ride Type: Tube chute
Height Requirement: None (YIPPEE!)
Ride Length: 620 feet
Water Source: Spring-fed Comal River

After Whitewater Tube Chutes, we had hit just about everything we wanted to go on in Schlitterbahn West for the day, so we shuttled over to Surfenburg.

DRAGON’S REVENGE
This was Schlitterbahn’s “new for 2008” attraction. Except instead of being an actual “new” attraction, it was a re-named Dragon Blaster, with “thrilling” and “exciting” (and, OK, mostly cheesy) special effects. The wait for this attraction was 60 minutes just to get a tube, then another 15 minutes or so at the actual attraction. Was it a good attraction? Well, it was OK. Was it worth a 75 minute wait? Nyeh. Anyway, here’s the info on it.
Eight uphill blasts, six creepy caverns, surprise waterfall and one angry dragon. After crossing over a draw bridge and entering into the castle’s guard tower, guests quickly discover the only way out is through a labyrinth of ominous caverns.
Special Effects: Spinning tunnels, theatrical lighting, fiber optics, riveting original music, aromatic atmosphere, fog, faux fire and an encounter with an angry dragon.
Ride Length: 1,360 feet
Ride Time: 1 minute 45 seconds
Height Requirement: 42 inches tall (MADE IT!)
Uphill Sections: 8
Tallest Drop: 30 feet
Attraction Rating: Red Diamond
Water Source: Closed, treated system

BOOGIE BAHN
Professional surfers from all over the world have challenged the Boogie Bahn, the first surfing ride anywhere. But you don’t have to be a pro to surf at Schlitterbahn. Just grab a bodyboard and try it for yourself. You might not get the hang of it at first, but be careful, when you do you might just get hooked!
Some locals who had never surfed before Schlitterbahn opened the Boogie Bahn are now among the best in the world. And while you might not become that good, it’s an experience you’ll never forget. You lie on your body board and slide down onto the wave surface. Although 50,000 gallons of water flow across the surface, the water depth is just a matter of inches. Beneath the sheet of water is a foam covered surface to ease the occasional “wipe-out.”
The basic concept of The Boogie Bahn is a rapidly moving sheet of water rushing across a wave-shaped surface. The job of the surfer is to maneuver and maintain control on this surface. While amateurs and aficionados alike surf the Boogie Bahn every day during the summer, professional surfers challenge the wave during special competitions. Then the flow rate is doubled creating a curling wave that takes special skill to master.
Attraction Rating: Red Diamond
Ride Type: Surf
Height Requirement: 42 inches tall
Flow Rate, Normal: 55,000 gallons per minute
Flow Rate, Professional: 110,000 gallons per minute
Water Depth: 3 inches
Water Source: Closed, treated system

The Boogie Bahn is my number one favorite attraction at Schlitterbahn and I only wish we had one here in Central Florida. It’s a Flowrider system, but it’s a freakin’ HUGE one. There’s a smaller-sized Flowrider at Adrenalina stores in Orlando…seriously, anyone who wants to get me a gift certificate, maybe for Christmas or my birthday, please, feel free (grin).

We were starting to get tired by this point, so we decided to hit just one more attraction in the Blastenhoff area and then call it a day. The walk between Surfenburg and Blastenhoff runs along the Comal River, which, besides offering the water supply to New Braunfels, is also a popular place for tubing and, of course, housing with water views. I took this shot of the condo development right across the river from the Surfenburg-Blastenhoff walkway.

LOVE the guys standing in the river, drinking their beer…

MASTER BLASTER
Selected as the best water ride in the nation again and again, Master Blaster combines the up and down thrills of a roller coaster with the unique experience of being propelled by jets of water. Riders ascend to the top of the Blastenhoff Tower where they find two-passenger inflatable boats waiting for them. Once in position on the launch platform, they are sent down a three-story plunge, then back up three stories and into a twisting tunnel.
Riders get a brief glimpse of the tower they just left before dropping once again. Master Blaster continues its course, figure-eighting around the tower, blasting uphill and down before entering the climatic pretzel-shaped downward spiral. Master Blaster is non-stop action!
Master Blaster uses patented technology first developed for Schlitterbahn by our sister company, NBGS International, Inc., a worldwide leader in innovative water ride technology.
Attraction Rating: Red Diamond
Ride Type: Uphill water coaster
Height Requirement: 42 inches tall
Number of Drops: Seven
Number of Blaster Jets: Nine
Water Source: Closed, treated system

After gathering all our stuff, we drove to our respective hotels (Steve was staying somewhere different from us), showered and get ready for dinner, with plans to re-gather around 8pm or so. Steve contacted us a little bit before 8 and said he got a call from work…he had some major programming shit to fix on their computers, so he was going to have to bow out of dinner. Joe and I were then on our own so we decided to eat at the Liberty Bistro.

The Liberty Bistro is located in the basement of the old New Braunfels City Hall building, which was built in 1929. They serve a variety of “American” food, all with a modern, somewhat artistic flair. I don’t remember what Joe ordered but I got the Roasted Duck Salad, which was wonderful (it had duck breast and goat cheese…how could it be bad?) and a Chocolate Pot de Creme for dessert (a thin layer of Oreo crumbs topped by a thick layer of chocolate mousse, topped by a layer of whipped cream, topped by chocolate shavings, served in a coffee cup. I was in heaven. it was so good that I was taking only teeny-tiny bites, savoring every mouthful…to the point where our server commented that he had never seen anybody eat it quite that way, hehehe). Anyway, the food was great, the service was terrific and it was definitely “our” kind of place.

We got back to the room at 11pm or so, at which time I quickly put on my PJs and, after “switching sides” so I was on “my” side of the bed (screw the clock issue), I was deeply asleep before my head even hit the pillow.

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