ADVENTURE TALE: Car Keys + Empty Vitamin Water Bottle + Raging River = Floating Fiasco – Part 1

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 ADVENTURE TALE:  Car Keys + Empty Bottle + River= Floating Fiasco       – Part 1

To make this experience, combine above ingredients with a hole in your rivertube and read on!

The Delaware River at the Watergap - view from Mt. Tammany

The Delaware River at the Watergap – view from Mt. Tammany


Date: 8/16/16

Place: Delaware River National Recreation Area, Shawnee, PA

Location: Smithfield Beach Recreation Area

Distance from Passaic, NJ: Approx 1 hr, 10 min.

Report by: SAR

———      ———     ———     ———     ———

True Story – What could go wrong?

Our tube (an Intex RiverRat – own a tube for ½ the price of renting one once) – inflated with some effort in our nearby air conditioned hotel room at the Budget Inn & Suites in nearby East Stroudsburg (highly recommended for the money).

So what if the second tube had a hole big enough to put my pinky through hidden on bottom while I cooled the whole room with enough expelled carbon dioxide to inflate an elephant, all-the-while wondering why it was taking so long – but I digress.


Great tube for around $20! We own four, and have used them on Rivers, streams, lakes & more, and they held up surprisingly well for 2+ years. Just be smart and don’t try the Upper Niagara River with it…

Our first river tube (an Intex RiverRat) had inflated up right up and appeared safe and sound, and with some balancing, is big enough for 2 adults, so we took that to use.

But what to do with the car key?

Locking it in the car would leave us without means to get back in the car, so in kicks the creative brain: “What floats that could hold the key that we could bring along?”

Coke bottle? Too narrow… Tums container? Good size, but where to put 500 Antacid pills… Empty VitaminWater bottle? Perfect size and it should float, so…

Our Floating Car Key Holder - Good Idea? Read on to find out!

Our Floating Car Key Holder – Good Idea? Read on to find out!

We squeezed the key in through the neck with a bit of effort, sealed with the cap, popped it into my bathing suit pocket and voila – a waterproof, floating key container! What we should have done at that point was tie it to the tube for extra security, but why would we lose it anyways? (famous last words…)

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We entered the water at the boat ramp where two Asian fisherman eyed us and our iffy craft with some healthy, ill-concealed skepticism. Maybe that should have worried us, but we’re more intrepid than that.


Smithfield beach

Smithfield Beach Area – Birds Eye view – we avoided the main beach for tzniyus reasons, and because I’m certain the lifeguards wouldn’t have approved of our choice of craft for two. Our 500′ route is shown in Red

The water was great, but the tube was bubbling away – so much for its integrity after a 11 months stored outside our shed – luckily the air leak didn’t seem to be too big, so we decided to brave it until the boat landing area about 500’ away.

Car key bottle still in pocket, “waterproof” Sonim phone clipped firmly in the waist of my bathing suit, I decided to jump out of the tube and continue our journey in the cool (but surprisingly fast-moving,) river waters for a swim.


“Waterproof” bulletproof kid-proof, military grade Sonim phone I bought, after losing 3 phones in 3 rivers in less than 1 year

Fighting the current and pulling the tube and passenger along back to shore proved more effort than I anticipated, and the water was actually deep – over my head and I didn’t feel the bottom until quite close to shore. The water temperature was awesome though, so I didn’t mind the cool with the exertion of fighting the current.

Remembering a rule from my camp days, & overall great river tip:

ALWAYS fight the current on an angle towards your goal – never straight on as it takes much more energy to gain ground against the current, and will sweep you past your goal when going with the current

Either with or against the current, whether swimming, tubing, or boating, angle towards the bank to get where you need.

Either with or against the current, whether swimming, tubing, or boating, angle towards the bank to get where you need.

I made it to where my feet met the rocky ground and slowly pushed/pulled my way to shore. It took a surprising amount of strength because we had passed the landing by about 100′, but we made it.

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Dumping the nearly deflated rivertube on the riverbank, I plopped down for a breath, and instinctively reached for my VitaminWater Bottle/car-key holder –

Our car keys were GONE!

                                                                  Continued in Part 2 – Click HERE!


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  1. Staff June 18, 2010
  2. Therowners September 11, 2016

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