After the Grand Canyon rafting season ends it is time to start preparing for next April. One of the projects that we undertake is the maintenance on our side tubes. This entails fixing any problems and painting the tubes. We do this work In Fredonia, AZ aka the “Center of the Universe.”
The first step is to take the tubes out of the warehouse and inflate them outside of our building. Once the tubes are inflated we check to see if any of the tubes are leaking air or need rubber work. Then we fix any and all problems by sanding and gluing patches back onto the tubes. It is amazing how well these tubes hold up. They are built incredibly well. Most of our side tubes were built by the Uniroyal Tire company. The biggest problem this year seemed to be the grommet patch on the front of the nose of the tube that we lace to our raft and use as a step for our whitewater rafting guests. Some of the grommets had been pulled out by the incredible force that is placed on these grommets as large waves hit and try to separate the side tube from the raft.
After the patching and gluing were done it was time to start sanding the old loose paint off of the tubes. This is a time-consuming task but sometimes it is nice to do a project that you don’t have to think about too much and can just let your mind wander. Once the tubes are sanded down we have to mask them so we don’t get paint on the places we don’t want. Then it is time for the painting. This is the best part of the project.
Painting the side tubes goes quickly and it is great to see how good the tubes look.