Fifty years after its namesake’s maiden voyage, a new “Turkey Raft” sailed down the rapids of the New River on Tuesday.
Bob Morgan designed the original Turkey Raft, which consisted of two industrial inner tubes tied to a wooden platform, with a tractor seat for the main oarsman, to take friends and his son down the New, from Prince to Hawks Nest. Morgan’s son, Dirk, was 11 years old when the three-day trip happened in 1969 and was on hand Tuesday when the new Turkey Raft went in the water.
“This brings back a flood of memories,” said Dirk Morgan, who captained the new Turkey Raft on Tuesday. “When we made camp one night, I found a turkey carcass and took the feathers, and everybody on the raft wore one for the rest of the trip.”
Paul Breuer created the new Turkey Raft, keeping the design as close as he could to the original. Breuer was so impressed by the 1969 trip that, after graduating from Ohio State University, he would return to open the second commercial whitewater rafting company on the river, in 1973.