Glad you are getting into it. theres a whole lot of river rats out there and its a great community, even if we talk a lot of smack. Especially buzzards. river people will do anything for a friend, it comes with the territory. we are all geeked out too, or we wouldnt be thinking about it all winter long.....:]
So it sounds like you got a small passenger raft probably 10-11', and to do multiday, you really need a big fat 12'-16' raft. thats why its hard to picture fitting a groover in there, look at some pics of multiday rafting. they are loaded down like a barge. you can drink well, eat well, and poop, well....a lot. lol.
people use those little teeny packrafts to carry backpacking packs, so anythings possible, but I am just talking about the normal setup.
thats why I mentioned camping on the day section (from the Monastery to Big Eddy take out. 8 miles class II-III) and doing laps. you also can camp up in Pilar, by the Rio Grande. EL vado is the top of the wilderness section which is permit only (google the BLM Taos office for info)
I strongly encourage you to
A: take a guide school (they will be happening this month)
B: join a whitewater club (Adobe WW??? Wolf WW in ABQ???) ...and join American Whitwater.
C: Take a swiftwater rescue course this summer.
theres a lot to river running safely, and you have a lot invested..(loved ones,dogs kids, $$$, etc.....)
I work for Santa Fe Rafting, and we will have a guide school starting around 4-18. It literally starts from zero experience, and teaches you the basics to be sfe and navigate the river. then you have to practice. theres also no obligation to work. we have had quite a few private boaters do it for the experience. (505.988.4914 santafe rafting.com . Tell Russell Abe sent you.)
the tough part of that is getting 4 days off, and it is @$350.00 (i think)
theres also Kokopelli, New Wave, NM river adventures, Far Flung,Los Rios etc...they will all do something.the owner of far flung,and NM river adventures both are swiftwater instructors, so thats another lead.
another option is to go along with other private trips to learn from them. (thus the WW club idea)
Or take some commercial trips. I dont work very often (3rd job) but I'll give you pointers on a day trip. guides are always happy to act like they know what they're talking about. and some of em even do...lol.
Hope this helps!