For some reason, I wanted nothing more for my 25th birthday than to float down the Charles River in a bouncy castle. I don’t know where the impulse came from, and I don’t know why it became so urgent a matter, but there it is. I rounded up 30 of my friends, raised around $2,500, and purchased a bouncy castle and construction supplies (lumber and closed cell foam) for a raft that could support 6,000 pounds and yet still be built in a day.
The day of the adventure, I drove to our build site with a rolled-up bouncy castle, a dinghy, and a huge pile of construction materials. Over the course of the day, we built a load-bearing frame, packed it with closed-cell foam, placed the frame and bouncy castle in the Charles River, inflated the castle with a generator powering blowers (that were all placed in a dinghy), and slowly paddled our way down a mile and a half of the Charles River.
Hilariously enough, we never had to take the raft off the water once we put it in. We floated from the intersection of I-90 and I-95 to Waltham city center, and an elderly couple followed us in a kayak for the last quarter-mile. When it came time to drag the waterlogged raft out of the river, the couple produced a giant bundle of cash and bought it off of us on the spot. Life is a strange, mysterious adventure sometimes.