Here's the tale of our family's fabled rafting trip down the Grand River.
One day this summer, we decided to purchase an inflatable raft from Canadian Tire. It was on sale and looked like it would make for at least one fun family afternoon.
We were wrong. Well, not entirely. It did end up being pretty funny, just not for the reason we thought.
It was a very hot and humid summer here in Southern Ontario, and nothing beats the summer heat like being around the water. We picked a particularly clear and hot Saturday to try out the new raft. We parked the Van of Awesomeness (for details on said van, see: http://mysahdexistence.blogspot.com/2016/08/the-minivan-of-awesomeness.html ) about 9 km down the river, and drove the car back to town. A lofty goal indeed, but it's a pretty free-flowing stretch of water, so I thought it was doable. A two hour trip or so. That was Mistake #1.
We parked the car near a canoe put-in and unboxed the raft. That's right, we never checked to see if we'd actually all fit in this thing. That was Mistake #2. We blew it up and discovered that, despite having a weight limit of like 450 lbs., this thing could barely fit me, let alone my wife and the two kids as well. Crap.
Speaking of crap. I have inadvertently taught my six year old the word crap. I must have described dollar store Lego as crap one time, because now every time he sees building blocks in stores without the Lego logo on it, he loudly and proudly proclaims to his sister that it's Crap Lego. Oops. At least he has the right context.
But I digress.
Despite the size of the wee raft, we decided that since we were there, we all just go out on the water for a few minutes, just to say we did, then head back to shore and drive back to get the Van. We squeezed in, me at the stern with Thing 1 sitting on my legs, facing Thing 2 with mommy sitting not at the bow, but on the inflated bow. Man, I wish we had a camera on us that day.
With much effort, we pushed out, my ass dragging along the rocky shore until we got to deeper water. Deeper as in about a foot and a half deep. Being the hot summer that it was, we failed to realize that the water level would be extremely low. Mistake #3. The current was moving despite the shallow water and we started drifting, rather slowly, downstream. So we went with it. Mistake #4.
Maybe a kilometer or so down the river, it happened. My ass dragged across a jagged rock and pop! went the middle of the three air chambers. The raft could no longer handle the weight of us all and we started taking in water, much to Thing 1's absolute horror. My wife hopped off the front into the calf deep water and he started freaking out, yelling something that sounded remarkably like, "SHIT, SHIT, SHIT, SHIT". I'll blame my wife for that word.
It was then my turn to get out, having to throw one leg over top of the panicking child and more or less roll into the water. Another missed photo opportunity I'm sure. Between my gracefulness and his sheer terror, my wife is now laughing so hard she has tears rolling down her cheeks.
Luckily, the raft has a tow rope on the front and enough air left in it for the kids to stay in and not have to walk all the way back to the car.
They got ice cream on the way home for that one.