Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Great America Race Treasure Hunt: Day 1

3 hour drive to DC, We met the other 7 teams at the navy memorial.. Started the day with no map and 4 clues.. In normal 'Brilliant' fashion, we opted to go to the farthest clue first...BIG MISTAKE... in route, deterred to the Jefferson milepost.. which was originally Jefferson pier.. the clue wanted us to go to Jefferson pier, but we went to the milepost... the milepost is directly in front of the white house.. due to security concerns, we couldn't get close to it for at least an hour... again, in 'Brilliant' fashion, Mat's Day-Shift cracker saved the day and allowed us to completely bypass both... :)

Next was Lincoln Memorial... long hot walk, not enough water, too many tourists. After solving the line-word-letter cipher we were routed to the DC War Memorial, thinking that we now had 2 pieces of the 4 piece answer. We thought that we could go to the DC War Memorial, take pictures of EVERYTHING and then solve the other 2 pieces and not have to come back.. once again, BIG MISTAKE, having 2 of 4 clues, we were looking for the wrong thing.. thus, back across the mall to complete the first 2 clues. Having completed those 2 no-brainers.. we now realized that we had to walk BACK across the mall again. After a leap of faith, we went to the WW2 War Memorial and used the plaque to crack the Vigenere code on the answer sheet. Guess what... we had to walk BACK ACROSS THE STINKING MALL AGAIN to Freedom Plaze where we picked up our final clue to solve en route to Richmond to find our contact there.

Mary, in her infinite BRILLIANCE, hermitted herself in the back of the van with only a pen, a notepad, and the clue and cracked the anagrammed keyword cypher which revealed the first Richmond location, St. John's Church.

On our home turf, we met Becky and Andy at St. John's, where they gave us 4 clues and told us we needed to pick up 4 scrolls. We swung by the Statue of Liberty at Chimborazo and swiftly found the scroll in a relatively obvious hiding place. Then we were off to Brown's Island and found another scroll underneath a big rock by the statue of a man steering the boat. Next we arrived at the park containing the monument to the 1st Regiment, at the corner of Park & Stuart. For the first time, we rolled up on Team Blood Shot, Josh had warned us about these guys. Apparently they are hot shots from Cali who run similarly complicated races. After an hour of searching by both teams on hands and knees for the third scroll, we decided to tackle the fourth scroll and come back to try again. We quickly retrieved the 4th clue from near the AP Hill statue. Upon our return to the park, we saw Team Blood Shot leaving, to apparently do the same thing we just did. After another half hour crawling in the bushes, we took the hit and called in for the location of the scroll. After finding the last scroll, and taping the four pieces together, we sat in the van and watched teams one by one (including Blood Shot) continue to scour for the scroll in the park- to no avail. Meanwhile, the 5 of us where bleeding out of ears and eyes, trying to a solve the final clue that include 4 drunken chess knights. After an hour and seeing several other teams pick up the scroll, we decided to call it quits, call in the for the final answer, and drink a beer. Our tactical call-ins paid of, as we drank for a couple of hours before we saw another team enter the bar.

(NOTE: if you call in for an answer, you suffer an hour penalty)

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