Monday, July 16, 2007

The Great America Race Treasure Hunt: Day 3

Carpe Fluvium!

Hey, whatcha wear under that whitewater boys?

We met at a Holiday Inn parking lot, a little outside the city to avoid Monday rush hour traffic. We were advised that there would be only one puzzle to show us where to meet our new contact in Nashville. We were informed that, before Nashville, we could be rewarded with an hour off of our time by completing a physical challenge. We proceeded to caravan deep into ‘Deliverance’ territory, well close enough to hear banjo music. After a 2 or 3 hour drive, we reached the Endless River Adventures, an outfitters store in which the owner is a friend of Lisa's.

It was explained that to get an hour bonus, each team would have the opportunity to send 2 members down a series of class 2 and 3 rapids. Should the 2 volunteers make it through without falling out of the boat, they would receive a deduction of 1 hour from there final time. After a mile of Mike and Jason practicing their “river moves” they approached the challenge area. All the other teams took the easy route, right through the middle of the rapid… But not Jason and Mike! They decided to spice things up take the Hero Route and go off the left side of the falls.

After dropping off the edge, Mike’s body and the front of the raft nearly completely disappeared under the whitewater with nearly straight in the air. After Mike and the raft popped back up out of the water, Jason realized that Mike was about to fall out. Jason quickly grabbed Mike’s pfd and yelled at him, “You are NOT falling out!!”.

Once Mike was safely back in place, they realized that they were no longer moving down stream and were actually being sucked back towards the falls, just like the hand of god pulling them back in for a little spin. They kicked it up a notch and paddled like their lives depended on it, and managed to pull themselves out of the hydraulic and back down the river.

The hour reward had been obtained. We were given a puzzle with musical notes on it and told that it would lead us to Josh Wolak (the organizer of the second half of the race) in Nashville. The drive to our next destination gave us plenty of time to solve it.

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