Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Great America Race Treasure Hunt: Day 2

Start location: Monroe Park.

Today we started with 3 clues in Richmond.

At Belle’s Islands we had to locate the “acids and lubricant factory’ (NOT the asses and lubricants factory). On the backside of the ruins was a small treasure chest that held a scrap of paper with the Free Masons Code.

We were then off to Forest Hill Park after debating whether to walk all the way across the island to the footbridge, or drive… our feet voted and we decided to drive. We ignored the first part of the clue, thinking we were jumping to the meat& potatos.. mistake 1 for day 2.

The 2nd half of the clue seamed to be working until we couldn’t find the scroll. After stomping around the river for about an hour, we called Chris and found out that we were in the wrong place. Oh well, on to the next clue.

Down in the Fan, near the RC office, after finding some sidewalk graffiti, we used the code word in the provided Vigenere (which fell apart halfway due to a lovely error in the code). Knowing the office was only 1 block away, and the clue mentioned “1 block north” and “raven”, we trotted up to the office and found another free mason cipher in the window.

The 3 answers instructed us to find the “goddess in main street station”, where we found our goddess Becky. She clocked us out and provided us with a clue to solve en route to Charlotte that would reveal our start location.

After a grueling 2 hours of trying WAY too complex keys. Jason opened his laptop, and Mary said, “Hey, what about a qwerty keyboard?” That, combined with Mat’s idea of shifting rows, quickly revealed a phrase that led us to a statue behind the Federal Court Building in downtown Charlotte. Just before we arrived, the sky opened up.

Once at the location, we found Lisa and Team Blood Shot who had arrived only minutes earlier. Lisa informed us of a terrible wreck on I85 and that all other teams were still stuck in Virginia. Therefore, it was decided that the Charlotte leg of the race would be run just for fun. With a map and 3 clues we decided to go play in the rain.

Our first clue led us to the Seventh Street Station parking deck. A very interesting building with several red panels running up each side of the building like large red fins. These fins made different sounds and lit up brightly when touched. We were sent to the south side of the building… after several times circling the building, we finally figured out which side the clue ‘thought’ was south. There we found a small plaque that described how to touch the building in a way that would make is light up and sing. Using a phrase, roman numerals, and binary numbers from the plaque we were instructed to create a grid used to decode the cipher at the bottom of the clue.

Once cracked, we were off to The Green. A very neat park with an abstract flavor, including talking walls, plaques, mileposts, and chess boards surrounded by lounge chairs. The clue hinted to something “underneath the battlefield” so, we looked under the chess boards and found 3 numbers. These numbers coincided with one of the mileposts what pointed the way to 3 different cities Edgar, Allen, and Poe.

Searching around this post quickly yielded a scroll, which led us a few blocks away where our answer was hidden in a statue’s coat pocket. The final clue, led us to a fountain dedicated to President Polk, where the “golden seed” referred to a plaque talking about the cottonseed and cotton industry. A specific keyword on the plaque was the answer.

Using the 3 answers and a codex code wheel the day’s answer was revealed. “Wiberty or Death”…. I guess that was the famous speech given by Elmer Fudd Henry at St. John’s Church.

At dinner, the other teams who were stuck in traffic dribbled in as we ate pizza and had a great time socializing and smack-talking.

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