Monday, August 4, 2014

XPlore Race Adventures

Awhile back I was looking at the Amazon Local Deals for this area and I noticed an event that was 1/2 off that was similar to a one day mini Amazing Race. That being one of my favorite shows ever, I was immediately interested. Basically, you get clues and race around from place to place and complete tasks with your team. The first one to cross the finish line at the final location wins! The Amazon Local deal was for a one day mini race in Seattle. I was all in.

I called up the people that always sit around and talk Amazing Race strategy with me, and asked if they would be interested. And then from there we put together our five-member team.

Here we are the night before the race:

Our team: Me, Brigham, Aunt Sandy, Ryan, Mom

Though this is one of the most unflattering pictures ever, we were excited to get going the next day. We had been studying landmarks, printing out maps, having Google Chat sessions, figuring out the radius clues they had given us for our first clue, making shirts, and strategizing for the past couple weeks. We were ready to go!

The morning of the race we woke up early and drove to Seattle and cruised around the town for a couple hours familiarizing ourselves with the city and guessing where they would be sending us. We stopped to eat lunch and fuel up, and then waited for the first text that would send us our first clue.

Right before the race eating lunch at Taco Del Mar
The first clue sent us to find the name of the game two girls were playing in front of a cupcake shop in the radius we had to figure out from previous clues. That clue (which ended up being Go Fish) was the word that gave us access to the rest of our clues. We had nine more destinations to figure out, get to, and complete the task before we could cross the finish line.

The first clue we raced off to was a moving target that would only be around for a couple of hours. The target was close by on the map so we ran to her first and got our picture taken. We knew the person would be wearing red, and we had to say she was beautiful and then she responded with another phrase that meant she was the one.

After we got that checked off our list, we sat down and figured out the rest of the clues and mapped the best order to complete them. Then we were off again.

We went down to the water line to get our picture taken in front of the ferris wheel. However we had to wait until the VIP cart was at the very top, so we had to time it just right and hope that someone was patient enough to wait around to take our picture when it got to the top.

It's hard to make out in this picture, but it we did it, and it's the black cart at the very top. The dumb ferris wheel kept stopping right when the cart got close to the top so it was agonizing to wait and pray that we wouldn't miss it, or that our picture-taking-person wouldn't get frustrated and run off. But we got it, and after we submitted the picture we were verified and able to move on to the next clue.

Next we searched for the gum wall and had to get our picture taken in front of it while all of us were blowing bubbles. Luckily, my aunt had some gum, but unfortunately, it was just trident which made it hard for some of us to get a bubble, let alone a good one.

Nonetheless, our pathetic little bubbles were verified and we raced to the harbor steps to count them and submit the number (107 if you were wondering.) I ran those dumb things four times and got a different number each time, but Brigham got the same number twice and one of my totals matched, so we went with that and were right on our first submission.

After the harbor steps we raced to find a fire department. Brigham was in charge of Googling the closest one and it was about twenty-minutes away. We took off running for half of the distance, and then jumped on a bus for the second half.

We had to get two strangers to hug a fire vehicle with all of our team, and someone else to take the picture in order to complete the task. Luckily there was a fire van parked outside the station and three random people were walking down the sidewalk so we were able to get it.

We knew we were by Rose Park, which has lots of pigeons, and one of the tasks required that we get a picture with as many pigeons in it as team members that we have (so five for us). We took off for the park and the pigeons. Luckily there were a bunch of bagels on the ground next to a dumpster so we were able to use those to attract the birds to come around.

At first we submitted this picture, but we soon got a response back that it wasn't correct. We could have ONLY  five pigeons in the picture, no more, no less.

We had already moved on from the park and so had to race a block back and try to get only five birds in the picture. Imagine trying to control pigeons....not easy. We also had to have a stranger stand nearby ready to take a picture the second we had the right amount of birds around (and the guy we had was getting pretty impatient and irritated. In his defense we had some pretty high demands and were taking a bit of time). Right as we almost had the right amount of birds in the pictures, a car back-fired and all the birds scattered into the air. It took time to coax them back off the rooftops and trees for a picture re-do.

We managed it! Only five pigeons in the picture. We were relieved and so was the dude stuck waiting around, taking the picture. Next we hopped on more buses to get clear to the other side of town to the International Fountain. We had to have someone video us hugging it for five seconds.

With half of us soaking, we had one clue left until the final one at the finish line. We had to search for a hidden door in an alleyway. This one was a good work out too, and pretty hard. I ran down so many alleys and finally we found the one we were looking for.

This use to be a blind tiger - or a secret bar during the prohibition time period - so no wonder it was hard to find. It was cool piece of history to learn about.

After verification, we raced to the finish line at Belltown Pub and Grill where players could relax and eat and congratulate each other.

Honestly, the finish was very anti-climatic. No one was there to cheer for you and the prizes we were supposed to get were not there. We able to talk to the creator of the race for a minute and get a drink of water, but then we just headed home....we wish they could have had food or a party or just more excitement or something. Especially with how much we paid to enter the race.

We finished 21st out of 36 teams and it took us two hours and fifty-five minutes. We couldn't believe how fast some of the other teams were finishing and we were feeling pretty bad about our time, until we learned that other teams travel from city to city to race professionally and that they have back-up teams that take care of everything for them. For example, they just send all their clues to teams waiting and those teams figure it all out and map it for them so they can just keep going. If they need any supplies (like gum) their back-up teams go and buy it and have it ready at the stop waiting for them. Their teams would tell them the number of steps at the Harbor Steps and everything. We thought that was sorta unfair and kind of cheating, and we felt better about our time since we did everything ourselves.

The one thing that we felt really silly about, is when we went to where we parked our car in the middle of the race boundaries, we noticed a fire station right across the street.  We couldn't believe it! The fire station Brigham sent us to was what took most of the time because it was so far away! If we had known about this fire station (which we should have), it would have cut about forty minutes off our time. We still are giving a Brigham a hard time about leading us astray since it was his task to find the closest station, and he still is blaming Google for not giving the best options. A fire station right across from still makes me shake my head.

Looking back, it was a really good time, a great work out, something different, and fun to do together. We all agreed that we would like to do it again next year. Now that we know what it's like we will be able to kill it next time!


  1. This sounds like it was a blast!! I am so jealous! Glad it was fun, even if google did fail Brigham. Haha.

  2. oh my goodness this sounds amazing! i am going to plan a couple game night like this- so fun! i cant believe people do this professionally- get a life! hahhaha good for you guys! what a fun day!