More drama at the Pit Stop in La Paz, Bolivia - Kelly & Christy and Nick & Starr still have their knickers in a knot. Oh well. D... and I are staying out of it. It was early afternoon when we got to the Pit Stop, so we ate and slept. That's what we do. Eat and sleep. And then.....RACE!
Our departure time was 12:59 a.m. - and when we tore open our clue we squealed like little girls - fly to Auckland, New Zealand!!!!! Ya'll, PHIL is from New Zealand! This is going to be fun!
All the teams got to the airport at the same time, and we all got on the same flight to Auckland (Dude, that was a LOOOONG flight! I was popping Xanax like candy!). Once we got there our clue said to drive ourselves to Gulf Harbor and untie a Gordian knot for our next clue. It was dark - like 4:00 in the morning (WHY DO WE HAVE TO DO ALL THIS STUFF IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DANG NIGHT?!?) and D... isn't real big on driving anyway, so I took the wheel. Wait, someone already took the wheel! It's gone! Uh...B/S? The wheel's on the other side. Heh heh - I knew that. It was weird getting used to driving on the right side of the car - and the left side of the road! - but I got the hang of it. While we were driving D... and I discussed this Gordian knot thing. Daughter knows a lot about knots - she and Little Son took a knot-tying class on our riverboat cruise, plus she took a course at school on knots. That girl knows her knots. And I knew that there was not really a knot called the Gordian knot - that is simply a metaphor for an intricate and complex problem. We better put our thinking caps on.
We didn't know what place we were in, but we knew we had gotten out at least in the middle of the pack. There were only a couple of Race cars parked at the marina when we got there, so we figured we were doing pretty good. No need to run or anything. We quickly spotted our knot lying on one of the docks:
And we quickly recognized it as a monkey's fist knot! Easy peasy! We unraveled it and found our next clue..........along with a Fast Forward! This was the first of only two Fast Forwards hidden on the race. The first Team that finds it and completes it could skip all tasks and proceed directly to the Pit Stop. In it, Teams had to go directly to the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, the Auckland Skytower. Then, using the tower's maintenance ladders, they had to climb from the sky deck to the top and pick up a Travelocity Roaming Gnome. We knew Rat-Faced-Cheater-Ken & Tina were already ahead of us and we knew they would go for it. And uh, climb a ladder to the top of the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere? I don't think so. Would you want to shinny up the outside of this?
So we read the next clue - "Drive yourselves to the summit of Mount Eden". Okie dokie artichokie!
The sun was barely peeking over the horizon, but Mount Eden wasn't too hard to find. And this is where we found the Roadblock, a task that only one person can perform. The clue read, "Who has an eye for detail?" I decided to do this one.
I had to choose an image of a traditional tattoo seen on Maori warriors. Then, walking among the Maori, who were acting really strange, chanting and dancing and sticking out their tongues, I had to find the warrior with the tattoo that matched the one I had in my hand. If the match was wrong, the warrior would take my image and I would have to start again, so I had to be very careful (said in my best Steve Irwin accent). It was still pretty dark, and these dudes were kinda weird.
Our next clue told us to drive to Downtown Auckland and find the City Life Hotel - our next clue would be on the rooftop. Off we went!
Finally the sun was up, and we found the hotel. It was tall. And ya'll know I'm terrified of elevators. SO, because D... is the Best. Friend. Evah. we walked up the stairs to the rooftop. We lost a little time doing it that way, but it's OK. It was good exercise and I didn't have to risk death from stark fear.
Up on the rooftop (click click click) we found a set of binoculars, and a clue that told us to use them to to scan the area around the hotel to find a Travelocity Roaming Gnome doing New Zealand "wish list" activities. Whatever those are. Once we spotted a gnome, we had to go find it and retrieve it, along with our next clue. Super D.... spotted one of the gnomes right away - he was on a park bench beside a bicycle. We figured out how to get to him, and just as we headed back down the stairs, it started raining. Lovely. BUT, we found our gnome, and the clue - drive to the nearby town of Te Puke and find the local landmark Kiwi 360.
There sure is a lot of driving in this leg of the race. As we drove to Te Puke we saw a gorgeous rainbow, and we knew we were going to be OK! And we laughed about the town's name being "Puke". Yes, we are grown-ups, why do you ask?
Kiwi 360 was.....well.....interesting. They're all about the kiwifruit there. And they take it seriously. There's a GIANT kiwi statue, and D.... said, "Dude, that's a big kiwi." So I said, "That's what SHE said." And we giggled. No one else thought it was funny. Huh.
The next clue was a Detour, a choice between two tasks, each with its pros and cons. In this Detour, Teams had to choose between Matter of Time and Matter of Skill. In Matter of Time, Teams had to drive to a kiwi orchard where, using their bare feet, they needed to crush enough kiwi fruit to make twelve quarts of juice. When they reached the goal, each team member had to drink a glass of the juice to receive their next clue. In Matter of Skill, Teams had to drive to Blokart Heaven, choose two kits and properly assemble a pair of blokarts. Then Teams had to sail the blokarts around the track three times to earn their next clue.Hmmm......those blokart things sound faster - they are wind-powered go-karts - but D... has a thing about go-karts, and we figured it would take us forever to put the dang thing together, anyway. So we decided to stomp kiwis.
Yeah, it was kinda like that. Only a smaller vat. And the kiwis weren't exactly soft like grapes. And there were rocks on the bottom that were kinda rough on the tootsies. And D... and I didn't get into a fight and throw kiwi mush at each other. That would've been pretty funny, tho. No, we stuck to the task at hand, and squished out all our kiwi juice.
Even drinking that juice wasn't so bad. I didn't even throw up! And our next clue told us to drive to the Pit Stop at Summerhill, a New Zealand sheep farm. With kiwi juice mustaches, we were off!We still didn't' know what place we were in, but we knew that some other Teams were having troubles. Toni & Dallas started out at the kiwi stomp, but decided to switch over to the blokarts, so that took up time. So did Nick & Starr. And we hadn't seen Ty & Aja or Brooke & Marisa all day, so who knew where they were. We figured we were OK.
Of course Ken & Tina finished first - AGAIN. They're getting on our nerves. Whiny Terence & Sarah were second. They're getting on our nerves, too. But WE were third!! As we ran up to the mat, Phil was standing there with another man, who said, "Hi! I'm Phil's dad!" How cute is that?!?
It was great meeting him, and great to be in third place! Marisa & Brooke ended up coming in last (waaaay behind us!) so they were eliminated from the Race. We were sad to see them go - sweet, sweet girls.
Now there are only 7 Teams left! Who will be eliminated next??? Stay tuned to see where our adventure takes us next!
Where We've Been: