Jack here, with the latest entry in Jenn & Jack's Amazing Race Journal for you. I tell you, that first leg was a killer! However, your fearless FORT team survived and ended the first leg of the race in 4th place. Not too shabby, eh? There was a time, though, when I was not sure if we were going to make it or not, though. As Jenn and I were trekking through the snow on our way to the zip line, I did wonder for a minute, "What in the hell am I doing here? Why did I say 'yes' when Ken and Gerard asked me to fill in for Tracey in this season's race?" You see, I am a Southern boy, and the snow on that mountain…well, that was the most snow I had seen in my entire life! I could tell that Jenn was getting a little frustrated as well, so I tried to lighten the mood by breaking into "Climb Every Mountain", but that did not go over too well. Jenn just turned to me and scowled, "You'd better shut up, Maria, or I'll be saying so long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye, and you'll be on this mountain all by your lonesome." She reminded me that last season she broke out into her best Van Trapp rendition with Ken at the pitstop in Grindenwald, and that brought a slight smile to her face. Jenn is truly a sweetheart; it's just that we were both really tired. Needless to say, we were very happy campers when we reached the Hotel Lajidara.
After some much needed sleep, we left the Hotel Lajidara in the middle of the night, since we had gotten there in the middle of the day before. We got our clue and saw that we would be going to the Trampolino Olimpico to do some snow rafting. Apparently, snow rafting is a local pastime, but I just did not get it. I looked at Jenn and said, "Huh? Rafting on a trampoline?" Jenn just laughed and said, "Wake up, Mary. 'Trampolino' in Italian means springboard. The Trampolino Olimpico is where they held the ski jumping events when the Winter Olympics were held here in Cortina." OK, whatever. I still did not understand the concept of rafting on snow, but I figured I would find out about it soon enough. Anyway, we got to the site, and boarded this bus with a big rubber raft on top. The bus took us to the hill, and one of the guides there (who was very cute, by the way…), motioned for Jenn and me to get in and hold on. I was still busy trying to figure out how to say, "Here is my number. Call me sometime" when Jenn yelled, "C'mon, Jack, there will be time for flirting later!" So, I got in, held on for dear life and we slid down the hill faster than you can say, "Oh, for the love of God!" I was saying some things as we went down the hill, alright, but I can assure you that was not one of them. By the time we got to the bottom, though, I had decided I enjoyed it and wanted to do it again. We didn't have time, though, because as we were getting out of our raft, we saw Monica and Sheree at the top of the hill getting ready to slide down themselves.
We got our next clue and found out that we had to make our way to Venice and head for the Ponte della Guglia. Both Jenn and I had been to Venice before on (separate) vacation, so we were hopeful to gain an edge in this leg. To get to Venice, we could leave from one of two stations, and we chose to go to the Alpi train station. Yes, it was a bit further away than the Calalzo station, but it had an earlier train. We figured everyone else would go to Calalzo, so we were thrilled to see that we were the only ones at the Alpi station when we got there. Our excitement was short-lived, however, because not long after we got there, a bus drove up with 8 of the other teams on it. Oh well, there went that bright idea. So, we all got on the train and buckled in for the ride. As we were on our way, Jenn and I tried to talk to as many of the teams as possible. You see, we had started to talk in the hotel room last night about possibly forming an alliance with someone, but we weren't sure who would be the best team to hook up with (I, of course, wanted to hook up with Reichen and Chip, but that was for purely selfish reasons.). Jenn said that as much as she thought Jeff (of team David and Jeff) had a nice head on his shoulders, she wasn’t sure there was much behind the pretty face. In the end, we decided to use this leg to kinda feel the other teams out and see who might be receptive to the idea of an alliance, and who would benefit us the most. Anyway, we got to the Ponte della Guglia and found that it was time for a Detour. We decided to take the "pathway" option because, if we did get lost, we could ask for directions. Plus, if you’ve ever been to Venice, you know how smelly those canals can be. Being trapped on them for an unknown period of time was something that neither Jenn nor I wished upon anyone (at least not at this stage of the race, anyway) Most of the other teams took the "waterway" option, so we figured we'd be in pretty good standing when we got to the Palazzo de Mosto for the "party" we were supposed to be attending. We were right, because when we got to the Palazzo de Mosto, we found ourselves fourth in line to get in to the "party". However, it was not just any ol' party. It was a Roadblock.
Jenn and I decided that I would do the roadblock so that she could continue her reconnaissance work on the other teams. The doors opened, the guy at the door gave me a picture of some mask that I was supposed to find, and I went inside. They call this a party? All it was was a bunch of people walking around in masks. There was no talking, no laughing, no music. There were no little appetizers on toothpicks. It was like the parties they had in Footloose before Kevin Bacon came to town – except with masks. Now, granted, they were beautiful masks, but still…For a moment, I felt like I had walked onto the set of "Mr. Personality" or something, but there were more people in that room alone than viewers that watched that show all season. Anyway, I saw that Russell and Chip matched their pictures right away, so I thought I had better hurry up. I was looking around frantically when Chip passed me on the way out and whispered, "Slow down, Jack. Be careful. This is tougher than it looks." I continued to look (along with Monica, Josh, and Jeff), and I finally found my match. I got our next clue and ran out the door screaming, "Jenn, let's go!" I found Jenn, and we started to run up the street. We got to an intersection, and I asked Jenn, "Which way should we go?" She said, "Well, Russell and Cindy went left, and ReiChip went right. But, Chip asked for directions, and a man pointed to the right. So, I think we should follow them. Plus he’s a pilot, so I bet he has a good sense of direction." Jenn chuckled to herself and said, "How do you like that? A straight man with a good sense of direction." I started to remind her, “Uh Jenn, sweetie, he’s g…”, but I figured it wasn’t the best time to start that debate again. Besides, it sounded like a good plan to me, so we headed off to the right. We were making our way through the narrow streets, and we suddenly realized that if Russell and Cindy had gone the wrong way, we would end up in second place at the end of this leg! We finally saw ReiChip up ahead of us, running up some sort of gangplank, so we figured that must be the boat. We ran like mad across the plaza, up the gangplank, and onto the mat where Phil was waiting for us. "Jenn and Jack…you're team number 3." Jenn and I looked at each other. Team number 3? We were in third place? Hmmm…someone must have taken the Fast Forward this leg. You know, come to think of it, we never did see those air traffic controllers after we left Cortina…
Oh well, we are in third place after two legs. We moved up one spot, so that is not too shabby at all. I would write more, but I am a bit pooped after all that running. Moreover, Jenn tells me that she has some good scoop to tell me about possible alliances, so I had better run for now. Until next time, FORTers!
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