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We left our treasure hunters at the Lincoln, Nebraska state capitol, with the Hawaii group coming face to face with the Alaska group and realizing there are ten, not five, teams in this competition.

Mr. Robohost is actually at the capitol, and looks just as plastic as he did on their cell phones. He informs them that one half of the group has the map, the other half have the key to understand the map, and so the teams will be paired up. The first-place team from each group goes together, and so on, which makes the lineup as thus:

Air Force and CIA
Southies with Fogals
Professionals with Geniuses
Grad Students with Hanlons (the Hanlons helpfully yell “Let’s get it on!” by way of greeting)
USA chicks with the Browns

In other words, some people are about to get screwed. Robohost say someone’s getting eliminated on this leg, adding an element of actual competition here.


By “Genius” Do They Mean “Idiot”?

Each pair of teams gets their own bus. According to Robohost, the bus will start driving, but the bus is going in the wrong direction. The driver will not turn around until the teams can tell him where they want to go – they have to figure it out from their clues. What the teams don’t know is that the drivers will accept either of two answers to the map puzzle – one is correct, one will take them far out of their way. Oooh, sneaky. And rather clever.

In their individual buses, all the teams figure out they need to use the code to decipher the writing on the map. Even so, the mulleted Hanlon fellow still declares that he thinks they’ll need to go to Colorado – because they’re near it. He also says the grad students must know the Greek alphabet, since they went to college and all.

Everyone eventually manages to figure out that the map spells out “Roosevelt.” However, they’re split on what that means. There is a Mount Roosevelt nearby, but there’s also Mount Rushmore. What to do?

Well, when it doubt, guess. They’ve all got a 50-50 chance that they’ll get it right. One of the Brown brothers guesses that their destination is Mt. Rushmore, although a Team USA bimbot says it can’t be that. Nevertheless, they try it out on the driver, who – to their surprise – says, “Ok.” Cheering and some dancing ensues.

Gradually the other teams manage to figure out Mount Rushmore – all except the “geniuses” and the professionals. They think Mount Rushmore is too easy. Francis, of Team Not-Genius, says you have to dumb yourself down to get these clues, and “it’s hard to when you’re smart.” That’s a lot coming from a team that already got lost in the jungle, and is about to get lost again. I’m sure he’ll feel very smart stumping around Mount Roosevelt for an hour. Book smarts are fine, but you need common sense, too – something the geniuses appear to lack.


I Didn’t Know Reality-Show Clues Left Scent Trails

At Mount Rushmore, the Brown brothers and the USA girls arrive first. A phone message from robohost tells them that an artifact is hidden here, one that will help them eventually find the key to the treasure. He then rambles on about the designers of Mount Rushmore leaving a time capsule that contained copies of the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, and says some nonsense about the founding fathers having hidden coded messages in these documents. Whatever. In the real world, television producers have hidden a pile of rusty-looking locked boxes on the side of the mountain, and the teams will have to figure out the combination to unlock the boxes to get a map. There are only 9 maps, and 10 teams, so here’s where someone goes home. The teams will hike to a “view where you can just see two” – faces of presidents on Mount Rushmore, that is – and go from there. When they find it, they’ll need to consider “the natural order of things” and how time can change that order. Also, that double-teaming thing that got them here is over; it’s every team for themselves now.

Team USA rushes off to find the correct trail, while the Browns mull over the information. The CIA/Air Force team arrive, as do the Fogals and the Southies (who pray in the bus).

The Hanlons arrive and behave like a pack of hunting dogs – the mulleted one’s nose is practically to the ground as he sniffs around every tree, trashcan and pile of brush. The Hanlons quickly wander off the trail, and overall begin making this far harder than it probably is.

The Brown brothers are having a rough time of it, physically – that larger, out of shape one is not cut out for the hike. But eventually they and several other teams find the right view, and somehow figure out that they must head off the trail and up into the woods, where they discover a clearing with the pile of locked boxes.


Hard Enough For You, Smartypants?

Meanwhile, the laughably-named Geniuses and the professionals have arrived at their wrong location. They hike up a deserted hillside and find some weird display that has Theodore Roosevelt’s picture on a metal cylinder. Apparently, if they thought to pick this thing up and set it down in the center of the painting they had before, they’d see a picture of Mount Rushmore, indicating that they’re in the wrong place. But using the cylinder hasn’t occurred to them, and frankly I don’t know why it would. I’d like to see Francis figure it out, though.

The teams start realizing that no other teams are there, and someone suggests the cylinder thing is only there to throw them off. The geniuses want to look around the mountainside some more, while the professionals want to go back down the hill and start over. They part ways, and the professionals start trying to call other teams. I don’t know when they all exchanged phone numbers, but I’m amused that modern technology trumps clue-solving skills. They reach the Hanlons, who say they’re at Rushmore. The professionals realize they’re screwed, and call the geniuses to get their asses back to the bus.


I’m Still Waiting For Someone To Yell “Bingo!”

At Rushmore, Robohost tells the teams who’ve found the boxes that they have to figure out the combination. After a while, most of the teams there seem to realize that it’s going to be some sort of combination of the order of the presidents – like, Washington would be first, so, 1. Lincoln was 16th. Etc. What confuses a lot of them is that they have to switch the numbers because the presidents aren’t on the mountain in the same order in which they were president. And of course, not everyone has the numerical order of presidents IN their heads. But only the Air Force team thinks to use their laptops to search for it. And I can’t believe they can get wifi access at Mount Rushmore. Mine goes out all the time and it’s 10 feet behind my head.

Anyway, the Air Force teams successfully opens their box, finding a map. That’s their job done for this leg, and they’re told to go rest. Several other teams – Fogals, Southies – follow in quick succession.

The Brown family is still having trouble with the combination. They and the grad students are still working on it when the lost geniuses and professionals arrive at Mount Rushmore, get the clue, and realize that one of them will probably be the ones to be eliminated.

While they start up the mountain, the Hanlons – who’ve already searched a cave, a trashcan and god knows what else – finally find the boxes, arriving around the time the grad students and the Brown brothers solve it and leave. The Hanlons prove that while their tracking skills might be good, their critical thinking skills leave something to be desired. Pat, he of the mullet, is shouting out random numbers, seemingly on instinct alone, and demanding that they be written down. They might have been there for days, but the geniuses arrive and the two teams ally, realizing that they both need to solve this before the professionals do.

Oddly, while the geniuses are saying numbers out loud, the Hanlons solve it, but then won’t tell the geniuses anything more than that the geniuses just said the combination. That’s not how I define an alliance, mullets. The Hanlons whoop off, leaving the geniuses feverishly working on the combination, as the professionals arrive.

Finally the geniuses get it, and the professionals are informed by cell phone that they’re eliminated from the race. I guess it saves us a misty “we learned so much about each other and ourselves” sob-fest, but still, that’s a little cold.


Next time (presumably next Monday):
We have swamps, camping, lots of people falling down, distrust among teams, bickering, and a lot more. C’mon back, this is getting fun.