Day 5: Atlanta

20Jul07

We made it into Atlanta in our usual late fashion and were unable to hook up with any of the other teams. Upon our arrival, we searched for some food around the hotel, and couldn’t find much, but we did find what was allegedly a “diner” down the way. It turned out to be some kind of dance club/karaoke bar that had marginal diner type food upstairs. We were starving, though, so it was good enough.

In the morning, we gathered for the next leg of the race, and set off exploring Olympic Park and the surrounding landmarks and monuments in downtown Atlanta. The clues seemed to go smoothly for the most part. We started with a hunt for a particular brick along one of those walk-of-fame things where you buy a brick and they stick it in the road.

Using our uncommon power of superior intuition (aka: visitor center database), we quickly found the brick and moved on. We would surely gain the upper hand on this day!

There were a lot of teams starting with this clue, and so as not to reveal its position, here is a photo I snapped of some random bricks, just before shouting “I got it!” in a very cunning and convincing diversion. Or something. Thank you Michelle Lynn Venable-Foster-Longname-of-Unusual-Size, of Atlanta.

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More clues were gathered, we took one penalty due to being stuck, and deciphered a message which read, “examine nearby radioactive vessels.”

Ah ha! Surely it would be obvious; it was nearby, was it not? A quick search revealed nothing, and more teams started piling up at the same point. Our earlier time advantages had quickly disappeared.

We started asking locals who all seemed to think we were out of our gourds. Could it be a war monument? A naval ship? (the Atlanta navy? Hmmmm) A bomb shelter? The street lamps? The SunTrust building across the street? Some modern art?

Ah HA! We knew exactly who would know – the old guys that work at the Army Navy Surplus Center we spotted the night before, and it was just down the road. In there, we engaged in a very slow moving conversation for 15 valuable minutes, which ended with something like “Well, if you boys do find that radioactive stuff, I’d stay far away.”

Thank you for the advice, kind sirs.

Frustrated, we opted to head down to where the X was on the original treasure map. It wasn’t that close, but maybe we’d spot something along the way. As we got near, we spotted the Hard Rock Café which features the neon sign: “No Nuclear Weapons Inside.”

Ah HA HA HA!

Now we had it for sure. We went in and started to look around when the hostess came over and asked how many for lunch. We told her that we were meeting someone here and explained a bit about what we were doing. She told us that couldn’t happen, because if the entire party wasn’t there already, she would not seat them.

Apparently, our ability to accurately describe an imagined, optical-illusion triggered, near-death experience via Internet blog GREATLY exceeds our ability to verbally explain, in person, why someone might meet another person during a treasure hunt.

(On the other hand, the odds that you could even follow that last sentence are pretty slim… it all makes sense now.)

After getting another staff member involved, we were finally able to communicate what we were doing, and had permission to look around the restaurant. However, the hostess was absolutely positive that there were no nuclear or radioactive references anywhere in the restaurant.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever been in a Hard Rock Café, but let me tell you, there is an absolute ton of stuff all over the walls, with many different references to just about anything. Since this nice young lady didn’t even know what a treasure hunt was, we weren’t about to trust her ability to memorize a thousand different items and their meanings.

In hindsight, perhaps we should have.

We found nothing, went back outside, and started again with the “Ask the Locals” strategy (which, by the way, is patent pending, and we will sue any other teams which infringe upon our proprietary methods).

It should be said that there are two things guaranteed to create a 5 minute conversation. One: Explaining what Ravenchase is and why anyone would venture 2000 miles over 8 days to chase pretend treasure. Two: “Is that an iPhone?”

The correct answer is “No, it’s a Geiger counter and we are looking for radioactive vessels. Step away, or take us to them.”

We finally gave up, but before calling in for the answer, we wanted to walk back to where we found the clue, just in case the next one was near there was well. On the way back, I spotted a bright yellow newspaper box with a radioactive logo plastered right on the side of it. 20 feet from where we started. Out in the open, although its view was obstructed when standing on that start point.

Clearly, this 300 pound newspaper box was NOT there when we were looking for it before. A clear case of foul play is involved. We suspect Fellowship of the Van. Where’s the Fellowship (WTF) you ask? Running down the street carrying 300 pounds of bulky, bright yellow steel. Unnoticed. That’s where.

We have clearly underestimated their stealth abilities.

With the new clue in hand, it was off to a revolving restaurant, 70 stories up and across the street (of course) from the Hard Rock Café.
The clue said to tell the person we were staying at the hotel or else we’d have to pay for the elevator.

We did as instructed.

They were not amused.

$5 each was the fare, so we decided to send 3 guys up while Phil and I waited.

While waiting, I offered some other players (aka, cheapskates) from Bloodshot a bottled water. Their response of “Really? We can have some?” led me to believe that we somehow weren’t playing the game correctly, with our friendly ways and all.

First rescuing Fellowship from a watery grave, and then saving Bloodshot from death by dehydration? Are we TRYING to lose?

The other bloodshot members came down the elevator about that time and, snatching a bottled water, they departed by saying, “May the Blessings of the Goddesh of Richmond be Upon You.”

Sounds great. Unfortunately this was nothing but a ruse, as Bloodshot clearly sabotaged the elevators so we could not follow their tracks. Shortly thereafter, when Scott got in the elevator to come back down with the answer, the elevator stopped working.

With Scott in the elevator. Stuck between two floors somewhere between ground level and the top. With all the clues. For serious.

You just can’t make stuff like this up.

Half an hour later, our team was reunited on the ground floor and we were done with Atlanta. Back into the RV and off to Savannah we go!

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