I may not have mentioned this here, but I am a HUGE Amazing Race Fan. (New season started last night woohoo.) I think Mr. Geek and I would be formidable opponents. Of course we would be limited by the facts that neither of us speaks any language other than English AND our international travel has been limited to visiting the bush of Western Ontario, Canada. But we have our problem solving skills (engineers) and we have worked together for over five years (both of us are still alive) and we have raised three boys (well one made it to college and the others are still breathing). We have always maintained that the real drama for the camera would be at home with the boys and whoever has been left watching them (just kidding, sorta)
In honor of the beginning of The Amazing Race, I present a recent harrowing travel leg that Mr. Geek and I have recently had. (It is much more fun to think of this event as part of a race and not as a really screwed up day.)
Phil: “Welcome to the Amazing Race. Mr. and AbFab Geek were first to leave at 9:00 am. The clue states: Travel to an equipment store which supplies Surveying Equipment. The manager will loan you the equipment necessary for the challenge. Take the loaned equipment to the listed address and find the height of the house located there”.
This is where Phil has to get technical, but he is so cute you listen without realizing that you are learning.
Phil: “When houses are located in the flood plain sometime the owner will raise the floor as to be above the river waters. To know how far the house must be raised, we must know the elevation of the existing floor related to sea level. When the house is far from a known reference point, engineers and surveyors can bring in a piece of equipment called a Static GPS. The Static GPS is able to find the elevation by communicating with the satellites.”
Mr. Geek and I sail through the first part of the task: rent the equipment.
Next find we have to find the property. Google map is used and directions printed out, (cue ominous music) however we decide not to follow the google map but instead to think on our own. After all, we discuss, we are familiar with the area and it will be much faster to take a longer route that is mostly Interstate instead of the recommended two lane highway. (Oh and by the way, we are burning up twice the gas because we are in separate vehicles. This is so I can babysit the equipment as it runs and Mr. Geek can return to the office and WORK!)
Everything is fine until (extreme close up on): ROAD Closed sign. Oh please, well we can just take the detour (Not an Amazing Race Detour a real detour). Mr. Geek “claims” to know the detour, so I follow. Several blocks further and he calls me (at least we have cell phone coverage). “I don’t really know if this is the detour, we had better go back.” GRRR
We return to the point of departure from the known path and relook at the Detour signs, yep we were going the right way. We leave going the same way AGAIN. This is a really, really long detour. Miles and miles into it and several turns and twists later, yet another detour sign shows up in the road. I follow it (yes I am back in the lead now, don’t ask) and the road leaves town and begins to wind through the farm fields. As the route get further and further away from the desired route and the roads become less and less traveled, I get a phone call. “ I think that last Detour Sign was for a different Detour.” GRRR again.
We turn around and again revisit where we have been. We follow the original detour and sure enough come across OUR detour signs to follow.
Finally we have get to the ferry crossing. (Did I tell you this trip involved a ferry crossing?) We now have just to take the Ferry across to… WHAT? Why are there orange cones where I should be driving? The ferry is closed?!? Perhaps they are at lunch?
I go to the vegetable /thrift store next to the ferry to inquire. Yes It is closed but before I can wind up complaining about my day, the owner beats me to it. Between the road detour and the Ferry closing, she has NO customers. It has been a bad spring and summer and now fall. As a small business owner, I can’t help but feel some real sympathy for her and I stop my whining immediately. She then reminds me of another Ferry a bit further north. I was so panicked with the thought of retracing our steps through the detour I had completely forgotten about the second ferry. I thank her profusely and wish her better luck and we head to the ferry.
We cross the river and I begin to track down the property. I am generally very good at reading map and following directions (yet another skill for the amazing race). But remember I have the directions printed as though we are coming from as different direction. And when you begin to get off the main road in these areas the names of the roads do not always match google maps or any maps for that matter.
Two trips around the peninsula and a conversation with some locals I trapped into helping us and we finally find the property. Google maps estimated time: 56 minutes -- Actual Drive time: 3 hours.
A neighbor confirms we are at the correct house. We begin to set up equipment when Mr. Geek says very matter of factly, “I need some help here.” I am about to tell him I will be there in a second after I finish what I am doing (in a really not to patient voice.), but instead I look up at him and (repeated camera viewing of the following) – Mr. Geek is holding his head above his eye and there is blood. As he was hammering in the nail into the telephone pole as a reference mark the nail ricocheted and hit him just above the eye.
Break to commercial
Repeated viewing of the “call” for help, and the blood dripping.
The rest of the leg is heavily edited because the actual running of the equipment is way too boring for television. However we show up on the mat, gauze over Mr. Geek’s eye and smile sheepishly at Phil. Phil: “Welcome, Mr. and AbFab Geek, You are team Number 10!”
Whew, we beat out one team. We are not eliminated. We will see you next week.