Challenge Nation: Atlanta 2012

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My interest piqued from a substantial discount via Goldstar, it wasn’t too hard to persuade my wife and a college friend to spend a Sunday afternoon solving clues and running, or walking, around downtown Atlanta.
The gist is this: Receive 12 clues that point towards locations in the City or other people with particular requirements, solve 11 of them and have your picture taken showing the solution, then return to the starting point.  It’s a race, but... we only saw a few people actually running.  And, you get a free T-shirt.
We were “prepared” by researching area parks, statues, etc. prior to the race. However, our thoughts primarily revolved around the five preview clues provided those who “Like” Challenge Nation on Facebook, which were released the evening before. We had some initial thoughts around these, but... none of them panned out. Had the full clues been as imaginative as these, the adventure would have been a real test of wits.
1. The opposite refreshment. (See Clue #6)
2. What, no Doric options? (See Clue #8)
3. Uhr (We were expecting a clock face, possibly the Sundial restaurant. Clue #4)
4. 10 out of 15 qualify for this (See Clue #5)
5. Reach out and touch someone (This old AT&T ad roughly relates to finding people who aren’t local – Clues #7 and #9)
These were no help at all for planning purposes, and the official clues were self-supporting.  In other words, these are a tease.  But, it’s all in the spirit of fun.
People gathered early, some in costumes, most not.    There were reportedly 630+ signed up in 165 teams.
The registration process was simple and efficient, as was the checking in at the conclusion.  Der Biergarten, the official starting point, soaked up the revenues from those gathering before and afterwards for food and beverage, the below from approximately 45 minutes prior to the start.
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Here are some hot redneck chicks using their their wiles for a possible win... in the costume contest anyway.
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One person from each team is chosen to stand in a circle, hold the envelope visibly, and count down to the official “Go” before rejoining the team and working on the clues within.
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After opening the envelopes, we spent 10-15 minutes solving as many as we could, and plotted an efficient course on our map.  And, finally, about those clues:
#1.  Unscramble this “POTUS” anagram: MY METRIC JAR.  Locate where the resulting statue stands.  But that’s not your specific target... on the opposite sides of the grounds, take a photo with a flame that nobody’s putting out.
Being from Georgia, it’s not too difficult to unravel Jimmy Carter.  With the help of a smart phone, his statue stood at the State Capital.  On the opposite side of the grounds was a statue to honor WWI vets with the hinted at torch.
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#2: These Atlanta municipal departments field a strength of 1,000 and 1,668 and were founded all of the way back in 1882 and 1873, respectively – and have been keeping you safe ever since.  Pose with any of them, their workplace or vehicles, acting out their jobs in the photo.
Right, easy.  Nancy, you’re under arrest.
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#3. Did you know the International Time Capsule Society” is based right here in Atlanta?  ... There’s one that was buried in 1972 right here in downtown.  In your photo with it, act out any historical scene from that year.
We chose Tricky Dick.  And, no, we didn’t know that there was a time capsule.  The plaque tells the prophecy of John C. Calhoun, a South Carolina statesman, who wrote about coming impact of railroads in the region.
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#4. (Intro about leap year and adding a leap second to the clock two months ago).  Your team should do its best exuberant “leap” photo with this “wealthy” clock that’s got letters where the numerals should be – it was attached to a building that was formerly a department store.  You need to convince at least two strangers or another Challenge team to jump with you.
No problemo.  Anti-gravity engaged.
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#5.  There are a respectable 15 companies based in Georgia in the 2012 Fortune 500, and all but 5 of them call Atlanta proper their corporate home.  Find any of the 10, get within 20 yards of a sign, and act out what you think their main product/service is.
Google to the rescue, Suntrust Bank deemed the most convenient on our map.  Here we are begging for a loan from Mr. 1%, though a pickpocketing scene would have been funnier.  We were not exactly in a hurry, but we were “hurried”  trying to be considerate for other teams as we swapped picture taking duties.  We shouldn’t have been. They walked, too.
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#6. This company is closely associated with Atlanta but its product was actually first bottled in Vicksburg, MS in 1894 – as sales at that time were mostly through a fountain. But, by 1909, there wee a whopping 400 bottling facilities.  Find the first in Atlanta and pose on its steps – but the catch is that you’ve got to do it while enjoying at least one cold bottle of Pepsi.
Well, honestly, the bottle wasn’t cold, and we didn’t drink it as we borrowed it from another team.  Besides, my wife and I prefer Coke products, rightfully so.
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As the front steps do not do it justice, the Dixie Coca-Cola bottling plant, a downtown anachronism, actually looks like this:


#7. Georgia’s got a great coastline that people sometimes overlook – but your challenge is to find someone from the other edges of America – bordering the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico or Great Lakes.  Take a photo with them making the shape of their state with your team’s arms.
Actually, we half did this, but hands are attached to arms, and it was a shortcut for the State of Texas that our friendly native quickly demonstrated for us.
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It helped that my wife is a natural conversationalist who isn’t shy about asking anything, but in this case where they’re from.  CNN Center seemed a promising target-rich environment, but it was largely vacant.  We hadn’t had any luck while wandering the similarly all but vacant streets.

#8. There are three types of columns in architecture:  Ionic, Doric, and Corinthian. Find either of the two separate bunches of the third type still standing that were saved from demolition as older office buildings they were a part of were replaced by skyscrapers – coincidentally both in 1971 and only a block from each other.  Have your team get structural and pose like the columns in the photo.
Google struck out here on all sorts of variations of Corinthian columns, 1971, preservation, Atlanta, etc.  But, when walking around, just look for another team where you don’t expect them.  They likely found something.
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We’re posed kind of like 3 monkeys with no particular message.

#9.  Did you know you were wearing a clue this whole time?  Find the ten coded digits on your body and ring them up to hear your next Challenge.
Okay... there were 10 letters on the race bibs, of course.  Type the corresponding numbers into your phone and you get:
“Congratulations!  You’ve dialed correctly. Find a German guest who works during the day but not at night.”
What?  We had no idea, but apparently Germans (and others) were in town for some sort of conference.  We never figured out what.  Luckily, the lady from Texas was wondering around with a bona fide German (here pointing to the D for Deutsche on his license), who was happy enough to have his picture taken.  He wasn’t working during this particular day, and we didn’t ask him about his nights. But we were glad to have met him.
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Well, actually, we misheard the clue.  It wasn't a German guest.  It was a German gift.   Doh.  Missed that one, we did.

#10.  Wow, so many choices: Take a photo with any ONE of the following: a clown, a live horse, a person wearing overalls, a license plate that includes a Y or X, or a Segway transporter.
Lame.
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#11: You’ll have to surround yourself with dihydrogen monoxide for this one, so please be very careful! Find the symbol originally created by Baron Pierre de Coubertin in 1912.  Though they don’t officially stand for any particular continent as is widely believed, have your team strike an exuberant photo in the middle of the one that stands for the Americas.  Be sure it’s actually operating in the photo.
This was obvious due to Atlanta hosting the 1996 Summer Olympics.  Google confirmed that the corresponding red circle represented (not officially) the Americas.  Choices:  You could figure out the orientation of the rings to make certain that you were standing in the correct Olympic ring (as the fountain in Centennial Olympic Park is not colored) or you could trust that the other team in front of you chose correctly.  Right.  We trusted Google, but the team before us, and likely the many before them, had chosen correctly.
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#12.  Football is back and the late-Summer doldrums in the professional sports world are over!  Celebrate by finding any non-Georgia located college sports fan wearing a hat, jersey, shirt, etc. and take a photo with them mimicking the sport their gear is from.  No throwing a hat on someone in a sports store allowed, or fellow contestants.
This turned out to be kind of tricky.  There weren’t that many people roaming the city, but we found this little FSU soccer fan near the finish area, who, being a soccer fan,  struck a Tae-kwon-do pose.  Hmm.
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We completed 11 of the 12 clues, or, at least 10.5, in 2 hours 19 mins.  I haven’t heard the official winning time, but I’m sure we just missed being in the Top 5.  Hey, we walked, and it was uphill the entire 3 miles or so.  Offically, 73rd of 150 teams.

Overall, it was a fun day, and a beautiful day for being outside and doing something different.  We were more than a little disappointed with the challenge of solving the clues, having read some pretty challenging ones from other contestants in Los Angeles the prior year. 
I’d do it again!

1 comment :

  1. Sounds really cool - thanks for sharing your day. I'll have to let Robert know about this - sounds right up his alley.

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