Challenge Nation: Atlanta 2013


Given our great experience in this urban scavenger hunt last year, we were happy to repeat this year with the addition of a couple of Gang members.  It’s not what you think – we all went to Clemson together.  With a Groupon discount, preliminary strategizing (not to mention lunch) at Stats, and a beautiful Fall day, we were off!

Well, not so fast.  The Challenge Nation folks like to use social media to promote their activities, not to mention tease participants.  Sometime after 10:00 p.m. EST, they posted 5 hints towards clues on their Facebook page (if you “like” the page).

These were as follows, along with initial thoughts:

1.  4 out of 44 will qualify  (?)  
2.  3.5 to 4.25 by 5 to 6 (sizes of standard pails in gallons, sizes of postcards)
3.  Lots of paws (Georgia State Panthers, dog adoption event)
4.  GWTW (Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell  house – but too far away)
5.  Drop a dime  (parking meters, jukeboxes, ratting out a criminal to the police)

Also, on Twitter, was the following clue:

What’s got 4 sides, a lot of marble, but no books inside?  (?)

There were 110 teams this year.  A good number had matching team T-shirts, but fewer wore costumes than last year.  This couple stood out, though.


The team leader for each group stands in a circle to receive the full clues, and at the count of 10, everyone is off... to read the clues.


You’ve got to read the fine print.  Often, the clues point out not only a direction but an activity that is necessary within the photograph.


After some initial guesswork, we chart a course.


1.  To fulfill this clue, either take a photo with your team within 50 feet of a live movie filming site, acting out (your best guess at) a scene from that movie OR take a photo of your team dropping change into any one of these red meters that won’t give you any parking time, but will be a good deed!  (Also Hint #5)

Well, Atlanta has been fairly active lately with films, including the sequel to Hunger Games.  But we had no idea where that or any other film might be shooting.   We had a vague notion of collection boxes for the homeless, and came across one on our route.


The fine print on the box says “Give change that makes sense.  Please do not give cash to panhandlers.  A donation here will provide help for the homeless.”    In Signs We Trust, I guess.

2. Her house is in Midtown, but this square named for her is closer to downtown (though these days it’s mostly a triangle, it was originally a square).  Once there, find the box of chalk we’ve left for you and have your team draw your favorite thing about living in Georgia and pose with your finished drawing!  (Also Hint #4)

This as the Margaret Mitchell hint, author of Gone With the Wind.  A Google search made it simple, and, although certainly not a favorite, a reference for The Varsity, an Atlanta greasy food icon, was easy to draw.  Should you visit Atlanta, take a picture of The Varsity.  But don’t eat there.


3.  Twenty years after Atlanta’s gorgeous  central library was demolished to make way for its less-beloved modern version, this monument was built out of the original building’s facade that was stored for those years – it honors the American industrialist that donated the funds for the first library (and dozens more nationwide).  Since a couple weeks back was “International Talk Like a Pirate” day, we’ll let you celebrate a few days late:  ARRRRR you ready, ye land lubbers?  Aye, pose like fearsome pirates, forcing one of your teammates to walk a plank! (any plank substitute will do!)   (Also Twitter Hint)


Hmmm, I’m sure we envisioned a plank somewhere.

4.  Yes, Labor Day’s in the rear view mirror, but Summer’s still in full swing at Challenge Nation and many tourists are in town for all the different events this weekend.  For this clue, you’ll find any out-of-towner wearing some non-sports related “hometown garb,” i.e. a shirt/hat/etc. that says where they’re from – as long as it’s not anywhere in Georgia.  It counts and “place name” universities outside of GA do count.  Take a photo with this visitor acting out what you think their home’s like!\

Well, this is one of those “while you’re heading somewhere, keep an eye out for... “ clues.  We don’t know if the lady wearing the John Lennon NYC shirt was from out of town, but we weren’t the first to ask her to pose.  Now, NYC... hey, the Rockettes! Why not?


5.  Who am I?  I’m new to town, but am hard to miss – and got here from Paris via Pensacola, stretching about 200’.  Near my base, you’ll find this “holy” music venue that’s more than 100 years old and that has hosted superstars such as Guns ‘n’ Roses, Bob Dylan, and Johnny Cash.  Grab your neon-colored guitars from our staff member and find your team’s inner rock star when posing for this photo.

I knew the answer to this one, having been to many concerts there.  Still, Atlanta has a new Ferris Wheel that sits in front of it.  It is The Tabernacle.


6.  Hundreds of four legged friends will be gathering at a celebration in this park that you can reveal by unscrambling this nonsensical anagram:  A NONCLERICAL TEMP PINKY... take a photo with your team, shaking the hands of at least two dogs, in front of any banner signage for the event.  (Also hint #3)

This wasn’t too hard to figure out as the same dog adoption was going on the previous year.  It wasn’t too hard for others to guess, either, because a dog parade went by our staging area, and... there are several parks downtown, but the event started at the biggest (Centennial Olympic Park) where this event is held. 

It wasn’t too hard to find a sign or the dogs – all we had to do was look for other teams, who already scouted out willing volunteers.  Unfortunately, the little brown dog was not looking for attention.  Still, he shook hands. 


7.  This Challenge will test your team’s ability to make friends and coordinate:  with one other Challenge team, pose in front of any theater in town and act out any scene from a movie set in Georgia with the whole group!  Note: your chosen theater cannot overlap with another clue’s destination.

For this, we turned to my knowledge of music venues (the Rialto Theater, though we stopped at one just around the corner), and Gregg’s knowledge of movies.  Here we are, “driving miss daisy” with another team (who later hung with us for a while).


8.  Wow, so many choices, choices, choices:  take a photo with any ONE of the following: a clown, a traditional barber pole, a tricycle (pedicabs don’t count), a person wearing overalls, or an actual peach (the real life fruit, only!).  When you snag the photo, give a big thumbs up!

Google can’t find clowns, tricycles, overalls or peaches, but it can find a barber shop.


9.  For this clue, you might need to think outside the box:  take a photo with your team and the image of any President that appears on Mount Rushmore.  Here are the restrictions:  you can’t pull currency or change out of your pocket, use any smartphone photos, or draw the image – but other than that, the more inventive the better – pose with the image and act out a scene from their life!  (Also hint #1)

Well, Google wasn’t so helpful.  No statues or likely engravings were in the downtown area.  But hey, the library was, and we weren’t the first to borrow this picture of Lincoln that the librarians helpfully left out.  So, here we are, pretending to cut wood for fire and rail fencing.


10.  Today we’re going to revive the lost art of letter writing: purchase/find any postcard in town, the sillier the better.  Address it to anyone on your team (write super legibly, please).  Let us know what your favorite clue was today in the message portion – and bring it back to the finish line!  For the photo, snap a pic with your postcard in front of any “old style” blue mailbox – but don’t drop it in – your team captain will turn it in to us at the finish.  (Also hint #2)

First happenstance was finding a store that was open on Sunday, but we did.  Second happenstance was walking by this mailbox in between points G and H.  Or something like that.  We didn’t mail it, per instructions.


11.  Find this sculpture that includes a prominent single ring – it was installed to honor the event with the five rings.  Once there, you’ll find a Challenge Nation staffer holding some rings of your own – do the obvious activity for at least 2-3 seconds in your team’s photo (or look silly trying, at least). 

We skipped this one, confident in our other 11 and this being a bit out of our path.  We figured it out though.

12. Crash a tailgate or a sports bar!  The game’s kicking off in just about 6 hours, so this shouldn’t be too difficult: gather up at least EIGHT or more Falcons fans (in their fan gear) in a football action – pose photo OR you can pose with FOUR or more Patriots fans!

Falcons vs. Patriots were scheduled to play a few hours later and a few blocks away.  Fans were not hard to find.  The Patriots fans, though, were especially happy to be desired company.


So, 66th place.  That was disappointing.  We finished outside of the top 50%.  We assumed we’d finish in the top half, as we did that last year in a lengthy 2 hour and 19 minute session.  Improving our time was the goal this year. 


Result?  1:50:41.  Well, that’s a 30 minute improvement.  As we only raced across a couple of intersections, I guess we chalk that up to experience and a couple more nimble minds.  We did finish ahead of Tough Mudders (a difficult mud run challenge) and a bunch of people we saw actually running

We can do better, though, and the fine print says “Next Year’s Atlanta Challenge will be on Sunday, October 5th, 2014 – See you There!”



  1. Looked like fun!!!

  2. San Jose Challenge today has the same 4 out of 44 will qualify hint. After reading your blog, I still don't know what it means!

  3. 44 Presidents - Clue #9. Presidents on Mount Rushmore.