Monday, May 5, 2008

city chase usa - philadelphia

From 39th and Chestnut to 2nd and Pine, City Chase Philadelphia made sure to spread the challenges out all over the city. Starting out at Love Park at 16th, we hoofed it 10 miles from challenge to challenge, not including the time spent on the bus and the subway. Needless to say, certain body parts were/are sore. But it was totally worth it. City Chase was tons of fun.

Our first challenge took us to the Schuylkill River for kayaking. This was something we were both hoping to do during the event and it turned out to be our favorite of the day. One of us had to kayak about two blocks down the river and then come back before returning and having our partner do the same. It was a lot harder that it seemed like it was going to be; the current around the bridge pylons tried to pull you into the concrete rather than let you go straight. From that first, tiring event we ran and fast walked to 39th and Chestnut for our next challenge.

josh kayakingbecca kayaking

The second challenge took us to the Boston Market at 39th and Chestnut. There we were met with stilts and the requirement to walk along a line about 25 feet long. Once we made it to the other end, we needed to give the stilts to our partner to go back to the other end. I was up first and after quite a few falls, that including banging my knee and cutting my thumb (battle scars! haha), I finally made it to the end of the line. There, I handed the stilts off to Becca and she mastered the challenge much faster than I did.

josh stiltingbecca stilting

From there we headed off to the Fencing Academy of Philadelphia to, we presumed, fence. When we got there, we had to wait for 5 minutes or so before we even found out what the challenge was. It turned out that one team member had to take a fencing class (about 10 minutes) and then had to fence another team's participant. The catch was that you wouldn't get credit for the challenge until you won. So if it turned out that whoever was fencing sucked and kept losing, you could potentially be there for a long time. We decided against fencing although we both thought it would be fun. Later, after the race, Jared and Heather said they were there about 30 minutes, which was the class and two matches. We were glad we skipped it.

From the Academy at 36th and Lancaster we walked back to 22nd and Arch, via Market. We rode the bus to 22nd and Fairmount for our third challenge, a scavenger hunt at Eastern State Penitentiary. Given a Palm Treo (thank you Sponsors!), we had to find seven items on the list (out of 9, I believe) and take pictures using the phone. Neither of us had been to ESP and it was nice to get to see it, but we couldn't enjoy the tour because we had other challenges to complete. This is also where we filled up our orange balloons that we needed when we crossed the finish line.

ghost cat in cell 36view from left field

With our balloons secured to our bags, we headed to our next challenge at the Urban Saloon at 21st and Fairmount. There one team member had to try and win a Wii bowling match against another team. If that team member lost, the other team member was busy building a house of cards to get credit for the challenge. See picture of the house of cards to figure out which we needed. It's tough making a house of cards and getting it to stay standing when the floor vibrates every time someone walks buy. Necessary steps were taken to make sure the table remained standing. We also turned in our Mensa challenge and walked out of the Urban Saloon with our day half finished.

house of cards

Next, we tried to find Franklin Town Park, which Google put at 18th and Spring Garden to play SpikeBall, but we couldn't find it. Turns out the park is at 18th and Callowhill and we didn't walk down that far. Instead we walked back to Broad and Fairmount to catch the Broad Street Line down to South Street. At least that was the plan...instead, as we pulled into the Walnut-Locust stop, I had the brilliant idea to get off there and go a different route through the challenges. Which was idiotic and possibly a symptom of temporary insanity. Once we were off the subway, Becca kindly pointed out that we still had to go to South for two challenges regardless of where we got off. So...we trudged to 9th and Bainbridge for our sixth challenge at Expressive Hand.

When we talked to Jared after our fifth challenge, he and Heather had already completed 7 challenges. We felt slow, but this changed after we got to South Street and Old City. We walked into Expressive Hand for the challenge, which turned out to be finger spelling a word on a card that we randomly selected. The word turned out to be "City Chase" and we were finished our sixth challenge in about 3 minutes.

From Expressive Hand we headed up to the Whole Foods at 9th and South for another challenge that we were looking forward to. There we had to raise $30 for a great charity, Back on My Feet. Back on My Feet helps the homeless get cleaned up and get interviews to get themselves back on track. It started when Anne Mahlum would run past a homeless shelter every day on her run. She organized a running club with the homeless shelter and through running, got them the help they needed to turn their lives around. The challenge required us to solicit strangers on the street to donate money to the organization. As incentives we had shirts and wristbands which could be bought for $25 and $5, respectively. We didn't sell a shirt, but we did sell a bunch of bracelets. For me, the thing that stood out the most about asking for donations was that the kids we talked to donated more than the adults. We would talk to a group of teenagers and they'd all donate $1 or so. But the adults who could, theoretically, afford to donate more were harder to get the money from. It was a good feeling knowing that the kids were doing to donating. I suppose there's hope for today's youth, after all. After we raised our $30, we headed off to our 8th challenge at Society Hill Dance Academy.

We walked down to 2nd and Pine and found the Academy. There we found a pile of tutus and knew what lay ahead for us. After I squeezed into the pink tutu, we quickly learned a short routine. Then we did it 3 times, practicing twice and the third time to music. I am not the most graceful person on the face of the planet. But it was fun.

learning balletballet 5

After earning our 7th challenge point, we trucked it over to 3rd and Market to Doggie Style. There we tried miserably to identify 8 dog breeds. After failing, I got to eat dog food. It wasn't so bad, actually. Luckily it was a "natural" dog food. It had turkey, gravy, sweet potatoes and other stuff. It tasted kind of like a cold stew and didn't go down too badly. Also, I had smartly brought gum along for the day, so I was able to chase the dog food with a stick of minty fresh gum.

dog food mosaic

A block down Market was our 10th and final challenge. We had to put a snake down our shirt. This was probably the easiest challenge of the day, but apparently there were girls that were crying while they had the snake slithering through their shirts.

After the 10th challenge we hustled back to Love Park to the finish line. After crossing, we learned that we finished in 110th place. Our friends Blake and Patrick finished 18th and Jared and Heather finished 75th. We figure that if we hadn't followed my excellent advice to get off early on the subway, we would have finished at about the same time as Jared and Heather. Regardless, we had a great time and it was a fantastic experience. I'm willing to bet that next year's Chase will be even better.


City Chase USA
Back on My Feet
Expressive Hand
Society Hill Dance Academy
Doggie Style
Eastern State Penitentiary


Jack said...

Sounds super fun!! I'm doing it in Atlanta this coming weekend. Woohoo!!

Josh said...

It was a ton of fun! I would recommend using public transportation whenever you can. We didn't utilize it as much as we should have. Good luck!