jawajames (jawajames) wrote,

Urban Dare - San Diego 2013: Team Jedi gets second place!

My friend Tim was going to be in town the weekend of Urban Dare San Diego, so he got me to sign up for it and we brought back "Team Jedi" - after winning first place back in 2009. It's been a few years since I had competed in any Urban Dare or other urban scavenger hunt races, but we ended up finishing second place, even with a serious backtrack!

While it had been a few years since Tim had lived in San Diego, I used to work downtown and still occasionally go downtown for different things, and am always scouting the area, which paid off for today!

The starting line was at McFadden's, a saloon on 5th Avenue in the Gaslamp Quarter. At the race start, the clue sheets were distributed in the back patio of the bar, and I waded through the crowd to grab a clue sheet and Tim and I sat down and got started. We sent off some photos of the cluesheet to Whitney, backing us up at home with internet research. Urban Dare puts the clues in a random order, so part of the game is finding the locations, then plotting a route to best cover them all. We'd been burned in the past where we plotted too few of the points before heading out, and had to backtrack when we had insufficient or wrong info.

Right away, we picked off several clues where i knew their locations (roughly) - the statues of Clifton Sprague, the first emperor of China, and the MLK promenade. Then we started getting addresses for most of the establishment name clues and realized that that Yogi Berra clue was going to be a banner in Little Italy. So we set off, deciding to go north, hitting up the nearby spots on the way to Little Italy, then cut along the harborfront to the park clues, and circle back with the Chinese Emperor. At this point, we didn't have confirmation for the firehouse clue, but i did know the location of a fire house museum near little italy, so we set off.

You can follow along with this Google Map or view all the photos on Flickr: Urban Dare San Diego 2013.
A block north of McFaddens's was our first checkpoint to visit:

9. As Time Goes By was sung by Sam in this movie. Get your picture in front of the place that goes by this movie's name.

Casablanca is pretty easy trivia, and the Casablanca Lounge was easy to find (836 5th Avenue). My camera felt a little slow taking the self-shots, but we got a decent one on the second or third try and a few teams were here. We then cut over through Horton Plaza to where I knew the developer statues were, and traded photo duty with another team for checkpoint 7:

7. Put up a big development and get your own statue. Get your picture with a statue of Ernest Hahn.

Then we cut northwest, zigzagging blocks, and cutting across empty parking lots, and came to where we had the address for CP 8.

8. Sean Penn and Esai Morales were rivals at juvenile detention center in this film. Get your picture in front of a place that goes by the name of this movie.

The movie was Bad Boys (from 1983), not to be confused with the Will Smith/Martin Lawrence film from 1995. Bad Boys Bail Bonds at 1168 Union Street seemed a lot easier to reach than a place way way north on Second Ave.

We zigzagged northwest a bit more to reach CP 11.

11. Morgan Freeman played Nelson Mandela in this 2009 movie. Get your picture in front of the fitness center that goes by this name.

Invictus was immediately recalled, and we found Crossfit Invictus at 1446 Columbia St. At this point, we felt that we were doing quite well - we hadn't seen any teams since the Hahn statue. At this point, we needed some confirmation on our checkpoint 3, but i knew that the Firehouse museum was just a block away, so we went up there, where Whitney confirmed that the firehouse museum was not the answer to CP 3, but instead the Fire Station back towards city hall. We decided to double back to First Avenue at this point and get to the fire station for CP 3.

3. Go to the fire house known as the big house and get your picture with the bell.

The Big House is the nickname of San Diego Fire Department's Station No. 1 which is by City Hall. This backtrack, southeast took up about 15 blocks of travel in a loop. When we got there, we found the bell with a big sign proclaiming it the Big House, and other teams were there.

We cut back northwest, using more diagonals when we could across parking lots (and Tim proclaiming that my incessant running across streets was a bad idea), and passed Invictus (with a bunch of teams there, as well as gym members popping out for a run around the block), and continued to India street in Little India. On the way, we found a woman in exercise clothes, and asked her to help us with Checkpoint 10 - she declined to cartwheel, but she did agree to pose with Tim for a 'wedding proposal' photo.

10. PHOTO HUNT - Get a picture of someone not in the race doing a cartwheel AND get your picture kneeling down to propose marriage to someone not in the race. You may not use the same person for these 2 pictures.

2. He was known for sayings like, "Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours." Get your picture with his banner honoring famous Italian-Americans.

Reaching India and Cedar, we started seeing banners of famous Italian-American baseball players and started hunting for Yogi Berra's name, and very nearly jogged right under it. Took a couple pics to get a shot that had us and his name clearly visible, and we turned back south, toward the waterfront.

A block west, we found a dad with two kids, and we convinced the older boy to do some attempts at cartwheels for us.

From my general tromping around downtown earlier this year, I had discovered the bonus photo location, and knew roughly where it was. We ended up cutting one block too far west, and ended up trotting along the train tracks for a block before returning to the main street and finding the mural:

5:00 Minute Bonus - Get a picture of a mural for Hires Root Beer that was discovered when they tore down the building next to it.

I remembered it was roughly a block or two north of the train station, and that's where I found it. We went past the train station and then cut over on Broadway to Harbor Drive to reach the Midway museum - crossing Pacific Highway, we found a racer without her teammate.. very odd! (She was confused as to why we wanted to go west to the harborfront, but we gave her an ambiguous answer and kept going.)

6. Go to the statue of Vice Admiral Clifton Sprague for your wheelbarrow dare.

Reaching Harbor Drive near the Midway Museum, we saw several teams heading north, and we figured we caught up with the teams racing in the opposite direction of the loop. We cut around the crowds of tourists, and found the Clifton Sprague statue right where I thought it was, and did the wheelbarrow dare - I held Tim's feet as he wheelbarrowed around a short course - maybe 30-40 feet total? We got our passport stamped and ran south along the waterfront to Ruocco Park.

1. Go to Ruocco Park for your 3-legged dare.

We reached the Urban Dare staffer in the park just as another team started their three-legged dare, and we were promptly bound at the ankles, and headed off in the loop around the streetlights. I hate this dare, since Tim and I have different strides, but we got into a good rhythm, and finished quickly and got stamped just as a huge batch of teams arrived from the direction we were running towards.

4. Go to Shedding the cloak honoring MLK Jr. for your scrabble stick dare. using the letters with numbers on the sticks, come up with the value for the word on your passport.

The old Spellbound dare, renamed to scrabble stick dare. I didn't know exactly where Shedding the Cloak was, but I figured it was part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Promenade, along the north side of Harbor Drive. Cutting east along Harbor, we spotted a crowd in Urban Dare shirts in the hedge maze at the northern end of the promenade, and headed over there - the simple labyrinth made a great place for the Scrabble Stick dare.

The word on our passport was 'Environmental' so we had to find stakes containing letters of our word, and then use the corresponding numbers to find a sum, to give to the Urban Dare staffer there to earn our stamp. We wound our way to the center of the maze, finding all but one letter, then cut back around the outside of the maze to find the 'O'. Plug it all into a smartphone calculator, and we got it right on the first try - stamped on our way. This is definitely a dare where knowing how the dare works will help, as it is not necessarily obvious that you are supposed to simply add up the numerical values for the letters in your word.

Finally, the last checkpoint on our route:

5. Get your picture with a statue of the first emperor of China.

I'm pretty sure that this one had been used before in an Urban Dare race, and I knew again where it was... roughly. We took the MLK promenade to cut the diagonal, and hopped across a few parks, before cutting east, and found the Chinese Historical Museum, and the statue outside the building across the street (the museum's annex), and got another team to swap photo taking duties.

Then a final run to the finish line - 5 blocks or so. We came in just as the first team had finished getting their photos reviewed, but they also had earned the 5 minute bonus, so we couldn't leapfrog them. It turned out that the first place team had one person who worked at Invictus. Still, if we had verified the location of 'the big house' nailed down early, we could have knocked off a 15-block off course detour, and probably won first.

I probably hadn't run this much in quite some time - our finish time was 1:13, with the adjusted time of 1:08. I figure we ran maybe 80% or more of the distance, covering over 4 miles, including doing three dares, taking photos and such. One of the first teams we saw as we approached the Midway museum ended up being the 3rd place team (earning the 5 minute bonus to beat out the team that crossed the finish line in third place) Yay for second place for Team Jedi!
Tags: urban dare
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