Day 1: San Francisco
We were told to meet at 8:30 a.m. in the lobby of the hotel. We didn’t know if we were going to fly away at noon or spend the day in San Francisco, but Mark and I suspected we would complete scavenges in SF.
We were correct.
Today was our trial run, a way of orienting us to the type of scavenges we’d receive, how it would work, what these mysterious scavenge booklets would look like, how scoring works, etc. Unlike normal events, this one was considered pass/fail if we completed a mere 8 of the 38 challenges given us. We had eight hours.
“Don’t do more than eight,” he said. “Eight is all you need.” He gave pointed looks to two teams in particular.
“But what if–”
“Eight. There’s no extra credit for over achieving. Not today!”
There was some more banter. Yes, what we do today counts. But it counts only that you do eight, or you don’t do eight.
Bill asked the group one last time, “So…how many scavenges are you going to complete?”
Anyway, I wasn’t in the over-achieving category for once. I figured it’s best to save our energy for where it counts. Also…I was pretty terrified at how horrible I’d be at these challenges. I have zero trivial knowledge unless it relates to dolphin facts or the TV show Friends. Also, I can’t navigate public transportation. So as soon as we received our booklets, my fears were confirmed: I could confidently accomplish maybe two items.
Thankfully, Mark and I went off to eat breakfast, to look at the map and strategize. We came up with our top 8-10 scavenges to shoot for (in case one fell through) and circled the areas our map. Here’s an idea of some of them:
- Poll three locals (not at the hotel): Who is the most famous San Franciscan? (10pts)
- There is a saying on the Gateway to Chinatown. What does it say? (15pts)
- In the Financial District, visit the building on the site where the original Wells Fargo bank was founded in 1852. Where did you find it? (20pts)
- Someone famous got married at St. Peter and Paul Church in North Beach; visit it and tell me who? (25pts)
- Either/or: Either climb the “world’s steepest street;” or climb “the crookedest street” in San Francisco. Prove it. (35pts)
No smart device usage of any kind (except to take photos). That means no Google maps, no Uber, no phone a friend, no internet searches, etc. If we’re lost, we ask for directions. If we’re confused, we consult people rather than Wikipedia. We must use maps and rely on the kindness of strangers.
(There are other rules, but that’s the main one you need to know.)
Below are the some of the fruits of our labor.
- We completed 18 scavenges (over-achievers).
- We walked to every scavenge except our last one, making my final FitBit step count of the day: 33, 361.
- The only time we did take public transportation, it was a bus, and the traffic was so horrible that we were late to the final meeting at 5:15pm. I had flashes of America’s Next Top Model, being disqualified for not showing up at the appointed time, so I forced Mark to exit the bus and sprint to our hotel. It was at least a mile. Good thing he’s a runner or I might have killed him.
- We solicited the help of 17+ people, gave out 10 business cards and three stickers, and had general conversations with a handful of other strangers.
- We took 104 photos and 2 videos
- AND THIS IS ON A DAY THAT DOESN’T COUNT
This is a blogger’s dilemma. There’s no way to cover everything. But hopefully this blog gives you enough background to understand the set-up of our scavenges and what we’ll be doing, From here forward, I hope to just highlight our most meaningful, lucky, or bizarre encounters and challenges.
Lastly, today’s shout-outs go to Patrick, the dog-walking fount of San Franciscan knowledge; Pouja (and Nicholas), whose tip on Irish coffee lent itself to my most joyful moment; Lillian and Gabby who gave us a tip that led to an accidental discovery of the Wells Fargo building; and to Niko, the beat-era genius. Shout out also to my friend Sarah North, whose tour of San Francisco proved invaluable!
Next stop, i.e., the first stop….