You know, I really never thought I'd be handcuffed and shackled to my best friend in a cell inside Alcatraz prison. But that's exactly what happened on one of the most fun days of my life. On Saturday, I competed in the Verizon Wireless/BlackBerry Curve Challenge: Destination Alcatraz!
BlackBerry has put on these Amazing Race-style events in Boston, Minneapolis, and Portland before, and San Francisco was chosen for the championships. I couldn't miss it, so I grabbed my BFF, some running shoes, and took off flying out of Union Square with a packet full of tasks and riddles. To hear more about my Alcatraz adventure, just read more
We ran up San Francisco hills to get to challenges like big wheel relays, racing through a real submarine in Fisherman's Wharf, running up the steps of Coit Tower to do blindfolded puzzles, and the whole time, we were manned with just a BlackBerry Curve to use to figure out where our next checkpoint was. We could use the browser to Google clues, the VZ Navigator to use the GPS to get to addresses, and the phone to call anyone for help. Since I didn't have a camera, I used the Curve's to capture that grainy masterpiece above.
Eventually, we rode a ferry to Alcatraz Island. Once on the island, we had to figure out trivia about the prison — which we thought was the main challenge — until we turned in our answers, only to have handcuffs slapped on our wrists and someone say, "Welcome to Alcatraz."
Instructed to go into a barren cell (one in the infirmary, used for prisoners decades ago, and now restricted from tour groups) and sit down, we did so, and our ankles were shackled together. Prisoners until we could figure out the combo to the lock on our legs' chains, we cracked the code, and then had to find our one key in another cell full of jailers' keys for the cuffs. Needless to say, it was unbelievable.
Never in my life of living in San Francisco did I think I'd get to experience anything quite like this, and I doubt I will again. My team didn't place, but the fact that we finished (and beat a dozen or so teams, ha!) and completed every challenge was an awesome reward and I've never been more proud of myself. Go team geeksugar!