Go! We Can Beat Them! - Leg 1"
- September 27
STARTING LINE: FULTON FERRY STATE PARK, BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
It took many, many, many renditions of The Amazing
Race to return to where it all began...but our host
Phil Keoghan is back in the Big Apple. Specifically, he's
in Brooklyn where he awaits a record FORTY Racers. That's
because this ain't no ORDINARY Amazing Race. THIS
Amazing Race is all about one thing: family.
The ferries arrive with the ten families of four. That's
right: no long-distance friends, no roommates, no teams
from reality-show past. Every one of the four-person teams
are related, either by blood or by marriage. And they are:
THE GAGHAN FAMILY - Bill (father, 40), Tammy
(mother, 42) Carissa (daughter, 9) and Billy (son, 12):
From Glastonbury, Connecticut, these guys can RUN. The
adults run marathons, the kids race each other. Hell,
Carissa can do a mile in seven minutes!
THE LINZ FAMILY - Tommy (brother, 19), Megan
(sister, 21), Alex (brother, 22) and Nick (brother, 24):
From Cincinnati, OH, this brothers-and-sister-act
joke around constantly and are as tight-knit as a family
can be (their parents have been together for 28 years).
THE PAOLO FAMILY - Tony (father, 52), Marion
(mother, 52), D.J. (son, 24) and Brian (son, 16):
From Carmel, NY, Tony's a sanitation worker who moved from
Italy at age 12 and claims to be "living the American
dream". DJ seems a little spoiled...but they seem tight.
THE BLACK FAMILY - Reggie (father, 42), Kimberly
(mother, 40), Kenneth (son, 11) and Austin (son, 8):
From Woodbridge, Virginia, this family is the
most aptly named (given their African-American). The
parents are teachers and the boys know tae kwon do.
Austin, the youngest Racer, hopes to get ahead by his
THE BRANSEN FAMILY - Walter (father, 51),
Elizabeth (daughter, 25), Lauren (daughter, 22) and
Lindsay (daughter, 20): From Park Ridge, IL, the
elderly papa and his three "little girls" get by with
teasing wach other...particularly the girls teasing "Walder".
THE WEAVER FAMILY - Linda (mother, 46), Rebecca
(daughter, 19), Rachel (daughter, 16) and Rolly (son, 14):
From Ormond Beach, FL, this is the sympathetic
vote. See, the father died on the race track while
cleaning debris during a race and they're hoping to bond
more during this Race.
THE AIELLO FAMILY - Tony (father, 57), Kevin
(son-in-law, 31), Matt (son-in-law, 31) and David
(son-in-law, 26): From Mansfield, Massachusetts,
the father of three daughters Races with the husbands of
said daughters...so what better way to bond that by going
on a long, gruelling Race?
THE SCHROEDER FAMILY - Mark (father, 40), Char
(mother, 39), Stassi (daughter, 17) and Hunter (son, 15):
I stand corrected. Given that THIS family is from
New Orleans, maybe THEY'RE the sentimental faves...though
the Race probably ended before Katrina came through.
Still, the girl is gothy and the boy says he'll eat small
THE GODLEWSKI FAMILY - (all sisters) Michelle
(42), Christine (37), Sharon (39) and Tricia (26):
From Des Plaines, IL, they were never
much-devoted sisters. They have very strong
personalities...and, if they don't clash, I'll be VERY
THE ROGERS FAMILY - Denny (father, 46), Renee
(mother, 42), Brittney (daughter, 22) and Brock (son, 19):
from Shreveport, LA, this family's a patriarchy
as Denny claims to be the boss. And they may be from the
"Sow-eth" but they sure ain't hospitable!
You all know the rules by now: start with a Route Marker,
go to a location, get ANOTHER Route Marker, go to THAT
location, etc. En route, they run into DETOURs (where
they'll have to choose between two tasks, each with its
own pros and cons), ROAD BLOCKs (a task one team member
must perform), FAST FORWARDs (where doing a task will send
them straight to the PIT STOP) and maybe a YIELD or two
(where one family can cause another to stop racing for a
time). First family to cross the FINISH LINE wins that
check with a one followed by six zeroes.
Phil meets our forty Racers at the harbor and explains the
rules to the folks. There are a FEW changes in this
special edition. There's no telling how many legs there
are in total; only that there are seven elimination legs.
Aside from not paying for airline tickets, the families
will not have to pay for gasoline, either (I'm guessing
that, since they'll probably be in SUVs a lot, they'll
need to conserve all the money they can GET). Other than
that, no different. Their first clues are with their
luggage, they must read them and head for the marked SUVs
(told ya) and drive into Manhattan across the famous
Brooklyn Bridge. For then on, they're more-or-less on
And, now, Phil's mantra: "The world is waiting for you.
Good luck... travel safe.......GO!"
And the eighth Amazing Race is on!!
And the first clue for the families:
Manhattan via the Brooklyn Bridge and go to Eastern
Mountain Sports on SoHo (SOuth of HOuston Street).
There, you must pick up four sleeping bags, four
sleeping mats, four headlamps and a tent... as well as
your next clue.
You have $150
for this leg of the Race.
As expected, the first team to the SUVs are the
well-conditioned Gaghans. They think "SoHo" is a nice
place. (I guess when a place is surrounded by Greenwich
Village, Chinatown and Little Italy, it's "nice"). The
Weavers are a surprising second and peel out with a
screech of excitement (hint: get used to this noise).
One-by-one, the families depart for the streets of the
smallest county in America.
Linda Weaver is praying to God to find the store. "Walder"
Bransen gets his girls to buckle-up before departing.
Local construction workers help out the Blacks. DJ Paolo
is ALREADY yelling at his dad to put the pedal to the
metal. And the Godlewski sisters are in dead last.
First miscue of the Race: Rebecca Weaver takes a wrong
turn to the bridge. She DOES find the bridge...but goes
the WRONG WAY. Oh, THIS is gonna be an interesting Race
for sure with THEM in it! The sisters pass them and Rolly
doesn't want "that old fart" to pass them.
MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, USA
The Gaghans are told from passers-by that they're
close to the shop. The Aiellos...not so much. They nearly
get into one of the hundreds of car accidents a month in
the city. The Gaghans and Linzes meet up...and Tammy
starts to bob and weave to keep the Linzes behind her.
However, they both agree to work together at the shop.
And, thus, the first "alliance" is born.
"Hiiiii," yells Christine Godlewski to a passer-by. "Were
trying to get to the town of SoHo!" (Insert "dumb blonde"
joke here.) They get directions and head off...nearly
running into the Schroeders. Char calls the "The Pink
Ladies" because the sisters all wear pink. (Insert
"Grease" reference here.) Rebecca Weaver is weaving
through traffic, calling the drivers "crazy"! (Insert
"Welcome to New @#$%in' York"comment here.) The Bransons
and Rogers enjoy people-watching. The Black sons watch out
the windows for the shop. And the Paolos...they argue with
each other...A LOT! (Insert "Not another Jonathan &
Victoria" eye-roll here!)
Anyhow, the Gaghans and Linzes arrive at the shop first,
grab their gear and, in the processes, grab the next Route
Now go find a
'frank' on 91st between Park Street & Lexington
Avenue (more than 90 city blocks
away) to find your next clue.
The 'frank', of course, is a hot dog from one of the
many, many venders that work in Manhattan. But what they
DON'T know is that they'll also run into a bit of
Amazing Race history: the vendors the teams are
looking for are Kevin & Drew, aka the "Frat Bastards" from
the first Race!
Both families make their way out of the store and back
into their SUVs with all their equipment. As they haul,
the Godlewskis arrive with the Schroeders right on their
tailpipes. But...WHOOPS! Three of the sisters head for a
bar adjacent to the store...until Tricia gets them on the
straight and narrow. Both them and the New Orleans family
go to get their clue.
The Paolos...well, we've all heard that Manhattan driving
can bring out the worst in people...and if the Paolos
don't prove it, NOTHING does! DJ is fuming, Tony is
sighing behind the wheel, Marion tells DJ to shut up and
Brian follows suit. Ayup...they obviously took lessons
from Team Dom-Sub.
As they argue their way around the island, the Aiellos are
fifth to get to the shop. The screeching Weavers and the
quiet Bransens are right behind them. As all three head
out to find the hot dog stand (the Weavers STILL
screeching), the Rogers arrive. The Blacks are ninth to
find the place.
The Paolos...they're lost in New York. (Insert "Home
Alone" scream here). Finally, DJ - who once told his dad
NOT to stop for directions - gets out and asks for
directions. As such, they finally arrive at the shop...in
Through the graffiti-stricken streets, the families look
for the hot dog stand. The Geghans and Godlewskis find the
West Line Highway and take it downtown. The Schroeders are
having issues as Mark taunts other drivers and wish he
could block other teams with handicapped children...and
Char appears to be getting a migraine. The Aiellos wonder
what they're going to do with their new equipment, the
Weavers see the Bransens pass them and Linda tells Rebecca
(or is that Chewbacca) to "punch it". The Blacks are just
taking in the sights of the big city since they haven't
travelled much. And the Paolos...are STILL arguing! The
boys yell at their Mom for asking if a Route Marker will
be at their stop. And Marion replies, "You're so cute when
Hey, you Linzes, git yer rat-feces-infested dawgs right
'ere at Frat Bastards' Dawg and Clue Cart! The Linzes have
no time to chat with Kevin & Drew as they arrive in first.
They simply get the next clue:
across the Washington Bridge and head to Washington
Crossing, Pennsylvania (roughly 97 miles through New
Jersey), where Washington made his famous crossing of
the Delaware during the Revolutionary War. At the
overlook, you'll find your next clue.
The next one to get the clue is the "cute" (according
to Drew) Carissa Gaghan. The Schroeders are next, followed
closely by the Godlewskis, who actually think one of them
will have to EAT a hot dog. Tony Aiello is next out to
grab the clue...with Kevin thinking he'll have a heart
attack before the Race is done. Two of the Bransen
daughters are next...and Drew wouldn't mind being on THEIR
team. The Rogers and Weavers both reach the Frat Bastards
at about the same time. The Blacks are a bit far behind.
And the Paolos...well, y'know...
Now, are they REALLY going to the STATE of Pennsylvania?!
That's the probing question on the minds of several of the
female Racers. Linda Weaver and Megan Rogers, to be exact.
The Gaghans, however, stay on I-95 south...and Carissa
gets some sleep by leaning on Bill's shoulder. Awwwww...
Anyway, the Paolos reach the hot dog stand in last...and
younger son Brian recognizes Kevin & Drew and tells them
they're the best as he makes off with the clue. The Frat
Bastards' work is done. Go pick up the appearance check
from Viacom, guys.
"YAN-KEES SUCK! YAN-KEES SUCK!" chants the Bahstin-neighbored
Aiellos as they drive past The House That Steinbrenner
Ruined. (Despite BEING a native Noo-Yawka, I'd have to
agree with them 100%.) They, the Bransens and the Weavers
all get directions from the same rest-stop cashier and
Linda Weaver...doesn't know Pennsylvania's a STATE?! And
she's a @#$%IN' TEACHER?!? (Oy...MUST be from Florida;
most Floridian students can't even find FLORIDA on a map!)
They ask a trucker for his map and directions. And, before
leaving, Linda goes into Jehovah's Witness Mode with the
trucker. (I'm sure the daughters and son are hiding their
faces right about now.)
It's the LINZES who are lost now. They can't even get
directions at a rest stop because...well,...it's closed.
The Gaghans decide to finally ask directions at a major
convenience store chain. Needless to say, all ten teams
eventually find their way down I-95, across the Garden
State (as quickly as possible, I hope) and on towards...
WASHINGTON CROSSING, PENNSYLVANIA, USA
Oddly enough, it's the Aiellos who arrive at the
overlook first, with the Bransens hot on their tails. The
eight Racers...well, they race to the Route Marker, which
is located very close to a number of rowboats. Kevin
states, "Were probably going to cross the Delaware,
guys!" And, wouldn't you know it,...:
Pick a boat and
cross the Delaware River just as Washington did during
the Revolutionary War. Each boat has a Washington
impersonator aboard (though he won't be rowing, just
giving directions). Head for the Jersey shore where
the Route Marker is. Once there, one member must grab
a 13-star flag and return to the boat. Then you must
row back here and take part in a flag-folding ceremony
before receiving your next clue. By the way, as you
can see, there are only FOUR boats. One team per boat,
first come-first serve.
It ain't exactly Oxford vs. Cambridge, but the Aiellos
and the Bransens row their impersonators across the mighty
Delaware. The father and daughters get stuck on a
sandbar...and the father and sons-in-law get directions
AWAY from the sandbar and take a huge lead as Walter
pushes them off. David Aiello, an ex-Marine, is thrilled
to be re-enacting the crossing and grabbing the Betsy
Ross-sewn (allegedly) flag. As they head back tp the Penn
side, one of the Bransen girls gets out of the boat to
grab their own flag.
Meanwhile, back on I-95, the Schroeders make the terrible
mistake of following the sisters Godlewski, who have
zero-point-nada idea where they're going and are tickled
pink (I know...lousy pun) that the Schroeders are
following them. When the "traditional" family pulls up
beside the girls and find out that THEY'RE lost, Sharon
turns right around and hauls in the opposite direction,
not wanting to get more lost...but, in fact, doing just
that because NOBODY in the SUV know where the hell they
The Aiellos are a bunch of twelve-yead-olds, talking about
"stroking it hard" and "stroking it all you want" as if
they were in a Billy Squier video. Of course, they're a
little better off than the way "Walder" treats his "little
girls", yelling at them to row faster as not to drift. As
the two families head for home, the Rogers - who made up a
HELLUVA lot of time after escaping New York - arrive and
get their clue. In fourth, a few minutes behind, are the
The Gaghans still have little idea where they're
going...until they spy four boats out on the river they're
just heading across. Hey, those look like four families of
four rowing Washington across the...THE DELAWARE! THAT'S
IT! They get to the overlook and, upon reading the clue,
little Billy says he'll do the rowing. Uh,...Earth to
dude...this ain't a ROAD BLOCK!
The Aiellos finally arrive and, as they surrender their
vessel to the Gaghans, they go to the flag-folding
ceremony, which is usually conducted at day's end. It
brings a tear to David's eye as the military folk fold the
flag up. And, for their patience, they get the next clue:
to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (about 34 miles
away...yes, DRIVE there) and make your way to
Fairmount Park. You will camp for the night at Belmont
Plateau (hence the camping equipment you picked up in
NYC). A group of Eagle Scout will watch you assemble
your tents and will hand out departure times based on
how fast you get your tent up. The departure times
will be 10am, 10:30am and 11am.
As the Aiellos depart for the "Iladel" and the Bransens
arrive on shore, the Rogers and Weavers cast off for
Joisey, the confused Gaghans close behind. The Schroeders
SOMEHOW find the place...but they're none to happy with
the prospect of rowing. Stassi is a particular shade of
pale. They take the boat left by the Bransens and head for
the other side.
The Rogers and Weavers reach the shore at about the same
time. They grab the flags and...uh,...what the heck is
Rebecca Weaver doing swimming alongside the boat? Well,
anyhow, both teams get back to the starting point and
depart to Philly. Though the Rogers leave first, their
confusion about how to get the Philly causes the Weavers
to hoot and holla as they pass them.
The Gaghans are fifth to leave the crossing, Carrisa
holding in her breakfast. They are very supportive of each
other (which does NOT make good reality TV, I'm sure you
know). As the Schroeders finish the rowing and head back
out to I-95, who should arrive but the Blacks? Papa Reggie
is none too happy about this task since he's not sure his
young boys can hack the rowing part.
Meanwhile, in the middle of Jersey, the Godlewskis are
wondering if they'll EVER find the place before dark. The
Linzes finally decide to get a map and find that they're
about 45 minutes from the crossing. And the Paolos...they
seem to be nowhere NEAR I-95...but at least they're
relatively quiet this time.
But there's still hope for those poor lost teams; the
Blacks are definitely NOT good rowers! Their boat and oars
look like an octopus with Restless Leg Syndrome. As Reggie
figured, little Austin seems to be rowing in reverse,
throwing them WAY off course. Their Washington gets them
organized and the four finally start to head in the right
FAIRMONT PARK, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA, USA
Well, it seems the Aiellos are the first to reach
the Eagle Scout Jamboree and start to set up their
equipment. As the Bransens and Rogers get lost en route,
the screaming Weavers get to the park in second. As Rachel
predicts her family passing the Aiellos, up comes the
Gaghans (who SOMEHOW found their way to Philly easily).
The Bransens, upset that they were beaten to the camp,
arrive in fourth...and it's a tent-pitching race for the
best departure time! But it's the Aiellos and Weavers who
finish first, each getting the coveted 10am departure
WHOOPS! The Bransens has one of their support stakes in
the wrong place. That little mishap cost them a few
minutes in assembling...and a half-hour in departing as
the Gaghans finish third and get the last 10am ticket. As
such, the father and daughters end up in fourth and get
the first 10:30am ticket.
Back at the Delaware, the Blacks FINALLY get across and
the frustrated boys run out to grab the flag. As they
start heading back, the Godlewskis finally arrive. Their
rowing is FAR better organized than the Blacks' and the
two ship pass in the...afternoon. The Blacks hit the
beach, get the flag folded and book for Philly in seventh.
The ladies work like a well-oiled...boat and hit the
highway in eighth.
Well, well, well...the Linzes finally arrive. Megan wants
to prove she can be just as good at physical activities as
her brothers. And she proves it...by not synchonizing with
her bros. Still, they manage to get the flag and get back
to Penn...JUST as the Paolos arrive. And it appears the
yelling in the SUV doesn't seem to end in the dingy for
this family. (Talk about putting the 'fun' back in
The Rogers are next to the park...and the teams already
there offer to help them with the building (which, I
guess, is not against the "Rules of the Race"). As the
Schroeders arrive and start their pitching, the Rogers
(sans "Princess" Brittney) finish in fifth and get a
10:30am departure. The Schroeders make a mess of their
building but, thanks to the help of other families, they
finish in sixth, leaving at 10:30.
The Paolos...they try to rush the flag-folding ceremony.
Or at least Marion does while the males keep her quiet.
They get their clue...they run for the SUV...and they haul
ass...WITHOUT THEIR CLUE!! And, when they hit the highway,
they argue as to who HAS the clue. When they find out they
DON'T, DJ mutters, "Un-friggin'-believable!" THEN they
argue about going back and getting the clue. They seem to
forget that the "Rules of the Race" puts a penalty on
those who don't arrive at the PIT STOP with ALL clues
collected during a leg.
Back in Philly, the Blacks arrive and, like the rest, get
help with setting up the tent. And why not? The Blacks and
all families after can't get any better than 11am. When
the sisters Godlewski arrive, they get the same help...in
return for cookies. (Minds out of the gutter, boys!
Chocolate chip cookies!) Same with the Linzes, who are
glad as all hell that they're not last.
The Paolos...they ARE last. But they DO get the clue back
before hitting the park. You'd think that the LAST thing
they'd want is help of ANY kind from the other teams...but
they seem to be happy to let everyone else do their dirty
work for them. They get the last 11am starting time...and
we're left to wonder what happened to DJ and Brian in the
Boy Scouts that left them as such @$$holes!
10am: Aiellos, Weavers and Gaghans
10:30am: Bransens, Schroeders and Rogers
11am: Blacks, Linzes, Godlewskis and