Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Running of a Different Kind: City Race

Yesterday, my parents, Doug and I spent a few hours running around Olvera Street like crazies, hunting for answers, annoying museum docents and finding any other clues we could. Why, aside from the fact that trivia and history and this kinda nerdiness is right up my alley? It's called CityRace LA, and much like the bigger, well-known ideas like Great Urban Race (that I will do one day!), it sends you on a whirlwind adventure through any given part of LA.

Last trip to Olvera Street, 2003.
I've never done GUR, but to my understanding, it's a bit more wide-spread and you run (or bus, or subway) upwards of 7+ miles throughout the adventure. What I did like about CityRace is that your hunt is on a very specific, targeted area of Los Angeles. You can check out their races here - or just know that you can pick adventures ranging from Santa Barbara to Long Beach, Olvera Street to Santa Monica, and even one in California Adventure (unfortunately, park ticket comes on top of that price tag)! So much fun, and so neat focusing on specific areas.

I haven't been to Olvera Street since the summer I left for college (2003), so it was neat going back. Further, I don't think I've ever explored the historial and cultural significance of Olvera Street, so it was neat to learn about the city from a different perspective! Olvera Street is known as the birthplace of Los Angeles, and is home to the oldest standing house in LA, the original fire house, and so much more.

Olvera Street shops.
Olvera Street is chock-full of restaurants, shops, and vendors up and down a small, congested area just across the street from Union Station. Our tour started at the new plaza and statue commemorating Antonio Aguilar. We were up against 7 other teams to not only answer 28 questions, but to come in the fastest.

Questions ranged from historical trivia about the area to math involving train schedules, since Union Station was included in our map of the day. All questions were meant to be able to be answered without smart phones - answers were on plaques, signs, murals, or you could even ask docents, shop owners, vendors, and other folks for answers!

  • What was the name of the last fire horse in Los Angeles?
  • If a passenger takes the Coast Starlight train the entire route from Los Angeles to Seattle, what is the time of their journey?
  • How many original built-in chairs remain in the Union State main waiting room?
  • What was the original name of the Hellman/Quon Building?
  • What Los Angeles socialite sought to renovate and restore the Olvera Street marketplace and area?

Union Station, Los Angeles.
Some questions even involved Aztec math (we ended up Googling the last part of it), Aztec languages, and Latin names for various plants. Some were sincerely tough!

In addition to the questions, there was also an opportunity for bonus points. You could purchase various things along your scavenger hunt for additional points at the end. Most questions were worth 5 points, some 10, and bonus points were either 3 or 6. We were going to get a churro, ended up not getting it, and were the first team to check in!

Turns out, buying the bonus points would have gotten us first place. Had we purchased
a CHURRO, we would have won! We finished in 4th, and that was solely by the number of questions correct (we only missed 2 of the 28 - holla!). Next time... we will buy that churro.

Team Stons!
Have you ever done a city scavenger hunt? Would you? Where?

PS. I was a really bad blogger, and all the photos except the first and the last are not mine own. Oops.