Racing To Nowhere On The Autobahn
NEW YORK, March 22, 2006
(CBS) Germany's famed high-speed Autobahn put the brakes on the mother-daughter team of Wanda and Desiree on "Amazing Race 9" in Tuesday night's episode, when they took a wrong exit.
They made their final pit stop to fill in The Early Show co-anchor Rene Syler Wednesday.
The nine remaining teams finished up an extra-long stretch in Munich, Germany, as the "Amazing Race 9" official Web site notes: "After starting on the mat in Moscow in first place, friends Eric and Jeremy never looked back, catching the first flight to Frankfurt, Germany, taking a wild ride on a Mercedes-Benz test track, and ultimately winning their second leg."
Desiree told Syler Wednesday that she and Wanda are very disappointed they've been sent packing: "We had such a strong finish in the first leg of the race that we really had hoped to be there longer than we were."
Wanda explained to CBS News that, at one point, she and Desiree "were on the Autobahn on the way to Munich and we took the wrong exit. There aren't that many exits on the Autobahn, so we had to drive for 30 minutes before we could even turn around. All together, we lost about 45 minutes."
Picking up the story at a later point, the "Race" Web site says, "Hours behind the other Teams after an afternoon of misery, partners Danielle and Dani and Wanda and Desiree finally arrived together at Bad Tolz for the Travelocity Gnome search. It became apparent to both Teams that they were in last place together. A disappointed Wanda said, 'We don’t want to be competing against each other. We’ve been teaming up.' A regretful Danielle noted, 'We can only help each other so long.'
After finding a gnome, the childhood friends hurried away as Desiree continued her search with daylight fading.
In tears, Desiree apologized to her mother for not being able to find a gnome while her mother tried to encourage her to keep looking. After locating the gnome, the duo took off in hopes of catching up to Danielle and Dani."
Desiree told CBS News, "I spent about 45 minutes searching. The problem was. it was dark and the other teams have already claimed their gnomes. I kept finding empty holes. I found all of the other teams holes before I found the last gnome."
Thick fog didn't help, Wanda pointed out to Syler.
"Munich is incredibly beautiful," Desiree chimed in, "but with the fog, it was very eery."
The "Race" Web site continued the story: "Arriving at Bavaria Film, childhood friends Danielle and Dani quickly learned the dance, earning their clue to stay ahead of mother and daughter Wanda and Desiree, who arrived just as the girls finished. Pulling out of the parking lot, Danielle said, 'We’ve been through too much to go home right now. I am not getting eliminated.' Although Wanda and Desiree gave Danielle and Dani a run for their money, in the end Danielle held true to her word as the relieved childhood friends stepped on the mat in eighth place.When the exhausted Wanda and Desiree arrived at the Siegestor, Phil gave them the bad news that they had been eliminated from THE AMAZING RACE. On her partner, Desiree remarked, 'My mother has always been someone who’s met challenges with grace and with strength. I’ve been really fortunate to be able to look up to someone that had a lot of attributes that I really wanted to emulate.” On Desiree, Wanda noted, “My daughter, she’s an adult now, so this Race just reassured me that she’s very independent and it’s just wonderful.' "
For more details on the latest "Race" episode, click here.
Wanda and Desiree say they've always been close.
Both have a great sense of humor and enjoy shopping, traveling and cooking.
Wanda Lopez-Rochford, a 44-year-old corporate trainer, is married and lives in Smyrna, Ga. Fluent in Spanish, Wanda has also lived in New York and Puerto Rico. One accomplishment she's proudest of is earning two college degrees while raising Desiree. More recently, Wanda was able to share in the excitement of watching Desiree graduate from NYU.
Desiree Cifre lives in New York City, where she works as a writer. Currently in a steady relationship, she describes herself as passionate and artistic. An only child, her biggest pet peeve about her mother is that she tends to be overprotective.
But Desiree told CBS News their "Race" experience changed that: "I wasn't giving her enough credit. I thought she was too over-protective, but she sees me as an independent woman now."
"She's my little girl in my heart, but she's a grownup," Wanda said to Syler with a chuckle.
Although they were playing to win, Wanda and Desiree also hoped to expand their knowledge of different cultures while seeing the world during the race.
What are they up to now?
"I just finished up a screenplay and I'm trying to sell it," Desiree says. "I graduated from NYU."
Wanda says, "I quit my job due the race, and now I've got a new job working from home." http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/03/22/earlyshow/series/amazingrace/main1428954.shtml