There are so many cities that TAR has not yet used for the beginning and end of the race. Let's discuss some cities that should be used for beginnings and/or endings, and why.
I live in St. Louis
, the "Gateway to the West" and the TAR producers ought to consider starting and/or ending a season here for a few reasons:
- Airport drama would be hilarious as our "international" airport rarely ever gets direct international service anymore (except maybe Canada or Mexico). Getting into St. Louis or leaving from St. Louis would entail the added challenge of finding a good connection to wherever they need to go, or wherever they're coming from.
- St. Louis has some of the worst traffic congestion since so many major interstates (I-55, I-44, I-64/US-40, I-70) meet in one place downtown...this could allow for more drama.
- The city has several small to mid-sized parks tucked in hard to find places as well as one huge park (Forest Park) with several landmarks that could be used for a final challenge/clue-hunt before the final mat.
Starting Line Scenario #1: Jefferson National Expansion Memorial
(otherwise known as "The Arch Grounds")
Teams would line up on the steps of the Arch Grounds facing the Mississippi River as Phil gives his opening spiel. The teams would have marked cars waiting for them along the riverfront drive, with a clue instructing teams to drive to Lambert International to catch their first flight. The mad dash would be down the steps (rather than up at Red Rocks) to the cars, and onto the airport, about 5 or 6 miles northwest of downtown.
Alternate transportation idea: the clue would instruct the teams to take the train to the airport (ala TAR6 in Chicago). The clue wouldn't specify that the train means MetroLink--our light rail mass transit system.Pro:
very scenic and an unmistakable St. Louis icon. Con:
it would be extremely hard to shut down the riverfront and keep this Starting Line location under wraps from the public.Starting Line Scenario #2: Busch Stadium (III)
Starting at our recently opened (third) Busch Stadium would be a definite shout-out to TAR4. This new stadium is a big deal downtown. I could see things playing out similarly to the TAR4 opening. Phil could give his spiel from on the field. However, the cars would not be in a big parking lot...rather, they should make the racers find the cars inside an adjacent parking garage, then off to Lambert Airport. Pro:
a shout-out to our city's love for Cardinals baseball.
well, obviously the stadium thing has been done before.
Finish Line Scenario #1:
Final 3 teams will recieve a clue: "Fly to your destination city-- St. Louis, Missouri. Once there, take a taxi to The MUNY to recieve your next clue."
The MUNY is the nation's oldest and largest outdoor amphitheater, and it's an 80+ year old cultural landmark here in STL. The clue, taken from a clue box in front of the MUNY's building facade, would read: "Find your way through either the north or south Pergola (covered walkway) to reach the amphitheater's stage."
I envision a final geography-related task to be performed on the MUNY's stage, and while I don't know how it would be done, I would love to see the producers figure out a way to involve the nearly 11,000 seats in the amphitheater. Once teams are finished with this final task, they recieve their final clue: "Find your way to the Saint Louis Statue here in Forest Park, then proceed down Art Hill to the Finish Line. This is it! GO GO GO!!!"
The final mat would be at the base of Art Hill right next to the Tidal Basin (a large lake) where Phil, the philiminated racers await. I imagine some stellar views of the F3 teams running down our beloved Art Hill, so named because the Saint Louis Art Museum is at the top of it. (It's also a popular sledding paradise in winter.)Pro:
A geography and/or brains task to end the race. A couple of landmarks that a cab driver would either have trouble or ease to find.Con:
Forgetting to ask your cabbie to wait at the final task could be a crucial mistake. Teams would be screwed by having to travel a relatively long distance on foot to the Saint Louis Statue...which is at the top of Art Hill. Not to mention trying to find good directions from a local currently in Forest Park.Finish Line Scenario #2:
Final 3 teams will recieve a clue: "Fly to your destination city-- St. Louis, Missouri. Once there, take a taxi to the Missouri Botanical Gardens to find the Climatron Observatory where you will recieve your next clue."
The Botanical Gardens are another icon of St. Louis (along with the Arch). Once the teams arrive at the Observatory, their next clue will read: "Follow the red/yellow route markers to find your next clue."
This would lead to a final geography-related task somewhere in the Gardens (along the lines of Scenario #1). Once the team completes the task, their final clue will read: "Proceed on foot to the east end of Tower Grove Park for the Finish Line. This is it! GO GO GO!!!"
Tower Grove Park is directly south of the Gardens, and Teams would have to rely on their directional faculties (or help from locals) to find the east end of the park, where Phil, the philiminated racers and the Final Mat would await.Pro:
Racers have to depend on good directional faculties and swift feet getting from the Gardens to Tower Grove.Con:
Can't think of any.
Of course, what would the history of TAR be like without another corny, food-related task. The following task could be added to Finish Line Scenario #2
somehow:"Find your way to Ted Drewes, where you will recieve your next clue."
Ted Drewes is an amazingly popular local frozen custard establishment. Racers would recieve a clue: "Finish a quart-sized Concrete, and an employee will give you your next clue."
The possible muck-up of this task would be that there are TWO locations of Ted Drewes, plus running around with all that custard in your belly can't be too good.
Comments? Any St. Louisans want to add their thoughts?