F*ck this for a game of soldiers 4

—This is Tony and Matt's apartment in Ann Arbor, MI, the second pit stop in a race around the country.

"The Unnecessary Race (Season Finale)"

I felt like a contractor decided to build an apartment complex out of leftover materials from previous projects. Brick walls, glass cubes, cinder blocks in the ceiling, a creaky spiral staircase, wood paneling — it was very luxurious.

—As the winners of the last leg of the race, Jon and Rory won lunch at BD's Mongolian Barbecue.

BD's Mongolian Barbecue :: Ann Arbor, MI

My beef with Mongolian barbecue restaurants is that it's a hassle to have to pass through a food bar and then wait around the lone available grill every time you want to eat. Benihana offers the exact same meal except that I don't have to do anything.

One line on the receipt said "Join us on Easter Sunday!"

Who in their right mind would celebrate the resurrection of Christ at an Americanized chain Mongolian barbecue restaurant?

Based in the Midwest, BD's Mongolian Barbecue plans to open a franchise in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia soon. I'm sure that'll go over well.

"Would you like tortillas with that?"

"How come every time us Americans build a shitty restaurant, stupid Mongorians have to come and knock it down? Goddamn Mongorians!"

[rips open clue]

Jon: Roadblock. Who loves studying?

—A Roadblock is a task that only one person may perform. In this Roadblock, that person must buy a thermal coffee container in downtown Ann Arbor for less than $13. Upon purchase, the cashier will hand him his next clue.

Rory: [clears throat] You love studying.
Jon: I-I do?
Rory: Yes. You love studying…very much.
Jon: What the fuck? Are you trying to do a Jedi mind trick? You know how irresponsible I am.
Rory: Yeah, well, I have to poop.


Jon: Fine. I love studying… [sigh] Where the hell am I gonna find a thermal coffee container in this mom-and-pop district?

University of Michigan Bookstore :: Ann Arbor, MI

Jon: $19.99.

M-Den :: Ann Arbor, MI

Jon: $16.99.

Starbucks (Main Street) :: Ann Arbor, MI

Jon: $12.99. Clearance. Oh yeah…

Inside the Starbucks was a stack of the University of Michigan's student newspaper, the Michigan Daily. I tried reading a copy of the Daily but its appearance distracted me. I can't read publications with poor aesthetic value. That is why, growing up, I read the San Jose Mercury News instead of the San Francisco Chronicle, despite missing out on John Carman's articles and the comic strip Bizarro.

The Michigan Daily is one hideous newspaper, from the masthead to the typeface of the articles. Apparently, the staff never bothered to update the paper's look since its inception over a century ago.

While searching for the $13 thermal coffee container, I came across flyers posted around town for a lost mug.

A mug.

Instead of a child or a pet, the flyers featured a large photograph of a mug filled with coffee and the address and phone number of the local coffee shop to which it belonged.

Once again, a mug.

[rips open clue]

Rory: Make your way to the pit stop.

—Jon and Rory must now travel more than 2000 miles by plane to the city of Los Angeles, CA and find the Los Angeles Convention Center. This facility, one of the most technologically advanced convention and exhibition facilities in the world, is the pit stop for this leg of the race.

Airport Shuttle :: Interstate 94 East

Jon: Rapido! Muy rapido, por favor! Nosotros estamos en un race-o!
Rory: Dude, Tony's one of them Ruskies. He don't know Spanish.

Airport Shuttle Tony's Girlfriend's Car :: Interstate 94 East

Jon: Oooh, tampons!

Detroit Metropolitan Airport :: Detroit, MI

Jon: [to airline agent] Another layover in Phoenix? You cannot be serious.

Sky Harbor International Airport :: Phoenix, AZ

I saw a sign in the airport that encapsulated the nature of the Grand Canyon state: "Stand on right. Walk on, left."

Many of the televisions in the Fox Sports restaurant broadcast ESPN. Do televisions at ESPN Zones broadcast Fox Sports Network?

At all airports, a pre-recorded security reminder will play periodically over loudspeakers. At LAX (at least in terminal one), a woman with a British accent delivers said message. Sky Harbor, however, employs a synthesized voice. It sounds like Stephen Hawking is warning you that "all unattended items will be confiscated."

Los Angeles Convention Center :: Los Angeles, CA

[first-person running camera shot]

Vlad: Welcome to Los Angeles.

—Jon and Rory…you are team number two.

Rory: Whaaa?

to be continued…