Vanessa (married to Corey for 14 years, who she claims, doesn't usually look so disgusted when kissed)
Corey (married to Vanessa for 14 years and doesn't feel comfortable taking kissing photos)
Savanna (currently surviving Jr. High and a trip with her family)
Emmy (concerned about what she is missing at school)
Ansel (6 yr old wildlife expert)
To begin the first leg of the race, team rose before dawn and made their way to the Spokane airport, where they endure irritating layovers and plane changes in Denver and Houston before landing in San Jose, Costa Rica at 9 pm Central American Time. Teams were split during their travel. Ansel quickly makes an enibriated friend who insists on oversharing his PEOPLE magazine, Smore's poptarts (Judd team doesn't know if it is more disturbing that the grown man is drunk, or that a grown man is eating smores poptarts), spilled drinks, and spit. Vanessa sits by a young man who naps in jerking spurts touching down on her shoulder now and then and who apologizes for his mustache that he claims is grown solely for his one-way ticketed trip/new life to Costa Rica.
As soon as the plane touches the ground in San Jose, the family sees their travel weary reflections from the cleanest airport floor they have ever seen. "Welcome to Costa Rica!" an airport employee exclaims. "Isn't it beautiful?" Since we hadn't stepped outside yet, I still had to admit that the floors were beautiful, but perhaps we should see the rest of the country. What the Judd's hoped would be a quick rental car retrieval is, in reality, a purposely confusing labryinth of paperwork in which, in the inevitable event of damage the unforgiving Costa Rican roads will inflict on the borrowed vehicle, the Judds may have contracted to hand over their next born child, a trillion colones, or more likely, their blonde 12 year old, who is getting far too much attention. Team Judd must quickly learn the exchange rate which varies from 500 -620 colones per U.S. Dollar, depending on who you are speaking with. And when the Rental Car Official asks the Judds to point out the damage on the vehicle before they leave, they take one walk around and say, "Um...maybe you should ask us where there isn't damage."
(Ansel thinks this currency is way more hip than ours. Sharks on money is the coolest. "Does it cost one shark or more than one shark?" he asks)
Team Judd soon discovers that the suspension and alignment have a pact with the devil and Corey must apply brute unyielding force to the steering wheel just to prevent us from careening into oncoming traffic, cattle, or deep canyons; furthermore, he keeps forgetting to put in the clutch, as it as been years since he's driven a stick shift. These factors, combined with the hellacious road conditions and the realization that none of the imbrogliated roads actually connect and perpetually lead them to a dead end on a railroad track or into the lair of "perros bravos," morphs the responsibly planned, mapped, and printed directions to the nearby Hotel La Rosa into a clownishly nightmaric journey in which they alternately laugh and swear, tempting them to make their own pact with the devil, who is so obviously in charge of this place, hoping to reach the hotel alive.
Team is Tired
Team goes to sleep
Corey does not sleep
END OF LEG 1.