The four remaining teams started out from Salt Lake City in the middle of the night in search of Park High School. There they found a clue box which instructed them that a shuttle would be leaving in the morning to take them on hot air balloon rides. Thus, the recently-yielded Weaver family caught up to everyone as they bunked in their campers for the night. The next morning, the unhinged Weavers were brash and loony, taunting the Linz family. Ugh.
The hot air balloon was another in a long line of “go here and admire the scenery” stop in this Family Edition of the Amazing Race. Teams went up, teams came down in the order they arrived. Next stop: Heber Valley Railroad in Utah and the Detour. Teams may either “spike it” and build a 20 foot length of railroad track or “steam it” by hauling 400 pounds of coal to a tender. All teams pick “spike it” except the Weavers who pick up a spot by passing the Godlewski sisters who use up more energy bickering with each other than driving spikes. Next stop: the “Tree of Utah” at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Once again this is just a “isn’t this cool” stop where the teams are directed to Bear Lake in Garden City, Utah to sleep for the night. The Linz famly, who finished the Detour first, inexplicably arrive at the campsite last (although there’s some note about technical problems that may have delayed them.)
In the morning, teams stagger their departures by 15 minutes and head to Pine Valley, Wyoming and the Roadblock: two members from each team must “cowboy up” and do the “City Slickers” bit by herding a small group of cattle. Nothing much to note here as teams arrive and depart in order, separated by 15 minutes. From here teams are directed to Yellowstone National Park to view Old Faithful. The geyser erupts every 92 minutes and each team must view an eruption before they can go on. Team Powerpuff arrives first followed by Team Florida and they see the first waterspout while the Godlewskis and Linzes must wait an hour-and-a-half later until the next one.
Cut away to the Bransens and Weavers searching for the next stop: a ranch somewhere in the middle of Wyoming where they must “search for Phil.” Strangely, there’s no mention that this is a Pit Stop for what is already an unusually long leg of the Race. The Bransens arrive at Phil (a mat but no "welcome to Wyoming" greeter) only seconds ahead of the Weavers and Phil springs the big surprise: he hands each team an envelope and says that this is not a Pit Stop and this leg continues. By my rough estimate, the teams have driven 600-700 miles by this point and they’re not done yet.
Standings after half-leg
First – Bransen family – Team Powerpuff (and Wally)
Second – Weaver family – Team Florida
Third & Fourth - ??? – Team Scream and/or Team Cincinnati
Next week: As sure as
Extra – This spot reserved for recaps by Kris at Dummocrats and Pat at Brainster. BTW, just as Kris is enamored with Nick Linz, I think I’m falling for Megan Linz. She is total grace under pressure, by which I mean she is unflappable in the face of her brothers’ adolescent behavior.