by Kirby Lindsay, posted 19 September 2012
On Sunday, September 23rd, during Fremont Oktoberfest, the annual Street Scramble will send determined hunters out into Fremont to track down the answers to a series of questions – an activity ideal for geocachers, families and anyone looking for a new way to explore Fremont while getting fit!
The Street Scramble, as produced by Meridian Geographics, could be described as a scavenger hunt, on paper. Teams or individuals go out for 90 minutes to find oddball details using a geographical map of Fremont, and answer questions provided. As a recent survivor of a Street Scramble course, I can testify that the game is a lively, challenging and highly enjoyable pastime!
Go For A Hunt
A few weeks ago, I asked Eric Bone of Meridian Geographics to let try my hand at the 2011 Street Scramble. Knowing Fremont as well as I do (I’ve been here 40+ years) I figured I’d only seek out the few answers I really didn’t know. When I opened the list, ready to set out on a recent afternoon, my arrogance evaporated quickly.
Bone had warned me, but did I listen? Nah.
For instance, the list of questions gives a description of the site – “Informational sign in planting strip” – but doesn’t bother to specify, “The Hysterical Marker for the Fremont Rocket.” The question for this site – “According to the sign (right column,) what date did the Rocket touch down at the Center of the Universe?” – is clearly stated and, as with all the questions, answers are multiple choice. The problem is that all three choices could be right…and the instructions clearly state that point penalties exist for wrong answers.
Standing in front of the Fremont Rocket Marker, the answer is easy to find and is the most likely of the three – ‘June 3’. However, the other choices – ‘May 17’ or ‘March 31’ – aren’t implausible.
Another question – “What is here?” – refers to a “Large tree N of bottom of stairs.” The potential answers were ‘treehouse’, ‘many old shoes’, or ‘neighborhood map display’. In Columbia City, or on Bainbridge Island, the shoes and possibly the map would be unlikely – and a guess at ‘treehouse’ would probably be fine. Since I had just had to identify the brand of a residential phone attached to an electrical pole (COMDIAL,) and find out what a sticker on a road barricade depicted (a tree,) I thought the shoes much more likely. The treehouse (the right answer) came as something of a let-down.
“Yes, Fremont’s weath of interesting locales and quirky details does indeed make it easier to design a Street Scramble course,” admitted Bone by e-mail. “However, we find that every city or neighborhood we visit has a unique character,” he went on. “Regardless of where a Street Scramble is held,” he acknowledged, “the answer choices are always diabolical; that makes it both more fun and more fair.”
Key Word: Walk
This all means that to win, or even place, a Fremont Street Scramble-r must walk. A lot! Driving in a car, or taking a bike, isn’t allowed – and it wouldn’t help. The 2011 questions involved many sites located at the top or bottom of the public stairways that connect the residential streets of Fremont. It was bad enough to lug myself, and my gear, up and down – but hauling a bike? No way! Finding a place to park? Impossible.
Also, scurrying through Peak Park to find out “What is near the top of the stairs?” makes being on foot more fun (answer – log and boulders.) It’s fun to figure out the map, and find out that a random, green, electrical box beside Aurora is green with a green sticker – as daft as that may sound.
Besides, walking, and walking, and walking (then running as time ran out,) gave me some much needed exercise.
Kirby’s Do’s & Don’ts
As I accepted that I’d have to leave the comfort and ease of my desk chair, and actually set out into the neighborhood to seek the answers, I learned a few things. Here I share a few of these hard won lessons.
Things To Do –
- Do be ready to walk. Wear comfortable shoes and have teammates able to walk.
- Do review the map, and the list of questions, in advance. Strategize. Again, being arrogant, I set off for the closest location without studying the map first – and noticing a cluster of four sites a little farther away but in the other direction. So, I lost time backtracking.
- Do put together a team. Individuals can participate in the Street Scramble, but a team or a family (with a child under 12 years of age,) gives you someone to talk to and strategize with (see above) and will make the entire game that much more fun!
Things Not To Do (a.k.a. Don’t Be Like Kirby) –
1. Don’t say, “Sure!” when your sister-in-law hands you books and video tapes to carry along just as you set off to Scramble. Leave extra junk at home.
2. Don’t stop to take cell phone calls or chat up neighbors. Yes, it makes a lovely respite, and gives an excuse to stop, but this is a cut-throat game and time is clicking down. If you want to chat, see #3 of the Do’s, and keep moving!
3A. Don’t guess – it loses points!
3B. Don’t be late reaching the finish line – also loses points!
Of course, all this advice is worth what you paid for it. According to Bone, my ultimate score of 280 placed me 60th out of 69 teams in the 2011 Street Scramble.
But I had fun, and that is the real magic of the Street Scramble – it can be as easy and fun as participants choose to make it. Visit the sites you want to see, the questions you want to answer – and register to do so right now.
The 2012 Street Scramble will head out at 10a on Sunday, September 23rd from Solstice Plaza (837 N 34th St) – and registration remains open. Go enjoy this creative and healthy exploration of our ‘hood, while learning more about Fremont than most Fremonsters ever will!
- Scramble Along The Streets Of Fremont
- by Kirby Lindsay, September 20, 2010
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- by Kirby Lindsay, September 14, 2012
- Fremont Cigar Bumped From Fremont Oktoberfest
- by Kirby Lindsay, September 16, 2011
©2012 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.