"This Expedition has been the most challenging, physically toughest and mentally tough thing that I've had to endure for this long a time. I'm glad that I had these two to share it with because we pulled each other through at times when we needed it," James Vaglica, a 49-year-old police officer from Billerica, MA, added.
"I didn't expect to make it this long. There was some serious competition in this Expedition. I knew that we weren't the most physically fit and fastest teams out there, but we rolled up our sleeves and dug in and we just worked hard. I think we did well."
In addition to Robert and James, The Cops also included Dani Henderson, a 34-year-old police officer from Marlborough, MA.
Expedition Impossible's ninth episode began with host Dave Salmoni telling the five remaining teams that over the course of the ninth stage they would be required to white-water raft down a river, solve a riddle to unlock boxes secured with word locks, trek up and over a canyon, paddle in a traditional Moroccan tin boat across a lake to a rocky beach, and then walk on land for two miles.
They teams were also instructed to rappel down a cliff and work their way through narrow tunnels of a cave to compete in a challenge -- which required them to search among hundreds of Moroccan pots that each featured a symbol to find the one that matched the symbol on their instructions -- cross a river, and then trek a half-a-mile to a wheat field where the finish line was located.
After explaining what was ahead of them, Dave also told the competition's teams they would depart the eighth stage's finish line in waves based on the order they had crossed the eighth stage's finish line.
Since The Gypsies -- which consisted of John Post, Taylor Filasky and Eric Bach -- finished the eighth stage in first place, they got a head start and departed before any of the other teams.
The Football Players, Fab 3, The Cops, and No Limits were then able to take off together.
When the teams embarked on the white-water rafting portion of the Expedition's ninth stage, The Cops got washed up onto a rock and their raft filled with water. Their misfortune allowed for The Football Players to pass and they were left 20 minutes behind the pack.
Afterward, The Football Players and No Limits had trouble solving the riddle for the words they needed in order to open their locked boxes which held the instructions to their next checkpoint. However, the teams were split down the middle and each team had an alliance, except for The Cops -- who wavered back and forth.
Fab 3 told the Football Players the answer "banks," while The Gypsies helped out their friends and told No Limits the correct answer.
Along the course, No Limits team member the injured leg of Ike Isaacson, a 33-year-old member of the National Guard from Topeka, KS, was getting worse and continuing to swell and cause him pain. His teammates Erik Weihenmayer, a 42-year-old speaker and writer from Golden, CO, and Jeff Evans, a 41-year-old physician assistant from Boulder, CO, began to worry he wouldn't be able to last.
The Cops, who started the stage off on a bad note, faced more difficulties. One of its members lost his life jacket while walking, which he would have needed to paddle in the Moroccan tin boats. Meanwhile, The Football Players team member Ricky Sharpe, a 31-year-old coach from Costa Mesa, CA, discovered the life jacket along their path.
Ricky thought one of Fab 3's members could have accidentally dropped it, so he held on to it in the hopes of helping out the team he had become friends with and returning the favor from earlier in the stage. However, he soon found out one of The Cops dropped it, so he decided to not tell them and leave it on the ground close to where he had found it.
Ricky figured it would not be a smart move to give The Cops the life jacket because they were in last place. While The Cops looked for the life jacket, The Football Players hustled, gained ground and eventually passed The Cops. Meanwhile, most of the teams had passed No Limits because Ike was struggling to walk and they were moving very slowly.
While the teams were searching through the Moroccan pots to find their instructions, No Limits and The Cops were tied. No Limits knew they had to find the pot with the correct symbol first because The Cops would gain an advantage over them on land because Ike's leg hindered their own ability to run. No Limits realized they needed a head start to avoid coming in last place.
The Cops retreived a pot before No Limits but appeared to fail to realize it was not one of the pots they were supposed to be looking for and therefore did not contain instructions telling them what to do next. As a result, they began wandering around aimlessly in search of the finish line without a map and guidelines.
The Football Players and The Cops were about 10 to 15 minutes ahead of No Limits by the time they found their pot, but because The Cops got lost along the way to the wheat field, it all came down to a final sprint to the finish line between No Limits -- who were able to catch up thanks to The Cops' mistake -- and The Cops.
The Gypsies managed to conquer all the tasks quickly and efficiently and arrived at the ninth stage's finish line in first place -- their ninth first-place finish of the Expedition, including their first-place arrival at the halfway mark during the competition's two-part fifth stage.
Following The Gypsies, Fab 3 came in second place and The Football Players subsequently secured third place.
Although The Cops were lost, they were in the correct area because they saw No Limits hiking to the finish line. Therefore, The Cops decided to head off in that direction and follow them, making it an extremely close race to the finish.
However, No Limits gave it everything they had, rushed to the finish line and snagged fourth place -- making them one of the final four teams who will compete in next week's season finale for $50,000 each and a new Ford Explorer.
The Cops then came in fifth and last place and their Expedition Impossible experience unfortunately came to an end.
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