'The Amazing Race 9' BJ Averell and Tyler Macniven last but still alive
By Andrea Sellers, 04/20/2006
For the second straight leg, BJ Averell and Tyler Macniven barely escaped elimination from The Amazing Race 9. After finishing next to last in the previous The Amazing Race leg, the hippies struggled through a sweltering hot roadblock and were the last team to check in at the Pit Stop, only to learn that the leg was a non-elimination leg, allowing them to survive to race another day.
The Amazing Race 9's eighth episode began with the five remaining teams departing the 14th century Fortress of Rion Greek coastal stronghold that had served as the last episode's Pit Stop. As the first team to have arrived at the southern Greece landmark, friends Eric Sanchez and Jeremy Ryan were the first team to depart the location and receive their next clue. After crossing a long bridge to the area's visitors center, the teams had to sign up for one of two charters to the airport.
Even though Eric and Jeremy had a four-and-a-half hour head start on second place dating couple Monica Cayce and Joseph Meadows, the fact that the first shuttle was not scheduled to leave for more than 9 hours quickly evaporated their lead. In the end, three of the four other teams managed to join them on the first shuttle -- but were not all of them were able to get there without incident. Long-distance couple Ray Whitty and Yolanda Brown-Moore showed the strain of traveling together as they argued while crossing the bridge, with Ray cursing and flipping her the bird as they walked. As the last team to depart the Pit Stop, BJ and Tyler missed the first shuttle, requiring them to take the second shuttle that departed an hour later.
Once the teams arrived the airport, Fran and Barry Lazarus were the first to make their flight reservations. However with only five teams left in the competition, Fran and Barry declared that they were "beyond the point of being the genial grandparents" and decided that they would not share their flight information with any of the other teams. The other teams shrugged off the behavior and followed the oldsters to the airline counter, where they were able to reserve seats on the same flight.
Meanwhile, as the only team on the second shuttle, BJ and Tyler passed the time by invoking the spirits of their eliminated opponents -- including a dead-on impression of volatile dentist Lake. The guys caught up to the other teams at the airport, but the other teams were unwilling to share flight information with them. They ultimately still found out the flight information anyway, but since the flight was full, they had to settle for booking another flight that landed in Oman an hour later. Once the teams arrived in Oman, the difference proved inconsequential since the next task involved climbing a giant incense burner in Riyann Park -- a location that did not open until the next morning.
After climbing to the top of the burner the following morning, teams were instructed to drive 135 miles to a fishing village called Sur, where a ferry crossing would contain their next clue. After retrieving the clue, the teams were presented with two Detour options -- "Camel" or "Watchtower." The "Camel" teams loaded a camel into a pickup truck, transported it a mile to a Bedouin camp, and exchanged the camel for a clue. The "Watchtower" teams searched among three towers for a message box, drove the box a mile to a silversmith, and received their next clue.
Choosing "Watchtower," BJ and Tyler quickly found their message box, with Fran and Barry close behind. After finding no message boxes in the first tower they visited, Monica and Joseph decided to switch to the "Camel" option. Although switching Detours in mid-task can frequently prove to be a costly waste of time, it worked out for them when Eric and Jeremy -- who had chosen the "Camel" option from the beginning -- got lost their way to the Bedouin camp, allowing Monica and Joseph to love into third place.
Meanwhile, once again proving that following directions was not a strong point for their team, Ray and Yolanda got lost on their way to Sur and fell way behind the other teams. The couple did not arrive at the ferry route marker until all of the other teams had completed the Detour.
After completing the Detour, the team had to drive 80 miles to the village of Al Hawiyah. Once there, they had to chose the person who was "willing to work for food" to complete the Roadblock. A highly physical task, the Roadblock required the team member to dig among 117 sand mounds to find one of 6 shuwas, a traditional steamed lamb dish that the locals wrapped in a woven bag and cooked in an underground oven. Teams were also told that the shuwa would double as their dinner for the evening, so they were expected to carry it for the remainder of the leg. While BJ was the first to begin digging, he was the last to complete the grueling task, as the heat drove him to the point of collapse. Barry and Monica found their shuwas early, but were still facing the challenging task of digging it out of the hot oven without burning themselves or having their sand hole collapse in on their prize. Despite arriving third at the Roadblock, Monica managed to be the first person to find and dig out a shuwa for her team.
Once teams freed their shuwas, they were told to drive 150 miles to Jabreen Castle, a 300-year-old fortress that would serve as The Amazing Race 9's next Pit Stop. After they ran up to the mat and checked in with Race host Phil Keoghan, Fran and Barry were delighted to discover that they had finished the leg in first place, winning at trip to Rome as a result. Monica and Joseph checked in second, followed by Ray and Yolanda and Eric and Jeremy. BJ and Tyler arrived last at the Pit Stop, but (as they had probably already suspected given that the race had yet to feature a non-elimination leg) were informed that since this had been a non-elimination leg, they would not be eliminated. However as per race rules, they did have to hand over all their money and possessions except the clothes on their backs. Undaunted, the hippies remained string, stating that they were aware that the other teams saw them as weak but vowing that their competitors weren't going to see them coming.
In the next episode, BJ and Tyler's vow gets off to an ominous start when non-paddler BJ struggles to navigate the tunnels under a 19th century prison on the western coast of Australia. Meanwhile, the squabbling between team members continues, as Joseph and Monica join in on the "fun" while trying to ride bikes.