Once again, ASRAB member Lowell Taylor has written a “behind the scenes” report for us on what happened during stage five of the Amazing Race Canada. He and Julie placed 6th in this stage. Lowell is the first legally blind contestant on either the Canadian or American version of The Amazing Race.
For those wanting more Julie and Lowell airtime, it seems the editors listened! The producer who worked on this episode was the casting senior producer, and he was the one who interviewed us and pitched us to the show.He is an amazing man who believed in Julie and me the entire way—from casting, during training, and through our entire race. We were so happy he was editing this episode, and his involvement shows. He was able to highlight more of the struggles I have with my vision, and how Julie and I work together and support each other. He was also able to highlight how much we have been enjoying the unique experiences the race offers, and how we were trying to soak in the beauty of our amazing world. This was a nail-biting episode for those cheering for us, but we feel it represented us well.
A few thoughts:
- Jon says “The teams will now travel from Ho Chi Minh City to Haida Gwaii.” This was an extremely long and exhausting trip. We were in race mode and so we had to take care of our own taxis, food, and lodging. The entire time we’re nervous about what’s coming up, and we’re trying to research as much about the upcoming destination as possible. This was also a great time for us to spend time with other teams and get to know them more on a personal level. With the time change and all the travel (during which Julie and I did not sleep well), we were very tired even before racing to our electric cars and racing to the roadblock!
- Haida Gwaii (the new name for the Queen Charlotte Islands) was amazing. I would like to return one day and see the sights in non-race mode!
- During the roadblock when Julie was working hard, myself and the other partners were able to take part in a First Nations cultural experience by dancing with the singing and drumming. For a moment we were taken out of the race and able to connect to each other, connect to the land, and connect to the culture of these amazing First Nations who graciously shared their beautiful culture with us. It was a great honor and privilege to take part and bear witness to their sacred traditions.
- During the roadblock Julie was working with others. Once she had her clue, she went back to help Rita and Jillian who were both struggling to remember the names. When racing at the back of the pack, it is always risky to help others. It could mean that they pass you and you are left at the back. Helping others was a strategy for us going into the race, but it is also true to how we live our lives. We knew that at any moment I might need some help in a challenge because of my vision, and if others are willing to help us back, it might mean the difference between going home and staying in the race. So every chance we had, we tried to help others around us.
- We were worried that we would not have the help returned to us. We were very grateful for the help Jillian and Emmett gave, and this showed their true colors as well. They were loyal to us and spent the extra time to ensure we would finish our puzzles.
- I had never flown on a floatplane before – taking off and landing on the water was thrilling. And the views of the coastline were epic.
- Julie and I were very worried for the mandatory roadblock and how it could possibly put us out of the race. We knew that any roadblock I chose or had to complete could be a task that may put us out of the race. There are just some tasks that are not possible. I am usually able to achieve almost anything with enough time – but we did not have the luxury of time during the race.
- The dozer boat was thrilling to operate! It had a motor mounted in the middle of the boat and the only controls we had were throttle and the steering wheel that could spin 360 degrees. Figuring out how to move ahead, turn it 180 degrees to go backwards, go sideways, etc was key. Once we had this down, the task was simply about bashing to the back of the log jam and ramming the logs until they broke through. With time and patience I was able to locate the markings and complete the task. I had a blast. It was one of the most enjoyable moments of the entire race for me. It turns out we chose the right roadblock again… lucky!
- Chevy Cameros are very nice – we even got to drive a yellow one. It was pretty cramped in the backseat, though… I’m not a small guy!
- In life we cannot always choose our situations, but we can choose how we respond to them. This was a hard day, but with a positive outlook, working with others, and supportive teamwork, we were able to get the job done and survive for another leg of our amazing race! We would like to move up a little bit though; hanging at the back is too stressful. Stay tuned next week to see if we can get out of last place!