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The Opposite of Alaska is Hawaii

The League of Eight Extraordinary Events

The road rally wasn’t the only thing I was lying about…

Yes, the League of Eight Extraordinary Events takes place in Alaska. That is true. But what I haven’t told my friends was that it doesn’t take place only in Alaska.

This is what I told them:

“So you guys know the capital of Alaska is Juneau right?” I asked them. They nodded and responded with a yes. “Well, Event #4 takes place in Juneau but it’s impossible to drive there from here. We have to fly.”

That part is also true, you cannot drive all the way from Anchorage to Juneau without taking a ferry. However the part about actually going to Juneau was a sham. Still, they believed me and were all excited about going to a completely different part of the last frontier, especially Chris.

We packed our bags and headed back to the Anchorage International Airport, where I was able to return my rental. I wasn’t sure how I was going to reveal to them that we were flying to Honolulu, Hawaii instead of Juneau, Alaska. I didn’t plan this part out. But yes you read that right, I decided to go to a place completely opposite of Alaska, and what state is more opposite than Hawaii?

The flight to Juneau was at 12:30pm (12:30) but our actual flight to Honolulu was at 2:30pm (14:30). Just in case one of them checked for Juneau flights online, I made sure we arrived to the airport early, so they wouldn’t question it. Legit, they were convinced we were headed to Juneau. But how and when was I going to reveal it to them?

My unsuspecting crew thinking we were going to Juneau, Alaska...
My unsuspecting crew thinking we were going to Juneau, Alaska…

Since we were early, I had everyone sit down and told them I had to use the restroom and that I would print out our boarding passes. About 15 minutes later, I had all of our boarding passes in hand with the plan to hand it to them and let them see for themselves. I captured their reactions on video. Once they saw me recording, they knew something wasn’t quite right.

Here’s how it went down:

 

Shave your legs Veronica! You’re going to Honolulu!

From the video you may have noticed a few things which I’ll get to explaining. Firstly, Veronica was completely shocked (which I knew she would be) and had no idea that we were actually leaving Alaska and headed to Hawaii. Secondly, Chris didn’t seem as surprised as he suspected something was up the moment he saw me recording everyone. Also, I detected a hint of disappointment. Chris assured me that he was ecstatic about going to Hawaii but at the same time disappointed that he wasn’t going to Juneau. We all loved Alaska but Chris loved it more than any of us. If it weren’t for his keen eye, we wouldn’t have seen a single moose or a bear at all.

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There’s no doubt we will have a blast in Hawaii but going to Alaska was something he always wanted to do and to have it end unexpectedly, I can understand his reaction. Lastly, as for Katelin…you may have noticed her reaction wasn’t very genuine either, but there is a very good reason for that.
There was one more thing I’ve been fibbing about. All this planning for the fake road rally and the League of Eight Extraordinary Events in Alaska and Hawaii was a complete surprise to everyone, except for Katelin. She’s been in on the whole thing for months now. She initially wasn’t part of the league when I told her all about it months ago, but after I told her the secret, we both thought it would be great for her to join in and she could help sell my story to the others. Up until now, she’s been a great actress, going with the flow, pretending to be clueless about everything…well mostly everything. I left her in the dark about what the actual events are. Also, we both worked out a way for her boyfriend, Sean, to join us in Hawaii too.
Now that more truths were revealed, we just had to wait for our single flight from Anchorage to Honolulu. Once we arrived, I picked up a rental car and the four of us drove to our new accommodation about 20 minutes away. It’s another AirBnB with a kitchen, bathroom, a big bed and a pull out sofa bed. It was a little smaller but perfect for us.

Image courtesy of Chris O'Sullivan. Our view from our studio in Honolulu.
Image courtesy of Chris O’Sullivan. Our view from our studio in Honolulu.

Immediately after dropping everyone off, Katelin and I went back to the airport to pick up Sean who arrived a couple hours after we did. Sean would be joining us for the remaining events, but just like the others, he also has no idea of what the events are.
“Event #4 begins in the morning. Everyone wear your swim suits. We’re getting wet!”

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The League of Eight Extraordinary Events

The League of Eight Extraordinary Events - Adventure Born

What is the LEAGUE OF EIGHT EXTRAORDINARY EVENTS?

It’s two weeks worth of eight unique events that take place in a number of interesting spots spread throughout Alaska, one of the most adventurous places I could think of. No one really knows what the events are or what they encompass. As a matter of fact, the majority of the league is shrouded in mystery. Where will we stay? How are we getting around? What the heck is going on? Only I know all the answers.

How can you join the league? Well, you can’t just join the league. You have to know the right people (me) and you have to be super tight with those people (me). Also, those lucky participants are highly deserving and travel compatible. The League of Eight Extraordinary Events is something I imagined up for my friends and I to enjoy as we explore places we’ve never been, before I go solo into the unknown. I’ve always wanted to go to Alaska and now was the perfect opportunity.

Alaska, the Last Frontier, is by far the largest of the United States of America.

Size comparison of the State of Alaska compared to the lower 48 States
Size comparison of the State of Alaska compared to the lower 48 States.

A large landmass, the size of almost a third of the continental mainland made up of rugged mountain ranges and island archipelagos. Alaska is known for its wilderness of natural beauty, scenic parks, and bears. Lots of brown bears, polar bears, grizzly bears, wolves, and moose the size of trucks. Some of these animals may make an appearance based on the events I know we will be doing. I know what to do in case of an unexpected encounter but to be killed so early on this worldly quest because of unpreparedness would be a shame. With that, I prepared a printout for the gang on how to handle a bear or moose encounter. After a bit of research, a moose charging at you with those gigantic behemoth sized antlers sounded a lot scarier. Odds are slim that we’ll run into any of these animals in the wild, but you know…just in case!

While waiting in the Detroit Metro Airport, the group was still in disbelief as they tried to decipher any hidden meaning of the documents I gave them.

The League of Eight Extraordinary Events

We didn’t have a direct flight to Anchorage. Instead we had a long layover in Seattle where we were able to explore outside of the airport for a while.

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We returned a few hours later to catch some sleep before the final flight. It was mighty uncomfortable but that’s just how airports are.

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Once we finally landed in Anchorage, the time was about 8:10 am. We freshened up in the restrooms and went to retrieve our luggage. One of the biggest fears of a frequent traveler is to not see your precious bag loop around the conveyor belt. It’s only happened to me once and thankfully I’ve been fine ever since. We spotted our bags almost instantly as we approached the belts. Next, we headed straight to the rental car company where I had a ride waiting for us in reserve. We weren’t staying in Anchorage nor in any hotels. I had a little something more “Alaskan” waiting for us.

alaska roadtrip

I didn’t reveal right out the gate that we were heading just outside of Denali National Park, which was approximately a five-hour drive. Instead, they were able to figure out on their own that it had be Denali National Park, based on the direction I was going. I can’t keep everything a secret! Thankfully though, the linear drive was easy and full of awesome scenery; some of the most stunning scenery I’ve seen on a consistent basis on any given road trip.


The first of the eight extraordinary events won’t begin until the next day, which meant we had plenty of time to stop at will, explore, and soak in our surroundings as much as we could. Alaska is definitely the most beautiful state I have been to thus far.

alaska roadtrip
Just outside of Denali National Park is the town of Healy where our accommodation is located. I booked us Alaskan Spruce Cabins, secluded away from everywhere else nearby, and it was ours for the next couple of nights.

Events #1 and #2 take place the next day. The gang has no idea what’s in store for them!

The Greatest Lie I Ever Told

I’ve been lying to my friends for months.

“I signed the four of us up for a road rally that takes place over two weeks in August,” I told them. “Twelve teams of four will compete against each other looking for items, solving puzzles, and accomplishing physical challenges in the style of The Amazing Race.”

I told them that in December of last year (2015). They were pumped and up for the challenge!

“What do we bring?” they would ask.

I’ll give you a list of stuff to bring a month before we leave.”

“Can so and so come with us?

Nope, this road rally is only catered for teams of four.

“Where are we going?”

The rally starts in Cincinnati, Ohio and ends somewhere in the Florida Keys.

Over the next few months, I sent my three friends a packing list, the list of the other teams and all the rules, regulations, waivers, etc they would have to read over before the road rally begins on August 1st, 2016. Our team name?

The Gigantic Monkeys

We couldn’t decide on anything cool or clever so this is what I came up with. It’s a little random, but I knew the name of our team wouldn’t matter one bit. What they didn’t know was that there was a giant twist that would be revealed to us on the first day of the rally. This road rally wasn’t any ordinary road rally folks.

Why wasn’t this any ordinary road rally? Because there is no road rally! It was all just a giant ruse I planted to lure them in for something a bit more daring…something completely unorthodox…something I concocted entirely from scratch with an emphasis for adventure.  For months I’ve been giving them details about this fake road rally I made up all in my head and how competitive it was going to be and how each team would have their own camera man for when our documentary would be released on television after production of the rally was over. They believed everything I told them. But it wasn’t just those three I’ve been misleading, it was mostly everyone else too. You see, just like your babbling friends, my friends also love to gossip about anything and everything juicy. I purposely told them fabricated crap about the rally knowing full well they were gonna blab somehow–which is what I wanted them to do. I needed to create some authenticity to this mysterious “road rally” we were participating in to make it more believable. I want Chris, Veronica, and Katelin to be completely blindsided by the biggest surprise I will ever pull thus far (and I’ve pulled many of them).


Introducing, The Gigantic Monkeys!

Loyal readers of mine should already be familiar with Chris and Veronica. Chris has joined me on numerous worldly trips in the past and us along with Veronica went on another secret trip to Las Vegas, Nevada and San Diego, California.

Veronica and Chris are good friends of mine who joined me in the string of events I planned in Las Vegas and San Diego in July 2014.
Veronica (left) and Chris (right) are good friends of mine who joined me in the string of events I planned in Las Vegas and San Diego in July 2014.
Jamison, another friend of mine, was also part of that magnificent trip too but unfortunately couldn’t join us for this “road rally”. He has his annual family trip that is happening when this all goes down. With his absence, I needed to recruit a capable, yet worthy fourth member. Katelin, a good friend of mine and Veronica, fit the bill. I am the “Team Captain” for our group.

I made it clear to them that we won’t be flying anywhere, but that was a lie too. The moment they realize we are going to the airport and not road tripping somewhere is when I will reveal to them what is really going on.

Katelin and Veronica are best friends who have know idea what's in store for them.
Katelin and Veronica are best friends who have know idea what’s in store for them.
Months flew by and August 1st, 2016 crept closer with much anticipation…


Secret Revealed! (Sort of)

I’ve just gotten back home from my trip up north with the kiddos and my go-to traveling buddy Chris has flown up to Detroit from Philadelphia to group with us. This is the first time he’s ever been to Michigan, so I was inspired to show him around my hometown for a couple days before we began the trip.

Later, once we met up with Veronica and Katelin, we all had our bags packed, we put them in the trunk of my rental car and we set off! The true destination–the Detroit Metro Airport! I didn’t tell my cohorts that though. I made the excuse that I had to return the rental I already had, for a bigger rental for the road rally. They all agreed that a bigger rental, like an SUV, would be way more comfortable. Next, I gave them each a large envelope with a bold red ‘8?’ in the middle and their names written in the top right corner.

the league of eight extraordinary events
What’s inside these mysterious envelopes?
I told them weeks ago that I was mailed these envelopes from the road rally company with strict instructions to not open until notified. And for weeks we discussed what could actually be in them, why would they mail it to us if they didn’t want us to open them, and what could the ‘8?’ possibly mean? Could it mean that we have to drive through eight states? Are we the eighth team? They were puzzled. I was not. I knew the contents of what was inside.

I also mentioned to them that since we are finally together as a team, we must take a photo to send to the road rally company.

From L to R: Veronica, Katelin, Chris, and myself. The latter three have no idea that the road rally is a sham.
From L to R: Veronica, Katelin, Chris, and myself. The latter three have no idea that the road rally is a sham.
On the way to the car rental agency, my phone suddenly rang, reading “Cincinnati, Ohio” on the screen. When I say “suddenly”, I mean that I installed one of those free fake-call apps on my phone that I conveniently scheduled to ring on our way to the car rental.

“Answer it,” said Veronica as she was biting her nails, “it might be the Road Rally people!”

I turned the radio down and answered the call.

“Hello?” I said.

I made up a conversation in my head while my three teammates sat in anxious silence, with their eyes focused directly on the phone against my ear. My one-way conversation went along the lines of, pretending to speak to a woman that confirmed we were on our way to Ohio and that she told us to open the envelopes.

I “hung up” the phone.

“Open the envelopes!”

This is what they found inside:

The League of Eight Extraordinary Events

The League of Eight Extraordinary Events

The rest of the pages were pamphlets on what to do in case of a bear or moose encounter.

They couldn’t f*@4ing believe it.

The big road rally was a huge lie I told my friends to participate in something I created totally from scratch. Something unorthodox and adventurous, all at the same time. That something is called…

The League of Eight Extraordinary Events

Let me tell you all about it!