What’s the perfect combination for your summer getaway. . . Sand and surf? Crisp mountain air and miles of hiking trails? Wining and dining? For our grandkids this summer, the perfect combination was 0709. At least that was the first in a series of perfect combinations required to unlock the clues their dad had set for them on their elaborate escape-room-style road trip.
Our son-in-law loves planning trips and starts many months in advance. Our daughter and their kids are usually consulted about destinations and activities, but this year David kept everything top secret. The kids found out why when they made their first stop in Oklahoma City for breakfast after an 8-hour overnight drive from Austin. David disappeared when the waitress brought the check, only to return a few minutes later with a mysterious file folder and a poem from The Puzzlemaster. Directing the kids back to the van, the poem offered a few clues and caused everyone to question David’s sanity. They opened the sliding doors to reveal a box wrapped in chains held together with a padlock, plus a box of seemingly random items in each child’s seat.
To say our grandkids are competitive is an understatement, so those 4 got to work right away trying to solve the mystery. After some creative thinking, and a bit of frustration, they cracked the code, opening the lock and revealing even more puzzles inside. Their first destination? Omaha, Nebraska, for an exciting and exhausting day at the zoo. Everyone had a great time in Omaha, but they were ready to hit the road again the next day. Much to everyone’s surprise, The Puzzlemaster had struck again with another locked box and complicated series of clues. The kids quickly realized they were going to be haunted by The Puzzlemaster’s antics throughout the trip!
Did you know you can get locks with letter combinations, number combinations, directional combinations, and even Morse code combinations? The Puzzlemaster used them all throughout the trip, even a pill bottle with a combination lid that held a key inside to open yet another lock. The kids searched for hints at each destination, recalled past road trips for clues, used the random items in their individual boxes, solved cryptic puzzles, and put together a custom jigsaw puzzle to discover the road map to their adventure. After Omaha they visited Chicago, St. Louis, Branson, and Eagle Rock, not to mention crossing many state lines and visiting all the state capitols they could. In the end, they drove over 3300 miles, solved too many puzzles and cracked too many codes to count, and had an amazing summer family getaway!
You may not have a Puzzlemaster or code crackers in your family, but the team at Beth Ferester & Company hopes you have all had an amazing summer. And if someone in your house is dropping clues that it’s time for a move, we’d love to help you sell your current home and find the next great home for you. We’ll try to find one that only requires a simple key to get inside.