In the Utah to Wyoming leg of the Amazing Race 8: Family Edition, the four remain teams continue their land tour of the west and get to experience mid-air collisions in hot air balloons, city slicker-style cow punching, and the long wait for Old Faithful to sneeze.
Leaving just after midnight, the first place Linz bruisers drive to a local high school where they learn they'll be helping a crew inflate a hot air balloon that will depart for a scenic ride over Utah starting at 6 am. The last place Weavers arrive to find they've caught up to the other teams, and rub it in that they've had an additional three hours of sleep over everyone else. Mom Weaver gets out of the truck and immediately starts the trash talking, and shouting at the Linzes, "Were you sorry you wasted your yield? You will be!" The Pinks are shocked by her brazen behavior: "What is her problem? Psycho."
The Linzes and Bransens reach "ramming speed" and their balloons collided in mid-air. It was actually more like a love tap. But it wasn't as dramatic as the Weavers' balloon pinpoint landing on a steep rocky slope. Sharon Godlewski says the balloon has gotten her over her fear of heights. Dang if those beautiful things look scary though.
The next clue sent them off to the Heber Valley Railway where a grueling detour gave them a choice between railroad building or coal hauling: Spike It or Steam It. Three teams chose to lay a 20-foot section of railway track, while the Weavers used a barrel and bucket to fill the tender of a steam locomotive with 400 pounds of coal. Both were backbreaking tasks and Pop Bransen was especially pleased that he could finally help out his daughters. He was able to drive the spikes in quickly and they finished close behind the Linzes. "This was my chance to shine as opposed to dragging [my daughters] down like I do most legs," he said. Awwww... Nick Bransen also remarks about his own physical prowess, saying "Three strokes and I'm done." His brothers make a joke about his sexual prowess and Megs is disgusted by her brothers.
The Pinks are not happy campers working on the railroad. Chrissie is told to back off when she tries to help, then Michelle and Sharon blame her for choosing this Detour task, and she defends herself by yelling, "We all did! Just stop it!" It's one confrontation after another with the Pinks as crying Christine hits the emotional notes again. For the past few weeks I've been wondering what is wrong with Christine Godlewski. Is it just that she's high strung? Bi-polar? Anxiety ridden? All of the above? Christina, I see a prescription for high blood pressure medication in your future if you don't find a way to cope or chill, whatever it is you need to do.
The next clue sent them driving 148 miles to the Bonneville Salt Flats to find some 87-foot wierd sculpture known as the Tree of Utah. Then it's back in the SUV and haul the trailer another 400 miles to Bear Lake Rendezvous Beach where they would camp for the night. Again, in a trailer. This whole race is one big camping episode. I mean, we get it that Amazing Race is sponsored by GMC this season and the idea is to show the product (GM SUVs) as often as possible, just as other races sponsored by American Airlines showed racers flying AA. What AR needs is an "out-of-place" product from a sponsor - like Folgers coffee on "Survivor: Guat." That's actually kind of funny when you think about it. Tribe members are starving in the jungle, losing 30 lbs in 30 days (Gary Hogeboom) yet there's fresh coffee in real coffee mugs every morning! Ola!
The next day the teams drive 137 miles to a ranch where the roadblock sends two members of each team to punch some cattle. The Linz end up in last place due to another production error with a car battery. Rachel and Rebecca Weaver kicked ass on this one since, as their mom explained, the family owns three horses so the girls were able to herd the six cows a quarter mile to a pen with ease.
When leaving the ranch on the narrow dirt road, the Weavers encounter the Linz kids coming in. Neither driver wants to yield the other but, the Linzes ultimately gave way, letting the Weavers pass first. Ma Weaver shouts something about outbound traffic having the right-of-way. Huh? Is this a Florida thing? An unwritten rule of ranchers? An Amazing Race rule? It isn't made clear but Linda Weaver believes she's in the right and coldly observes, "They’re so icky, I can’t stand them." Ma Weaver continues to manipulate her immature daughters who are, unfortunately, buying into the "everybody is mean to us" and "the world is against us" garbage. In the other car, Megan Linz says, "They are so rude."
During the commercial break, the teams made the 190-mile journey across Utah and into Wyoming to Yellowstone National Park to watch Old Faithful gush. The Bransens and Weavers get there first, and the Linzes and Godlewskis arrive too late - they have to wait 90 minutes for the next eruption. The weavers and Bransens race to the pit stop and all arrive together -- only to learn it's not the pit stop! The race continues as Phil hands them their next clue! Stay tuned as the Weavers get pulled over by a cop, who I'm sure, will be mean to them.