For their reward, The DiSalvatores get dinner at a restaurant in Oatman where the walls are decorated with dollar bills left by past patrons. A lot of them. $65,000 worth, says the waitress. The DiSalvatores quickly send her to the kitchen with orders to cook something and leave them alone for the next half hour. Seriously, though -- how is that place not robbed all the time? I guess it would take hours to really make any money from that. The waitress says people have been leaving bills on the wall for eighty years now, and their oldest is from 1923, when a dollar was probably worth like fifty thousand. Apparently, the tradition started when guys would leave their money stuck on the wall so they'd still have something to drink with when their wives inevitably took all their pocket money to save for things that are more important than beer. Each DiSalvatore staples his own autographed bill to the wall and then it's time to reflect on the road trip as a whole. By the way, as cool as that restaurant was, it's still a shitty reward. Possibly even shittier than the one with the meal on the bridge. Aren't these things supposed to get better as the game goes along?
The next morning, the families head to Soggy Dry Lake Bed in California. Crossing the California border is exciting for all of the families, although not so much for Aaron, who is clearly sleeping in the RV as his mother interviews about what a trip it is to be in California. She also says they've driven across the "whole United States," which is not true. It's called all the states east of Chicago, Amie. Amy is so happy that she gives her husband a kiss on the cheek. Apparently, she's always dreamed of seeing the Pacific Ocean. She should -- it's pretty cool. Amie digs out her lucky coonskin cap that I refuse to believe she didn't just buy on the road. I mean, it's in a shopping bag still! She says a redneck with a dead animal on her head is sure to win the End of the Road challenge. The usually silent Ron pipes up to be embarrassed about all of this. Fiddles blare on the soundtrack. Jeff Foxworthy looks like an English dandy next to these people. Except that I don't even think Amie is wearing that the right way. Isn't the tale supposed to go down the back and not hang off the side? Amie suddenly realizes that "coon" sounds a bit like "Coote," and says this is her Coote-skin hat and it will help them beat the Cootes. I'm just really glad that the Montgomerys aren't still around to possibly hear any of this.
The Cootes and the Pollards arrive at a Product Placement gas station, and the rivalry heats up. Meanwhile, Amie has taken her stupid hat to new levels, as it now appears to be duct taped in place on her head. While both families fill their tanks and pretend not to hate each other, Amie shows her hat off. Keith says he really likes her hat, so ha! Then Amie totally lies that she has nothing personal against the Cootes, but her family needs to beat them to get in the final two.
Oh, shit. It's another T.G.I. Friday's commercial. I am not paid to write about ads for T.G.I. Friday's so I will not recap this except to say that the Cootes sit together as a family while the DiSalvatores and the Pollards sit with the kids at one booth and the adults in the other and think the Cootes are being snobby. Then why not invite them to sit with you, Amie? It's not like there's any room for anyone extra in the booths. Also, Amie says that the Cootes deliberately withhold food from their children on competition days. Yeah, no shit they do! No one wants a belly full of nasty greasy restaurant food when you've got to move and think. Amie seems to think that when it comes to food, too much is never enough. And that's why people in this country are fat.
Epic music plays as the Pollards and the Cootes head for the End-of-the-Road challenge. And then there's a commercial.
Back from commercial, they're still on the way to the challenge. Jennifer tries to pretend that her family has nothing against the Pollards, but Jake says they're their "biggest enemies." She thinks the Pollard kids are quitters, and Keith says his nine-year-old could take their eighteen-year-old any day. "Seventeen," Jennifer corrects him. "He'll be eighteen shortly," Keith says. Conversations like these are why we don't spend much time with the Cootes. Finally, the RVs arrive at Soggy Dry Lake. The DiSalvatores are looking forward to watching instead of competing for a change, and Mason predicts the team that wins will be the one that isn't worried -- and the Cootes are worried.
The families arrive and Reno explains the challenge: each family gets a lot with a Best Buy car stuck in the middle and surrounded by other cars without product placements on them. The families must get the Best Buy car out of the lot "through an opening that's on the backside," Reno says. Heh heh heh. But the cars can only move forwards or backwards. Ooh, this looks cool, too. Two cool challenges in one show! I can't believe it. The parents are driving the cars and the kids are standing on top of a tower directing them via mobile phones, even though it's totally illegal to drive and talk on a mobile phone without a hands-free device in California. Jennifer is shitting herself that her kids have to come through and Mom and Dad can't do all the work for them as usual. By the way, my family would so smoke this challenge except that we never would have made it this far due to us refusing to take the stage all the way back in Branson.
The competition begins, and Jennifer doesn't think her 9 and 12 year old can stand up to the Pollard's 12 and 17 year olds, even though Keith just said they could and I don't think the Pollard kids can read. They do stay calm, though, unlike the Coote kids who are kind of freaking out. And Jennifer is trying to micromanage everything instead of just trusting her kids. But over at the Pollards, Aaron and Anslie don't seem to know how to solve the puzzle. I can solve it right now, just by looking at it. All it takes is being able to think a few steps ahead. Anslie thinks she sees the solution, but Aaron won't listen to her and relay the information to their parents. Both families seem to be down to one last car in the path of the Best Buy car, but it's Cassidy that seems to figure out the solution first. There's a tense moment as Keith takes a second to start the car up, but then it's moved out of the way and Jennifer drives the Best Buy car free. Cassidy hugs her brother in celebration and he tells her to get off of him. That's about right.
The Pollards are very sad. Anslie is crying, and Aaron says he just got schooled by a nine and twelve year old. Yes -- that's why it's important to challenge your mind as well as your body, Aaron. Read some books and learn chess, and you'll find puzzles like the one you just failed aren't so hard after all. Reno congratulates the Cootes, and Keith and Jennifer give all the credit to their kids. And let's not forget the fact that they didn't eat all that poison restaurant food. Amie has a tearful interview and says she thinks she and Ron taught their kids that sometimes you lose and you have to be prepared to accept that. Anslie gets over her initial pouting and crying to interview that she made new friends and had a great time. The Pollards and Cootes hug it out, which I wonder if that would have happened if the Pollards won and the Cootes lost. Ron speaks up to say he needs a vacation from this vacation. Amie wants her kids to be good sports, but she herself could use a few lessons on it as she says that the one good thing about losing is that the DiSalvatores still have a chance to win and beat the Coote