From company signs to wind chimes: Nearly 200 people search for clues during Morningside's annual road challenge

lpemberton@theolympian.comSeptember 15, 2013 

Sporting the colors of the day with the Seattle Seahawks game against rival San Francisco only hours away Olympia Federal savings' scavenger team members Jill Reese (left) and Tenile Norton enjoy a lunch at the end of the Morningside Ride fundraising event Sunday at the Luck Eagle Casino. Around 200 participants started at the Olympia High School parking lot and after following a series of driving map directions ended with a 1950's-themed luncheon and auction at the casino. Morningside is a local organization that assists and supports people with disabilities to help them enter the regular work force.

STEVE BLOOM — Staff photographer Buy Photo

About 200 people hit the streets of Thurston County on Sunday morning in search of answers for the sixth annual Morningside Ride. 

“The event is like a hybrid scavenger hunt in your car,” said Laurie Arnone, vice president of development for Morningside. “But speed is not a factor.” 

Contestants were given driving directions for a scenic route from Olympia High School to the Lucky Eagle Casino in Rochester.

Along the way, they were asked to locate phrases on signs, solve problems or perform tasks. 

Some were more difficult than others. 

“You literally had to count wind chimes at a home,” said contestant Gaylene Van Wey of Tumwater. 

The ride is one of the biggest fundraisers for the Olympia-based nonprofit. Founded 50 years ago, Morningside provides employment services to people with disabilities.

“Our vision is that everyone who wants to work should have a job,” said Susan Harris, vice president of human resources for Morningside.   

The organization offers services in five counties and has offices in Olympia, Aberdeen, Centralia and Port Angeles. In 2012, it helped 573 clients with employment planning, job development, coaching and other services.  

“In any given year, we have about 200 businesses that have Morningside clients as employees,” Arnone said. 

In Thurston County, those employers include the Olympia School District, Papa Murphy’s and O’Bee Credit Union, among others. 

After the Morningside Ride, contestants met up at the Lucky Eagle Casino at about noon for a finish line party, which featured a buffet lunch, a silent auction, games and awards. 

Teams turned in their answer sheets, and were judged on accuracy of their answers.

Most people spent about two hours on the road, Arnone said. 

“It was a lot of fun,” said contestant Tenile Norton of Olympia. “What a great event, and a great organization.”  

Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433 @Lisa_Pemberton

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