America, F*%@ ‘Ya!! Hitting the Jackpot in the Ultimate Train Challenge Scavenger Hunt

USA Belgium soccer game, american fans

There are two parts of the Ultimate Train Challenge and although all three of us, me, Nora and Jeannie, aren’t being ultra competitive about any of this… I do know we all want some form of bragging rights at the end of it all.

Given that we have a different approach on the number of days we all want to spend on trains, I think I might just eek out a victory on the miles traveled part of the competition, but the scavenger hunt… THAT is where the creative juices really get flowing.

Nora has already had a huge, huge scavenger hunt win — a photo with a bride. Jeannie has also been working hard on the scavenger hunt. On the other hand, I have been totally slacking on that part of this whole endeavor.

No more.

Last night, I went to my first soccer game. It was a friendly game between the US National Team and the Belgium national team. When Pete, of Hecktic Travels, ordered the tickets on the website, it said we had to sit in the US section if we were going to root for the USA, at risk of getting thrown out if we disobeyed.

That was fine with me and the major bonus in the American section was… unexpected scavenger hunt treasure. One of the hunt items we need is photos of us wearing funny hats. Another is a photo of us with a policeman. Guess what I ran into at the game…

So with no further ado, I say to my wonderful and talented Ultimate Train Challenge competitors, Nora and Jeannie….


The fight is now well and truly on. Get ready to rumble, ladies. It is a fight to the end…

Belgium police at soccer game with michael hodson
coppers... lots and lots of Belgian coppers


american fans at soccer game in belgium dressed up
yes, the guy in the background is wearing a full Captain America outfit


soccer fan dressed as statue of liberty in belgium
yes, I am holding the torch also...


soccer fans in funny hats
loving the spirit of the fans


michael hodson in uncle sam outfit
the beard is the winner, in my eyes


belgium soccer fans in funny hat
on the way to the game, in the subway with Belgium fans


michael hodson brussels soccer game pink elephant hat
did someone see a pink elephant around here?


usa belgium soccer game fans funny hats
she wasn't happy I asked her to be in a photo with her hat, but smiled anyway



belgium soccer fans in red hats
there is NO way I would post this, if I didn't need to for the competition. (1) what is up with my 2nd chin and (2) frack, I didn't even lean down to show the funny logo on the hat!


I was fortunate to get to this far on this journey through the sponsorship of — the best way to handle your train transportation needs in Europe if you are on a multi-train journey.

32 thoughts on “America, F*%@ ‘Ya!! Hitting the Jackpot in the Ultimate Train Challenge Scavenger Hunt

  1. So much fun (although I was secretly cheering for Belgium πŸ˜‰ Too bad the police wouldn’t put you in handcuffs, that would have got you some bonus points…

    1. Heck, I was sorta cheering for Belgium also. Meant a lot more to them. Though it would be nice if the USA would ever score. Jeez.

  2. love love love the pictures. It would have been awesome if you were wearing one of the police officers hats. That’s what I was hoping for when scrolling down.

    1. They were sooooo unwilling for even the photos, that I was sure I wasn’t going to ask for the hat. They did offer to cuff me though. I wasn’t sure if they meant it as a joke…

    1. and then you go off the next day and get the great inside-the-train-engine shot!!

  3. So is that a point for each hat picture? If that’s the case, you’re sitting pretty. Disappointing result, but I think klinsmann will get it together.

    1. Ahhh, the point system. We never really decided on that. Methinks that two girls might outvote one guy in the end on the scoring system πŸ˜‰

  4. My favorite, by far is the pink elephant. Good thing you had a photo to prove that one, or we might have thought you were smoking something.

    1. “Seeing the pink elephant”…. isn’t that massive drinking, instead of smoking? πŸ˜‰

    1. Hoping for bonus points, but the Russian judges are tough on us Americans. And that dude in the outfit…. classic.

  5. omg michael LOOK AT THOSE GRINS!!!! bahahaha. game seriously effing on is what those grins say πŸ˜‰ well played mister. and fun while you’re at it = priceless. lol πŸ˜€

    1. I wish I was a bit more photogenic, but I’ll take the chuckles, for sure.

  6. This are some mightily funny hats you’re wearing there, sir!

    I love the pink elephant hat and the Uncle Sam beard! Do get extra points for the beard?

    1. I wanted to keep the beard. Hides the 2nd and 3rd chins in my photos. How the hell did I ever get those??!

  7. I love how your title, AMERICA, F*%@ β€˜YA!!, puts that song in my head while I’m browsing the photos LOL πŸ™‚

  8. I think the pink elephant was the best hahaha Also I think you might have a new thing here this could go “viral” a lot of the people that you are standing next to in the photos totally don’t look like they would be wearing those hats and you just look like the crazy hat guy! it’s kinda funny, I like it πŸ™‚

    1. I should get bonus points, because it is the only way I will ever compete with these two women on this quest… they are vicious!

  9. They did offer to cuff me though. Too funny! I love this. and fun while you’re at it = priceless.

  10. They were sooooo unwilling for even the photos, that I was sure I wasn’t going to ask for the hat. Heck, I was sorta cheering for Belgium also.

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