"We just could not find Fairview Riverside Park," Mark Schroeder said. "It's about 30 minutes from our house, but we've just never been there. The map we had sucked. The print was so small. We had ridden 20 minutes in the wrong direction before we realized we had passed it."
"We were looking for a park near a river," his wife, Char, told The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
Their daughter Stassi, 17, added: "We just headed straight for the river, which put us back 40 minutes. We didn't think Lake Ponchartrain. It is Fairview Riverside Park."
Stress had accumulated for the Schroeders. The night before, Stassi had broken into tears, frustrated because the family could not find the overnight hold.
"I think what people don't realize is just how involved we get in the show," Stassi said. "I mean emotionally, physically, mentally; it completely comes over you, and you get so wrapped up that I just broke down and I couldn't handle it anymore because I felt the race slipping away."
The problem? "We spent four hours driving around that little town looking for the trailer park," Mark said. "You don't realize the amount of time and effort we spent. We looked in two phone books."
"We asked that sheriff and he told us," Char said. "And we thought a mobile home park? You're not going to do a detour or something there. Why would we go there? So we just blew it off and kept on going. Right in front of our face, that's what's killing us."
She said it wasn't until they got to the mat that they knew they were the last team to arrive.
"We were hoping another family had gotten lost in the French Quarter," Char said. "We knew the exact route to get to Preservation Hall, so we made up a lot of time. We knew where to park, where to run, etc. And the French Quarter was packed at that time. But at the same time we all had a sense of impending doom."
Now they all can laugh about it, but during the race, Stassi and her dad were having trouble getting along.
"We're great. There's nothing between us," Mark said. "We're just both extremely competitive."
"We're very passionate people," Stassi added. "And when we get a goal in our head, we just go for it and we end up butting heads. But we get over arguments within five minutes."
At the end of the show, they mentioned the experience brought them together as a family, and they learned they can deal with adversity. Weeks later, Hurricane Katrina came and . Their house was destroyed.
"It's gutted down to the studs," Mark said. "There's nothing left in our house. No toilets, no sinks, no cabinets. Everything had to be torn out. So we're rebuilding, as I'm sure everyone will be in New Orleans."
But for two weeks, Mark said, the offered their house and took care of them. "They were extremely wonderful."
"They're without a doubt the most amazing people," Stassi said.
Char added: "All the families from the 'Race' put together gifts, cards. Some gave us checks, clothes, and a little man from the Rogers' church drove all of that down to us at Baton Rouge."
They may have lost the big prize but, Mark said, "The whole race was an incredible experience that we'll cherish the rest of our lives."