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March 24, 2005 02:00 PM

Luck wasn’t on Susan Vaughn and her son Patrick’s side during their final challenge of The Amazing Race. After being in the back of the pack en route to Buenos Aires, Argentina, Susan, 46, a university administrator in Hamilton, Ohio, and Patrick, 26, a musical-theater writer in Los Angeles, faced more frustration when their rubber motorized boat sputtered and took in water as they tried to locate San Antonio island in the port city of Tigre. Their water mishap cemented their last-place finish in Mendoza, Argentina. Susan and Patrick spoke to PEOPLE about how the experience gave them new respect for one another and why they won’t be rooting for two contestants who are still running the Race.

Were you able to learn new things about each other through the race?
Patrick: I was really surprised by Mom’s determination and drive. In the end she was a lot more determined than I was because I wasn’t getting as worked up about the little things as much as I thought I would.
Susan: I was really, really proud of him for taking on some of the challenges and things that he did. He was telling me all along, “I can do this Mom, I can eat these things,” but when it’s your kid that you are watching doing these things, that’s really hard. In the end, he said some really neat things about our relationship, probably things we don’t say to each other all the time. It certainly made me feel good, and so I learned a little bit more about somebody that I call my best friend.

What was the most fun thing to see each other do?
Patrick: It was the most fun to see Mom do the shoe-shine challenge on the second episode only because she was running around like a maniac. I just remember her arriving at the end location and we were still in the lead thanks to Mom and she was going, “I’m going to throw up! I’m going to throw up!” And I’m like, “You are not going to throw up! We’re in the lead! Come on! Come on!”
Susan: For me, probably the favorite thing for me was seeing Patrick come down that zip-line. He missed me coming down the zip-line because he had to go to the bathroom! But for me to see him do that was the realization that hit me that, “Oh my God, I just did that, too!”

Was everyone as angry about Rob and Amber as it appears?
Patrick: Yes! Everybody ganged up on them right from the start. I think it might have been subconscious because Rob and Amber didn’t have to go through the whole audition process that we all went through. All of a sudden Rob and Amber stepped in and acted like they were celebrities, so nobody was really big fans of that. It was just like, why in the world do they need to win another million dollars? Plus, they were so obnoxious about it! Rob spends all his time picking his own nose and smelling his own farts – he’s the most disgusting person! It’s hard for me to watch them on the screen because it makes me want to dry-heave sometimes, but I will watch because I love everybody else so much!

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