Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Hunt for More Dallas Coin Finale - Part 1

On January 23, 2007, the Dr. Pepper: Hunt for More began. This nation-wide treasure hunt let Dr. Pepper fans, geocachers, and ordinary people have a chance at finding large cash prizes hidden across the country. Each day, for a period of 30 days, participants entered codes that were found under bottle caps onto a special website and were given clues that led to one of 23 hidden coins. Each coin was worth between $10,000 and $1,000,000.

"Clues revealed online each day will provide hints to help Dr Pepper fans/detectives locate the money. The clues will test consumers' knowledge of geography, history and world events." - Dr. Pepper: Hunt for More press release

For 29 days, I entered codes online and deciphered cryptic clues. Before long, I knew that the clues I was given were directing me to Dallas, TX around White Rock Lake. This is my account of what happened in the final hours of the Dallas coin hunt in the Dr. Pepper: Hunt for More treasure hunt.

Late Tuesday night, my wife and I dropped the girls off with my parents and made a late night drive to the White Rock Lake area of Dallas. The 29th clue that came out earlier that day describing the location of the hidden coin strongly indicated that the coin was hidden near the stone table area of the park. We made a quick stop at the Casa Linda Plaza and looked for anything out of the ordinary before venturing into the park that night around 10:00pm.

When we first arrived, we were alone in that area of the park and began our diligent search all around the stone tables, the picnic tables, the pavilion, the drainage ditch, around the playground, inside the plumbing covers, in hollow spaces in tree stumps, and under the little stone foot bridge. We searched, drove around the area looking for other possibilities, and checked the Internet for the final clue from 10:00pm until 2:00am. During that time, other cars arrived and we could observe several individuals, couples, and even one larger group searching the same area with flashlights - so we knew we must be at the right place. Also during this time at around 11:30pm, a Dallas police patrol car arrived and began slowly driving through the area with his spotlight observing the searchers.

As the hours passed by, the final clue had still not been released online. Finally at 2:00am exactly, I was prompted to enter another code and receive the final clue! It said, "Amble and ramble make like a rover. Look under this thing that you'd normally go over." Our first reaction was "THE BRIDGE!!!!" We had thoroughly searched the little, stone foot bridge adjacent to the stone tables just an hour before this last clue, so we immediately headed off in the car to the next nearest bridge just a few hundred yards away. We had looked around this bridge before, but not crawled under it. By this time, there were at least 3 other cars just sitting around the park area waiting for the same thing we were. At almost the exact same second that we started driving, all of the other cars must have received the clue and started leaving the stone table area heading to one of the other bridges including the one that we were going to.

Also, at almost the exact same second, the Dallas police officer who had been there for quite some time started driving by each car one at a time telling all of us, "I know that there is a contest going on, but the park closed at 11:00pm and will re-open at 5:00am. I have been told to issue citations to anyone still found here. You can come back at 5:00."

Sadly, we drove off and discussed our game plan for our return at 5:00am. Only this time, we knew for certain that we wouldn't be searching alone. We also found the police officer's timing extremely questionable since he had been there watching us all for over 2 hours. We suspect that he was told to clear the area at 2:00am to make way for the person hiding the coin and to keep people out during that time.

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