Showing posts with label Hunt-for-More. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hunt-for-More. Show all posts

Saturday, March 03, 2007

The Hunt for More Dallas Coin Finale - Part 2

This is the second part of my account of what happened in the final hours of the Dallas coin hunt in the Dr. Pepper: Hunt for More treasure hunt.

Knowing that it was already after 2:00am and we would be returning less than 2.5 hours later, we decided that we would just go and grab a bite to eat at Denny's before returning to the park entrance around 4:20am. As we were approaching the park again, we saw what we thought was the same police car driving away from the park. Shortly after, we could see the first of many cars re-entering the park well before 5:00am. My wife and I decided that if we were going to find the coin and win the hunt that we would at least do so honestly and play by the rules. One of the official rules says, "Do not enter locked or closed premises or premises without authorization." To us, this included White Rock Lake park until 5:00am, so we sat and impatiently waited.

We knew that if the coin were just recently hidden between 2:00-5:00am under the small footbridge closest to the stone tables (the same bridge that we had thoroughly searched hours before) that it would easily have been found already by the pre-5:00am searchers. So we decided that we would thoroughly search one of the other bridges in that section of the park. There were two road bridges and one additional wooden foot bridge over the creeks branching off of the lake giving us a 1 in 4 chance of searching the correct place. Because of the words "amble," "ramble," and "rover," we thought our best bet would be the one remaining large footbridge over the creek instead of the two road bridges.

As soon as our car's clock said 5:00am, we drove to our bridge location and began our search. When we arrived, we were the first car parked there, but not the first people searching. One of the cars that we could see driving through the area before 5:00am was apparently dropping people off at the various bridges in the park and leaving again trying to avoid being caught by the police officer. Even though we knew we weren't the first hunters to search this wooden bridge, we gave it a good hour of our time anyway.

We grabbed our flashlights and climbed over and under every inch of that wooden bridge while trying to avoid spiders, wasp nests, and who knows what else. My wife and I both slipped and fell into the creek (feet-first thankfully) at one time or another so we both searched the creek bed under and around the bridge. We looked under rocks, in piles of debris washed up against the side of the bridge, under and over all of the bridge supports and girders, in the cracks between the planks, and in every possible nook and cranny. Finally, we decided that we had looked in and around every possible hiding place on and under that rather large wooden bridge and called off our search after almost an hour. At this point, we felt confident that the coin was not under our bridge and knew that if the coin were under one of the other 3 bridges that it was probably already found.

But we still didn't stop. We looked under and around the original small stone footbridge and both of the road bridges although not going into the water to search since these bridges crossed rather deep sections of the creek and smelled like raw sewage. Once we were convinced that we had searched all of the bridges in the area without success, we started our search on other areas thinking that maybe the clue didn't mean a bridge but instead was something that we would normally just step over instead of walk or drive over like a large rock. We searched drainage ditches under roadways, under all of the slides and playground equipment that kids could climb over, and even resorted to fanning out over the area looking under individual rocks, sticks, trash, and anything else that a coin could be hidden under. Still no success. After almost 8 hours of searching and waiting all through the night and early morning with only a few hours of a break at Denny's, we were tired, wet, and physically exhausted from our search. For one last attempt, I called for advice and maybe an additional interpretation of the clue. My mom suggested that maybe it was talking about "going over" the park guidelines possibly on a sign about dogs. With this latest interpretation, we drove around that area of the park and searched on, around, and under every sign that had any sort of rule including several ones about dogs.

Finally, after around eight and a half hours of searching every square inch of that park and zero hours of sleep, we said goodbye to some of the other hunters still hanging around and left Dallas around 9:30am. While talking with some of the other hunters just before we left, we compared clues and clue interpretations. Interestingly, none of the hunters present at the time interpreted all of the clues. Nobody understood "DeagleD". Nobody understood for certain "don't lose your head." We were the only ones that understood, "the truth shall set you free," but were the only ones NOT to understand that "Legal Hill Fop" was an anagram for Flag Pole Hill. Some of the hunters we talked too heard from another hunter that a guy found the coin in a small black pouch under the small stone footbridge at 3:30am, but who really knows if that is accurate.

Overall, there are several possible scenarios for what happened. The coin could have been found by accident earlier in the week. The coin could have been hidden after the police officer made everyone leave the park at 2:00am and found later by someone who sneaked back in before 5:00am (most likely scenario in my opinion). The coin might not have been hidden yet and could have been hidden later that day when all of the original hunters left. Or, all of us at White Rock Lake who didn't correctly interpret all 30 clues might have been searching for a red herring in the woods.

Whichever scenario turns out to be true (and we may never really find out), we had a fun time and enjoyed our late night adventure in Dallas.

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.