East Coast Search Recap

Dodge Journey

Well, that was an exciting 29 hours, Dodge!  In fact, it’s been an exciting Journey ever since I first saw that Route 66 sign on the commercial announcing the search for three Dodge Journeys hidden across the United States and, as the commercial said, “If you can find one, you can have one.”  By the time the final search came to the East, the momentum had reached a fever pitch.

The last Journey was found in a barn attached to a vacation property in Tenants Harbor, Maine.  It’s WAYYYYY out there!  It’s pretty much on a peninsula about halfway up the southern Maine coast.  The path there began nearly 500 miles earlier in Albany, N.Y.  That was the first of five video clues that were revealed one hour apart on the Dodge YouTube site.  The rest of the video clues led to Saratoga Springs, Lake George, Chestertown, and Schroon Lake, respectively.  (For summaries of each of the video clues, start here.)  Of course, those of us who had been deciphering the clues from the original commercial already knew the Journey was going to take that path.  In fact, we knew it was going to go even further east because of a photo Dodge released the night before the search officially began showing the ferry that crosses from Fort Ticonderoga to Vermont and a shot of the ferry landing in Vermont that appeared in the original commercial.  This is where it got interesting . . .

If you were to follow the road from the landing, Route 74, you would soon see an intersection that was also seen in the first video clue of the day (Route 74/73 and Route 22A).  At that location, there was a sign posted on a pole that read: “This isn’t the end.  It’s only the beginning.  We can’t wait to share where we went next.  The journey is within 350 miles from here.”  The clues continued with two slide shows at 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. Sunday showing places the Journey had passed on the way to its final destination.  Judging from the discussion on the Dodge YouTube site since the search ended, it appears a lot of people didn’t see these additional clues, which took searchers as far as Portland, Maine.  The final slide was a picture of the Time and Temperature Building there, except the word “CALL” appeared where the time and temperature usually does.  While this was part of an advertising campaign unrelated to the Dodge search, it actually led to the next round of clues.

Eventually the cameraman who was live at the location displayed a sign with a phone number.  It lacked an area code, but Maine only has one.  At this point, the contest left the armchair searchers behind and focused only on those who were physically in the hunt.  The phone number reached a recording that hinted at Red’s Eats in Wiscasset (of course, my good friend and fellow roadie, Sarah YO Cote, had figured that out much earlier when the cameraman ate a unique looking lobster roll for lunch).  When searchers got to Red’s, the “specials” sign in the window read “Life’s a journey, not a destination” along with a phone number.  And so it went — phone numbers leading to businesses with more clues, eventually leading nearly 80 miles further northeast to Rockland, Maine, where the final clue was in the window of a real estate office — a picture of the vacation property about 12 miles away.  You can see the location of clues from beginning to end here.

The first person to reach it was a young mother named Melissa.  Originally from Illinois, she recently moved to Virginia for her husband’s military assignment and made the trek by herself sleeping little, sometimes in her car on the side of the road.  Kudos to her!  She has been sharing her story on the Dodge YouTube site discussion board and it’s been an interesting one to read.

And so this journey comes to an end.  I do have some final thoughts about the East Coast search and the campaign in general, but I’ll save that for another post . . .

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