As part of ABC News' "50 States in 50 Days" road trip, we at "Nightline" decided to visit states across the country not by plane, train, or bus, but by automobile. We're calling our car the Nightliner -- although the Ford Edge isn't exactly covert.
Since the Nightliner added an extra level of logistics for our producers than the typical story, it was my job to organize the trip and get the car in our first stop in the tour of states -- Maine.
On Sunday, I picked up the Nightliner -- which came complete with racing stripes and a checkered flag graphic -- in a little town outside Portland called Raymond, located in the Maine Lakes Region. My next stop was picking up co-anchor Cynthia McFadden at the airport.
"How will I find you?" she asked over Blackberry.
"Oh -- It'll be obvious," I replied.
Usually when I drive, I'm the curious person looking at the other vehicles driving by. This day was different. I kept forgetting that the car I was driving screamed, "I'm from ABC News and proud of it!" until people started waving, honking, and rubber-necking.
I grew up in nearby New Hampshire, so I thought it would be easy to blend in. But even wearing my best Maine outfit (jeans, a fleece, and an L.L. Bean canvas tote bag ), no one could believe I was from the area. The car practically shouted, "I'm not from Maine!" In the hotel parking garage, the attendants asked, "What are you doing in Maine?" or "Need directions?"
The Nightliner also meant adding an extra element for the piece that we're not used to: shooting the actual car. We captured Cynthia driving the car, Cynthia arriving at Sebasco Harbor where the lobsterman she profiled docks his boat, Cynthia sitting in the car, and Cynthia standing outside the car. And we also shot everything about the car's design -- the wheels, the "Nightline" decals, the ABC News decals, and the "50 States in 50 Days" decals. (We wanted to get our money's worth!)
The hardest part? Getting a side shot of the car while driving. The cameraman sat in the passenger seat of a separate SUV while being driving parallel to the Nightliner. It's not so easy finding a two lane road in Maine, so we ended up on Route 295 (a pretty major road around Portland) where we took up both lands of the two lane highway.
It was like a game -- trying to keep both cars at the same speed so the cameraman could get a good shot -- a game that kept us going about 20 mph below the speed limit and also kept a growing line of cars stuck behind the Nightliner...with an ever growing chorus of honks.