The time I got to say, 'Follow that car!'

CNN correspondents and commentators experienced the 2016 presidential election in unique and interesting ways. This recollection and others were produced in conjunction with CNN's election project, "A Race Like No Other: The Unprecedented Election of 2016."

(CNN)I wasn't supposed to be on DL3361 on July 14, 2016. I had to switch flights at the last minute because Donald Trump had decided to stay in Indianapolis for an extra day. The first flight I was booked on that day got canceled. But as soon as I showed up at my gate, I realized fate had tossed a bone my way.

Standing by the gate and waiting to board the same flight to New York — at the peak of veepstakes speculation — was none other than Marc Lotter, deputy campaign manager to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, at the time a finalist to become Trump's running mate.
Of course, I walked over to talk to him. Lotter played coy, saying he was going to New York for "meetings" related to Pence's re-election campaign. But soon after we boarded, my Twitter feed started blowing up with a report from Roll Call that Pence was indeed the pick for the No. 2 slot. My colleagues from other networks and I eyed each other furtively, working out what to do as the plane took off.
As soon as the seat belt sign flickered off, we jumped out of our seats and walked back to Lotter, iPhones in hand, and held our first mid-air gaggle on a commercial flight (as a few perplexed passengers looked on).
    "I can't confirm or deny," was as much as Lotter would say.
    As soon as we landed, the chase was on.
    CNN had sent a driver to meet me at the airport. I hopped into the car and told my driver, J.C., that he had unwittingly signed up for a secret mission, of sorts.
    I kept my eyes trained on Lotter as he met his own driver and, as soon as I saw them pull out, I said the words everyone — yes, everyone — dreams of shouting: "Follow that car!"
    We closely followed the SUV carrying Pence's aide, swerving from lane to lane as we headed for the Midtown Tunnel into Manhattan.
    "Maybe I shouldn't get too close, just so they don't spot us," J.C. said, as he began to take his mission to heart.
    We nearly lost them as we hit the toll booths at the entrance to the tunnel, as a few cars got in the way. But as soon as we entered Manhattan, J.C. pulled some slick maneuvers to get Lotter's car in our sightline.
    We zigged and zagged semi-dangerously through New York City traffic, careful not to lose our mark. I burrowed myself into my seat several times — at J.C.'s urging — to avoid being spotted.
    Finally, we arrived at the Intercontinental Hotel. Greeting Lotter in the lobby? A Trump campaign staffer.