One day, many years ago, my characters got stuck in an elevator. They were on the run, in terrible danger, and had to escape fast. But I couldn't help them. They were stuck because I didn't know what the inside of the elevator looked like. I had no idea what their escape options were.
So I packed my three-year-old and my new baby into the car and went elevator hunting.
I drove to the nearest multi-story building I knew of--a satellite campus of the local community college. As I parked I told my three-year-old that we were going riding in an elevator. He was thrilled.
With baby in the stroller and pre-schooler in tow, I breezed in through the front doors like I belonged there. I found an elevator, let my son push the button, and waited.
Fortunately, no one else wanted the elevator at the moment.
We rode up to the top story and back down again. Plenty of time for me to memorize the inside of the elevator, and even try putting my foot on the handrail to give myself a boost up to the emergency hatch on the ceiling. Back on the ground floor, I wheeled the stroller out to the car, buckled everyone in, then drove home to finish writing the scene.
What's the craziest thing you've done for a research trip?