RE: 97 Taurus GL Coolant Leak
I have had coolant leaks on my 97 Taurus several times and it never seems to drip directly below the problem area. It always seems to be diverted by something under the hood. One problem I had is the coolant reservoir. It is under pressure and can split at the seam. When this occurs, it tends to leak occasionally but I experience the same regarding the coolant temp you are having. It didn't leak constant to cause it to lose all the coolant and took a while for me to find. This tended to drip between the resevior and the bumper.
The other leak I had was the hoses. Apparently ford redesigned the coolant hoses after they made this model. The original went from the reservior to the firewall. The new one has a bypass hose between the resevior and the firewall. The T where the bypass comes in leaked. I had to replace this twice.
The other leak I had ended up being the water pump. This time it over heated and I had to replace the water pump, freeze plug and 3 sensors. That was a very costly fix. The ford dealer also replaced old configuration of hoses with the new configuration which I didn't realize the reconfiguration until after the fact. I could find the right hoses when it started leaking a few years later. The dealer's computer showed something different from my configuration. I finally found a ford dealer that noticed a comment in the notes section that said if the configuration does not match the customers hoses, to order a specific part # instead.