Well, we need to come clean. For those of you who thought we were on the lam…you are right. Nebraska’s finest pulled us over just outside of the Scottsbluff’s Monument. And by that I mean we had just pulled out of Scottsbluff Monument and in less than one mile we were sitting on the side of the road with flashing lights behind us. I was in disbelief, and to this day still find the whole experience humorously peculiar. I know, I know, everybody who gets pulled over for speeding says they weren’t speeding. But in this particular case…I find it hard to believe that I was speeding, honestly. Now this is coming from a life long “efficient” driver, one that finds the quickest way from point A to point B, which often includes straying above the posted speed limit – let’s keep it real here. I am a safe driver, but in the past if I had to categorize myself I would say that I was faster than I was slower, no questions asked. These “past” days I speak of were ones of zippy import sedans and midsize SUVs/Trucks – a solid 20 years of zipping to and fro without one blemish on my driving record, not even a warning. Nowadays, I find myself lumbering around in the Ram 2500 TurboDeez heavy duty pickup. And don’t let the “turbo” fool you, that has everything to do with towing power and nothing to do with “quick off the line” power. Without the trailer attached, I rarely stray above 65 mph and with the trailer attached, I make darn sure to stay at or below the speed limit. It isn’t even difficult to do. Gone are the days of passing a “Statey” sitting on the side of the freeway and watching him in my rear-view mirror all the way until I can’t see him anymore, still with the fear that he may just pull out and flip those lights on in pursuit. So, speeding is (or was) literally the farthest thing from my mind.
Which brings us back to a lovely sunny day in Scottsbluff, NE. Jen and I had just finished up at the National Monument site and are heading back towards town to get some lunch. As we’re motoring down the road, I see a police car approaching on the opposite side of the road heading in the other direction. As soon as it passes me, it pulls a U-Turn and gets behind me. Hmmm…interesting I think. Probably just a coincidence. Then the lights go on. Dang, that’s a real coincidence, I better pull over and get out of the way so this guy can get to where ever he needs to go. The police car pulls in behind me…uh oh!! I’m thinking I must have a tail light out or my stickers aren’t up to date, anything but speeding! A young female Nebraska State Trooper approaches the vehicle, she was very professional in her delivery and stated that I was “going a little fast” in the 45 mph zone. License and registration please. Now, Jen and I just finished the process of moving away from our most recent permanent residence, which was one of three in the last eight months, we’re nomads now. My license, registration, and insurance card all had different addresses on them because they were all in different stages of being updated. So not only are we from out of state, our papers didn’t exactly help give the impression that we are in fact normal law-abiding citizens in good standing – lovely. After I added address update cards to the pile of info already provided, she headed back to the squad car to do her thing. Shortly thereafter she returned, everything checked out and I was only given a warning. I mentioned to her that we had just pulled out of the Monument parking lot and she said “I know.” And that is when the record skipped for Jen and I. “I know”?? How would she know – she had come from the opposite direction. Happy to get off with just a warning, I didn’t push the issue. I thanked the officer for her kindness, and we were on our way. But the wheels were turning now, and not just the ones on the TurboDeez.
After some careful introspection and conspiracy theorizing, I have come up with this alternative scenario which is very likely not in the least bit true. However, it may be exactly what happened!
On our way out of the Monument, we decided to take a walk down one last trail. This trail had a few full size conestoga wagons on it, one of which had a full team of fake oxen attached to it. We head down the trail to see the wagons, which had signs on them requesting that the public stay off of the wagons. For most normal adults, this doesn’t resemble a temptation in the least, for my wife, however, this was too good to pass up. You can imagine what happened next. She steered that team West with the wind in her face!!! For those of you with no imagination, please see the photographic evidence…So she hops down, and as soon as we turn toward the parking lot, we notice the guard shack, and the current guard on duty is looking right at us. Busted! We get a little closer and I can tell that the guard is on the phone, she appears to be in her late twenties and also appears to be laughing hysterically. We promptly hop in the truck and head towards the exit, I give a brief wave to the guardshack as we pass and there is the guard, smiling and waving back to us. Huh, friendly folks around here I say to myself. And in one mile, I’m pulled over by a cop driving directly towards me – and she knows where I came from, without having been able to see us leave the parking lot due to the grade. From where I pulled out of the monument to where I got pulled over is open grassland, no places for a car to lay in wait and get me with the radar gun. In the days following, we drove on that same stretch of road, and I got the truck up to 45 mph multiple times, and there is no way I was going that fast when we got pulled over (also keep in mind I was never told exactly what my speed was, nor was it noted on the warning). Perhaps I have a biased view on the day’s events, perhaps the 7,500 lbs of the TurboDeez can get the speed up higher than I realize even when she’s just coasting down a slight grade, I guess we’ll never know. You know what I think about the day’s events…they’re SUSPECT!!
All kidding aside I look at the experience with a very light heart and am thankful that however it came to be, the Nebraska State Police reminded me of the importance of driving at a safe speed and only gave me a warning for their trouble.