Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Why Yes Officer, I Always Carry a Key of Coke with Me

Just outside Salt Lake City, late afternoon. Those ominous flashing lights. I hate being pulled over. "Ma'am, the speed limit is 65; you were going 71." Yes officer, and the speed limit was 75 right before where you were sitting, cars don't drop 10 miles an hour instantly. Who gets pulled over for going six over the speed limit anyway?! I'd bet my tuition that if anyone reading this hasn't gone 6 over, they don't drive.

Luckily, I had seen instructions on how to act with police. Be polite, answer "small talk" questions while he runs all the info. He went to his car to check on what he ran and then returned empty handed to my window.

I don't know if it was my car (I drive a 95 Buick), my hair and stunna shades (also had on my bandanna so I basically looked like I did when leaving Texas), or the fact that I was coming from the Yay, but the officer had some pretty strange questions....

"Do you normally carry large amount of cash?" - good thing I wasn't able to get any naira in San Francisco, Oh not normally, I just happen to have several thousand dollars in foreign currency in a bag. "No."

"Do you have any marijuana in the car?" And of course, since I said no to that, the next logical question is, "how about cocaine?"

That's when I just started laughing at him. He paused as if waiting for me to invite him to search my car. No thanks. He seemed quasi-satisfied, went to his car, took the papers off his dashboard and came right back with them. (i.e. everything was finished being run before, he had only come back to ask about the drugs.) He gave me a nice warning for "speeding" and handed back all my documents. Then he started a new exchange.

"Would you mind popping the trunk for me?" My trunk doesn't pop. "Do you have a reason you want to look in my trunk?"

"I'm asking." I did not appreciate this further intrusion but also knew I had nothing he wanted. I made clear I knew I didn't have to let him see the trunk, but would do so only because there was nothing in it (for him - it was packed chock full of boxes, bags and hangers).

He opened the trunk briefly, returned the keys and sent me on my way. I spent the next 15 minutes before finding a gas station worrying that he planted something in the trukn for the next Utah cop to pull me over and find. He didn't, at least nothing I found yet. My friend who will soon be a (fabulous) DA said I handled everything right. That's good.

I've been pulled over before, though it has been years. No one has ever asked for my registration or insurance. He did. No one has ever asked if I had drugs in my car. And certainly, no one has ever asked to look in the trunk. What's up Utah?

Wyoming also proved to be an adventure. I stopped in Rowling about 9:30 local time. Having been on the road since 5:30 in the morning, I just wanted some good sleep. Tuesday night, middle of Wyoming, all the hotels in the city were full. (Yet, somehow they still had lots of empty parking spaces out front. Guess I'm used to Bay Area parking now.) Frustrated, tired and sad, I drove on - next town: Laramie 100 miles.

About 50 miles down the highway, I saw a sign, "Lodging Elk Mtn. Lodge." Splendid! I took the exit and followed the road 3 miles to Elk Mountain: Population 129. I am not even kidding. I found the library, the town hall, the fire station and the church. They were all next to and across from each other on the town's one street. I did not see the Elk Mtn. Lodge. Back to the freeway....

Follow my travels here throughout the next week:

day 1


MaryRuth said...

GR--Are you going to WI?
I'm just wondering how many people answer "yes" when asked if they have pot in the car?

goldenrail said...

MR--In WI now :) Went to the store and got cheese curds already.

MaryRuth said...

Dang! You're lucky! I will go there in a few weeks myself. Glad to hear you made it safe and sound.
mmmm cheese curds....