Saturday, April 17’ 2010 - Arizona
  • Today was interesting day riding in that I had opportunity to meet and speak to an Arizona Highway Patrol Officer ... again. Last time I had the pleasure was about 4 years ago in the Tucson area where I was cited for doing 72 mph in 55 mph zone. Actually he was doing most of the talking on that one. Would today's results ... 4 years later .... have the same outcome ???

It all began innocently enough ... I was out on my usual solo Saturday ride late morning traveling north on State Highway 89 between Congress and Yarnell Arizona. It's a beautiful day ... mid 70's blue sky and a beautiful stretch of road ... 5 miles twisty and curvy ascent that spans two full lanes going up a steep incline that takes you from an elevation of 2,500 feet to over 4,500 feet in spectacular fashion. A motorcyclist enthusiast dream road if there ever was one proven by the fact that you see them ripping through this section of road just about all the time. This time was no different than any other time I had road along this road with one big exception. This time it was my turn to be that poor sap standing on the side of the road pleading my case to the cop as everyone else rolled by pretending they were obeying the speed limit.

I had just started my accent winding through each curve leaning as close to the asphalt as I could safely get and then throwing her over the other way to hit the next curve in the opposite direction. I love to catch cars on the way up and pass them in the fast lane so I was egging it on pretty good to hurry up and catch up to my first victim. You can imagine that sinking feeling in my gut when my eyes and eventually my brain processed the view around the next turn and determined it to be an Arizona Highway Patrol man standing in the middle of the road with his patrol car parked along the side of the road pointing back towards on coming traffic. I righted the bike and began to slow as he motioned me to pull over and up behind his parked car. As I slowly pulled to a stop and he began his march over to me my mind began to race with a thousand and one possible scenarios that could play out.

We've all been here and done this before right? We're all wondering in that little pea brain of ours if there is even the remotes possibility that we might be able to talk our way out of the speeding ticket that was probably already 99% assured. Should you play it laid back, polite friendly, accepting, surprised but remorseful in hopes the officer will give you a break or should you be more direct in your approach explaining your case and asking for perhaps a favor or break ...begging even. My heart was doing another kind of racing and I was doing my level best to not allow it to control my tongue as the most obvious translation was in the form of nervousness which I was definitely feeling as I began to speak. After the initial greetings the first salvo came in ... Driver License and Registration Please. Noticing my military id as I pulled out my licenses he asked what branch I served in. Air Force I said. Me too was the reply. Worked on A-10's out of Davis Mothem. I said I used to live in Tucson a few years back and was visiting my daughter in Buckeye, Arizona from Tennessee who is also serving in the Air Force at Luke AFB. Off to a good start my pea brain thought to itself ... we have something in common.

I start to relax ever so slightly but I'm still hearing nervousness in my voice as we continue to exchange chit for chat. Of course I had to field the preverbal question regarding my knowledge of the speed limit of this section of road. 55 mph I said with confidence but I knew is was 45 mph. Think this could have been a trick question because there was a posted 45 mph speed limit sign couldn't been more than a couple of hundred feet back from where we were standing. Then again maybe it was a rhetorical question was obvious he already knew the answer. At any rate he went on to explain the posted speed limit was 45 mph and I was up in the 50 + mph range. I agreed and said I was going a little fast while at the same time expressing a surprise look on my face that I was incorrect in my assertion the speed limit was 55 mph. At this point I have still not dismounted the bike and am sitting on the bike with the engine off. My rule for situations like this is the ticket isn't for sure until you drop the kick stand and get off the bike so I was resisting that at all cost.

He continued to dig little deeper to see if my story checked out and I used every opportunity to draw lines of parallels without overtly revealing my alternative motive for getting out of the ticket. This task was made easier by the fact that I actually liked the guy and sense he liked me as well. At least as much as two completely adversarial strangers can like each other in less than 10 minutes of strained conversation. My voice had finally come down to it's normal level and fluidity and we continue to converse. It was getting close now....I could just feel it. I could sense the decision was coming ...was it going to be a warning or was it going to be a ticket? Should I pipe up now with my plea for leniency or keep the stiff upper lip and wait for him to show his cards........and there it was ....

I'm going to give you a warning he said. Thanks .... I replied I really appreciate that. As I struggled to maintain composure at the news my body had gone limp from relief and the peas in my brain were giving high fives to each other. After a clean check of my registration and writing up the warning ticket we exchanged a few more details about each others jobs shook hands and I was on my way. As I rode off I couldn't help to think to myself that it was ironic that this occurred on a day when I had promised myself I would start slowing down more and start taking in more of the sights. I was actually doing that for the most part but I have to admit I relapse often. Speed on a Goldwing is addictive. I blame my Goldwing ... Bad Bad Goldwing.

Every road has it's speed .... and cost $$$ to speed for that matter ... just for me this day ... I got a pass...

*** Professional at work here ....please do not try this at home *** ;-)

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Brushes with the Law