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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Those Texas Rangers

They ride speedy crossovers now instead of fleet ponies, but they are just as vigilant as ever. My son, Calvin, warned me about the sneaky speed traps on Texas highways. He claims that small towns count on tourists for much of their revenue by suddenly decreasing the speed limit, and then posting rangers at those strategic places to nab unsuspecting motorists who simply remove the foot from the accelerator and let the car slowly coast down to the posted speed. Between the first limit sign and the compliance of one's vehicle several hundred feet of road will find you inexcusably moving at excessive speed. Since uncle Fred is the judge there is no point in appealing.

I think his imagination was getting the best of him again, so I set my cruise control three or four mph over the posted limit like all cool California drivers do. Sometimes (on long trips, for example) we tend to go as much as 5 or more miles over the posted limit, hoping that a display of cool demeanor and otherwise careful and courteous driving habits will dissuade the officer from actually administering the costly citation.

We told our son that since we were taking the interstate highway, there would be none of those small town shenanigans. But today, as we cruised through the Texas panhandle region, one of those diligent gendarmes nabbed me. We were courteous. We had license (without recorded offense). We had proof of insurance. We had valid registration. He must have noticed that we were California cool, and he was especially impressed that we were on a mission to visit the "kiddos" (his term), he issued only a warning citation. We thanked him and continued on our way. Only now this same woman who had been coaxing me in other states to get us there as quickly as possible, now was ragging on me for the least overage. The speed limit is a generous 70 mph, and we made it to the border at 69.

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