It reminded me of an experience I had in Virginia many years ago – circa 1970, while a student there. I was very close to my late aunt and uncle, who lived on an old family farm in Huntington West Virginia. So close that I thought nothing of driving on a Friday the 350 miles on Rt 60 over the Shenandoah mountains, into the Kanawha Valley in West Virginia, and on I-64 to Huntington.
This was before I-64 was complete – it started in Lewisburg, WV and now it runs across Virginia including Charlottesville.
Anyway on a good day I could do this in 8 hours – 8 hours coming in Friday and 8 hours leaving on Sunday.
One winter day with all the snow and jackknifed tractor trailer rigs it took me 14 hours.
But 40 years later I can still remember the landmarks – The Homestead in Virginia, Hawk’s Nest in West Virginia and….during one trip, a little country store in Virginia.
You see I was driving my 1967 Camaro (327 with high compression “Corvette heads” and a 4 speed) along Rt 60 somewhere in Western Virginia in the Shenandoah. I was passing a car on that 2 laned highway and I pass like I always do.
Meaning screw the speed limits, I’m getting around that suckah and away from oncoming traffic.
Anyway apparently a Virginia State Trooper was a-sittin’ in the bushes with radar at that moment. He stops me in his 440 Dodge (remember those?), gumball light flashing and mirrored sunglasses.
Although he didn’t say it I could imagine him sayin’ “You’re in a heap o’trouble boy!”.
He said to follow him, which I of course dutifully did.
We stop in this little general store with gas pumps out front, and I’m thinking that he just needs some gas.
No, we go inside where he says “I’m looking for the justice of the peace“.
Whereupon a rather mousy-looking man in an apron working in the vegetable rack looks at us and says “You’re looking at him! What’s the charge?”.
Speeding of course, whereupon he gave me the choice of a fine or jail time.
The fine of course is what interested me, but I didn’t have the cash – only a checkbook.
Frowns were all around but I tried to reduce the tension by saying that my school had an honor code, and if this check bounced I would be kicked out. All they would have to do is inform the school.
Which was true.
Anyway that was what tipped the magistrate from treating me at the county’s expense to some lodgings. The Trooper reminded me that if this bounced the school would be the least of my problems.