Wolf Creek Pass

by Berck

I thought Jonah was going to write about our trip, but I guess not. There’s photos in the gallery.

The most unusual thing on the trip occurred on our way up Wolf Creek Pass headed back home. It’s not one of the most impressive passes, but is still a rather steep climb. It’s one of the more traveled passes, and the road is 4 lanes. Strangely, the speed limit going up is 35mph, where the speed limit going down is 55mph. This doesn’t make a lot of sense, especially considering how easy it is to get into trouble going downhill, but how relatively difficult it is to get in trouble going uphill. I was driving pretty much flat-out in the Miata, which considering the altitude and steep grade, was somewhere around 65mph. As I rounded a curve, a well marked state patrol patrol car was coming the other direction. I tried to brake quickly, but so quickly that it would be obvious I was trying to slow down. In retrospect, this is not a logical or recommended approach… Simply because if I’d braked harder, I’d have been going under the speed limit by the time he turned his radar on. Furthermore, the amount of braking I’d done was enough so that it was obvious I was trying to slow down. A few seconds after I started slowing down, the radar detector went off. This is one of those few situations a radar detector won’t help you out–a cop who’s been driving for the last several miles with his radar off, but turns it on after seeing you. Still, in that situation, you see him as soon as he sees you, so if you brake hard enough, you’ll be going under the limit by the time he manages to bounce radar off you. In any case, as the radar detector went off, the cop started braking as well. I pulled over and stopped before he even managed to get his lights on. He turned them on after he did a u-turn and stopped behind me. It’s been over a year since I’ve gotten a ticket, so I figured I was due, and handed him my driver license before he finished his strangely polite spiel to the effect of “Good evening, I’m so-and-so from the Colorado State Patrol, how are you?” He asked for my proof of registration (something I’m not used to, as Texas has no such proof), and my insurance. Jonah had failed to throw away the expired insurance, which is of course the one I managed to give him. He pointed out it was expired, and I produced another one which he was happier with. He said, “I’m not going to write you a ticket,” and walked back to his car to check me out. This is strange, usually they don’t bother say such things before they check for warrants. Since he was electing to give me a warning, I figured he was going to want to search my car. So I was steeling myself up to refuse to answer any questions and to refuse any searches–not because I had anything to hide, but because he has no business searching my car. Instead, the only question he returned with was something to effect of, “Nice car… how does it handle?” He said that he clocked me at 48 in a 35, but reflected that I was quicker on the brakes than he was with the radar and had obviously been going faster. He handed me a written warning and told me to drive safely. As we left, I asked Joanna, “What’s wrong with him?” to which she giggled. I’d also like to point out that I had a radar detector in plain sight the whole time–so those of you who think a cop is going to write a ticket just because you have a radar detetor are wrong:)

One Response to “Wolf Creek Pass”

  1. susan Says:

    Hi, you two! Berck, you only know me by reputation (the insane girl that Jonah had to live with in Athens). Anyway, I’ve finally hooked up to your blog and I was astonished to find out that you went through my old stomping grounds in Colorado. I spent spring semester of my senior year in college in South Fork, Colorado and even SKIIED Wolf Creek! It is beautiful country, for sure. I definitely remember the pass, too, though I was lucky to never meet your patrolman. Thanks for the memories!

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