A Brush with American Highway Police: A day to remember!!

Alng the Pacific Ocean

Along the coastal Highway

Having driven all day along the black ribbon of a road, the Pacific coastal Highway, I was relaxed and absolutely satiated with the breathtaking views throughout. We had stopped almost after every fifteen minutes to take in the view and capture as many shots and memories in our camera….I was very happy….

We were nearing Los Angeles, when suddenly I realised that the rental car we were driving had stopped….

Why are you stopping the car?”

There is a police car with blinking lights behind us….I think he has tailgated us for few minutes now!”

I thought my husband was joking. But I could see the highway patrol police officer striding towards the rented car that we were driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

All weird thoughts….. corrupt cops, being handcuffed by the walkie-talkie toting police officer à la Hollywood style, images of prisons with brutal convicts dressed in orange overalls…. flashed in my mind in those few seconds that the officer took to reach the car.

I wondered where we had goofed up and was ready to kneel on road with “hands where I can see them” if ordered. My heart was in my mouth and I instantly developed a headache!

All day we had driven along the Pacific Coastal Highway (read about the picturesque drive here)skirting the immense blue ocean enjoying the spell-binding scenery.

Eye-catching sight all along the Pacific Coastal Highway

Eye-catching sight all along the Pacific Coastal Highway

Beyond Morro Bay we turned inland driving along Cabrillo Highway. It was already evening and we were two hundred miles short of Los Angeles. We did not want to risk night travel in a new city. We were revelling in the leisure journey with no maddening traffic to bother us.

Lost in Rod Stewart’s version of ‘The way you look tonight’ playing on the radio, I missed the worried frown creasing my husband’s face and realized that something was amiss only when he pulled over.

The officer leaned in to inspect, from my side of the car and noted our daughter sleeping at rear seat without the seat belt. He started rattling off our offences. Apparently we were over-speeding and did not heed his signal to stop plus one of us was without seat-belt….three charges!!

At that point of time I was totally nervous, dreading the worst and faltering when answering the officer’s questions. The fun-filled day seemed history….

But he was nowhere like the rude policemen of the television shows. He patiently heard us out when we apologized for all the mistakes. The only excuse we had was the mesmerizing scenery and joy of holidaying in America. He checked our credentials, the car rental documents, hotel reservations and holiday itinerary.

At some moment he decided we were some over-enthusiastic harmless first-time tourists and then…. Just like that, with a warning, he let us off the hook wishing us an enjoyable stay and a happy vacation!!

Having learnt our lesson, we thanked our lady-luck for the issue not blowing into some major problem and diligently stuck to the permissible speed limits for rest of our vacation.

In retrospect, I am glad I spend so much of my time watching Hollywood movies and American sitcoms… Ha! At least we knew what a tailgating police vehicle meant! Had we kept on driving, we would have irked the officer more, landing ourselves in big trouble.

A first-time month-long vacation abroad, in itself, is a memorable experience but getting nearly arrested is definitely nothing to forget about.

 

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About shoma abhyankar

I like to believe that I am a creative person. I read, write, paint, sketch, rustle up some quick and some elaborate meals for friends and family, love chess, su-doku and scrabble, can hum an old Hindi song tentatively, always stand up for women rights, hate fake people, bugs, roaches, spiders and cigarette smokers!! I graduated with a degree of Bachelor of Architecture in 1998. Soon after, I married an officer in Indian Air Force and have been on move since then. For a brief time of two years when we were posted in Pune, I worked as a junior architect in a firm. Being aware of frequent movement that we would have to live with, I chose to be a homemaker and concentrated on creating a warm and welcoming home for my family. But sitting at home without any creative activity was not my cup of tea. I learnt candle making and soon put up an exhibition at Poona Club when my daughter was barely a year old. I also enjoyed a short stint as a home-based entrepreneur, supplying chocolates and cakes on demand, while we were posted in Bareilly. With an inclination towards writing, I completed a diploma in ‘Creative Writing in English’ from Symbiosis College of Distance Learning, Pune. Then I discovered the blogosphere. Now I hope to not only travel and share my experiences with the world but also to pen a book someday....
This entry was posted in American Holiday, Travel Tales From America and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to A Brush with American Highway Police: A day to remember!!

  1. Pingback: What Not To Do: Three Silly Mistakes and Narrow Escapes | Thinking aloud….

  2. Bhavikk says:

    Hello maam
    Thanks for your wishes and u write superb so m fan of ur writting
    Thanks for sharing

    Like

  3. Shilpa Gupte says:

    Ah! Thank god, he let you go! I was on the edge of my seat, reading nervously, wondering what would happen next! 🙂
    What a memorable vacation you have had, Shoma!

    Like

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