Or Better Yet Entitled... THE HISTORIC COMPLICATED JOY & STRATEGY OF DRIVING DRUNK IN OUR HOMETOWN...
(THIS POST IS NOT 'PRO-DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE'. IT IS AN ACCOUNT OF THE PAST-- REQUESTED BY OUR FACEBOOK GROUP MEMBER FRANK DAY-- THAT JUST HAPPENS TO EXIST AND IS DAMN CERTAINLY FUNNY ENOUGH FOR THE TELLING.)
In my hometown, where Our Facebook Group Member Frank Day lives as well, public land is limited because the land overall is limited. That said proportionally speaking a major portion of our homeland is state forest-- albeit a wee lil forest by any standard.
Follow me here, theres a point to this:
There's a main dirt/gravel road that cuts right through the heart of the forest. It runs east to west. North of the forest is the main 4 lane highway and to the south a 2 lane road bordering the gulf of Mexico. Both these roads bordering our forest also run east-west. There are 4 roads running north to south that connect traffic through the forest from the highway to the beach. So effectively it's like a four rung ladder laid in the grass. On one side is the beach, the other side is the rest of the world and in the middle is the forest, the ladder rungs are the connector roads...
The dirt / gravel road runs east to west-- right across the rungs like a string laid across the ladder long ways. This road is used for hunters in season, leisure, sight seeing, and some like myself raise a lil moto cane out there... HOWEVER mostly... as many locals live north of the forest it has historically been a corridor for drunk people to get from the bars along the beach to their homes with minimal po-po exposure.
Admittedly a founding member and pioneer of this local strategy I can attest that it was very easy back when we were merely a village... when the cops only had cars and they had to wash them themselves. However, soon came more people, a decent tax base and thereby the police got trucks and people to wash them.
Transitioning into this new era of cat and mouse was complicated and after a time... the DRUNKS HIGHWAY just became a thing of the past. By that time i had grown up enough to have cooled my jets on the activity anyway so it was no great loss in the greater dynamics of my lifestyle. HOWEVER... one night... one moonless night... I was recovering from a very frustrating day headed home from a friends on my ol KLR 650. I had had a beer and a shot of whiskey and my buddy gave me a beer to take home so i could finish the job without stopping at the store. I tucked the beer in my riding jacket and stabbed into that moonless night towards home... a half mile on one ladder rung to the cut road, 3 miles of gravel, then 1/4 mile on another ladder rung and id be home. ( driving under the influence... stupid i know. It's just true and part of the story. )
Jack Daniels rarely rides pillion with me. But when he has it's as though we are one being capable of any terrain, fearless, balanced and unified in our every manner. I'd imagine the truth is that it's more like when you surf or skateboard and someone is taking pictures and you later get the pictures just knowing itll be a challenge to decide between which to blow up into a poster ... but the reality is that when you see pictures you are like... o man... i suck that bad!!? lol.
So there i was grinding through the forest as though I were Toby Price himself... when all of a sudden, literally in pretty much a drift around a bend ( as much as a KLR can do so anyway ) I see the flash of reflective decals and shimmer of chrome, and a glint of... you guessed it.... red and blue. I lock my levers and dig to a stop about 25 feet from an officer barreling out of the truck to block the road and another coming around the other side towards the road. I immediately hit the kill switch but the key and lights are still cooking these guys.
The first officer yelled, "TURN THAT LIGHT OFF NOW!" They were both reaching for the flashlights when I complied.
In that moment of moonless dark and silence I said, "Hey guys, I know this looks like a dirt bike but it's 100% legal, tagged and insured. I promise."
The dark called back to me, "How's about you keep your damn mouth shut and know that I'll be the judge of that!!"
Now lets keep it in perspective here. One might be thinking... 'HOW DARE they talk to you like that?! They are supposed to serve and protect not oppress, insult and abuse!' But here's the thing ... they were responding well within reason. Here they were on a moonless night sitting in dead silence. Out of nowhere, flat out hauling all forms of ass comes a 650CC thumper howling through a drift in gravel at full Jack Daniels yeehaw code red. Gravel slinging into the fanning palmetto leaves like snare drum pops, that motor screaming out about 5% more power than it was ever actually designed for... and here these fellas had probably just pulled up and shut the truck down and got to hear a couple crickets chirp before Jack and I showed up guns a blazing. Some of ya'll have seen some of our videos. We legit get after it and this was 15 years ago before I actually believed I could die. So when I say yeehaw level code red, I mean it. These officers were in their bounds.
So he finishes... " I'll be the judge of that!!"
I'm thinking about Rodney King at this point. These guys were pissed off.
In the space of the few moments it took to get the flashlights trained on me. I hear this word from the darkness.....
I'm like... this either just got better or REALLY bad.
I say, "Yes Sir. it is" ( because thats what you say in the south. I don't care where you are from. Just say sir. It's the culture.)
About that time the flashlights fired up one on me and one officer pointing his at himself. And i'll be damned if it wasnt my old buddy Jason Day, Franks son. I hadnt seen this cat in 10 years easy.
He hollers out, "Well shit why didnt you say it was you. It's Jason man! How the hell you doing!!?"
I laughed and said, "Wasn't a great window of opportunity to be honest." and followed immediately with, " The bikes legal man, just looks like a big dirt bi....."
He cut me off and said, " Hell I don't care man. How you been? Hows your brother? What ya'll up to these d....?"
I interupted him as something pressing occured to me... " How in the HELL did you know that was me in complete darkness??"
He says, " Your voice."
"Well Jason I havent seen you in gotta be a decade. How did you know my voice?"
Well Billy... Im a damn cop. I gotta pay attention to shit er pay for it later."
He had a laugh.
I hopped off the bike and pushed it to the side, took my beer out ( not open ) and propped it on the tail plate. The other officer went back to the truck and started doing some whatever they do in there. Me, Jack and Jason leaned up against the fancy new 4x4 cop truck and had us a yack. I could smell Jack so I KNOW he could. haha. Didn't matter at that point though. Jason knew i was a mile out and that I wasnt drunk. We bro-hugged it and so began a renewed friendship of similar chance encounters withstanding to this day. Similar only mind you, Jack on Pillion is a no go these days.
Got home, and while sipping that beer in the garage i notice my tage expired 2 months prior. I thought to myself... this could have gone WAY differently.
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