Oklahoma’s Least WantedPosted: June 23, 2013
I’m cruising down 69 North trying make good time. You know, head down pedaling. Paying attention only to traffic and the state of the road in front of me, when suddenly there is a toll booth up ahead. I have raced onto the Will Roger’s Turnpike. Not where I want to be. Yes, it can get me where I need to go. No, you don’t want to ride a bike down it.
I look at my map and there is an exit about six miles ahead that will get me back on the county road I intended to be on. So I decide to press on. I blow through the toll booth on the fast pass side and pedal hard. I cover another two miles when I see a state patrol cruiser come flying the other way. A concrete partition separates us, but I know he’s coming for me. Just after I clear the second toll booth I see the same cruiser coming up hot. I know he’s there but I don’t want to stop in hopes I can get to the exit before he gets me. Nope. Lights and siren go on. I pull over, dismount, and pop off my helmet.
The trooper strides up chest forward with a chaw in his gums. He’s mid 30’s, slightly taller than me, and looking grim. I do my best to smile and look amiable and say, “You scared the dickens out of me. I thought you were coming right down on-top of me. What can I do for you?” He says that he was coming down on me. “What are you doing out here?” he reasonably asked. I told him my GPS was down and I simply got on there by mistake. I told him I wasn’t having any fun out there and I didn’t want to be there any more then he wanted me there. “Didn’t you see the sign?” he asked. “No. Did it say no bicycles?” “Yup. Did you pay the toll?” “No.” I said. “They had prices per axles and I have none…” He asked if I saw the mandatory minimum speed (40 MPH). I told him I did with a grimace. “Clocked you at about 35 MPH when I passed you coming the other way so I guess I can let that one slide. You made pretty good time from Big Cabin.” he said with a grin. He told me the people out there didn’t care about me. They would run me over. I agreed with him, apologized, and said once again “I’m not having any fun.” I asked if there was any way he would let me get up to Vinita, which I miss pronounced and he corrected, a few miles ahead. “I’m trying to get to Twin Bridges State Park.” He told me he would escort me to the road a few hundred yards up the road where I could climb a bank and get on a safer road. He said next time I was lost I needed ask directions. He then gave me directions off the county road ahead. I affably told him “Thank you so much.” He told me he could charge me with running two tolls, illegal vehicle on the turnpike, and something I understood to be reckless endangerment, however those were not his words. I said that I realized that and I was sorry. He asked for my license, “Dan Roberts from WI.” he grinned. “I’ll be right back.” He went back to the cruiser. The scene was no doubt the talk of every car that passed. After a moment he came back spitting out tobacco juice and handed me a warning for which I profusely thanked him. I pulled out my camera and said, “Can I get a picture of you with your cruiser? I’ve gotta tell this story.” “How about I take a picture of you with the cruiser.” He countered. “That would be awesome Officer Coyle.” “Trooper Coyle.” He corrected. Above is the photo he snapped standing next to Ruckus.
He escorted me to the road ahead, but the bank was steep and the guard rails were high. I figured I must missing something so I ran back to the cruiser and queried pointing, “This road?” “Your cruising along at a pretty good clip so I’ll follow you to Vinita and keep the traffic off you.” More profuse thanks. True to his word Trooper Doyle followed me at give or take 30 MPH down the Turnpike until I got down the exit and the the county road. I waved and he wheeled the car around.
Thanks Trooper Coyle. Truly.
Drive fast. Take chances. Thanks for reading.