Some days are painfully predictable. Others take a course that could not possibly be imagined. Today was the latter of the two.

I awoke early this morning (4:30am) and finished updating this blog, then reviewed our itinerary. The drive to Denver was one I was really looking forward to. Des Moines was just a place to stay, and not much more. But the sites I was anticipating on I-80W were going to be new ones for me, and I was looking forward to that.

We left the hotel right at 8am CDT this morning. Traffic was light coming out of Des Moines, and we made good time (thank you Beltronics) on our way to our first of 2 state border crossings for this stint. The Iowa/Nebraska border is adjacent to Omaha. We crossed at the Missouri river, and Ravindra video taped the border crossing as he has all the previous ones. We provided our typical witty commentary, and proceeded through the Omaha friday morning traffic.

The traffic flow was moving quite well, but there were more cars around us than usual. As he continued to record, I pointed out the unmarked Nebraska State Trooper parked on the right side of the freeway under a bridge. Ravindra turned the camera to him and filmed the cruiser as we passed 3 lanes over. I said that pointing things at State Troopers is probably a bad idea, especially for foreigners in the age of the Patriot “arrest without warrent, hold without attorney indefinitely” Act.

Sure enough, conincidence (I hoped) led the officer to pull out into traffic. I could see him behind me, seven cars back. Then 5 cars back, then 4, and 2 and then right behind me. I was getting concerned. Being in the fast lane (as usual), I decided to call his bluff, or seal my fate. I pulled over one lane, hoping he would sail past me. He didn’t.

The cruiser pulled behind me, and followed me for an agonizing minute or two. Then it happened. The light show started. I was caught, but I knew not for what. I sure wasn’t speeding, and I started wondering in my mind if Ravindra’s camera work had actually been taken for either an obscene gesture, or a weapon.

Being a law abiding lad, I fought the desire to see what my 500HP would do against his Interceptor. I carefully negotiated a couple of lane changes, and secured the car on the right shoulder. The Trooper was right behind me, approaching on foot on the passenger side. Great, Ravindra gets to make the first impression! Please don’t make any wisecracks, I’m thinking to myself.

He gets right to business. “Sir, in Nebraska we have a 100 foot rule, which requires you to be at least 2 car lengths from the car in front. You were following a bit close back there. Can I see your driver’s license please? And is this your car?”

“Yes” say I.

“Can I please have your ownership and proof of insurance?” I hand these to him, and he then says “Ok, can you please come back to the car with me, I have some paperwork to do.”

PAPERWORK!!! He’s going to write me up for following too closely? I was trying not to react, so I carefully got out of the car, and walked back to the cruiser. To my relief, he opened the front passenger door, and let me in. I was afraid I was going to be stuck in the back awaiting my transfer to Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo.

Officer Jason John of the Nebraska State Police asked me a few questions.
1) Where am I going?
Answer: “California, for my last week of work.”

2) Who do you work for?
Answer: “McAfee..You know, the computer security software company?” Now those who have heard me speak of what happens when I mention McAfee to people in positions of authority who control my fate know that I always fear that this will be a user who had some absolutely disasterous experience with their computer, and blamed McAfee. Once again, the answer was “oh yeah, I use that. It’s great.” Phew.

3) Who is the guy in the car?
Answer: Now, I was busting to give him a funny answer. After the McAfee comments, I felt we were bonding. But I resisted saying that my passenger is a drifter I picked up on I-80 who keeps mumbling something about dirty bombs and jihad. I told him the truth: “He’s a friend of mine. I’ve known him since we started University.”

After a few more questions, he instructed me to stay in the car, and that he needed to get some identification from my passenger. Apparently, the “rules” say they have to run the IDs of people they pull over for any outstanding issues. In my mind I’m thinking “Paging Alan Dershowitz”

So now I find myself alone in the cruiser. I look around, and note all the cool toys. There’s front/rear facing radar, a camera filming everything in front of us (my car looked cool on screen, I wonder if I could get a copy of this for posterity). He also had a iPod mounted on the dash. I resisted the urge to check out his playlists.

Then I heard something behind me that scared the $#%$# out of me. My God, there’s a convict in the back of the cruiser. Oh man, he’s left me alone with a killer! I slowly turned my head, to confront my new colleague, and he’s wagging his tongue and drooling a little bit. It’s a huge German Shepherd. Phew.

I return my attention to the action in front of me. I can see Officer John talking to Ravindra. And I can hear him as well! He’s ‘miked’ up as part of the full multimedia recording of his work day I guess. I listen carefully, and he’s asking Ravindra many of the same questions he asked me. Oh No! Another opportunity for mischief to sink us both. Please don’t make up any crazy answers!

Alas, he returns to the car, and says he now has to call in my info. He calls somebody in New Mexico and gives them my name and date of birth. I’d prefer things to be a bit more uniquely keyed than that. Thank God I’m not John Smith.

I hear him say “I thought so, ok thanks.” He says, “Ok, you’re fine. I’m not going to call in your friends info because you seem like to straight shooting guys.”

I reply “Yup, we’re just a couple of software geeks on a long drive.” He hands me back our papers, and I shake his hand and thank him for freeing me.

Back in the car, we both celebrate our awesome Nebraska Takedown and how we masterfully got ourselves out of a ticket. Well, there was no reason for pulling me over in the first place, so I figure he thought 2 dorks like us in an M5 with Ontario plates is something to investigate. Good for him! Aside from the civil liberties/just cause issues, I toast his work ethic.

And Ravindra covertly video recorded me sitting in the cruiser through the side view mirror! I can’t wait to see that.

Onward now, through the rest of Nebraska. Yawn. Ok, nuff said about that.

Very few alerts from the Beltronics, but once we crossed the Colorado border, there was a sting. Fortunately, the little device worked perfectly, and gave me lots of notice of the traps ahead.

As we continued to climb (up to >5000′ ASL) we could make out the faint trace of the Rockies in the distance! Finally, scenery! The tracking data from the GPS provides this neat view of the elevation change on our trip.

We arrived at the Marriott, and are now enjoying some local Pale Ale’s and some nachos. Dinner tonight is in-house. No energy/will to drive anywhere.

Tomorrow morning, is “secret project X”.

Then we drive to Salt Lake City. We have decided to take the mountain route. It will take longer, but what the hell, you only do this kind of trip once…or maybe twice.

Hope you’re sleeping better Cynthia…Ravindra was definitely useful today..Just look at this picture ;)