Edit -- Put my follow up here since I've talked to several people who never went to page 2...
The following comments are to be taken as fiction, should not be used as evidence in any way, and the author will deny that any of the following happened.
I’m not going to go into too much detail, but let me say that my luggage has now been speed and endurance tested. Like, as much as possible. You can figure that out. What’s really funny is that bcorn had to slow down occasionally to let me catch up. Even though her XX was carbureted and about 7000 feet above it’s normal sea level, she was still kicking my arse. Too funny.
The really funny thing is that it was starting to get dark and I couldn’t quite make out the cars coming towards me very well. As in, I was having a hard time figuring out if some of them needed more attention that the others. Ahem. Anyway, I then realized that if anyone *was* going to be paying more attention to us, I would have seen some serious activity up ahead as bcorn passed them. So, I kind of stopped worrying about it.
But, as I came over a small rise, I passed a cop going the other way. Oh crap. I was definitely speed-testing my bags at that point. I started to get off the throttle to slow down when I realized that he had just passed somebody who was speed-testing more than I was. I watched my mirrors for a bit, and he never even hit his brakes. Crazy. Lucky, but crazy.
So here's the detail on this one. I was full throttle the whole way for this, with an indicated of about 145 MPH. So I'm guessing like 130 actual, somewhere around there. I don't know how long this straight stretch was, but it was probably at least 20-25 minutes at that speed, barely slowing down to pass. And I still couldn't keep up. hehe. Let me say that passing that cop doing 145 indicated was the most pucker-inducing moment of the trip. I really just didn't expect to see a cop considering that Bcorn was up ahead plowing the way. And I still don't know if he just didn't care, was under orders not to pursue high speed vehicles, or called it in, or what. We passed two cops on the side of the road in the next town after that, but we were doing the speed limit the whole way (always do the limit in town, always) and they just kind of eyed us. I don't know if the other guy had called something in or not. Assuming not. But, we'll never know.
This leads me to my one close call with traffic during this trip. Well, not including riding down the center line between a Ford truck and an oncoming camper at 120 MPH because I didn’t want to slow down, but that’s for a different day. Hell, I might not even talk about it for fear of getting picked on. Hehe.
One of the stupidest things I've ever done. Well, besides passing two semi-trucks by going up the middle.
This was a long straight stretch and we were doing 120+. I have to admit that by this time, after three days of blasting around Colorado (including passing a cop doing 130 mph) I had taken on a Superman complex. I really felt like it was a video game at this point.
Anyway, I was in the lead and had just passed a different car, and way up ahead was a Ford truck all by itself. Coming the other direction was another Ford truck, pulling a travel trailer. It got to the point where I either had to haul it down from 120-125 down to 55, or pass the truck. In my little video game world I decided that the slow truck was a constant, the other truck was a constant, and there was room between them. In other words, the math worked out. So, I kept going. I passed in between two trucks, down the center line, while doing 120 mph. God, I'm an idiot. When I think back on that I cringe. I've ridden a few times since the VFR750 has been back together, and I've got a completely different outlook on things. I somewhere deep down figured that I'd always have time to react to things. But that's not true. It can happen in a flash and all of a sudden you're in the air, or part of a Ford truck's grill. Having a lay down and taking years to get another bike, and years for your missing elbow and tendon to recover tend to open one's eyes. I got off sooooooo lucky during that trip.
We said our goodbyes, then I headed south on 550 towards Ouray. I had only done the Ouray/Silverton side of the San Juan Skyway once (with Brianne the first day we met) and had done the Telluride side three times now. I passed through Ridgway, then headed towards Ouray. I don’t know if I was still in Super-opus mode, or if I just thought the local law enforcement in Colorado just didn’t care if you sped or what, but I passed a deputy going north towards Ridgway. I was doing around 85 when I passed him which seemed like I was crawling compared to the previous four days. I looked back but didn’t see any brake lights or his lightbar. I kept going towards Ouray, maintaining speeds close to what we had been doing all weekend, but keeping an eye on my mirrors.
In Ouray I decided that I would rather take the Telluride side after all. Ask me why sometime… I made my way back up to Ridgway, and then headed towards Telluride. I passed through the now familiar towns of Rico, Delores, and Cortez, eventually coming to the Four Corners Monument.
Ok, so here's the story...
I passed the deputy and didn't see any lights or brake lights, yes. Then, because of Super-opus mode, I decided to "separate myself from the situation." Basically, I just wanted to get out of the area. In my mind I wasn't running away since I really didn't know if he was coming back, and based on the previous four days I really didn't think the cops in Colorado cared about a bit of speeding. I mean, I had passed a cop doing 130 a few days previous, for God's sake.
Now, I want to point out that if I had been back in Washington, and hadn't been all pumped up from the previous days' ride, I would have just pulled over and waited. I had another situation like this back in the 90's where I passed a cop and he went out of sight. By the time he got back to me I had pulled over, turned off the bike, taken off my helmet, and had my wallet and registration waiting. We had a nice talk, he gave me a warning, and let me go. I'm not saying that would have happened this time, but it would have been a better situation if I had.
So, I'm now in "distance myself mode." Over the next five minutes on the way to Ouray I was doing 90-125, in a hurry, but not being a dick. I passed a bunch of cars, but I was polite while doing so. I didn't do anything rude is what I'm getting at. So, by the time I get to Ouray the realization that I might well be running from a cop has hit me. I'm now in full "What the f*ck are you doing, Andrew???" mode and panicking a bit to be honest. I pulled off into a parking lot and took a look at myself. My bike is stealth black, my bags are black, my wet bag and jacket are red. So, I took off my jacket, turned it inside out and put it over my wet bag. Instant stealth mode. Then I got out my camera and starting taking some pictures of the scenery. I figured I would stay there for a minute and see if I was worrying for nothing or not.
About 2 minutes after I parked, the deputy came through town, lights on, but siren off. He cruised through the main road, then disappeared out of sight. Now I'm really stressing out. This just isn't opus-like behavior, you know? But now I figure that I'm deep into it and if I disappear, the problem just goes away, right? So, I put my gear back on, put my Etymotic's in my inside jacket pocket (don't really feel like listening to music for some reason... ) and get back on the road. I had planned on going south to Durango, but that obviously wasn't an option. So, I got back on 550 and headed north to Ridgway, then went south on 62 and then on 145, heading to Telluride. This was what, the fourth time I was going this way? I had really wanted to take 550 south one more time. Oh well.
Rode for about 45 minutes, then pulled over to take a breather. Then I remembered that Bcorn was going to be heading south on 550 later that day, also had a black bike with a red dry bag, and black gear. So I called her and left a voicemail mentioning that 550 might not be a good place to be later on, or at least to be careful. Apparently she kept that voicemail for a long time and said it was hilarious to listen to when she wanted a laugh. hehe.
At this point I couldn't find my Etymotic headphones. I had just bought them before the trip and they were awesome (Thanks BMW-K! ). I seriously looked in all my bags for 15 minutes trying to find them with no luck. I was really sad at this point. I figured that I had dropped them in the parking lot back in Ouray while I was hastily repacking my stuff. Well, five minutes later I found them in my inside jacket pocket. I *never* use that pocket, but while my jacket was inside out I needed somewhere to stash the headphones quick, and I put them there. Whew!
So at this point I figure I'm free and clear. No pursuit, I'm anywhere near the area, life should be good. I continue on to Four Corners and later on to Paige, AZ.
In addition to meeting Eric while I was waiting, I also checked my voicemail. Hmmm. Nine voicemails. Somebody obviously wanted to talk to me. Called my voicemail and heard a message from my wife saying that the Ouray County police department was trying to get a hold of me. Whaaa?? The next message was from the deputy himself asking me to call him and “You know why.” He actually said that. The rest of the voicemails were from my wife, each one getting progressively frantic. Turns out she had been trying to get in touch with me for the last 36 hours or so since the deputy had called. Whoops…
So here's what happened with this. My wife also told me that there was a warrant for my arrest in Colorado. Oh shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit! I'd never been in this much trouble. What the hell do I do now? I'm seriously stressing out. Called my wife who had been in a full out panic since the deputy had called the previous morning. If the "Opus Missing?" thread was around (or if you remember it) you'd know what I mean. Long conversation short, my innocent wife had told the deputy "Yes, he's in that area, yes he's wearing that gear, yes he's riding that bike with that plate." Whoops. The only thing I can figure out is that someone got upset that I was passing them on the way to Ouray, and called in my plate while I was waiting to pass the next car. As I said, I didn't do anything rude. That included waiting for oncoming traffic to clear so I didn't freak anyone out. So, he put two and two together and assumed it was me.
Now, at this point I'm thinking I'm in serious trouble with the warrant. My only concept of a warrant is something that will get you hauled off to jail if you get pulled over. That sounds bad, no? So, I'm thinking "Ok, time to use up some of that karma and make this right." I'm thinking do whatever it takes to get rid of the warrant.
So, I call the deputy. I told him that yes that was me, and no I didn't know he was following me. He said that he had done the math, and in order for him not to catch up to me by Ouray, I had to have been doing 100MPH+. And that meant eluding. I told him that I wasn't eluding, that I had been going that fast all morning. I said that when I passed him I had slowed down for the corner, then went back up to 100 or so. I mentioned that I had been in Colorado for days and had got the impression that the police didn't really care about speeding out in the rural districts, and it didn't really occur to me that I was doing anything wrong.
I don't know if he figured he had a hard case to prove or what, but he grudgingly went along with that. He said he had clocked me doing 86 in a 55 for sure. I agreed that I had been going that fast and wasn't arguing about that. Then he said that he would send me a ticket in the mail for 86 in a 55 and remove the warrant. I said that was very fair and that I would pay it with no issues, and thanked him. Then we hung up.
Problem solved, right? Nope.
After I got back from the trip, a week or so later, I got a certified piece of mail from the Ouray police department. I'm thinking, ok cool, we can wrap this up and I learned my lesson. So, I signed for the letter and opened it up. Guess what? It wasn't for 85 in a 55, it was for 110 in a 55 and also had a "Dangerous Mountain Driving" charge on it. And guess what else? This is a felony, so you can't pay by mail. Motherf*cker... That bastard knew that I would have sign for it, couldn't claim I never got it, and would have to come down to Colorado to take care of it. And he seemed really nice on the phone, too. /sigh Now what???
I posted about it on ST.N and got a couple pages worth of opinions. The majority told me to get a lawyer, and were probably right. A few others, including a district attorney (I think. Who was that?) told to try talking to the office down there. I got a couple quotes for attorneys in the Ouray area, and both wanted about a $2000 retainer, and it would probably end up being $3000-$4000 with court appearances. Oh man. This suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks! Why the hell didn't I just pull over? What an idiot.
After hemming and hawing for two months (until close to the date when I would have to go down to Colorado), I finally decided what to do. Somehow I always manage to come out ahead in these kind of situations. I don't know if it's positive karma from opening doors for women, or saving snails that have totally messed up their navigation and are in the middle of a hot sidewalk, or what. But, I decided to call the District Attorney and see what I could do.
Started out the conversation with "So, I don't want to shoot myself in the foot here, but I'd like to talk to you about the situation." He was a really pleasant man to talk to and told me not to worry, he wouldn't use anything against me. I told him the whole story, except giving him the clean version of "distancing myself from the situation", and saying that I just kept on towards Ouray as normal.
We talked about the eluding part of the situation, which he said was totally inaccurate. He said that I would have had to see the deputy behind me, with lights on, and then try to get away. I had never even seen the deputy behind me, never saw lights, etc. Which was true. Mostly. Not quite accurate when I headed north to Ridgway.
One funny part is that he had never heard of "Dangerous Mountain Driving" and would have to look it up. Apparently it's meant for extremely rural roads where there are little or no markings or signs, and people are driving outside of reason. He said it didn't apply to a state highway and it should be dropped. Whew.
Then he says "Hmm, it says here that you stated you were doing 100+ and that's why the deputy didn't catch up to you." Oh crap. Kinda forgot about that part. The conversation had been over three months previous. Whoops. There's a very pregnant pause (more like a pregnant-demon-from-hell-carrying-the-spawn-of-the-devil-pause) and he says (God bless him) "Yeah, I've taken my BMW through those roads and it's really hard to keep your hand off the throttle..." Yesssssssssssssssssssssss!!! A fellow motorcyclist!!! Ok, there go the rest of my karma points. He says "Let's drop the dangerous mountain driving and just call it 86 in a 55 like the deputy agreed to." I said that sounded very fair and I was very grateful. We have a minute or two of follow up conversation and are about to hang up. Then he says, "Uh-oh, wait a minute..."
Oh crap. Maybe I didn't have enough karma saved up after all. Dammit dammit dammit...
Then he says "86 in a 55 is still in the felony bracket, let's just drop that down to 85." Blink, blink. "Why thank you, sir. I appreciate that." And may gold coins fall from the sky into your yard, sir. hehe.
I got the ticket in the mail a week later. It was for 85 in a 55, and it was $176. Whew. Of course, since I used up all my karma points, I laid down my bike a month later. Actually, that was all stupidity, but karma sounds better.
So there you go.