The scene: An empty two-lane highway at 8:30 pm on a Wednesday night.
My car: The nice tow car previously pictured, carrying two blond-haired white people (me and the aforementioned house guest) slowly driving back to their campsite in Slab City after a day at the nearby RV park pool, hanging with sober people. (The sober part will be of significance further in the story.)
Behind us: A car is tailgating. For almost 15 minutes.
They could easily go around us on the empty highway.
A couple extra white lights come on over their roof. Then the side spotlight as seen on cop cars comes out. Within seconds a red light comes on, so I pull over.
Two dimwitted Border Patrol agents creep up on the right side, stop about ten feet away, and peer towards the interior of the car, fear and suspicion on their face.
??? I think it’s been over ten years since I was stopped by police. Never once by Border Patrol.
After a few minutes, they find their gonads and approach the passenger’s window. They ask who owns the car, and if I’m running drugs.
Uh, no. I’m not a drug runner.
They ask if they can search the trunk. Me, not being as up on the laws as I should be was ready to comply when my house guest spoke up for our rights. Then I asked the Border Patrol rookies if the stop was legal.
They said yes, but got out the sniffing dog. The dog allegedly “alerted” on my trunk – as if I’m drug-running.
At this point I think I’m in an episode of the Twilight Zone.
Since the dog allegedly alerted on my trunk they then had probable cause. (I think the dog handler is able to get the dog to alert on command.)
When they asked me to get out of the car, I did – but not without loudly declaring that we’d just spend the last several hours hanging with snowbirds – and NO BOOZE, let alone drugs.
Of course they found nothing but the wet beach towels and towing equipment I confessed to OWNING.
To this day, they do not know our first names, or who owns the car.
After we’ve been cleared of any criminal activity, and are driving away…
My house guest says, “It’s good to know the Juarez Cartel is able to operate uninterrupted while they waste time shaking me down.”
I reply, “And they still don’t know either of our names, or who owns the car, but they know what’s in my car – wet beach towels and towing equipment, just like I told them. Way to waste our tax dollars. It’s no wonder why the state of California is going broke.”
At this point in my journey I feel like breaking into song… “Lately it occurs to me what a looong, strange trip it’s been.” With a nod to the Grateful Dead, for your listening pleasure I present, “Truckin’“.