Encounter With The Police

Beautiful sunny day greats me in an old Airstreamer behind a restaurant Mana Dew in Middleton, NY. Today’s plan consists of a morning coffee after the breakfast and just under 60km of cycling to Poughkeepsie where I will have a short break before heading to New York City. Considering the fact that I do not like cycling into (and especially out of) big cities, I have decided that for a first time visit to NYC I will take the train. But all this is still ahead of me. First I had to enjoy this beautiful sunny day.

Just outside of the town the hills have begun and since I’m fully loaded it went slowly and also left and right. Beside the main climb there were several smaller just behind it. And on one of these smaller ones I notice in my rear view mirror a jeep that was going veeeery slowly behind me and just sort of half way of the road. It seemed odd but then again I thought to myself that it might just be that the driver wants to take a side path and he’s waiting for me to that I with my lightning speed go past that point.

And then a sceen from a movie has started. The lights went on an the siren too. I have momentarly froze and realized the jeep behind me is the police and they are pulling me over. So I stopped. The way you see it in the movies in which the main focus is not running away from the police. Standing half way up the hill I turn aound and a policeman comes out of the car. We quickly understand eachother that I might be wiser and safer for all if I pull over on the first side road. Couple of minutes later I do so.

Standing on the side road, police (sheriffs) jeep behind and to sheriff’s deputies come out. One with and the other without sunglasses. We greet each other (»How are you doing?« »Fine, thank you sir. Adn you?«). ID and who am I and what am I doing here. I reply politely as I can. Soon the one with the sunglasses assures me that I’m in no kind of trouble. They just received a call that a strange cyclist is zig-zaging on the road. Concerned citizens (probably not as concerned about my safety as theirs. There is a good explanation about why the drivers pay so much attention to the cyclist in Canada that I heard: »Probably it’s just too much of a hasle if you run over one). Naturally I zig-zag. What other way can I get my humble 70kg and 50kr plus oof fully loaded Lou up the hill? And when it’s flat or going downhill I zig-zag to avoid all the holes and the bumps on the road (still less of those here than in Canada).

This unscheduled rest lasts for about half an hour. While the one without sunglasses is in the jeep checking if they can let me go I talk with the one with the sunglasses. »We are just checking that you are not wanted for smuggling guns or drugs!« he tells me.

Since I have nothing like such with me I generously suggest that they can check my baggage. »But it will take us a while!« I add. Sunglasses smiles at me and sais: »Exactlly!« I do get a feeling that nobody is in the mood for browsing through my bags. And then he adds: »Well if you are smuggling drugs then congratulations for making it pass by me!«.

It turns out that I’m not wanted by anyone and that I can go. They both wish me good luck and tell me to take care. After what I have seen on TV, read on the internet and heard from others, my first experience with the American police was all but typical. And by that I mean in a very good way.

Hope that all the potential future encounters with the police will be as positive as this one.

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