Friday, November 30, 2018

Life is a 3-Ring Circus

Good Morning FFFs,
No, I don't have any fiction for you this morning. Sorry. Life has been a bit too crazy to get anything written. Or at least anything finished. I did write Monday evening, Tuesday evening, and last evening, but didn't even have an hour each time, so I didn't get much done. However, I'm going to try to keep working every evening I can!

How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was good! I got to spend it (and from Wednesday–Saturday) with relatives I hadn't seen in 5-6 years! We went hiking, played disc golf, visited, took pictures, watched slides from when my grandparents were young. (Even a short video clip or two of their wedding day! That was 68 years ago!!) My niece, Sissy, really liked that part. We ate, worked puzzles, shot rockets, played some crazy games of indoor soccer with 3 generations (with uncles over 60, to my nephew, Buddy who is 5 1/2.) It was crazy, but fun.

Then we came home. And life has NOT showed down! It feels like I'm part of a 3-Ring Circus, only to discover that I'm in every act! HELP!!!!! I have music to practice, things to mail, blog posts to get ready, the house to finish decorating, babysitting nieces and nephews, presents to figure out, books to read, audio books to proof, . . . and the list goes on and on.

Decorating our house always takes longer than I want it to because I'm the only one who usually ends up doing it. My dad gets some things out for me, or put up the porch lights. My sister is too busy sewing to help. And Mom is too busy trying to get other things done. One of the first things I usually start with is the village, but this year I've gotten other things done and haven't even started that! Hopefully today I can work on that later and at least get the houses and trees up. My nieces and nephews are coming over this evening and they'd love to put the people on. And my oldest niece, Sissy, said she wants to help decorate the stairs this year.

Reminder for any of you who are new. In December I post any time I want to, not just on Fridays. And I do reviews, pictures, video clips, and anything I want to. :) I hope you'll stick around next month for everything. Oh, and starting tomorrow on Read Another Page, I'll be doing my 24 Books before Christmas posts again. With all different books. Yes, I've read more than 48 Christmas books that I would recommend. :)

Do you feel like you're in a 3-Ring Circus?
Are you ready for Christmas?
What are you looking forward to in December?

Friday, November 23, 2018

Don't Miss or Ignore This Post!


 I told you there was going to be a HUGE sale that is going on this weekend! There are over 150 titles available and they are all either $.99 or FREE! There are also a long list of paperbacks for sale at incredibly discounted prices as well! And the good news is they are all clean reads! Be sure to go check out this amazing sale here.

There is also a jaw-dropping giveaway going on! Grand Prize winner receives 20 paperbacks and the 2nd place winner gets 20 e-book titles from the sale for free!

You can enter for the giveaway here.

Giveaway runs from November 22nd till November 26th @12AM ET Grand prize open to US winners only. 2nd place prize is open Internationally.

And if you want to read all the book titles and a list of all participating authors, visit Read Another Page.

Did you enter the giveaway?
Are you planning on getting new books from the sale?
Is there a book you are really excited to see on sale?


Friday, November 16, 2018

Highway Patrol – Graduation Night

Good morning!
What is it doing being the 16th of November already?!? I am somewhat eager for Christmas and decorating the house, but at the same time I feel like we just had Christmas. Anyone else share this feeling?

This week has been another crazy busy week. I wasn't running around doing things, but I spent most of the time in front of my computer. But I did get things done. I formatted, designed the cover and ordered my proof copy of  Stories Through the Seasons which is a collection of all the monthly stories in one book. And I finished the cover for Christmas Quilts and got the proof copy ordered. I can't wait to see both books!!
Another thing that's been taking up my time is blog posts. You see, I'm trying to get all or almost all of my 24 Books before Christmas posts nearly ready for posting. And I have to get posts ready for next week because I'll be out of town Wednesday–Saturday. And the week after is the Christmas Duet Blog Tour so I have to get posts for then figured out too. I'll be glad when I get these posts finished and scheduled. Then maybe I won't have to be so computer bound.

I started reading my "first" Christmas book last evening. I made a list of all the books I need/want to read this season and was a little surprised to discover I had 47 books on the list!!! Yeah. At least some are short stories, and some are for younger readers. We'll see how many I can get through.

Today's post is the final installment from the Highway Patrol classes my dad and I took this fall. This week is graduation. I hope you learn a few new things, or at least enjoy this last report. Next week be prepared for a HUGE Indie book sale! 

Highway Patrol
Graduation Night

October 11, 2018
    Graduation night. Dad and I arrived at Mythos (a Greek restaurant in town) about the same time many others from class did. We were shown to the back room where Sgt. Lueckenhoff and a few other officers were. The tables had been arranged into a large U shape with the officers at the top left of the U. The room was rather dim, but at least it was quiet.
    Once everyone had arrived, we were given the choice of two main dishes (steak or chicken) and two desserts (cheesecake or “death by chocolate”). Sgt. Lueckenhoff spoke a little and then we had a prayer. Greek salad was served first, and we all visited and some people shared stories. Since Dad and I were seated on the left middle, I could hear some of the conversation on the bottom of the U and some at the top.
    After most of us had finished our main dish, Sgt. Lueckenhoff had Lt. Bearden (who taught the class on internet crimes) speak. Then a retired Captain of Troop D spoke as we were enjoying our dessert. (I had the “death by chocolate” as did a good portion of those present.) He talked about the “Masters.”
    The Masters is an Emergency Relief Society created to help the families of fallen state troopers. It was formed in 1979 and is funded entirely by individuals and families across the state. Within hours after the death of a Highway Patrol officer someone will bring the family a check to cover immediate needs. Then, within two weeks, two members of the Masters Association board will go to the home of the fallen officer and talk with the immediate family (wife, husband, kids). They will take over any car payments, credit card debt, and mortgage payments. They also provide a monument for the trooper’s grave and funding for the family to travel to Washington D.C. to the Police Memorial. If there are still children in school, Masters provides funds and scholarships for each of the children until they have graduated.
    “Each member of the Missouri State Highway Patrol can go out each day knowing that if something happens to them, their family will be taken care of. They won’t be left without help.”
    No one currently serving in the HP department is allowed to be a member of Masters, but as soon as they retire, they can join. The only way to become a member of the Masters Association is to have a current member “sponsor” you.
    “I would be willing to sponsor any of you in this room,” he told us. “I feel that each of you would take this responsibility seriously and would understand what our State Troopers face each day.”
    Members of Masters receive a sticker to display on their car, but we were told that those stickers are not to be used to try and get out of a ticket, or as leverage for anything of that nature. “If you try to do that, your sticker can be taken off, and we have removed some people from membership for that reason.”
    I think almost every member of the class had him sign the pledge card. There was a family membership, so he only signed one for Dad and I.
    After that Sgt. Lueckenhoff had the current Captain of Troop D say a few words and then hand things out. Each class member received a framed picture with a small engraved plaque with our name, and an official patch from the Missouri State Highway Patrol. “We don’t give these patches out to just anyone,” Sgt. Lueckenhoff said. As Sgt. Lueckenhoff called a name, the person stood and shook hands with the captain while receiving their plaque and patch.

    At the end Sgt. Lueckenhoff called in the owner of Mythos and presented him with a plaque of appreciation since the only fee he would accept for the use of the room and the dinner for all of us, was tips for the servers.
    Finally we all went outside for a class photo.
    The weeks went by so quickly, but I learned so many things. It was an experience that was well worth my time. If you ever have a chance to attend a Highway Patrol Community Alliance program, or something similar, I would highly recommend it.

Are you ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas?
Did the mention of a HUGE sale make you excited?
How many Christmas books do you hope to read this year?

A Literary Christmas: Reading Challenge //
P.S. I'm joining a Literary Christmas reading challenge to help me get through all those books! Feel free to come join too. :)  Just click on the image to the right and join up! It's going to be fun to see all the different Christmas books people read! Oh, wait! This is going to make my "to-read" list even longer in the Christmas department . . . Oh, well! Too late! *wink*

Friday, November 9, 2018

Highway Patrol – Week 5 – Part 2

Good morning FFFs,
This has been a crazy, stressful, tiring, good week. :P

My brother and his family were a part of a "Generation Joshua" camp from Friday afternoon until Wednesday morning. The students came out and did hands on political action stuff such as knocking doors and making phone calls. It wasn't nearly as educational and fun as our usual American Government Camp, but it was last minute. Anyway, my sister and I drove out to camp (about 20 min away) every morning to help with breakfast and watching the kids. I watched the kids, especially my 15-month-old nephew. Busters (that's the nickname I call him) finally started calling me "BehBeh" this week! :) I wasn't there to get him up in the morning on Wednesday (because breakfast was later) and my 2nd nephew told me Busters stood up in bed, looked around and said, "BehBeh? BehBeh?"
So that was the tiring and a bit stressful part.

On Saturday my computer, which I've only had 3 months, decided to not turn on. Talk about Stress! Thankfully our computer friend at church was able to replace the hard drive and all my files are saved. The bad news is that I no longer have Photoshop, Microsoft Word, or any other program that had been added to the computer when I bought it. I did get Word, so that's good. Now I just have to spend a lot of money and get Photoshop. I thought of trying to use Canva, but I know Photoshop, and I can do things so much faster on there. So . . . I guess I'll be spending money. :P

Tuesday was a busy day spend at the polls. I was up at 4:30, at the polls at 5:30 and we opened at 6. There were 2 people waiting to vote at 5:30. We had people in there voting all day long! Seriously, there was only a 2 minute time after 6 PM when the room was empty! Our total number of voters was 699. That's more than a presidential election! Then it took longer to pack up because we had to count the ballots and make sure we had the right number before heading to the courthouse. I didn't get to bed until almost 10:30. Yep, I was tired. :)

Right now I'm fighting a cold. Probably from the cold, the early mornings and such. I have messes all over that need taken care of. I have a Christmas Collection book that I need to finish and get a proof copy ordered. I need to get a blog post for Tuesday done. Other blog posts, things done for this, that, and the other. And the house needs cleaned. Oh, I also need to practice the violin. I'm not sure I'll have much time to read. And as for writing? Yeah, right. I want to write, but it's not happening.

Highway Patrol
Week 5 – Part 2

    We all had a break after that, and then Sgt. Lueckenhoff divided us into three teams. “You can take your stuff to your car,” he told us. “Then meet out in the parking lot.” Six other HP troopers were there, and Sgt. Lueckenhoff sent them to find some good place to do the practice stops. They found a place, but no one knew where they were. They were back behind the dorms in a nearly empty parking lot. Some of us walked over, others drove. It was a chilly, overcast night.
    When we had all gathered, Sgt. Lueckenhoff sent each team to a different pair of patrol cars with two officers. Dad and I were with two other men and Sgt. Lueckenhoff’s wife. We were given some basic instructions about how they do a stop, and then we were handed the gun (it was an air-soft gun that shot little cornstarch-type of bullets) and a flashlight. (The officers took turns being the driver of the car that was stopped, and they also had a gun, only it just shot air.) The officer who wasn’t in the car sort of walked with us and gave some suggestions at first.
    Dad went first and had a very easy stop, gave the driver a warning and let him off. However, before anyone else took a turn, the officers talked about how important it is to keep an eye on the traffic. “Remember,” one of them told us, “this is a highway. More troopers have been killed by someone driving by than by a criminal.”
    The next stop went well, and then it was Nick’s turn. (Nick is one of the few classmates that I learned his name.) He was very nervous. As he started to approach the vehicle, after making sure there was no traffic coming, the driver jumped out with something in his hand. Quickly Nick drew his gun and then realized the man had a cell phone. Nick ordered the driver to get back in his car and end the call. He then approached the vehicle and continued with the stop.
    After he had finished, the officers talked a little. “How did it make you feel when the driver jumped out of the car?”
    “Like he was going to shoot me!”
    “There are always those people who think they should get out of the car when they get pulled over.”
    Then it was my turn. I got a grumpy guy who was driving without any lights. He complained that he’d had them set to turn on automatically, but that they hadn’t turned on. He also didn’t have his proof of insurance. I gave him a ticket, and he went on his way still grumbling. After each turn, we were taken to the other side of the car and asked if we’d noticed the gun on the dashboard. Not one of us had! We were so busy watching the driver’s hands and worrying about the “traffic on the highway” that we hadn’t even looked on the dashboard.
    “When we train,” one of the officers told us, “we spend an entire week doing traffic stops. At first they are just like these, easy. Someone messes up, we stop and iron out what you’re supposed to do, then keep going. Here you get everything pretty quickly. You don’t have time to practice the same sort of things over again.”
    Sgt. Lueckenhoff’s wife didn’t do any stops, so Dad was up again.
    He got out of the car and took a few steps toward the vehicle when the driver jumped out with one hand behind him. (The rest of us were all standing around watching.) Dad ordered the driver to show him his hands. The driver pulled out a gun and started shooting. Dad attempted to pull his gun, but it was in his sweatshirt pocket and wouldn’t come out at first. The other officer told him to shoot the driver when he did get it out. Dad tried. The gun wouldn’t work. That’s when it was discovered that the safety was still on, and no one had told us how to turn it off. The driver was kind enough to cease firing until the gun was fixed. Then Dad shot him.
    “Was there much difference between this driver with a gun and the driver with the cell phone?” one officer asked. There really hadn’t been much difference. Both had jumped out quickly, both had one hand either partly or completely behind their backs. “Some people will even point their cell phones like a gun at an officer,” we were told. “Usually it’s because they want suicide by an officer. In the dark it’s hard to tell if the guy has a gun, or a phone, or something else. Why is he jumping out? What is he planning on doing? We have to be ready for anything.”
    I don’t remember what the next stop was like. I don’t think it was very exciting.
    Nick’s turn was up again. Standing near the car that was being pulled over, I saw the driver pull the hood of his dark sweatshirt on. I knew something was up. Nick decided to approach the vehicle from the passenger side. Those of us watching were motioned to the front of the car and away from the doors. It was soon obvious that this driver was a “sovereign citizen.” (There really is no such thing as a real sovereign citizen. They are simply a group of people who don’t think they should have to follow any of the country’s laws. They usually have their own version of a driver’s license, don’t want to comply, and want to get into huge arguments.) The driver started right in with complaining and refusing to comply when Nick asked for his ID. He started quoting sections of fake laws and rights. Finally Nick told him to get out of the car so they could talk. The driver agreed and quickly, before Nick could get around to his side, he opened the door and jumped out. I saw at once that he had a gun. The driver went to the back of the vehicle and started shouting, “Where are you? I got out.”
    Nick was trying to decide which way to go, because he was a little nervous about this guy. Finally the driver came back up and started shooting at Nick over the hood of the vehicle. Nick admitted he was shot, but the officer observing told him that he should draw and shoot back. He did.
    “One of the things we look for in training,” we were told after this scenario, “is if a trooper freezes or if he keeps going. In training an officer is never dead. We want to see if they have what it takes to keep going, to act even when things are crazy.”
    Sgt. Lueckenhoff came over and told our group to change places with another one so we could have a different perspective on things. We headed to the far end of the parking lot and met the next two troopers. They gave us a quick bit of instruction about where the lights were for the spotlight, the red & blue lights, and where the flashlight was.
    Dad was first. He approached the car where both a driver and passenger were, and told the driver he had a tail light out. The driver wanted to see, and Dad told him he could in a little bit, but first he needed to see his driver’s license and insurance card. The passenger decided at this time that he was going to get out and go see his girlfriend. Dad told him to remain in the car. But the passenger got out, with his hands up, and started to walk away. Dad wasn’t sure what to do, so after an order to the man to return to the car, he pulled out his gun and shot him.
    The scene ended there, and we were told that if a passenger decides to leave and isn’t acting threatening or anything, they just let them go. They have no reason for detaining him since he wasn’t the one driving the car.
    When it was Nick’s turn again, I could see the driver leaning down and reaching under the seat while calling out the window, “What did I do wrong?”
    Nick told him to stay there and he’d tell him. Then Nick walked around to the passenger side of the car. It turned out the men were headed to Taco Bell to get some supper but had been driving too fast. Nick gave them a warning and let them go after some friendly chat.
    The officer who was behind the wheel asked Nick afterwards if he had seen him reaching under the seat. Nick hadn’t. “If you’d come up to the driver’s side, we were planning on doing some things,” he said, “but you didn’t, so we didn’t have the chance.”
    Dad had the last stop, and it was a drunk driver who got out of his car. Dad arrested him, and the driver willingly staggered back to the patrol car and got in the back seat.
    “How do you safely get someone out of their car on a busy highway?” someone asked.
    The senior officer asked someone to get in the car and they’d show them. I got in the car. The officer goes around to the passenger side, then walks to the front of the car where he can see oncoming traffic. When it was clear, he told me to get out and walk back to his car. This officer said that he does most of his sobriety tests and questions with the person sitting in the passenger seat of his patrol car. “I stand in the opening holding onto the door if I need to,” he said. “I just like doing it this way, as it makes it more difficult for the person to run if they decide to.”
    The highway patrol officers don’t put people they are transporting to jail in the back of their car. They keep them in the front. “It’s easier to keep an eye on them. And if one of them tries to do something, we are right there to stop it. I’d feel more concerned if they were in the back.”
    Sgt. Lueckenhoff then called everyone together. He asked if we’d all learned new things about the highway patrol. We all had. He had a few more things to say, then dismissed us. We’ll have a dinner next week for our “graduation” and then classes will be done.
    Thank you for joining me. I hope you have learned a lot too.

How was your week?
Did you enjoy this report?
Would you rather watch kids or work in the kitchen?

Friday, November 2, 2018

Highway Patrol – Week 5 – Part 1

Happy November!
I can't believe it's November 2nd!!! NO!!!!!!! I have too much to get done! Don't go so fast.
This week felt a little odds and ends-ish.  I taught my final writing classes–until January. (We always end near the beginning of November.) I still have a few papers to grade when they get returned. I really worked on getting all the info I needed to put together and sent to Faith Blum who is coordinating our joint blog tour. Yes, Faith and I are hosting a joint blog tour at the end of this month for our new Christmas books! It's rather fun to each be releasing a new Christmas book. If you have a blog and are interested in joining the tour, just let me know.

Another thing I've been working on is getting my books ready for a huge Black Friday sale. No, not all my books will be on sale, but I will have several, and many other Indie authors will have their books on sale too! I'll be sharing about it when it's closer.
Another thing that has been fun is starting to plan my "24 Books Before Christmas" list for Read Another Page. And yes, I do have enough books to not duplicate any from last year, and perhaps none from the 6 or so I shared the year before.

But I still have two projects I haven't finished! One is getting Christmas Quilts formatted, cover designed, and the proof copy ordered. The other is compiling all my month stories and getting them into a paperback.

But you know, VOTING is next week! I'm going to be doing a little campaigning in the next few days, so that'll keep me busy. And then on Election Day I'll be working at the polls all day long. 
One thing I'm NOT doing, is NaNoWriMo! I really want to get back into writing as it feels like I've hardly written a thing for months! But I have too much going on to even attempt NaNo.

This report is only broken into two parts. It was our final class except for Graduation Night. I hope you enjoy it!

October 4, 2018
    It was a cloudy evening when Dad and I arrived for our final class of the Missouri State Highway Patrol Community Alliance. To my great disappointment I discovered that because of the weather we would not get to see the helicopter! I had been looking forward to it since the start of class. Sgt. Lueckenhoff introduced us to our first instructor Sgt. Dan Wohnoutka.
    Sgt. Dan has been with the HP for 29 years. At the beginning he was a state trooper working the roads. Then there was an opening to start working in the air. Sgt. Dan had gotten his pilot’s license and became a back up pilot for the highway patrol. “At that time,” he told us, “we had two full time pilots and several others along with myself, were backup. We had to have a certain number of flight hours each month to be able to fly as back up, so I scheduled them in. The other guys didn’t and sometimes only got a few hours of flight in a month. But I made sure I got my time in. And when one of the pilots couldn’t fly, I did.”
    Sgt. Dan is now one of the two pilots for the HP and flies both their plane, a Cessna 180, and their helicopter, an MD 500E. We got to see pictures of both, and of other current and previous planes and helicopters. He said he spends about 80% of his time in the plane and the other 20% in the helicopter.
    His helicopter is used mostly for searching for criminals or missing persons. And it doesn’t have any air-conditioning. “It’s like a greenhouse in there,” he said. “So usually when I fly I take the doors off”
    There is a larger helicopter that has air conditioning. It can hold 7 people counting the pilot and co-pilot. It has a searchlight and a special “flare” (camera) in the front that is used when searching for someone. If they are searching for a criminal at night, they can operate the searchlight and the flare together or separate. When they find the person, they will often keep the flare on him and make the searchlight go all over so the bad guy doesn’t know he’s been found. Then, when the SWAT team is ready, the pilot just has to push a button and the light synchronizes with the flare, putting its beam right on the criminal.
    The other thing the larger helicopter has is a line to lower someone for rescue work. While they don’t do the full bring them back to the helicopter thing, they do what is called “long line - short haul” rescues. This means they will lower someone to the victim. The rescuer will secure the victim and then the helicopter will lift them off the ground and carry them a short distance to safety.
    “At first we didn’t have a helicopter with this ability,” Sgt. Dan told us. “And there was an incident down in the boot-hill with someone in the water. The water division was there, and somehow two of the rescuers ended up in the water with the victim. We didn’t have a helicopter. We had to call the Coast Guard, but their nearest helicopter with that ability was down in New Orleans. They responded, however, and were on their way when a group a civilians came up with a plan, put it into action and had all three people on land before the helicopter arrived. That caused our governor to decide that we needed to have one available in the state.
    Missouri does not have much terrain where many of such rescues are needed, but it is good to have one anyway.
    There is another use for the flare on the large helicopter. It has a special map overlay that can tell the pilot and co-pilot exactly where someone they are tracking is located. “I didn’t believe it could be any better than a GPS, “ admitted Sgt. Dan, “until we did something in Springfield. There are problems, especially in larger cities, with people racing their motor bikes. They can go faster than the police cars and often weave in and out of traffic. Many times they aren’t caught, but we were doing an enforcement one time. I was in my smaller helicopter, and the other pilot was up above in the larger one. We were alerted to a motorbike and soon picked him up. The guy above me was calling off the names of the streets as the biker passed them. Then the biker turned onto some small streets, and I thought the street names wouldn’t come as quickly. They did. When the biker turned in to a cul-de-sac I figured that would mess up the map for sure, but nope. And then the guy drove off the road between some houses to some trail-path-overgrown road. That would stop them. Nope. The pilot overhead called down the name of that road too. By then I was convinced it was really good.”
    Yes, it is good, but it’s expensive! It cost a million dollars for the flare and putting it on the helicopter.
    Next Sgt. Dan moved on to the plane and how he used it to check for speeders. No, he doesn’t have radar. He uses a stopwatch.
    Imagine a long straight stretch of highway below you. There are large white blocks on either lane. Farther down the highway are two more white blocks, and then still further are two more. The space between the pairs of blocks (which are really just white squares painted on the highway) is exactly 660 feet. Each white square is 2ft x 2ft.
    The pilot will fly his plane 1500-2000 feet up in a large circle. In each hand he holds a stopwatch. When he sees a vehicle that appears to be going above the speed limit, he will watch it. As soon as it reaches the outer edge of the first white block, the pilot starts his stopwatch. He’ll stop it as soon as the vehicle is over the second white square. The third set of squares gives the pilot a second chance to time someone if he doesn’t get his stop-watch clicked at the right time, or something like that. “I can do four vehicles if I need to,” Sgt. Dan told us. “I’ll have a stop-watch in either hand and when the first two reach the first blocks, I’ll time them, but then I can get the next two vehicles on the second to third set of blocks.”
    Once he has verified that a vehicle is going too fast, he’ll radio to one of the troopers who are waiting a few miles up ahead. He’ll tell them the color, the kind of vehicle (like a red pickup truck), how fast he had them clocked, which lane they were in, and anything else. He’ll also follow the vehicle and let the trooper know when he’s behind the right one. If there’s only one red pickup, it’s pretty easy to keep track of and the pilot can glance away for a second or two, but if it’s a white compact car and there are three other white compact cars, he doesn’t take his eyes off it for a second.
    The place where the “speed traps” are set up, are picked by the pilot. “There can’t be any bluffs along that stretch of road, or a lot of trees because when the sun is at certain places it will create really big shadows and any dark cars disappear.” Not only does the pilot choose the stretch of highway, but he also measures the distances and actually helps put the “blocks” down. “Those things used to be painted on,” Sgt. Dan said, “but now we have these really durable things that stick right on the road. You peel the back off and put it down. If you think those sticky mouse traps are bad, you ain’t seen nothing! These things are so sticky that by the time I’m finished, my finger prints are completely off my fingers. It takes two people to put them down and if the back should touch the road where you don’t want it–tough. It’s not coming up. And forget trying to pull it apart if it should stick together. Just toss it in the back of the truck and get another one.” Someone asked how long the white blocks lasted on the roads. “Oh, around five years.”
    Sgt. Dan talked some about the drivers who don’t believe that a pilot in a plane caught them speeding and sometimes the trooper who stopped them will request that Sgt. Dan fly over so the driver can see his plane. “Of course there are always some drivers who say they’ll see us in court, but the truth is, very few seldom do. And of those that do, only a few actually try to put up a fight after they find out I didn’t catch them with radar, but with a stopwatch.”
    The stopwatches have to be checked every three months by the atomic clock in Denver. It can’t be off more than a 10th of a second. “I’ve never had a stopwatch be off that much. Sometimes the buttons stop working, or something like that. And, if I’m ever in doubt about my timing of a vehicle, I always give the vehicle the benefit.”
    Someone asked what the fastest someone was going that they stopped. 120 mph. Then he told us a story.
    Sgt. Dan was one of the troopers on the ground stopping cars while another pilot flew the plane. He had just finished driving a check over the blocks and was heading to his spot when a car goes zooming by. When a trooper is sitting and waiting for speeders at the check, he won’t have his radar on. Quickly Sgt. Dan radios the pilot while trying to turn on his radar because he knew the pilot wouldn’t be ready for him. He got his radar on, and the pilot saw the vehicle. The driver was going 163 miles per hour! Sgt. Dan knew he’d probably not be able to catch him, but he was following. The driver was weaving in and out of traffic, going on the shoulder when he couldn’t pass, and being very dangerous. “I think he knew I was following and was just trying to get away at that point.” Anyway, the driver tried to go around a semi, lost control, and the car flew off the road. It landed 710 feet away from the road, bounced a few times, flipped and rolled. The driver, who was not wearing his seatbelt, was flung from the car and died. His passenger, who was his brother, was wearing his seatbelt, and aside from a broken shoulder and arm, and large cut to the head he was all right. “I think they were messing around,” Sgt. Dan said. “There were other vehicles with family members behind them, and they all stopped. I guess they were heading to Grandma’s house for Thanksgiving and these two were going to do the whole ‘get there early and what took you so long’ deal.”

What are you looking forward to this month?
Have you ever wondered what those white squares were on the highway?
Are you doing NaNoWriMo?