Tag Archives: Road danger

Oh deer! Defensive driving in paradise with Jesus, Creator of the heavens and the earth.

Such a scene is to be seen anytime I’m doing Communion Calls such as last evening, or going anywhere throughout the forested mountains in this paradise which is my parish. Defensive driving techniques here have been all about edginess in knowing that there will be an accident unless you’re instantly ready to brake while avoiding. A good sense of situational awareness, actively looking for deer hidden by their camouflage and a bit of grass or mountain laurel.

While any typical jaunt will witness, say, a half-dozen small herds of a few deer to ten or twenty, not to mention elk and bear and boar and bobcats and lynx and mountain lions and panthers and cats and dogs and coyotes and red wolves and now gray wolves and box turtles and snapping turtles and snakes and ravens and turkeys and turkey buzzards and road pizza possums and road pizza woodchucks, even a beaver or two… well, none of them are much of a hazard. They are simply a joy. And having learned a bit of situational awareness for their sake and your own, one will get be trained up right quick for the real danger, which comes from other drivers “owning” the road, so that nobody belongs on the road but them. And they drive accordingly. Oh deer! And oh dear!

Appreciation of the fact that all of creation proclaims the glories of our good Creator makes one not overly situationally aware, so that one is worn out with hyperawareness, but instead has one in tune, as it were, a sintonia, a precision in being aware of one’s environment. I’m not quite getting across what’s happening… Let’s try again…

While I’m out and about on Communion calls, it is the very Creator of all things who is with me in the Most Blessed Sacrament. How humble He is to allow Himself to be dragged all over His own creation in Sassy the Subaru. And in seeing Jesus’ good creation I cannot but proclaim to Him that He did a good job of it, all befitting the needs of His Immaculate Mother in taking care of us who have adopted into the Holy Family. And as we bounce along a single-lane gravel mountain road with washouts here and fallen trees there, one is never so distracted as not being able to say: Look! A bald eagle! Be careful! A donkey!

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Filed under Nature, Road danger, Spiritual life

Covid rebellion: Lead, follow, get out of the way, or lane-split! Road Danger Humor: LOL

https://youtube.com/shorts/KLQubByA84Q?

You might have to cut and paste that link in your address bar. It’s only like 5 seconds, but… Hahahaha!!!

Having finally finished off a round of courses for law enforcement chaplaincy, I’ve been thinking of doing up some courses at the local college for BLET, you know, just stuff like “defensive driving,” just life skills everyone should have, you know… like in the video above. I’ve always heard that the best defense is a good offense. Seconds before my first play as linebacker in sixth grade:

  • “What do I do as linebacker?” I asked, baiting a wink and a nod permission.
  • “Just kill everyone who’s still standing,” I was told with a laugh.
  • “Ah, that’s what ‘I got your back’ means!” I exclaimed, grinning. “I can do that!”

And having smashed down those having the pretense to remain standing on the offensive line, it was time to take that pigskin and run, splitting the difference between those caught off guard, kind of like those two “other” cars in that hilarious video above.

I’m sure you’ve had the experience of a couple of cars running parallel with each other on the highway, both going the same speed, blocking traffic way below the speed limit, perhaps maliciously, perhaps both on their phones. The solution? See the video!

Analogy: There are Covid-bullies, legislating mandates from the executive branch of government, who are in one lane, and then there are those sycophants bullying in tandem with them in the other lane, those who vote for the tyrants, since this is where they think they find salvation (having voted God out of their political platforms). They slow down the traffic of society, not wanting to let anyone by with their offensive behavior. But even as the idiots, suddenly on the defensive, scramble, someone comes from behind, breaks through with some lane-splitting, steals the ball and runs!

Sometimes the names for the two tandem slow cars are Church and State. The State has sometimes allowed religious exemptions, and sometimes those exemptions have been denied because the top leader of whatever local church community has proclaimed rabid support for the “vaccines”. You know what Pope Francis is doing, along with many Cardinals and (arch)bishops right around the world, in their out-of-control-support for the “vaccines,” not even allowing priests to offer the last rites. They have taken away from everyone the right to have a properly formed religious conscience in front of the State. That’s called stealing. The wolves rip the sheep to shreds. And, yes, I think that is objectively a mortal sin on their part. I think those religious leaders who have publicly supported the “vaccine” should write religious exemptions for those they have ever so maliciously smashed down.

A request like that from an underling is called lane-splitting both Church and State. ;-)

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Filed under Coronavirus, Humor, Road danger

Sassy, US State Department, Fulbright, Red-Flags, my bad and evil if humorous imagination

Sassy, now with 153,000+ miles, is sitting at the shop for the next week or two, waiting for a used transmission. That’s a story in itself. The crowd where I was had not one single new vehicle for sale. And used vehicles are through the roof. A new transmission would cost all-told more than $9,000.00, more than the vehicle is worth. So, a used transmission will hopefully work out. Always a gamble. That brings the full price including labor down to 2 or 2.5k, but no guarantee. It is what it is.

While waiting for a friend to come pick me up (some hours wait), I wanted to run an errand. A “driver” was employed to assist me. Being chatty, I asked what the prerequisite background checks and driving history checks are like. He said there are absolutely no checks, zilch, nothing at all. Sorry, but this, for me, was red flag #1, a huge red flag. As I found out later, what he said was either an outright lie or he was misled by his own crowd.

Right after that, this guy told me he had spent his life working with our State Department’s Embassies and Consulates for their Fulbright program. This isn’t the first time I’ve had “accompaniment” informing me of their academic prowess specifically with the Fulbright program, right up to the top council. What are the odds on that? People should get a different story. He kept apologizing, saying that being a driver was just for fun-money, but that Fulbright is where it’s at. But if he retired out from a field-op job needing extensive academic and linguistic and travel-viability qualifications, he wouldn’t be wasting his time like this for fun-money. The retirement for that I’m guessing is about $135,000 a year. It’s all just coincidental, but even coincidences can be red flags. You just notice them, and basically ignore them, unless further red flags come up. I’ll call this red flag #2 just because this most unlikely of stories has been repeated too much over the years with yours truly.

Excursus which might well be the point of this post ;-) — Just my opinion, but the Fulbright program of the taxpayer funded ECA flagrantly manipulates academics in various countries, adjusting cross-cultural paradigms of perspective that those might be brought into closer conformity even if not to the best interests of these USA, at least to the political weirdness of whatever “diplomacy” is temporarily in vogue. Fulbright is a program which gives operators an entirely “insider” view of all players in whatever country, with full access to anyone, anywhere, any time. If someone’s a player in an economy, military, intel community or essential industry of whatever kind in the milieu of 160 participating countries, those individuals were surely a student of the ones with whom the Fulbright program field officers get to know as their targets of manipulation. Those who know what I just said know what I just said. ’nuff said. ///

Anyway, with my little errand accomplished, with the car already in motion, instead of bringing me back to the shop where Sassy was, the guy, out of the blue, went out of his way to bring me elsewhere (red flag #3, I quickly noted), namely, to the lower deck of an expansive and dark parking facility (no GPS signal?) of a shopping mall on Black Friday (red flag #4), instructing me with insistence that he wanted me to go to the food court, even though he knew I already had lunch (red flag #5) and then insisting many times that I surely wanted to go to [a named store], almost like an assignment (red flag #6). I kept refusing. Frustrated, he got out of the vehicle saying he had to make a phone call. It’s always a phone call. But he just quickly darted among other vehicles nearby. This was creeping me out, so I got out of the car to step slightly away, to try to take stock of the weirdness. He continued to go in-between cars, not on his phone, and also going in front of me and his own car (red flag #7). Having gone by some twenty feet, he then suddenly turned around and came back laughing and apologizing, saying he forgot where he left the car (just a few minutes previously) and having just walked by (red flag #8). He insisted again a couple of more times that surely I wanted to go to [that certain store again] (red flag #9). I refused again and again, and said that I just wanted to go back to where Sassy, my-car-under-repair, was in the shop. He brought me back, but then instructed me not to tell anyone of the strange detour (huge red flag #10).

I was creeped out by all of this, but always played it cool throughout, complimenting him, giving him a tip, super friendly. When this kind of stuff happens I usually just try to let it play out as much as possible to see where it goes. Of course, many will say that I therefore should’ve gone to see what would happen if I sat in that food court – 100% nothing, and all seats would’ve been taken anyway on Black Friday – or if I did head toward [that certain store] – 100% nothing, just big crowds, and I hate that store anyway – all just too boring.

The rest of the story: I’m sure you’ve caught on by now. He was likely just running the time up if that’s even possible; I wasn’t paying for the time or trip. But someone was, right?

Moral of the story: Don’t do errands with a driver claiming Fulbright status.

Fine. I get it. That’s a poor attempt for the moral of the story. We always have to do errands, regardless of someone’s all-too-coincidental life story.

It’s just that it’s good to find some little bit of humor in just about anything. Too much dismalness these days methinks.

Also, when this kind of behavior goes on – kind of dangerous because way too entitled and narcissistic in my opinion – I would rather discover this and not let it continue for someone less capable. And yes, having seen something I did say something.

And now, Advent is upon us. Joyful expectation of the one who is Irony Incarnate, who brings justice and mercy together upon the Cross in His own body, for our redemption, please God also for our salvation. Jesus changes the paradigm from hell to heaven for those who want this, not with the cleverness of the Fulbright “diplomacy” that puts people off, but with the wisdom that is truly love, as Jesus is God Himself, and God is love.

Finally, my parishioner friend arrived to pick me up. Great drive back through the mountains. Wholesome conversation. Lots of talk of Jesus. A very pleasant day. Thanks be to God for good friends.

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Filed under Intelligence Community, Road danger, Situational awareness

Facing off with the dragon once again

Those of you who have ever fought The Dragon and merely avoided getting swatted by the not so infrequently Tail of the Dragon will recognize this overlook high above the Calderwood Hydroelectric Dam. Sassy the Subaru’s tires (even the new stick-to-the-road more expensive tires) were singing on the curves in the height of leaf-lurker season. Spectacular.

This was on my late-afternoon-into-the-evening return on the 5-hour round trip to do up the Last Rites for a parishioner in an out-of-state hospital, not a rarity as the chopper service bringing patients from our tiny hospitals to larger campuses (always out-of-state) seems as busy as the M*A*S*H choppers back in the day. This was the day after the epic-day-off trips to hospitals. There was time for chaplets of all sorts and very many rosaries. Apologies to the Breviary, but I had to put that on an electronic voice read-out while battling The Dragon, permitted, well, tolerated… :-)

Hopefully today will be a slightly slower day, though crossing The Mountain, perhaps using the Trail of Tears, another Dragon and much more dangerous, is once again is again on the schedule. All of this travel is great for Rosaries being said. I love it. And right now it’s so very, very beautiful. I’m continuously thanking Jesus through whom all things were made, as the Prologue of John’s Gospel, what’s called the “Last Gospel”, itself parallel with “The First Gospel”, the Proto-Evangelium (Gen 3:15), makes clear. Jesus, ever Ancient, ever New.

Meanwhile, during these last weeks I’ve been writing a post about another Dragon’s lair in Sankt Gallen, and my time in Rome. As I say, I think best through my keyboard when details are important. Threads appear in writing that I only noticed in a cursory manner previously. Looking up cvs of names was stunning. I’m seriously too stupid to do the obvious – Google – even for years, decades. But then I do, finally, as in these recent weeks, and… oh my… It’s like a ton of bricks falling on one’s head… or like facing off with a fire-breathing dragon.

Whiskey, Tango, and you know the “old meanie” nickname which Jesus Himself gave to Herod.

I really got to think about whether or not to give it another big edit and publishing it. Many are dead. But many are at the top of their game right now as Sankt Gallen’s prestidigitations come to fruition with the fire-breathing Blah Blah Synod™. I don’t want to drag the innocent down with the guilty. But the smoke of the dragon is to be seen coming in through the open windows through which we hear a lot of blah blah blah. There are dragons and there are dragons.

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Filed under Road danger, The Blah Blah Synod™

Road danger: It looks like a cross, but…

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Filed under Road danger

Day Off Road Danger

Fredo the Hurricane, Tropical Storm, Rain-Cloud weather system visited us yesterday. Escaping flooding at the rectory I chased off at 6:00 AM to go to a doctor’s appointment in Brevard. I did do up that medical appointment, and then saw a doctor of the soul, a priest, and was able to go to Confession some town away from there (which I try to do weekly, the best way to go to heaven).

  • Within minutes of leaving the rectory, zipping through the Nantahala Gorge, there were three downed trees over that river road, already cut away as people travel with chain saws for this reason on super-rainy days. I myself have cut away fully seven trees over the highway in my times in the parish here. Yesterday, one of the trees in particular looked to have been hit by a vehicle, a likely event on the blind-cliff-edge-curves at night with pouring rain.
  • Getting out on the Smoky Mountain Expressway, there were early morning accidents, but already being attended.
  • On the way back, there was a parking lot experience for many hours on Interstate 40. Old style manual shift on steep hills for hours of a traffic jam is… interesting. Dozens of emergency vehicles passed by on the breakdown down lane and using the central median. In the mayhem, a fire engine suffered a broken axel and was left behind. There were, I’m guessing, some 15 rescue rafts being hauled to whatever scene by emergency vehicles. Plenty of ambulances, State Troopers… I hate to image what happened with that…
  • Meanwhile, I passed over some mud from two side by side landslides that had crashed up to Interstate 40 but without leaving dangerous debris – for the seconds I passed by – but then a couple minutes later an emergency alert came over the phone telling people not to use the breakdown lane, as that had to be kept free for emergency vehicles, as a landslide just at that spot just then had totally compromised the highway. We had been moving along with no one in the breakdown lane at all. A highway stopping landslide had taken place, I guess, seconds after I had just passed by.
  • Not long after that – and I just missed seeing this accident by literally a second – I came upon a pickup truck crashed out right in the middle of the interstate. It had slid hard into the concrete barriers, twice, and bounced back onto the highway. Smoke coming from the windows made me think the worst as I ran to them, but the smoke was not smoke at all. It was clouds of deployed air-bag dust. I saw they were alive, though rather stunned, and then collected their front and back bumpers on the highway – as that large debris surely would have caused more accidents – throwing, then, the bumpers into the bed of their truck. Waving traffic away and asking one guy who actually slowed down to call 911, I got their truck off the highway. I told them that their engine was gushing oil and they couldn’t drive any further. One other guy stopped to help. There are good people, but so many hardly slowed down in super dangerous conditions with many people walking on the highway itself. Sad, that.
  • Finally, getting back to the last stretch going through the Nantahala Gorge again…. nope. A landslide had crashed over the highway in the Gorge. That would have happened not long after I had passed through that morning, as there was about a quarter mile of barrels and back-lit information signs and backlit arrow signs and more upright barriers barring access to the Gorge. Those take time to put up. The detour was put on the other side of the mountain chain, in the neighboring county.
  • Finally, finally, getting home… uh oh… my own street was blocked because of the rushing overflowing flood waters of the Town Branch, which is the border of the lot of the rectory. “Town Branch” would better be named “Town Torrent.” But that had receded a bit and I was able to get into the driveway, and then sit for a time with the neighborhood that had gathered on the porch of the next door neighbor’s house.

The best road I was on yesterday was the road to heaven, what with going to Confession and all. Jesus is the Way, the Only Way. And the priestly conversation after was spectacular. And “Days Off” are always an adventure.

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Road danger: FedEx, bat out of hell, Teresa of Avila, Jesus, Guardian Angel…

The other day was such a consolation in the life of this priest. The TLM in the main parish church with confessions before and after, a great get-together with some priest friends, my own going to confession, all glorious. I love being a priest. And that continued later with the best “pauper’s funeral…” I digress.

Saint Teresa of Avila upped her situational awareness when all was going well for her on all levels. She totally expected a smackdown. I know how that goes. I’ve seen it uncountable times. And, sure enough…

The FexEx truck was in a rush passing on a double-yellow on a blind curve and wound up right in front of me in my lane. Brakes slammed. Steering wheel spun. But… Yikes! A guard rail and ravine… But, all was well.

Soon after that it was the bat out of hell. The second I saw her – like a half-mile back in the rearview mirror – I plugged in my ThinkWare F770 knowing there might soon be an accident at when a lane would disappear on the road. Either she’s going to crash out or run someone off the road…

I had already nicely pulled over into the left lane, lest I die. She passed in the arrowed right lane then ripped over to the oncoming traffic lane across the double-yellow in front of a blind curve just where the vehicle in front of me totally ran out of road. Was there an entire family in that vehicle? I don’t care what emergency she had; you don’t mortally endanger the general public for your little self.

This is what happened not all that long ago with such shenanigans:

img_20190520_160330~24934373187224209179..jpg

That’s not a tree. That’s the guardrail. The picture’s from the local newspaper.

Back to situational awareness and Teresa of Avila. Yep, just when you think all is going well, do what she did and recognize who you actually are before our Lord and Savior, Christ our God. Saint Teresa would bring a small image into chapel to assist her in not being distracted with niceness, the all things are going well thing. It was the image of “Ecce Homo”, Pontius Pilate’s monitum to the vicious crowd: “Behold the Man!”

So, for instance, I love being a priest of The High Priest. It’s always stunning to see His priesthood in action during, say, the sacraments. But I am fallen like anyone else. I might be having too good a time of it, with a risk of losing sight of why I’m loving the priesthood so much. And then… BAM! A warning to wake up, “smell the coffee” as my mom would say. And then a second warning (because I’m stubbornly the idiot)… BAM!

I thank my guardian angel for alerting me to the warnings or having my reactions be lightning quick. “Guardian Angel” as I call him, has his work cut out for him with me. I know that. I thank him. And I ask that my spiritual situational awareness also be heightened. That one’s more difficult. But not really. Because it’s just a matter of being happy to have Jesus, by His grace, draw us to be in reverence before the Father in all thanksgiving. Jesus does that work, and it cost Him. Let’s see… where’s that picture of Jesus next to Pontius Pilate?

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Road Danger: The Wig “Guy” vs Guardian Angel (hint: Guardian Angel wins)

Having exited the Murphy Lowe’s on the far side of the parking lot, bringing home more items for the sanctuary renovation in our little church in Andrews, NC, the black car above, with the the brand emblem in front of the car having been torn off, raced up the steep hill to the back of Sassy the Subaru, stopped at the traffic light on the “four-lane” as the locals call it here. But then “he” carefully crept up to the back bumper and then actually bumped the back of Sassy. The light was red all this time, so this was a direct provocation which had zero precedent. The “guy” had come out of the opposite end of the parking lot when I was already at the top of the hill. He blew right through the stop signs. Just to say, maniac drivers are not at all the usual customers of Lowe’s. Not at all.

Sassy has a bit of pick up being a standard shift (perhaps the last one for Subaru, a 2016), so I was able to get on the highway and put some distance between us so as to deescalate whatever it was. But, wanting to prove a point of the only one belonging on any road at any time (I guess), the “guy” quickly caught up, cut off the guy in the other lane behind me, almost striking the back corner of Sassy the Subaru:

As he passed, in 360 mode, this screen shot was able to be had:

White “guy,” impossibly super huge floppy blond wig. “He” continued racing ahead, thank God, only to turn in the Walmart parking lot. “He” was probably upset with “himself” that he mistook Lowe’s for being Walmart. I was only in the way of “his” making up for lost time. Whatever.

I had pulled over to the right near the grass so as not be hit, and then stayed way back to get across the message that I didn’t want to engage in road rage but wasn’t only going to do up de-escalation maneuvers. And it worked. Thanks, Guardian Angel.

Do you say a prayer to your Guardian Angel when you get in the car? He’s a saint in heaven, seeing the face of God as Jesus says, who is right with you. I do this. And I do it again when trouble is round about, and maybe more than once. :-)

  • Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God’s love commits me here, ever this day be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.

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Road danger. Hazing is love. But who’s who? Situational awareness. Backing the blue.

PREFACE:

Some six years ago, in the Spring of 2015, at the end of National Police Week, after putting on the Officer Down Memorial Dinner here in Andrews, NC, a Dinner attended and thoroughly enjoyed by seven counties of Sheriffs, Police Depts of two cities, the Forestry Police (Federal), the Tribal Police (Federal), the State Bureau of Investigation, the FBI, DEA, et alii, I enjoyed rather intensive hazing from some of the same law enforcement agencies by way of accompaniment for nine months straight, like turning on a light switch. Every trip out. Hey! If you’re not hazed, you’re not loved, right? That what the SEALs say.

For the following nine months I counted only one half of one trip up to Graham County from Cherokee County or down into Clay County or into Macon County that I did not have bumper to bumper law enforcement accompaniment, often beginning at the end of my driveway. Bumper to bumper includes about one car length between vehicles regardless of speed or conditions. The one half of one trip that this didn’t happen occurred because it wasn’t my usual time and day to go over the mountain. But they got me on the way back. Sometimes this lasted the usual twenty miles each way. I would get accompanied to the church in Robbinsville, and then they would patrol back and forth until Mass was over, and then jump on my bumper right outside the church and stick with me all the way to Andrews. The record, in another direction, was something like 26 miles, for one guy. But there have been hand-offs, so that one pulls off only to have another literally squealing his tires to get on the bumper once again. I think that’s called gang-butt-rape. Sigh. I think the record for the hand-off thing is 36.2 miles, two counties, just crossing over into a third. This is never once blue-lighted or anything. It’s just a nice and comforting presence.

The vehicles might be marked or “unmarked.” In these parts, “unmarked” cars are rather noticeable, what with being Dodge pursuit vehicles or the usual Ford SUVs, but with crash bars utilized only by law enforcement, and sporting the usual driver-side rotator flood-light atop the sideview mirror, sometimes with a speed-laser on that corner of the dash, often with multiple tiny antennae and, of course, light-bars inside the top of the windshield, not to mention rectangular white and blue LEDs in the grill, you know, all totally undercover. I think they are starting to catch on that that’s all a bit too obvious and are snapping up “druggie cars” utterly unmarked. Finally. Good for them.

Anyway, the longsuffering accompaniment was not only bumper to bumper, but the pursuit vehicle’s right-front bumper might well be next to my back-left bumper, you know, just for fun, as in the video above. That’s the PIT maneuver position. Super dangerous. But it’s all good. Nothing happened, never stopped, except once, which is an epic story of hilarious irony with the Sheriff of that particular county himself (now many sheriffs ago) saying, in apology, that he only wanted to ask the question: “Who are you, anyway?” That stop was listened to by two entire counties over 911 scanners, as I found out later: a huge audience. This is the entertainment for the county. Just doing his job, I’m sure. I almost laughed out loud with the usual “Who are you, anyway?” question that I’ve gotten throughout my life in so many embassies and consulates foreign and of these USA.

But all that fun and hazing spread out almost daily over nine months ended extremely abruptly when I went over to Rome, Italy, for the Missionary of Mercy thing of Pope Francis at the beginning of 2016. When I came back after two weeks away, there was no longer any accompaniment, zero, like a light switch being turned off. Dang! I kind of miss it. But, be careful what you wish for.

“LET’S CAUSE A HEAD-ON COLLISION” INCIDENT:

Just the other week, going up to Graham County, there was what could only be guessed to be a spotter car going up the gorge ridge up from Topton. You just get a sense for things being totally out of place. To get where it was, the person had to stop on a blind curve and reverse without getting rear-ended far into tall weeds without accidentally sliding down the ridge some hundreds of feet, that car being right on the edge of death trying not to be seen. Really precarious. Head lights still on, the driver, eyes peeled, was on the phone. Hmmm. I’m in the habit of noticing things that are just not right. That’s training, or really just common sense. Being aware of one’s surroundings can help avoid trouble and save your life. I’m already cautious, but now the antennae were up all the more.

Graham county is infamous for “insurance” incidents, in which a couple of cars will box you in, cutting you off on the front to be right in front of you and then another hanging to the side in the oncoming lane of traffic, with them simultaneously slamming on their brakes, purposely causing you to rear-end the car to the front, a “driving too closely” incident that will gain the perps life-long insurance payments. This happened to me a number of times, but – having been warned of just such scenarios – I always slammed on the brakes (no one behind me) before they could slam on their brakes – only to have the perps also slam on their brakes just one nanosecond later – but with me escaping their malice by that nanosecond. I even had a couple of cars do this to me twice in a row within minutes on the same stretch of road. If it doesn’t work the first time, try and try again, I guess. It’s not like I didn’t recognize their cars a couple minutes later… Good ol’ Graham County. But I digress.

I didn’t have to wait long for what looked to all intents, purposes and any reconstructions like an ambush, a big white pickup truck fully parked in my lane – sideways – on what is called Dead Man’s Curve, a totally blind and restricting curve. I had to slam on the brakes and go into the at least temporarily vacant oncoming traffic lane on this blind curve in order to avoid T-boning the white pickup. Was it illegal to cross a double-yellow? Not in these precise circumstances. Saving life and limb is paramount, regardless of any possible malice on the part of the guys parking sideways in an active traffic lane on a blind curve. If I had more antennae, you know, like for CBs, Ham Radio, Radio-collar dogs, etc., they would have all have been deployed after this weirdness. I think what they wanted me to do was to avoid them and not go over the double yellow on an entirely blind curve but drift to the right onto what’s called Jack Branch Rd, a perfect place for an ambush if there ever was one. That road comes out from Anthony Branch Rd. It was just after that that I would meet the next installment of stupidity.

My guardian angel being my antenna, I was now very actively looking for another vehicle to do something stupid. Sure enough, shortly thereafter, on another blind curve also involving logistics of a blind hill – just after Anthony Branch Rd – I again had to slam on the brakes. A very large work truck sporting a snowplow usually found on a Mack Truck had stopped in the lane in front of me for no reason that I could figure out. No flashers, in gear, with the brake-lights on, ready to chase in this 55 mph zone. There were guard rails tight to the white lines on both sides. I didn’t want to cross the double yellow line and pass him even though there was no traffic coming because he could easily catch up to my little Subaru and apply the snowplow. Ain’t gonna happen.

Instead – never taking the bait to drive recklessly in these kinds of situations – I fully stopped and put on my emergency flashers some hundred yards back. I outwaited the guy until he saw the line of vehicles behind me slowing up as they crested the hill, including the original white truck parked sideways on the blind curve. This was now creeping me out as the plow-vehicle started moving along only far below the speed limit, but allowing me to stay back a couple of hundred yards, even as the white truck and the others kept back a couple of hundred yards despite the low speeds. That’s something that simply doesn’t happen in these parts unless something else is afoot.

If these were law enforcement officers working undercover, all I have to say is that they obviously don’t know how to conduct what’s called a “felony stop” which has very specific defensive tactics. This was pitiful. If this was law enforcement, they wouldn’t get any trouble from me whatsoever. If I happened to be dangerous felon, considering the unprotected logistics they put themselves in, twice, well, I hate to think about it. If these guys are law enforcement they really, really gotta get some training for felony stops. But – Hey! – maybe this is all hazing and a showing of love in good humor! Great!

Arriving into town I pulled off at a tiny strip mall that had many entrances/exits (just in case) so as to watch the parade pass by, or stop. If anyone would have pulled over next to me, 911 would have been called while I was hightailing it to the Sheriffs Department just down the road. The parade all slowed down to about ten to fifteen miles and hour, four to five times below the speed limit. The driver of the original truck blocking the road sideways was rather apoplectic as he passed by slowing down even more. I was dumbfounded when I now saw the orange – State – license plate and the letters […] on the back as he and his passenger passed by. More hazing? More love? I’m not going to criticize any of this. This was one of the more exciting accompaniments I’ve had. Great entertainment. It’s certainly good training for situational awareness. I’m sure that’s what this was all about. Great! It’s to laugh, now that it’s over. But in all actuality, it was likely a bunch of felons who stole a State license plate and put it on their own vehicle. Really. Not. Smart. Felons never are.

So, don’t get me wrong, if it isn’t something felons were up to, I’m sure it’s all for good-natured accompaniment keeping me on my toes. I’m sure someone will confess soon, laughing, all in good fun. It’s all good. I love it! :-)

ANALOGY WITH SHADOW-DOG:

As an analogy, I am reminded of the protection-accompaniment I get from Shadow-dog:

Shadow-dog also trains me up in situational awareness. Just my opinion, but methinks that Shadow-dog counts as law enforcement since it was law enforcement and our local first responders who arranged that I get him. In the wee hours the other morning (usually about 3:30 AM) the local druggies were making quite the ruckus outside the rectory. They seemed to be mightily pumped up on adrenaline, perhaps chemically assisted. Fortunately, they were making a beeline to the neighborhood drug house. They had set all the dogs of the neighborhood into loud commentary. The druggies have often threatened to beat the brains out of Macie-dog, catty-corner from me. The pellet gun shootings are now eight for Shadow-dog, two for Laudie-dog, and one for Franky-dog across the street. All survived, but some with permanent injuries. Shadow-dog won the prize for his staid rhetoric and confident oratory, keeping the druggies moving right along. I’m happy to have also this – if you will – canine law-enforcement accompaniment. Gooood daaaawwg!

ANOTHER RECENT BUMPER TO BUMPER ACCOMPANIMENT

This time, a marked car got in behind me within a couple of hundred yards from home and stayed right on the bumper for 25 miles, no push marks on my back bumper mind you, but it was really close, which, I contend, is really dangerous. I had tried to avoid all this by pulling off and not getting back on until he was long past, but no. He did the same and got right back on the bumper, right on the bumper. If you do have to slam on the brakes because there’s a tree down (common in the Nantahala Gorge after a rain) or some other traffic oddity just around a blind curve, the nice officer isn’t going to see that. He might judge that to be nefarious brake-checking, and then you’ll immediately have guns to your head. That would rather make the love-hazing all the more complete, don’t you think? So, I don’t much like this, but there’s nothing one can do. This kind of thing, now frequent once again, started up after I asked a certain law enforcement agency (of which there are many in the area: Police Depts, Sheriff’s Depts, Troopers, Tribal-Federal, Forestry, etc.) what the ratio of chaplains to counties is for their particular branch of law enforcement. One for every ten counties he said as we waited together at the check out line at the grocery store. I can’t imagine that this would make anyone upset. So I guess this is bumper to bumper thing is just more love-hazing, seeing if I can tough it out all calm, cool and collected. Well, yes, to all that. I find it humorous even while it’s also a learning experience.

I guess it’s so bad these days that all law enforcement has to assume that there is no longer any kind of support from the community. Sad, that. I always support the thin blue line. There are some bad eggs. But that’s true in every sector of society. Not that any of those possibly mentioned above are bad eggs. Not at all. These are all good guys. I’ve seen that myself, and had heard the same from many. Thanks, always, to law enforcement. That trust might get me killed. Whatever. It is what it is. lol

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Filed under Law enforcement, Road danger, Situational awareness

Road Danger: February harvesters in Nantahala Gorge

claas harvester

I didn’t expect to see such as this being hauled on a low-rider flat bed through the Nantahala Gorge last night. It’s entirely miraculous that this harvester – minus the rig out front but still 3 to 4 feet wider than the lanes of the two way traffic – didn’t meet another truck turning wide around a sharp blind curve to avoid scraping the rock face cliff on the inside of the curve next to him (with the river and guard-rails on the far side).

The harvester guy did not have a “WIDE-LOAD” chase vehicle out front or out back. Not that he has to, as I don’t know the law on taking up two lanes… But I was imagining an oncoming car of an entire family being wiped out by the rear balloon tires on a blind curve when half the oncoming traffic lane was already occupied by those tires. Depending on his (lack of) control, he would either be halfway into the oncoming lane or destroying whatever was over the white line on the other.

Down in Murphy he entirely gave up trying not to cross into the other lane as this was forcing the other side over the white line, and the curbing, and destroying the front lawns of businesses with the back balloon tires smashing hard into the curbing and plowing through the lawns, spraying mud and turf and smashing into who knows what utility hookups. So, he just went ahead and took up two full lanes of traffic. Further on, there were a couple of pickups that passed him on the 4-lane, as they call it here, but they had half their vehicles across the white line of the median on the one side while the harvester was fully four and five feet over the white line on the other side.

Thinking all this is a bit dangerous, I called 911. But there are often no available officers. Times are changing. There’s a lot more going on. You only have so many resources.

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Filed under Law enforcement, Road danger