No shit there he was…. traveling down the highway in Tennessee. At 8:45 am Nate was asleep on the couch and Scott was tired but full of coffee and ready for a full day of driving.
To put this in context, Scott is still adjusting to driving The Chief. It’s a lot more “boat-y” then a car, meaning it floats down the road and it’s a lot less responsive to adjustments. That’s not a big deal, it’s just an adjustment to driving technique. Couple that with the fact that we just got home from Colombia – where there are very few driving rules and those that do exist don’t involve paying attention to the lines in the road. Down there the lines are considered guidelines… estimates of where a car might be – but they are rarely used. So when Scott saw a long curve in the highway, he didn’t think much of taking up a lane and a half since there was no one else on the road. Unfortunately, in the Land of Rules (LoR), this is considered “swerving”. Scott saw the cop pull out. He was clearly looking for the lisc plate – which you’ll recall is a suspicious looking (but very real) piece of paper taped in the window.
Scott to Nate, “Wake up. Make sure your seat belt is on. I’m about to get pulled over.”
When the cop approached his first question was, “Sir, why are you going 55 in a 75 MPH zone?” Scott explained that The Chief tops out around 55 or 60. Cop to Scott, “Sir, your eyes are bloodshot, have you been drinking?” Scott, “No.” “Have you been using marijuana?” Scott, “No.” “Have you been taking heroin?” (When the hell did this become one of the standard questions?!?!) Scott, “No.” “Have you been using meth?” Scott, “No.” (But I get that one, right?! It resembles the Breaking Bad RV kinda sorta). “How about any other illegal substance?” Scott, “No.” “How about any legal prescription drugs?” Scott, “No.” (Jeeze – what is wrong with this place?!?! You guys though Colombia was bad!?)
“Sir, where are you from?” Scott, “Well, it’s sort of complicated. We’re in the middle of moving home from living overseas.” Policeman, “Why have you handed me a piece of paper that supposed to be a Texas license?” Scott, “That’s what I got at the DMV. Our domicile is in Texas.” Policeman, “Your what?” Scott, “Our permanent residence.” Policeman, “Where are you heading?” Scott, “To Maine.” Policeman, “Why?” Scott, “To pick up my family. They’re waiting at my in-laws.” Policeman, “And where are you moving home from?” Scott (big sigh), “Colombia.” Policeman, “Where is Colombia, Texas?” Scott, “No… Colombia the country. Bogota, Colombia.” Policeman, “Oh.” (Not the good kind of ‘oh’, the bad kind of ‘oh’… like anyone who has ever visited Colombia must be tangentially related to Escobar…. of course).
Finally he asks, “Is this your RV? Are you responsible for it?” Scott, “Yes, it’s mine.” Policeman, “Ok, you don’t mind if I take my dog around it, right?” Scott, “No. No problem.”
That’s when the real problem started. Much to our legit surprise, the dog alerted. Drugs! The crackerjack policeman’s suspicions were confirmed!! Oh good god no…..
A whole series of events unfolded after that. Three more police cars were called to the scene. Another dog was brought in. It, too, alerted but in a different place. It seems the RV has been riddled with drugs at some point in the past. Scott and Nate were told to stand outside while a gaggle of officers went through every nook and cranny of the RV for about an hour. Meanwhile, Scott had the presence of mind to call me to give me heads up that he was almost positively going to jail. He wasn’t sure what would happen to Nate, but I’d likely have to fly down ASAP.
Up in Maine, I started looking for flights to Nashville.
Thankfully, the story was a really good, reasonably fast ending. While both dogs alerted, no drugs were found (obviously). It seems that drug residue was left behind (… which to me means this could happen again). What kind of drugs? Not sure… and honestly I don’t want to know. I don’t like drugs. I don’t want to have nightmares about bricks of drugs tucked into every corner of The Chief. We’re going to have to clean it out – every inch – with Clorox (and when I say “we” I really mean “me”…. I’m going to have to touch every inch of it). We’re planning to drive it to Canada. If you’ve never done the Canada border crossing, I will tell you from experience that it’s probably the hardest crossing I’ve ever had (and I’ve been to about 35 other countries… some of which really dislike Americans). Surely the Canadians will have their SWAT team go through it with photon detectors so we have to be ready.
The cops ended up having a bit of a chuckle with Scott, shook his hand and wished him a good road trip. He called me back giddy and still quite worked up. He really really didn’t want to go to jail.
So… the lesson learned from this? Even though I’m a lifelong DARE graduate and never even considered that other people might have had drugs in the RV… they have and it’s something we need to address. This wouldn’t have been nearly as funny if someone had left behind a little stash and/or the little kids were in the RV when it happened. Thankfully, Nate was aware of what was happening, knew it was kinda funny because we obviously don’t have any association with drugs and went along with the flow pretty easily.
Wow! This is going to be even more epic than I imagined!!