Our family was on the way from Atlanta to Florida in our new Chevrolet Caprice station wagon (yes, wood-paneled!) for spring break way back in the 60’s or 70’s. Back then there were long stretches where interstate freeways were still unfinished and motorists had to detour for miles on local roads.
It was nightfall and we were heading down I-95 close to the Florida state line. We took a detour off the freeway and passed through the tiny town of Ludowici, GA. My brother and I always celebrated the crossing into Florida by taking off our shirts and we were just about to peel them off when the red lights and siren of a patrol car suddenly appeared out of nowhere.
Dad cursed. Mom told the four kids piled in the back seat keep quiet. “Not a peep!” she ordered. We pulled over.
An overweight, toothpick-chewing officer straight out of central casting swaggered up to the driver’s side. He shined a big flashlight in my Dad’s face and into the back seat where I sat with my silently squirming siblings. Here’s what I can remember from what ensued:
“Sorry Cap’n. Gonna hafta bookya,” the officer said.
“For what?” my dad asked.
“Speeding. I clocked ya goin’ 45 in a 30 mile per hour zone back there in town,” he answered.
“Now I could write ya up a ticket, or you could just pay the fine right here,” he continued. “If ya pay the fine now, it’d stay off yer drivin’ record.”
Mom pulled a $50 bill out of her purse and handed it to my Dad.
“Will this cover the fine?” my dad asked.
“That’ll do. Thankya, Cap’n,” he said as he tucked the bill into his shirt pocket. “Now git on outta heaya and don’t let me catch ya speedin’ in Long County agin.”
We cruised off into the hot southern night and that’s when I learned about speed traps and bribes.
1) Houston, TX
2) Austin, TX
3) Las Vegas, NV
4) Colorado Springs, CO
5) Jacksonville, FL (not far from Ludowici!)
6) Denver, CO
7) Orlando, FL
8) Dallas, TX
9) Chicago, IL
10) Los Angeles, CA