Tale of the Winged Pony.
My only story in the Fiero, besides how I lost it:
I'd gotten a call at 2:00AM from some friends to come pick them up. I was a... Show moresleep, but what can you do? Can't let 'em drive.
Went to Lucky's in Aggieville, and somehow squeezed the two into the Fiero, and dropped them off. -On the way home a white Toyota Camry started riding my bumper.
They were close enough that I could see they were two light haired guys with buzz cuts between 190 and 210 lbs.
I could see them, but not their bumper or headlights -they were that close. Being so close to Ft. Riley, I figured they were soldiers looking for an afterhours party. I was irked, but I figured I'd run across Poyntz Avenue, to the bad side of town to discourage them. (I lived at 418 Poyntz on the 5th floor in a refurbished hotel -above Harry's Uptown, for all you who have ever been to Manhattan, KS)
I was in the worst part of town, and did two figure-eights around two blocks to see if they'd lose interest.
Now I was worried they were going to try to roll me. There was no way in he** I was going to go home, where I'd hav eto walk half a block, unlock 2 doors and an elevator with these guys following me at a distance of a foot.
The main police station wasn't far away, so I started driving to the station -number one to discourage them -number two to report the incident.
Unfortunately, the police station was deserted, and the front door was some distance from the curb, and it wasn't well-lit. -Time for plan B.
But I wanted to put some distance between me and the Camry. So I went back to Poyntz and slowed to anticipate a yellow light, and ran the red, leaving the Camry at the intersection.
The Aggieville police station would still be open, and there was plenty of light, and the front door was only a 5 feet from the curb.
I sped past city park, and slowed when it became apparent that the Camry was still stuck at the light. I turned into a neighborhood to avoid the main streets and started making my way to the Aggieville Police station. when suddenly the Camry appeared again on my back bumper.
I swore under my breath, and my pulse started racing.
I was getting seriously pi**ed, and decided to take a drastic measure. - There were cars on both sides of the street, but 20 feet ahead there was a break.
I pulled the e-brake then nailed the throttle to pull a tight U-ey, and then turned on my bright lights & headed straight for him.
The Camry was blinded, caught by surprise, and ran into a light pole.
I nailed the throttle, got out of the neighborhood, and hit Anderson Street -Main roads didn't matter, I just needed to get to the police station. As I got near Kansas State Bank, I saw several police cars coming toward me, and one was on my tail, so I pulled into the Kansas State Bank parking lot, where I was immediately surrounded by Police who were crouched behind their doors with their guns drawn.
I took the keys from the ignition and held both hands outside the window (as my uncle, who was a cop, counseled me to do whenever I got pulled over -the cop doesn't have to worry about a concealed weapon or getting run over, & it puts them at ease -got out of several tickets that way)
I knew the lead cop.
I'd saved him and his partner from a pretty nasty situation when they attempted to arrest the head of the Black Student Union for drug dealing -unfortunately on the same day the Rodney King thing erupted.
He walked up, and I asked, "What the he** is going on?! I was just running to your station!"
He started listed off a bunch of moving violations I'd made (speeding, running a red light, etc.,)
I said, "I KNOW!! There are two guys in a Camry CHASING me! They started riding my bumper, and I wasn't going to go home while I was being followed! First I went to the main station, but it wasn't safe -So I was coming here! There are two guy in a Camry, both around 200lbs with military haircuts, they started . . ."
He then looked down the block where a wrecked Camry was pulling into the lot. The driver got out, cursing.
The lead cop, said, "They were looking for drunk drivers -decided to take their own car . . ."
I told him, "Well I'm obviously not drunk -there's not a scratch on my car -theirs' is the one that's f***ed up. They should have been in an unmarked police car, and they shouldn't have been aggressively riding my bumper. I was going to flip and ram that car next, if it showed up again! -That's entrapment."
The cop listened, and went over to talk it over with the other cops in the camry. I heard some heated words, but I couldn't make anything out - all the radios were on, and the cops still had their guns drawn on me.
I was shaking with both anger, fear, adrenaline, and every emotion in the book.
He came back and said, "They want me to give you a DUI test."
I said fine, I hadn't had a beer for hours - I was asleep.
The first thing he asked me was to recite the alphabet backwards then gave me an example with the letters out of order.
I gave him the correct alphabet in reverse order, emphasizing the letters he'd given me out of order.
Then he asked me to walk a straight line.
I told him, "You've got to be kidding, I've got guns on me, I just finished a chase, and I'm shaking. I can barely stand here, my knees are shaking so bad."
He told me to give it a try, and of course I failed.
So he asked me to take the breathalyzer test, I agreed, and passed. Although there was apparently a trace from the beer I'd had before bed some three hours earlier.
The lead cop told them I'd passed, and they walked off, and there was more heated discussion.
The lead cop said, "look, you passed, but you can't drive your car home."
I started to protest, but he said, "Their car is wrecked pretty bad, and they're out for blood, this is the deal. You can come back in the morning and pick it up."
I looked at my watch, it was now almost 4:00AM, and I had to be at work at 7:00AM. Walking home would take me about half an hour. I told him I had to go to work at 7:00AM. But he gave me a pained look, that said that was the best deal I was gonna get. In retrospect, I reckon they could have tried to get me for leaving the scene of an accident or something, but I also reckon I'd probably just end up suing the pants off of them.
Regardless, I said ok, thanked him, locked up the car, and started walking.
Got home at 4:30, and tried to rest up before walking back.
Walked back to the parking lot to see a cop getting ready to write a ticket, and have me towed. I yelled "Waitaminnit! I'm right here." & the cop looked up from my license plate.
I could have sworn it was Lee Ann Seager, a woman I was desperately in love with some 7 years before (when I didn't know anything about women). We were in engineering classes together, she was half-Korean, and the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen -Wish I knew then what I know now, but I was an a**hole about things back then. Didn't know a dang thing about women -Was still a virgin at the time, for that matter.
She said, "Oh, you're the one, huh? -Those guys are pretty hot about the whole thing!"
I replied, "Well, they shouldn't have been riding my bumper in a Camry -if it was an unmarked police car, I'd have known who it was." And tried to figure out if it WAS her or not. Lee Ann's dad was the Wabaunsee County Sheriff, but I couldn't tell for sure, and I didn't want to embarrass myself.
She said, "yeah, they're real a**holes! -Departments been talking about it all morning."
I said, "My uncle was a cop, and my aunt's a legislator, I would have flipped that car if it showed up again. They shouldn't do that to people. They don't know who they're dealing with."
I realized I must've looked like he**, and became self-conscious & nervous.
I told her, "I've gotta' run - Gotta get to work."
She nodded, and waved me off. "Have a good morning -hope you stay awake! winked at me and walked off.
I drove off for a miserable day full of fatigue. But I had a story for the two guys I drove home. They owed me big time for that!
Pic of Harry's Uptown w/ a good friend over Christmas in 1998(?) Show Less
On the road to Albuquerque with a non-believer
We were driving down to Albuquerque for the Gathering of Nations, where we convinced school officials we coul... Show mored locate talent for the annual Pow-Wow, as well as recruit new students to KSU. It was also a reward for the folks who planned and worked hard in March for the Events associated with Native American Heritage Month (And it was a LOT of hard work).
March is the heartbreak month of the year in Kansas - You see glimmers of Spring, -then you get an ice storm that kills everything. One day it was 72 degrees, and the weather channel predicted snow. I showed up for an exam in a heavy coat, boots and drove my 4x4 in, and everyone looked at me like I was crazy (They were all wearing tank-tops & flip-flipflops -Sure enough when we got out of the exam, there was 6 inches of snow on the ground, and it was almost a blizzard, with very low visibility.
Offered Lee Ann a ride home, which she accepted (nearly jumped out of my skin for joy -but played it cool -Always helps to be prepared)
Anyway, the day we took off for Albuquerque, it started to rain -freezing rain and sleet. I was chosen to drive over the objections of Rich -who could be a real tool. I drove steadily behind a convoy of truckers, letting them break up ice patches and payin close attention to traction on all fours - we were averaging between 35-50 mph, so the going was slow -seemed even slower from all the protestations and shrieks coming from Rich in the second row.
"Watch out! Ahhh! Oh My God! etc."
Harry would look back every now and then, shake his head, and give me a conspiratorial wink.
There were two things going on under the surface. I had the school record on the Pillsbury Crossing run (which you can't do anymore because of all the development - All the development started after I left, so I may still have the record, but I doubt anyone remembers the run anyway.) Rich had tried to break it in his Monza, but he couldn't do it -The guy who came closest was a Brazilian driving a hopped up XR4Ti.
Pillsbury Crossing -cool summer hangout
At the bottom of the page there are some more links
The second thing was that Rich was supported by the new Engineering Director, who would later threaten me with a fistfight in the middle of an engineering meeting. The Director went to Oral Roberts University and had a serious stick up his -er, hiney. He had tried busting us for a party we threw at a hotel during a recruitment trip to McDonnell Douglass in St. Louis. He tried to put tape on our doors and keep the sexes separated, and we would have none of it. We were over 18, and not children. -He took his complaints to the Dean, who told him the same thing. SO the Director had been pushing for Rich to take over, and no one was having any part of it -which made Rich all the more frustrated . ..
Everybody was miserable both from the slow progress, the cold, and Rich's whining.
At the first rest stop/gas up, Rich started complaining loudly about how we were all going to die if I kept driving, and people were sick of hearing him complain for hours on end, before anyone could say anything, I tossed him the keys and said -it's all yours, and climbed in the third row to catch some rest. -The freezing rain was coming off the rockies west to east in a southeast direction, so the conditions were going to be the same until we reached Texahoma at the very least, we were still in the middle of Kansas (By now we normally would have hit Texahoma).
Rich caught the keys and said something about he just wanted to make it there alive. (Did I mention that Rich later quit his job as an Engineer, changed his name to Dominique, and is now trying to do stagework in Oklahoma City? -He always was a drama queen . .. )
Rich started the van, and drove to the on-ramp, where he put the van into a spin. We did a two full turns and ended up backwards looking into the ravine from the side windows.
We sat there for a good 5 minutes before Tom (the faculty advisor) said, "Rich, Get out of the driver's seat."
Rich was red-faced, but got out of the seat nonetheless. Harry looked at me and said, "You're driving -I'll take the next leg."
The falls at Pilsbury Crossing
Satellite photo of the Pilsbury crossing run
It's the barely noticeable road below K-18 (Which itself was a little used route, that came in handy every now and then ;-)
you can see all the elevation changes, but you can't see the blind corners around the bluffs and hills -the satellite only goes down far enough at the beginning of the run (shame . . .) -But you CAN see all teh houses that have sprung up at the beginning of the road (another shame) . . . Show Less
The Beginning of the End
It was the first day of Summer Vacation at KSU, and me some friends who were stayin' in town over the summer decided to celebr... Show moreate at the World Famous Aggieville, (made famous by Playboy Magazine's Top College Party Towns, or whatever) Since nearly all the students were gone, I pulled up right in front of the then most popular BBQ joint/bar "Last Chance."
(Man, I miss that place . . . the Hibachi Hut and Harry's Uptown, too. But the last time I was in Manhattan, Last Chance had grown to almost the entire city block -Enormous)
Anyway, the place had an outdoor area with picnic tables, and was always crowded & well-lit, so I figured -what better place?!
We met friends, ate, imbibed, etc, well into the night . . . Two (very beautiful I might add) women friends if I could give them a ride, since they lived across the parking lot from me.
I agreed (never hurts, right?) so we got in the car and started driving to the apartment complex, when -WHAM!"
I couldn't see a darn thing- My hood had flown up and had hit the roof. It was too dark to see anything, but I pulled the hood down, and mashed it down far enough so that I could get the pins back in.
Everyone was shaken up by it, & I couldn't figure out how it happened. Hood Pins don't come out by themselves.
Dropped them off, and pulled into my carport & hit the sack.
Woke up the next morning, and pulled the car out of the stall and popped the hood.
I was furious!
When I had pulled into the parking space the night before, my engine had a VERY RARE LIMITED RUN Black Chrome/Gold Lettered dress up kit, yellow ACCEL wires and matching Coil, and a Black/Gold DieHard Battery.
I was now looking at rusted chrome valve covers, rusted chrome generic air cleaner, dirty spark plug wires, a generic battery, generic coil, etc. . .
Someone had stolen virtually my entire engine bay while I was in Last Chance, in front of HUNDREDS of people!!!
I literally saw red!
I jumped in the car to talk to the owner of Last Chance to see if security tape had caught anyone - it hadn't. As it was focused on the beer garden, not the street.
I filled out a police report, and turned it into the insurance company.
Which made me see red again.
Not long after that, someone did a hit and run number on me in the parking lot - estimates were at $6000 to fix, assuming they could match the custom paint.
Agent says: "We've been insuring a $1700 car, now we can pay for the damages, but then we'll drop you, and good luck finding another insurance company"
I'd been paying $250 a month (this was 17 years ago) for 5 years - meaning I'd paid $15,000 to the insurance company, and they wouldn't pay for the damage and theft, although they'd still be well ahead on the car. Show Less