Tuesday, December 2, 2008

bumps in the road

So our drive home.

Everything was rolling along just fine. The kids weren't napping, but they weren't doing too bad. We'd had a good lunch earlier and I really really wanted them to sleep for a bit so by 2 o'clock or so when they were still wide awake, we decided to find the next Walmart type place to take a break, let them out and walk around for a bit, hoping for a fresh start in the car where they might be more inclined to drift off.
We were in the middle of Iowa and Ryan had just pulled off onto an exit ramp when we noticed red and blue lights turn on behind us. We were wondering what was going on because we were pretty sure there was no speeding involved... Ryan had had the cruise control set, plus we were exiting.

The cop comes up to the window and says he pulled Ryan over for a warning on his speed, but that he also needed to measure the tint on our windows. He notes that we're from Missouri and lets Ryan know both the legal tint limit in Missouri (35%) and Iowa (70%)... then has Ryan roll up the driver's window and measures it with his meter. After barely showing Ryan the reading he says "Yep, your illegal in both states". Huh?

He then instructs Ryan to follow him back to his car and they both get in and sit for about 10 minutes.

While I'm stuck in our car with my two kids complaining; both had to go to the bathroom, they're both cranky and overtired and we're just sitting there on the side of the highway.

Ryan comes back with a "warning" for speeding (for 4mph over the speed limit?!?) and a ticket for his vehicle's window tint. We were just shocked. I mean yeah, our windows are obviously tinted, but we bought it that way... and it's not after-market tint. It's from the manufacturer. How can that be illegal??

And since the stupid ticket is from the middle of Iowa... there's no way Ryan can go back and fight the ticket in court. It's not like he's going to drive almost 4 hours up there for a $70 ticket. Yes, $70. For windows we can do nothing about.

But get this... the actual fine for the "illegal" tint? It's $15.
Then there's another $50 in court fees and something like a $14 "criminal surcharge".
What the heck?? It is sooo maddening.

The cop was none too nice about it all either. Ryan said he kept hinting and seemingly baiting Ryan in conversation. Like Ryan was some hoodlum looking for trouble in his 'souped up' car.

With his wife and two kids in the car. Blasting Disney Christmas music.

Ryan said he kept getting the feeling that the cop thought Ryan was trying to avoid the cop and that he probably thought that's why we exited off the freeway. He asked where we were going.
"Well you know home's that way... (pointing back up to the freeway)"
"Yeah, we were hoping to find a Walmart or something to stop for a snack and let the kids get out and stretch"
"Oh. Right."

There were a couple of exchanges of conversation like that.

Anyway. Ticket written, we're shaking our heads at the whole thing. Seriously... aren't there better things to do that write a family a $70 ticket for something we obviously can't do anything about. As Ryan pointed out, here at home he drives by at least 2 cops a day, he's owned the car for almost a year, and no one has batted an eye at his "illegal" windows.
We're sitting in the car looking over the newly issued citation in hand just baffled. I finally tell Ryan lets just get out of here, the kids need to get out of the car.

And then the car won't start.
Completely dead, won't even attempt to turn over or anything.
Come on! It had not even a hint of a problem before that... it started up just fine that morning in less than 20 degree weather. But now it was dead.

No big deal right? There's a cop parked right behind us.
The cop follows Ryan up and looks under the hood with him and I hear him say "Isn't this a new car?" in exactly the tone of how much of an idiot do you have to be to get a brand new car to break down on the side of a highway?

Well Ryan was hoping it was just a fluke of a dead battery (but still not sure on how it just up and died?!), but of course the cop didn't have jumper cables.

So we have to call a tow truck. And wait another 15 minutes for it to get there.
And pay another $50 for his trip out to jump our battery.
And then drive 3/4 mile down the same road we were on to the Walmart auto center and have them test the alternator and battery and ultimately buy a new battery.

So if you're keeping track of the math, our $15 fine which is in reality a $70 ticket also now cost us $50 in tow services and $90 for a new battery. That's over $200. And over an hour before we were back on the road.

And the cop wasn't even polite about any of it.
Sure, if the battery was going to die, it was going to die. BUT if that officer would have been worrying about the drivers going 90 on the freeway (and there were plenty of them!) rather than the "scary dark car" exiting the freeway at the speed limit, then we would have been at least parked at Walmart or at a gas station when it died and we could have just bought a new battery and saved the tow truck costs.
At least he waited in his car behind us the whole time.
I was thisclose to going back there and asking him to give me and the kids a ride in to the Walmart so they could go to the bathroom instead of complaining in the backseat on the side of the highway for what was going on half an hour.

Ugh. It was just so frustrating.
We all picked some of our favorite candy at Walmart to soothe ourselves :)
And fortunately Sawyer slept almost the rest of the way home. That was nice.

Needless to say, it was a long day on the road and we were glad to be home.


Katie said...

Oh my word!! What a crazy story! I'm exhausted just reading it! You guys should have picked out some new rims while you were at walmart. Those might complete the look Ryan was going for.

Nicole said...

HAHAHAH! I'm cracking up at Katie's comment.

Sorry your trip back was so bad! I can't believe the officer sounded like such a jerk!

Denise said...

Oh my word! Sounds like the cop was behind on his ticket quota or something...seriously, what a loser. I wish you could go fight it!

Anonymous said...

OMG! that is a CRAZY story. yeah, because you guys certainly look like hard-core criminals. :) i agree with denise, he must have been behind on his quota!

Kristi said...

Sounds like an episode from "Road Trips Gone Bad" if there ever was such a show!

LeeAnn Howard said...

Sounds like a string of bad luck. That really stinks! Especially since you bought the car that way. Hope you can have a few peaceful days to make up for it. :)

jenny said...

i would have been freaking about the stupid ticket! i'm freaking now and it didn't even happen to me - what gives? windows from the manufacturer - and still a ticket - seriously. i hate when cops are total jerks (and very unhelpful). i worked in a sheriff's office for five years and i NEVER seen them write ONE ticket for that offense. crazy.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, I can't even believe this!! DAMN Iowans! That never would have happened in MN:) That guy must have had an awful Thanksgiving or something.

jane said...

Jeez, what an a$$!! That is crazy, I have never heard of something like that. With two kids in the car!!!!

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