We were cruising, nearly to the end of Nebraska. We’d moved from Highway 80 to the more scenic Route 30, guiding us through intermittent towns announced by their huge silos, which loomed over the plains like skyscrapers in the distance. Phil was in a driving groove, but was admittedly suffering from the triple-whammy (self-diagnosed) of Highway Hypnosis, Big Sky Lunacy, and Altitude Madness. So he can be forgiven if he for a moment thought that the sirens behind him were a hallucination. Dorothy corroborated, though, so we pulled to the side of the road. Up to the car strode Officer Loy, all of nineteen years old, possessing the impressive admixture of Barney Fife’s crime-fighting acumen and Columbo’s charm.
“I have pulled you over because I clocked you driving 69 in a 60 zone,” he declared, trying to conceal his Book of Things Real Cops Say. “Is there any reason you were speeding?” Phil combed his mind. He didn’t know that driving nine miles over the limit was speeding. Didn’t he deserve a commendation for staying within ten miles per hour of the limit? There was even a car in front of us that he refused to pass. “Uh,” said Phil, “We’re just trying to make time to Laramie.” The officer returned to his car, while Phil and Dorothy tried wrap their minds around the idea of being given a ticket for driving 69 in a flipping 60 on a near deserted road in East Honestly Nowhere, NE. Loy walked back to the car with a piece of paper in his hand. “I’ve decided to give you a warning today,” he told us, pausing to allow the gravity of his benevolence to sink in, “but a couple of things. First, you say you want to make time to Laramie. Well, why are you on 30? You should be on 80, where the speed limit is 75.” Check and mate. He had Phil dead to rights. Outwitted, Phil stuttered, “We’re taking the scenic route,” but clearly, he’d been beat. The satisfaction on Officer Loy’s face was evident. “Second,” he said, “The speed limit on Nebraska state roads is 60 MPH.” Thusly educated, we pulled away slowly and carefully, inching our way toward Laramie with nothing but a cocktail of relief and gratitude in our hearts. A real credit to the uniform, that Officer Loy.