17 May 2007

The Art of Being Covert on the Road

For those of you who know me, and those who wish the honor, you know that my need for speed (of the triple digit kind) is never-ending.

Whether deftly maneuvering an 80,000 lb vehicle up and down the highway, or travelling the back roads in my four-wheeler, there is rarely a time (save bad weather, farm machinery or just really piss-poor roads) that I am not winding out well over the acceptable limits of the law.

During those free moments of moving at a high rate of fuel consumption, one must protect their interests... i.e. be covert.

concealed; secret; disguised.
One must take precautions to keep oneself from becoming the target of law enforcement officials with a hard-on for upholding posted and unposted speed limits. To do this, there are several reminders and tools that you can use to protect yourself.

In a big truck, the main thing is: Listen. Keep your fm radio turned down, and your cb radio turned up. There are always the "big radios" you can hear 10 miles down the road hollering out bear reports. Keep your yakkin' to a minimum, and you'll know where they lie in wait. Not to mention, you've always got Billy BigRigger asking every 3 miles for a bear report. Someone knows where they are; close your mouth, open your ears. The same applies if you have a cb in your pv. (personal vehicle) You wanna pick up a guy for a blowjob? Channel 22. You want the lot lizard? 15. CB Shop? 14. West Texas real channel? 21. Save Sesame Street (19) for the kids; you'll learn to tune out the fluff and listen for the good stuff.

A good CB radio is a must. It doesn't have to be a high-end General Lee or NorthStar with a kicker and a linear hookup(although it's much fun messin' with people because they can't talk over you-heh). Get yourself a mid-high quality radio, a set of good antennas, and the proper coax. You want the twisted braid that's flexible; not the cheap-ass 15 foot tv coax from Radio Shack. This allows you to run the cable throughout the vehicle without kinking, making for better transmission. If your radio is not made for two antennas, don't splice them; you will blow your finials.

Some folks prefer the whip antennas (move around easily) but I like the more rigid ones myself. Go figure *wink*. This is so when you attach them to the vehicle, you can point them in the direction they will be most advantageous, and they won't bend back with the wind when you're going 110 mph. This is important. You want to tilt the antenna on the driver side forward about 20 degrees. This allows you to pick up from a bit further away than you would if it were pointing straight up. On the passenger side, you can do the same, or tilt it back at the same angle. Sometimes knowing what's behind you can be just as important as what's in front of you. My best radio could transmit for a couple miles when I passed someone going the opposite direction, making for a couple minute conversation. Cool. But more importantly, I could hear a good 15 miles up the road. This came in handy. Turn the squelch full out, turn the noise reducer off, dial the RF gain all the way up, and once you learn to ignore the stupid stuff, you can pickup bits from way down the road that might indicate there's a bear around.

Watch the traffic patterns. Sometimes vehicles in front of us have a view we don't. If they start slowing down, it could very well mean someone has spotted a bear. The same is true for meat-wagons (ambulances).

Last but not least, get yourself a top-shelf radar detector. Personal recommendation: tried, true, Valentine One. Other quality recommendation, Escort Passport.

While we're on the subject of radar detectors, well - radar detector - because there is only one that will ever grace the dash of any vehicle I'm in, let's talk about how to use this powerful tool in conjunction with the other methods of achieving covertness.

While I use mine in my Jeep all the time, and in a big truck every time, they are not allowed in some situations. (Outlawed in VA, DC, and completely banned from all commercial vehicles.) One must plan for these contingencies.

You want to keep it as much out of sight as possible. On the dash is better than hanging high on the inside of the windshield. They look for them there. To the left-most position of the car (at least on American roads-to the right for our European friends) on the dash, out of direct view. This puts you at an angle advantage around vehicles in front of you, over having it in the middle of your dash. There are also some cool ones that have remote vision that you install behind your front bumper and use with a unit inside plugged to the lighter socket. No window view.

Velcro is key. Place a small strip of velcro on the dash, and the match piece on the bottom of the detector. When using, secure with velcro, and the detector stays put, even on bumpy roads, and through those hairy turns where they slide across the dash. It is dangerous to be going round a curve, trying to catch your dog before it falls off the dash and crashes into the passenger door or the floor. Hard on the electronics. I also include a small strip of matching velcro on the back of my phone, so that if I'm pulled over, I stash the dog, slap the phone up there and tell them I use it to hold the phone while driving with my headset on. (I'm a safety girl!)

Make sure your detector is set to full out; you want the most amount of time to react should it go off. You can set it back when in the city so all the alarms from the stores don't set it off, but you HAVE to remember to change it back, or you get feedback from only less than about 1/4 mile. Not enough. I just push the mute button and I've learned to ignore it in town.

Some people use the "white noise" dogs. A prime example is a dog/scrambler combo from Rocky Mountain Radar. I have not used or tested this myself. I have heard others talk about it, but I prefer a little proof before walking away from the one I know and trust. Besides, scramblers, while handy, are also very frowned upon by Johnny Lawmaker. If anyone has used the RMR, let me know what you think, how it works, has it saved you?

The last part of protecting yourself and being covert: pre-planning. As the detectors are illegal in commercial vehicles in all states, and in vehicles in VA and DC, know what to do if you are stopped.

Again, the phone trick is very handy. More important, though, is moving through the motions of hiding your detector where it will be safe even during a search. The key to this is to have a pre-addressed bubble wrap mailer with the correct amount of postage already applied. This will take a trip to the post office with the detector AND cable plug in said envelope to have it weighed. Buy the postage needed for that amount, and keep that envelope within reach at all times. (Most come with an adhesive strip for easy closure. The trick to this is start peeling just an edge and fold the tab over so you have something to grab onto and quick remove the label. Doesn't do any good if the officer is watching you as you try to remove the tape line.

If you are stopped, simply yank the dog off the dash, (you can replace with your phone at this point so you can tell them that's what they saw - and they do see them, they are trained to look for them) stuff it AND the cord into the envelope, and seal it. Toss it on the passenger floorboard, the seat, the back, whatever. Just. make. sure. it. is. addressed. sealed. and. has. proper. postage. This is the key. This makes it Federal Mail. You cannot be forced to open it, nor can anyone else open it without it being tampering. Try not to act nervous or sweat profusely, though, as this may be a giveaway. If asked what's in the package, have a ready reply. (A gift for my nephew, toy car, electric razor-whatever's believable.) Keep in mind, however, this does not apply in Canada. They can still yank it, and stuff ~n~ cuff ya. The are illegal up there as well.

While driving at night, use your brights as much as possible. This interferes with laser. Chances are you won't run into that as they use the other bands for just this reason. However, that works in your favor because you can pick up warning signals from the other types far enough out.

You can also get cool things like convex license plate covers (the bears are trained to aim at them) which will point the laser in another direction rather than back to the gun. Skews the readings.

So there ya have it, folks. It's all about being smart. Keep your mouth shut on the radio, don't broadcast where you are, and have the right tools ready and within reach.

Speed Safely!

Miss B

yes, Tater, I know it's not the same, but you probably don't run into a lot of bears going Mach 2.05... ;) love ya hon!

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