Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur


A Speeding Ticket in West Yellowstone

Filed under: General — Laura Moncur @ 10:00 am

The color of the flashing lights seems more red and blue because the blinding snow has made the landscape a ghostly white. Mike is rummaging through the glove box for the registration. I wiggle my wallet out of my back pocket.

“You KNEW there was a bored cop.”

“I know.”

“You’re not allowed to hold a grudge against Yellowstone.”

“I know.”

I open the window and thousands of tiny bits of white ice rush at my eyes and cheeks. I wonder at the ability of the snow to work it’s way around the officer and blind me.

“The speed limit is 25 mph.”

“I know. I’m sorry.”

I hand him our registration for the car and my driver’s license. He looks at it quickly.

“I also need your insurance.”

Mike pops open the glove box again and produces our insurance card, still attached to the original paperwork. I hope it’s the most recent card as I pass it, unchecked, to the policeman. As he walks back to his squad car, I notice that his hat makes him look like a park ranger.

“I’m serious. You’re not allowed to hold a grudge against Yellowstone. We’re coming back here next year.”

“I know.”

The cop is back at my side and I dread opening the car window to the wind and ice. I don’t want to face him because of the weather, but I force myself to look at him so that I won’t look suspicious. The bits of hard and frozen snowflakes pummel my eyes.

“I caught you doing 40 in a 25 mph zone, but that’s a 155 dollar ticket, so I wrote you up for 35, so it’ll only be 55 bucks.”

I take the papers.

“Thank you.”

I look for a pen, expecting to have to sign something.

“I don’t have to sign?”

“No. You don’t have to pay right now. You can send it in or appear at court.”

He walks back to his well-marked police car and I roll up the window. The car blissfully protects me from the elements. I hand the papers to Mike and he puts them in the glove box. I inch back onto the two lane road and leave town.

This year’s Yellowstone trip was disappointingly lacking any animals. They were all scared off by the construction. The speeding ticket was just icing on the cake.

I don’t care what Mike says. Next year, we’re going to Yosemite.



  1. Great story! Yosemite is nice, but I’m still going to Yellowstone at least twice this year. Maybe because we can be settled in a campsite within 3 hours of driving out of our driveway … driving the speed limit (grin).

    Comment by Roland Smith — 5/4/2010 @ 10:14 am

  2. “You’re not allowed to hold a grudge against Yellowstone.”

    Ha! :)

    I want to go to Yellowstone. I’ve never been.

    Comment by Braidwood — 5/24/2010 @ 6:21 pm

  3. Just an FYI because I live 2 hours from Yellowstone. The lack of wildlife is not due to construction as much as it is due to wolves. They are killing machines and moose, elk, deer, and even buffalo are hard to view on a good vacation. The geysers are wonderful and everything else but you might be better off to go to Yosemite. Need any evidence? You should see the National Elk Refuge just north of Jackson Hole. Normal years, this time of year, there are 1000’s wintering on the refuge. Last year and this year, not sure if there are even 1000 on the entire refuge. Great story though.

    Comment by Brandon — 1/6/2012 @ 10:43 pm

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