Thursday, April 26, 2007

Oh Estelline, Why Can'tcha Be True

Estelline, Texas - all six blocks of it

In a few weeks, I will be making at trip that I have long wanted to take. I will be hitting the road from Denver to Houston. My past visits to Texas' largest city from Colorado have been via the fine jet aircraft of Frontier, United, and (since their re-entry to Denver) Southwest Airlines. Flying is great, you get there quick, but you miss the sights of things along the way. You also must put up with the near full body cavity search at the airport. Of course, you also fly six miles high over all the local cops of every podunk town and speed trap.

This trip will take me through Texas' most notorious speed trap, the small and dwindling town of Estelline on US 287 located in the panhandle near the point where the southwest corner of Oklahoma protrudes into the Lone Star State. Dubbed the worst speed trap in Texas by the Dallas Morning News, Estelline apparently has closely spaced speed limit changes with no warning, and an overly aggressive cop. I have heard horror stories of people getting ticketed even when going under the speed limit, being tailgated through town by the cop in his gray Mustang, and ticket payment deadlines set within one week from the alleged infraction.

Texas has a law that any town of under 5000 population must send the state any traffic fines they collect in excess of 30% of their town budget. The trouble is, there is no automatic enforcement, and it is only if they are audited that a town has to pay up. This town of less than 200 people seems to use motorists on the highway as their main source of town funding.

So the question becomes, do I go miles out of my way to avoid the place altogether? I certainly won't take the full Interstate route of going to Salina, Kansas on I-70, then turning south through Dallas. That is many more miles. I also could take a state highway and another US highway and add an estimated 20 miles to go around Estelline. However, I think the only reason I would to that is if I get a ticket there on the way down, and decide to bypass on the way back home.

The truth is that I rarely get over the speed limit, and if I do, it is because of momentary inattention. I would rather relax and not worry about it, but it sounds like you may get a ticket regardless from Estelline's version of Buford T. Justice.

Still, I have not been on this stretch of highway between Amarillo and Wichita Falls, so I am looking forward to it. So, to the podunk cop of podunk Estelline, Texas, just try to get me! As the President likes to say, "Bring it on!".

Oh, so you'll know me, I'll be the guy in the red BMW with Florida license plates. NOT!

No comments: