Reservation Revelations

Last weekend a friend and I decided to go for a little ski trip. The plan was to leave Northern Arizona University and drive the Navajo Indian reservation on a Friday night, getting to my parent’s house in Telluride, Colorado, very late. Door to door, it’s 350 miles, yet the possibility of heavy traffic enforcement make it impossible to predict arrival time. I have made the trip often, sometimes seeing as many as 19 different patrol vehicles, other times only two or three. I drive an Audi 200 20v turbo, a sleeper stationwagon, especially as modified.

My friend has a Passport 8500 X50 that he decided to pull out once we had left Flagstaff. He placed the X50 next to my 1.8 V1. “It’s time for a real world test,” he said. I laughed and asked if he wanted to drive, as he seemed so confident in his Passport. Grinning, Tim agreed.

The drive was going well; traffic was light and we had seen all of the cops coming. The V1 would always pick up a bogey before the X50, but only by a few seconds. As a threat closed, then went behind, the arrows would track its passing while the x50 would just display the band. V1 would continue to follow the bogey far behind us while the X50 would drop the signal almost instantly.

Highway 160 just east of Kayenta, AZ, is arrow straight for at least 15 miles. Tim was moving, toying with a tuner Civic. Out of nowhere the X50 freaked out, flashing a “POP” warning as we met a lone semi. V1 said nothing. Surmising that the semi had a cheapo detector, Tim started to put his foot back in it, when the V1 picked up a Ka from behind. Watching the signal steadily increase, I suggested he ease off. Commenting that the X50 was quiet, he reluctantly slowed, ending our fun. The Civic shot past and over a slight ridge.

No sooner had the civic passed us than V1 picked up a second Ka, this one ahead. Tim got the message and grabbed a handful of E-brake to covertly haul it down. As we crested the ridge we could see headlights coming toward us; now the X50 seconded V1’s warning. Immediately, the oncoming car’s roof exploded in a crescendo of red and

The civic dove visibly under hard braking. The oncoming cop, a state patrol Crown Vic, turned off his lights as soon as he passed the Civic. V1 dropped the forward Ka and the X50 went blank, yet the Ka behind was still showing on V1. Behind us we could see headlights crest the ridge, as V1 showed max Ka back there. Tim slowed from the 65 limit slightly as the car behind us quickly closed the gap. At no more than 350 yards behind, the X50 finally warned of Ka. As this second car flew past, the blue-and-white dress of the Arizona highway patrol clear in the moonlight, and once around, he lit up and shot after the civic far ahead.

When we caught up something over a minute later, the Civic was in roadside conference.

Tim was quite for a minute, then said, “Wow, I’m glad that’s not us, we were going way in excess of criminal speed,” which is 20 over. He didn’t say anything more, but the X50 stayed in his bag on the way home.

Chad de Alva
Telluride, CO