I will be spending the last day of my vacation in a courthouse in Ottowa, Illinois, in Lasalle County. That's where I got the speeding ticket that took the zoom out of my zippy little rental car and will be taking $400 out of my wallet.
I'm assuming the cops around here aren't very understanding toward out-of-towners who take it upon themselves to drive 81 in a 55 construction zone. I plead guilty, but I have the best excuse ever, your honor. The fact that I have a lead foot combined with my panic at leaving Bloomington more than an hour behind schedule combined with my panic at getting all twisted and turned around in Bloomington putting me almost another hour behind schedule combined with my nervousness about driving the eight hours by myself from Bloomington, Illinois, to some strange blog guy's house in Minneapolis to stay with him for three days served as quite the distraction an hour north of Bloomington when I got pulled over by a state cop who was parked across from the "begin construction zone" sign that should have made me slow from 65 to 55. But no. I didn't see the sign or the cop and I didn't really care until I saw the cop pull out behind me and turn on his lights. I was in my head - in my own world - and going 80 to begin with, but, really. Who ever heard of not being allowed to go 75 on a highway - plus, of course, the five mph that are "allowed" over the limit?
I think I should be above the law and that the rules of the road shouldn't apply to me. They should only apply to idiots and bad drivers, right?
Well, not only did I get myself into a world of shit, but I got into the shit in the shittiest state in the union. In Illinois, speeding in a work zone requires a mandatory court appearance. After a mild nervous breakdown/panic attack that lasted only a few days on and off, almost forced me to cancel the Minneapolis leg of my trip and gave me no choice but to smoke 14 cigarettes, I know that I won't be arrested and that my license will not be suspended. I know that I won't be having to change my flight plans or fly back here for an August 4 court date or to hire an attorney here to go to court on my behalf. The lady at the courthouse was a true gem and pulled some strings, dug out my ticket and entered it into the system right away so I can do a walk-in at the courthouse tomorrow, my last day in this godforsaken shithole.
Don't think I didn't learn from this experience. The entire eight-hour trip back, I drove two miles under the speed limit. Work zones? I was cruising along at between 45 and 55 mph in all of them.
Next: Minneapolis/St. Paul