On Fri, Sep 6, 2013 at 8:02 PM, Keary Gregg <[email protected]> wrote:
I love driving scenic 395 every year I have gone to the Burning Man festival since 2002. Oftentimes I will spend the night in Bishop, in which case we eat out at least two times, and of course, fill up on gas and snacks.
This year, in Bridgeport, in the late afternoon, I ran into a full vehicle “Sobriety Checkpoint” stop, drivers license inspection, questioning by the officer as to where I was coming from and where I was going. There were many officers on hand, including search dog. It was intimidating and un-nerving, especially considering the light traffic due to the nearby fires and smoke in the air. Night time sobriety checkpoints in the restaurant and bar heavy tourist town of Laguna Beach are not manned as heavily. But tiny Bridgeport? Do people there start drinking earlier in the day? It felt like an international border crossing.
I believe that because I and my passenger are in our 60’s and do not look like “Burners” were treated better than some of my friends in other vehicles.
In other towns, friends of mine traveling at different times in a caravan were pulled over en mass for what they felt were flimsy and spurious reasons. There were no arrests or citations.
I am not willing to travel 395 again, having to worry about whether I am going slow enough across an empty crosswalk even though I am under the speed limit, or if I happen to “swerve” while watching for pedestrians, or worry about a warrantless search that leaves my belongings in a mess because a canine handler gets bored and decides his dog “signaled” even though the vehicle was clean. These are some of the experiences that I heard about from others this year.
I had already decided not to travel 395 next year even before I heard about the proposed boycott. Hopefully at next year’s event I will hear good news about the 395 route and feel comfortable enough to return to using it. I believe that the local law enforcement ultimately is responsive to the community will, and doesn’t care a hoot what tourists from outside the county think about their enforcement “style”. If this year’s example of law enforcement on the 395 is a demonstration of the communities desire, hopefully the communities will reconsider.