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On the road, 1978

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Premium Subscriber
Jun 28, 2006
San Luis Obispo, CA
As a newbie, I hope this is the correct place for this story. If not, I trust an admin will point me in the correct direction.

In December '78, for the holidays, I drove from San Luis Obispo, CA, home to Moline IL and back in about 3 weeks.

The CA to IL leg had it's own interesting stories (including ice storms and hauling a Bally Fireball pinball machine), but here we're concerned with the return leg.

Because of the season (early winter), I drove the southern route as much as possible, to avoid snow and ice. This was the late 70s, era of the 55 MPH speed limit and pretty strict enforcement thereof. To defend myself, I had a FuzzBuster (!) radar detector, a CB radio, a brand-new 50 channel BearCat 250 keyboard programmable scanner, and a copy of Police Call for every state I passed through.

(The BC-250 was a godsend. Previously I'd had Regency crystal scanners, a Tennelec programmed with metal combs, and an SBE optiscan programmed with see-thru cards.)

Every time I passed from one state to another, out came the books, and I reprogrammed the 250 for the new highway patrol/state police frequencies.

When I dropped down I35 from OK into TX one the morning, I entered the TX highway patrol freqs and continued on. Very shortly on the radio I heard dispatch give out a license plate number (from Michigan) and description of a motorhome. Said motorhome, enroute from MI to AZ was to be stopped and one of the passengers advised that his PACEMAKER had been recalled, and that he should proceed immediately to the nearest hospital. (Now there's news you can use, eh?)

Several hours later, well after making the right turn from I35 south onto I20 west at Ft Worth, I fell in behind said motorhome.

What to do?

Obviously, the TX Patrol hadn't found him yet. Worse, I was trying to make time, and they were toodling along at well under the limit.

Now, you need to know that I wasn't exactly reputable looking at the time. Early 20s, kinda long hair, on the road for a couple 3 days, unshaven, and driving a car with California plates in Texas.

Oh, and the car... I forgot to tell you about the car. The car was a '69 Pontiac Bonneville.

A decomissioned '69 Pontiac Bonneville Superior ambulance. The old style that looks like a big@ss station wagon, sans red lights and siren and gurney and all the other cool meat-wagon stuff. White over powder blue, with the high output 428 pursuit package engine. Dropping the hammer in that car would cause the 4 barrel carb to just about suck a big dent in the hood.

In Illinois I has scored some used parts from a Superior dealer, so it had the window curtains and sign mounts in the windows and a few other embellishments.

So, what to do??? This was 20 years before cell phones, and I couldn't raise any authority on the CB. With my appearance and vehicle, I certainly wasn't going to try to pull the motorhome over.

I followed them for miles and miles until I finally needed gas. While the ambulance was gassing up, I found a payphone (remember those?) and called the local Texas State Troopers.

At first, the dispatcher didn't know what the he!! I was talking about. Finally I told her to go look at the teleprinter printout for that morning. She got it and figured out I was on the up-n-up.

I finished fueling and got back on the road in time to hear that they were stopping every motorhome in a 20 mile radius. Within 5 or 10 minutes, they had found the correct camper, and advised over the air that the party had been notified, and that they were escorting him to the nearest hospital.

(ya just can't make stuff like this up...)

With apologies to Paul Harvey, I sure wish I knew The Ressst Of the Story.


Mar 15, 2006
Great post,

Off topic I guess but none the less interesting, for more of the same vein of interest check out a book called" Blue highways" Written by a William Least Heat August Moon, about a year long driveabout of the USA using only the back roads and lots of the places and people he meets during this trip. The term blue highways comes from the color on maps of non interstate roads. thanks again DCG729


Feb 29, 2004
Cool story! Very interesting too. I bet there are a few more stories out there like yours.

Thanks for sharing it. :)


Jul 15, 2004
WHOA I was in december 78

Than you for sharing
I was born in December of 78 lol
Gosh I reckon I am young still
PLEASE share more
Warmest regards,


Dec 19, 2002
I actually have one of those SBE optiscan scanners, I picked it up at a thrift store because it was in such nice shape. Anyway, I noticed the card in the front slot and was wondering if the card is re-usable or do you need a different card every time you decide to change frequencys?
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