I continued to hitchhike and reached a sort of crossroads outside Lewiston, Idaho just as the sun set.
By this time it was May fifth, the night of Cinco De Mayo. I was mindful of the possible increase in drunk drivers on the road.
But I was now on highway 12 heading east to highway 3.
And I was considering my options when an Idaho State cop, in a black-and white cruiser, pulled up.
And I knew that he was some kind of jerk when he pointed the cruiser's spotlight right in my face. If there's one thing that I hate, it's bright light. I had two serious eye surgeries when I was young and my eyes have been hyper-sensitive to light ever since.
There were light poles along the road side and I clicked off my own flashlight, hoping that he'd get the hint.
In fact, he swiftly graduated from jerk to asshole when he walked up to me with a big flashlight tucked into his arm.
"It's illegal to hitchhike" he declared.
I put one hand on my forehead to shade my eyes. Then I told him about the cop that stopped me in Weiser, Idaho earlier in the day.
"He just ran my ID, handed it back, told me to be careful and wished me good luck" I said.
"I've hitchhiked all the way from Fruitland to here...in this State...and nobody has made an issue about it anywhere along the way."
"It is illegal to hitchhike everywhere in the Country" griped the cop, obviously not believing a word that I said.
"Officer" I replied, with a sigh, "I've been hitchhiking around North America since 1993. And that's why I have this nice pack, 100% DEET spray, a good LED flashlight, a first-aid kit, a current road atlas and a cell phone."
His eyes narrowed, his jaw set and he said, "I can take you back to Lewiston or down to highway 3 and drop you off."
"Officer, there is no point in taking me back to Lewiston but I'll go on down to highway 3 with you if you're sure that there's light down there and a place that I can sit that is far off the road."
"Is the 12 and 3 junction well-lit like this area here is?" I asked.
"I don't know" he said and THAT is when I realized that there was something strange about that cop.
I have never met a cop that doesn't know every inch of his regular patrol area, from map dots to mile markers.
"But I'll take you on up there" he said.
"I'll do a simple pat-down first, put your stuff in the trunk and there's one more thing that you'll have to do before you get in my car..."
And then he said what no cop has ever said to me on the road when I've been offered a courtesy ride:
"...you'll have to wear handcuffs."