Birding Utah
with a day in AZ and a late afternoon in NV
April 20-30, 2009 (including 2 travel days)

Trip Bird List
General Tourist Aspects of the Trip
Charged with imprudent slowness on an empty road

Gambel's Quail

Phainopepla Summer Tanager Bald Eagle

Barn Swallow Tree Swallows Long-billed Curlew

American Wigeon Pintail Western Grebes Cinnamon Teal

Turkey Sandhill Cranes California Condor

Great-tailed Grackle American Magpies Stellars Jay Lesser Goldfinch

Black-chinned Hummingbird Mountain Bluebird Say's Phoebe
Western Bluebird Black Phoebe Western Kingbird

Western Meadowlark White-winged Dove Raven

House Finch Avocet Mountain Chickadee Hairy Woodpecker

Other Perspectives on Species Already Showcased Above (in the order of the pictures):

A Sampling of Other Bird Species Sighted (in taxonomic order):

Multiple Avian Species in the Same Frame:

Other Wildlife:


Busted in Fredonia

road is near Beaver, UT, but it is not unlike 89a between Jacob's Lake and Fredonia AZ where I got a ticket for going 32 mph in a 55mph zone. I only slowed to 32 in the process of pulling over to the shoulder to encourage a white SUV to pass me. Instead of passing me he pulled in behind me and turned on his flashers as he did so! We were stopped right in front of a 50mph speed limit sign. The policeman told me he had clocked me at 32mph. "That's almost 20 miles an hour below the limit! You could have been rear ended." He had to say "almost" because we were both staring at the sign. It burned me up that he deliberately exaggerated "in a 55 mph zone" on the citation, something I did not notice until he was gone. Furthermore there had been four signs on route 89a warning of ice (It was April 21 but we did see ice elsewhere at 8000 ft, which is the altitude we were at), one warning of deer, and one free-range cattle warning. Yet the charge was "imprudent and unreasonable speed." His was probably the only other vehicle we encountered since Jacob's Lake, 40 minutes back. The officer's signature looked like S.Kartchner. Badge 6511. When I explained to the officer that when he clocked me I had only slowed because I was pulling over to the shoulder he acknowledged that with, "That may be so." But he still handed me the citation. I was not able to contest the ticket because I was back in Massachusetts on the court date, May 20. After reading the brochure and phoning the court and my insurance company, and studying the website of the Arizona Chapter National Safety Council, I opted to pay $210 and spend 8 hours of my life (4 hours for the course, but there was a lot of temporal overhead. Don't ask.) to take an online course, followed by a written exam in front of a Notary Public, that would supposedly keep this moving violation off my insurance record. Meanwhile Herman sent a letter to the Governor of Arizona cc'ing the Arizona Tourist Board. The Governor's Office forwarded Herman's letter to the Arizona Department of Public Safety who actually interviewed officer Katchner! The Arizona Department of Public Safety interviewed me by phone and sent us a letter saying they were recommending that the ticket be dismissed, because the officer corroborated my account. The Arizona Department of Public Safety filed a motion to dismiss. Judge Mark Baron denied the motion because, as he put it, "no reason was given." Next time this happens to me I will send a written letter to the Court saying this motion is in the pipeline and these are my reasons it has merit, and I will ask the The Arizona Department of Public Safety to please send to the Court a high level executive summary of their reasons for recommending dismissal. I imagine that the Arizona Department of Public Safety's interview with Officer Kartchner went some ways to educating him as to what constitutes a legitimate citation, and we appreciate the fact that someone in AZ took our complaint seriously, so their time was not spent in vain.


Though the denial of the motion to dismiss was a slap in the face, the $210 was already down the drain and the essential thing was that this moving violation not appear on my insurance ($175/yr for seven years.) But in that same letter in which Judge Mark Baron of the Fredonia Court informed me he was denying the motion to dismiss, he informed me he was rejecting my course as well! This came as a shock because I had submitted everything notarized weeks earlier and already had my certificate from The Arizona Chapter National Safety Council. Since that course had been in lieu of a $56 fine, that fine was now overdue and late fines were accumulating. I had 10 days to file an appeal. "The forms are available at the court." I was very sick with what would be diagnosed as pneumonia June 22. Ever since the debacle of extending my court date by a telephone conversation I've known it was insufficient to ask for forms by phone. There is a real danger that someone will deny I ever made the request and I could be charged with missing a filing date. I did call the court nevertheless and told the woman who answered that there was a mistake, I had taken and passed the course. She just said, "The judge has ruled." But she did tell me I could write Judge Mark Baron. I got out of bed and wrote the judge. I requested the appeal forms, and I also explained that I had the certificate saying I passed the Defensive Driving course but I could not send it to him because it said in boldface "void if copied!" I dragged myself out to the far mailbox that had a Saturday pickup. The nightmare came to an end June 26th. The judge accepted my course, saying he'd take the Arizona Chapter National Safety Council's incompetence in not delivering my results to the Court up with them. Our vacation was marred. In taking that course I tacitly admitted a crime I did not commit (Herman did call AAA to see if they'd represent me in court in Fredonia Arizona, but they said the charge of imprudent and unreasonable speed is one they did not care to defend), I paid $210, and I spent several days of my life in unpleasant activities connected with this. I got a final one page letter-born scolding from the judge about how very culpable I was wantonly driving "23 (sic) miles below the speed limit" and an empty road (That was the super-high-level executive summary I gave him in my pneumonia letter) is no excuse. It bugs me that the mud of this fabricated charge sticks to me like that. It's pathetic that I feel defensive.

My encounter with the American Justice system was Kafka-esque. But in the end it was limited to a $210 stress-filled time-sink. Imagine the plight of someone actually locked up for a crime he didn't commit whose motion for consideration of new evidence gets summarily dismissed by a judge.

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