I was stopped at about 12:30AM this morning by the Winnetka police as I unwittingly turned off the main road that runs from the north side of Chicago up through Evanston, Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winnetka and beyond, and onto a little dead-end road that leads to the Winnetka power plant. How did this happen? Well, two good friends and I went for our semi-regular drive around Chicago for a Big Gulp and a smoke. Given that its winter here in the Midwest, it’s tough to smoke cigars outdoors and stay warm, so our like is to grab a Polish, a pop and then light up and go for a drive.
Tonight’s adventure took us along the north shore, which happens to be home to some of the most posh neighborhoods in the state, let alone the country. As we drove through Wilmette admiring the lake front properties, a police car pulled up just behind my left side for ½ a mile or so and then turned away as we entered Kenilworth. We took some side streets to admire some of the other homes. As we turned onto one side street, I noticed two cars back a bit in my rear view mirror. As is the case with most of these little streets in Winnetka, most dead-end at the lake front, with what we thought to be a lighthouse on the lake. As I started my three-point turn, two Winnetka police cars pulled up with their lights flashing and a spot light shining in my window. Of course, one of my brilliant friends was encouraging me to actually get out of the car.
Turns out the police officer tailing me through Wilmette ran my plates and called me in. When the Winnetka police stopped me, they already knew my name and home address. After asking what we were doing – having our New Years drive with Pepsi and a fine cigar – we were kindly informed that we’re still on Orange alert and that we shouldn’t be driving well under the speed limit and approaching the power plant as that tends to attract attention. Personally, I think it was my beat up little Acura that was well out of place at 12:30AM in this neighborhood. We were turned loose to continue our drive, with strong encouragement to drive the speed limit and avoid dead-end streets.
Odd thing is, when we went for our drive six months ago we ended up taking a “tour” of the west side of Chicago and couldn’t get a police officer to pull us over for the life of us.