Local Yokel Park Rangers

Yesterday, four of us from Temecula Motorcycle Riders and two other guests rode out to Joshua Tree National Monument to ride the loop throu...

Sheriff J.W. PepperYesterday, four of us from Temecula Motorcycle Riders and two other guests rode out to Joshua Tree National Monument to ride the loop through the park.

The ride was great, the weather and temperature was perfect for riding, and not too much traffic in the park either. What ruined it was the local yokel park ranger.

This guy comes speeding up from behind me in his Ford Bronco with the siren going and his bubble-gum machine all lit up. I move over to the side to let him on by. He blasts on by, and cruises past the other riders in our group. Then he slams on the brakes, and blocks off the road.

When I finally pull up, I see my guys parking their bikes, and then he comes walking around with the first words out of his mouth, "Do you all know how fast you were riding?" Then he went on to ask, "Is there some kind of biker convention going on here? Are there more of you around here?"

Except the thing was that his voice and personality was not intimidating at all. It was like Barney Fife, his voice was loud and angry but with no substance behind it, and it cracked a little at times. He had the physical appearance of a young John Candy. It looked like he was trying to impersonate Sheriff J.W. Pepper from "Live and Let Die", but reminded you of a 40-year old who still lives his mom.

None of us really answered him. What were we supposed to say anyways? He then tried to make us look like idiots by asking, "How are you supposed to enjoy the scenery at 60mph? We don't have anything big around here. All we got are stuff that grows low to the ground. How are you supposed to see that doing 60mph"?


He perhaps didn't realize it, but his inability to enforce law clearly showed through after admitting he didn't know which of us was speeding. He said that our ride leader was ok. But that, "it was one of you people in the middle of the group. I don't know which one".

So then he went on to ask, "Should I write up tickets for all of you?" We didn't answer that of course. Then he asked a really stupid question, "Which one of you should I write up a ticket for?", and then just stood there waiting for an answer. Like we're supposed to answer that? I could have answered by explaining that's an admittance of guilt. But we just stood there silent. Finally, Mr. Park Ranger continued on by going into a safety lecture.

He didn't even run checks on our licenses or registration. In fact, he didn't want to see our registration.

The thing was that he didn't know who was speeding, and made the mistake of admitting that. Plus, he said that our ride leader was not speeding, and yet we were all following him. The reason why he fouled up his case is because he wasn't focused on doing his job well. Instead, he was focused on delivering his hot shot cop persona. If he wanted us to slow down, then fine, just tell us to slow down. I would've respected that. He didn't have talk down at us, or make himself look amateur.

I believe this guy simply hated bikers, by virtue of his "biker convention" question, and saw an opportunity to stroke his ego. I have great respect for park rangers when they focus on doing their job, and doing it professionally. I don't have respect for people who abuse the authority we give them.

And weren't really speeding. We were actually riding a leisurely pace because we had a guest with only a few months experience. We were riding at the speed we felt was safe. Considering the excellent visibility and the low volume of traffic, we were not creating a danger to ourselves or anyone else.


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