Saturday, June 14, 2008
Hunted: Kentucky, The Blue Grass State
After spending a wonderful weekend and Monday holiday, speedtrap hunting with Steve and after having a couple of nice family bar-b-que outings with Steve's extended family, it was time to part ways for the time being and continue my speed trap hunting, solo.
I decided to head southwest from Cleveland (by way of Columbus) to Cincinnati, home of the big three U.S. radar detector manufacturers: Beltronics, Escort, and Valentine Research.
Earlier this weekend, I felt that the performance of one of my Valentine Ones (v 3.826) was not at its peak, given its relative quietness during certain police radar encounters. I decided that to be absolutely fair in my evaluations of the Valentine One, relative to Beltronics STiR and Escort Passport 9500ci, that I should take them back to their birthing place to have 'em checked out.
As I suspected, just after a year of light usage, my Valentine One v3.826 was again, in need of a tune-up, as it "failed" the bench-test with the engineering team of Valentine Research, requiring me to leave it with them for "fixing", which they did, free of charge.
Fortunately for me, my newer Valentine One (v3.861), which has the newer digital temperature compensation circuitry, checked out just fine, so I was assured of a fair back-to-back and along-side comparisons with the other high-end radar detectors in my possession during the balance of my roadtrip.
While I was waiting for the results of the bench-testing, I had the distinct privilege of meeting the pope himself, Mike Valentine, as well as the number two VR man. My gut tells me that something big is in the offing...
After leaving Valentine Research, Tuesday morning, I decided to visit some friends of the family living in Lexington, Kentucky which lay about 100 miles south of Cincinnati.
It's always a real pleasure making the trip to the Blue Grass State as Kentucky has an historical connection with my family: racehorses and racehorse breeding.
Proceeding south on Interstate 71 eventually led me to I-75 which took me directly to Lexington, Kentucky—home of some of the most prestigious horse breeding farms in the country (Paris, KY), the world-renowned Kentucky Horse Park, one extremely nice racetrack: Keeneland and one historical one: The Red Mile.
Before the sunset, I decided to "go for broke" and jot over to Louisville, and one of the most famous and historic racetracks in the world: Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby.
During my drive West on I-64, it became very apparent how high the performance levels were of both the Beltronics STiR and the Escort Passport 9500ci remote radar detectors, as they consistently outperformed the Valentine One with reception of 34.7 and 35.5 Ka police radar. In fact, the performance was so impressive, I quickly realized that I was experiencing the very best radar detection ever conceived in a radar detector, noticeably better in many instances than even the Beltronics STi Driver, a radar detector that has already demonstrated superior performance.
I made it to downtown Louisville, just as it was beginning to get darker, and got hung-up waiting for a very long freight-train that went through town.
Fortunately, I was able to flash my racehorse owner/license credentials and was able to gain access to the backstretch of Churchill Downs for a couple of quick pictures of my vehicle.
I remembered that several years earlier my brother and I stood at this very place during our visit to the Breeders' Cup series of horse races.
Pictures in the camera, I decided that it was time to return to Lexington for the evening, so I proceeded back east on I-64. On my way back I picked up a quick blast of instant-on Ka at 34.7, but since it was black as pitch, I was unable to identify the source.
I safely returned to Lexington, where I bedded down for the evening in preparation for an early early morning start at the track.
Things were pretty quiet, until...
Later this morning (Wednesday) while I was returning to Cincinnati (to visit with both Beltronics and Escort) on I-75/I-71 around the City of Covington, KY, I ran into some serious police laser action.
Had it not been for the Shifter ZR4/Passport 9500ci rear laser shifter in combination with Veil, my bacon would have been most certainly cooked!
After proceeding under an overpass, my Passport 9500ci rear laser shifter alerted that I was being targeted with police laser at the rear! Fortunately both products worked beautifully together and managed to get a "jam from gun." After a period of time, the alert cessated, and then began again, meaning the officer likely stopped to check his gun (since he did not manage to get a reading, something that would have normally occurred instantly from the rear) and likely tried again. I was most fortunate because at the time I was initially targeted, my speed was well in "excess" of the posted limit.
Not much more than two minutes after breathing a huge sigh of relief, was I in for another surprise: more police laser action, this time from the front and from the left shoulder. Again, I managed a Jam-to-Gun (it happened so quickly and without warning that I never managed to turn off the laser jammers). As I passed the officer, I got an interesting look of disbelief and confusion from the traffic/speed enforcement officer. For those who have ever seen it, you know how priceless that look can be.
I managed to arrive without incident at the Beltronics and Escort corporate offices, located in West Chester, Ohio, just north of Cincinnati where I had the pleasure of spending some quality time with some executive management and relaying some of my real-world experiences over the Memorial Day holiday weekend with the Escort Passport 9500ci, Beltronics STi R, and Laser Shifter ZR4 products.
I was pleased to see how receptive the management team was to my feedback...We shared interesting war-stories, discussed (radar detector) religion and philosophy—all very zen-like.
There is no doubt, the both of these companies are intent on re-establishing/extending their historical dominance over the radar detector industry with these three new powerhouse products.
The day began getting away from me, so I decided to bid farewell and make my way towards my home in Pennsylvania (or so I thought).
I proceeded to I-71 North East towards Columbus (and Scioto Downs, incidentally) and on to East I-70 towards Wheeling, West Virginia and then into Southwestern Pennsylvania. By the time I made it into PA, the sun was starting to set, and I was beginning to feel pretty tired.
I decided to head South on I-79 to Maryland where I picked up I-68 East around Morgantown. Deer can be a problem at night on this road, given the terrain, and since my reaction times were strained, I ventured to Deep Creek, Maryland, where I bunkered down for the evening.
Bob, the Speedtrap Hunter