Ian's Ferret saga.
   (Ver 1)


Finally my Ferret has arrived! It's journey from Ohio is like out of a movie.

First, some background. The guy who trucked the Ferret out to Seattle is a character. When I first talked to him before he saw the Ferret I asked him if he had any problems with its height or weight. He said "Naw, I have what is probably the ugliest trailer you'll ever see, but I can carry anything". Yeah, sure, I say to myself.

The loading in Ohio was accomplished later than expected, because he had hit a deer, demolishing the lower driver's side corner of his tractor. He has to stop to repair the lights that had been damaged. Ben, the trucker, is my age, and again like me, is a tad "fluffy". The Ferret fit into the truck OK but there was so little clearance the turret hatches would open only a couple of inches. This required an "exit" through the driver's hatch.

Finally, the Ferret was on the road, in the company of three Porsches and two Vipers! All is well as Ben winds his way to the Great State of Texas, where he is to unload a couple of cars. On the road out of the San Antonio area Ben encounters the Neanderthals manning the San Marcos weigh station. Things go downhill for Ben real fast.

Here's what happened. Ben made it all the way to Texas, where he was to drop off one of the other cars on the truck. He stopped at the San Marcos weight station (North of San Antonio), where some character had questions about the paperwork on the vehicles. First, the idiot misread Ben's driver's license and DOB, and confused him with some yahoo for which there were some arrest warrants. About the same time there is a question about "That thar Ferret thing in y'all's truck". Apparently as soon as the truck was opened up the the weight control officers (a part of the Texas Department of Public Safety aka Highway Patrol) got all excited - "Wow-Wee Hot Damm, a TANK!!". They probably thought that they had nabbed "one 'a them TERROR-ISTS that they's been talkin' 'bout on the tee-vee". This caused Ben to be immediately handcuffed and placed under "detention" (I call it a full custody arrest), until the DPS Vehicle Theft Unit showed up.

Next, one of the nitwits starts to climb around inside the truck. One of Vipers was a convertible, and the hardtop was on the lower level of the truck, covered with moving pads. The idiot starts to climb onto the Viper top, and Ben shouts at him to "get the hell off". Ben is rewarded with a kick to chest! The goon squad finally figures out how to get into the Ferret, and immediately have another orgasmic event when they find what looks like a .30 Browning 1919A4 - which is what it is supposed to look like. They futz around for a while inside, finally deciding that with a plugged barrel and other inoperative parts that it really is a replica, not the real thing. The Vehicle Theft guys show up, and trained investigators and observers that they are, fail to notice the rather large, prominent serial number stamped on the pad welded to the hull. Apparently they never did figure that out, and used the REG number painted on the outside of the hull - duhhhh.

All this time the truck driver was out of sight, still handcuffed! Apparently they REALLY got excited, when they found a dummy .30 round rolling around in there somewhere. They must not train these guys to look at the base of the round to see if there's an empty primer pocket, indicating it's a dummy.

So, at around 6:15 in the morning Seattle time I get a wake-up phone call from one of the "good 'ole boys" in Texas, asking questions. I tell them I have been a cop or been training cops for 34 years, and the Ferret is a "collector vehicle" enroute to my home in Seattle. After a brief explanation about where the Ferret was picked up, the guy says good-by.

I have no idea what the DPS guys might have done in scrambling around inside the Ferret, but I have been at many scenes where vehicles were searched, and they were virtually trashed. I am now trying to get in contact with Texas DPS to determine what they might have done, seized, or otherwise mucked with.

Around 4 PM Seattle time I got a phone call Ben who related all of the sordid details, and said that he was on the road again, still trying to get to Washington State before Y2K....aside from rather lengthy stops at the other weigh stations for the guys to take a peek at the Ferret, he pressed on in time to be home (Rufus, Oregon - really) for Christmas day. He started out again early on Monday and arrived around noon (Seattle time), after an encounter with the area's hideous traffic (4th worst in the US). Ben was right - he has the ugliest trailer I've ever seen haul exotic vehicles. His company name is "Farm Truck Called Smith". Don't ask. I never did figure that one out. But the trailer is amazing. It's a custom built, triple axle, air ride 50 foot rig originally used for Cadillacs, and train hauled. The railroad decided to sell them off, and Ben bought ten of them. There is more hydraulic stuff in there than you cam imagine. Even the whole 50 foot top raises up on arms to give additional 3' clearance for the mechanisms. Needless to say this "thing" on my street caused some excitement, and there were plenty of observers to watch the unloading.

So, now I have the Ferret, and we took our first trip around the area today. The trip to gas station was a hoot, as was my stop at the Police Academy, where I work. I did remove the .30 BMG due to the terrorist scares we've had here in Seattle - no sense my having to go through what Ben did. By the way, Ben's daughter is a JUDGE in Portland, OR, and already has Federal investigators looking into his "detainment" by the Texas DPS. I hope he sues them big time.

I understand that the trucker's daughter (the judge) made things quite unpleasant for the Texas DPS Weighmasters over that incident. I believe that one of them (the fellow who kicked Ben) was dismissed, and the others severely repremanded over the incident.

I'm well over 2,400 miles on the Ferret's clock since I started going to shows, parades, etc. in January of 1999. Just yesterday we had three Ferrets, a Fox and a Saracen out for a Veteran't Day parade. If we could get all the armour in the Seattle area rolling at one time we would have as many as six Ferrets!


Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...



Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...



Download the big pics by clicking on the small pics...


My thanks to Ian.


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