October 2001

He’ll hitch with truckers, but a UFO would be better

Do you specialize in hauling intergalactic freight? Then maybe you can give Fred Cyote a lift. Cyote, 61, a self-described “old hippie” from Arkoma, Okla., has been periodically hitchhiking across the United States since he was a teenager. In May he set off on another adventure. And though he will accept rides in earthbound trucks, this time his sign reads: “UFO Ride Wanted.”

In 1993, Cyote had an encounter with Tim Taylor, who Cyote believes was a half-alien, half-human being. “If I can locate him while I’m out here on my quest, I’m pretty sure he can give me the information I need to get the UFO ride,” Cyote says on his website, www.uforidewanted.com .

The site is maintained by Cyote’s cousin “Colonel” Bobby Goodwin, whose trucker father took Cyote on many cross-country trips in the 1960s. “Fred became tuned-in to the trucker’s way of life,” Goodwin says.

Here’s a hobby you can pursue on the road

Lorelle Otis Thomas of Plainfield Township, Mich., collects roadkill.

“People bring me things in bags and say, ‘Don’t open it while I’m here,'” says Thomas, a professor of graphic design at Grand Valley State University.

She buries her treasures – deer, coyotes, foxes, beavers, muskrats, even cows – in the back yard for a year or so, retrieves the bones and stores them in the basement, along with a number of withered, flattened frogs and toads.

“I’m an animal lover, and the reason I’m doing it is we’ve become so desensitized to the loss of animals in our environment,” Thomas says.

She also collects books and joke items that make light of roadkill. One new title suitable for her collection: The Roadkill U.S.A. Coloring & Activity Book by Buck Peterson (Ten Speed Press, $12.95), author of The Original Road Kill Cookbook. For more information, visit www.tenspeed.com .


Drivers speeding through Tampa, Fla., construction zones rarely give Matt Beck a second glance as he sits at the controls of a front-end loader wearing an orange vest and white hardhat. They don’t notice the black laser gun he points at their vehicles.

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Minutes later, another Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputy writes them a ticket, with doubled fines because of the work zone. Many ask how they were caught.

“Most drivers aren’t that observant,” Deputy Beck says.

Twice a week Beck trades his police motorcycle and uniform for one of his many disguises – construction worker, stranded motorist or homeless man. Other deputies hide their marked vehicles and stop speeders when Beck radios them. At a traffic-heavy construction site, Beck can easily catch 100 speeders a day.

“Not all truck drivers are perverts”

A proposed convenience store near Tuscaloosa, Ala., came under fire in part because it might attract – gasp! – truckers.

About 70 Duncanville residents gathered at a volunteer fire department to voice their concerns that customers of the convenience store would endanger students at Maxwell Elementary School. “It’s not just truckers,” said Angela Hayden. “It’s just the unknown factor of people there that we don’t know.”

But the most inflammatory comments preceded the meeting. “I have a fear of a truck driver stopping and saying, ‘That’s a nice-looking kid, I think I’ll take him,'” Teresa Mello told The Tuscaloosa News.

“We’re not saying that all truck drivers are perverts, we’re saying that it’s a possibility,” Hayden said at the meeting.

We bet someone’s planning a Pepto-diesel mix

The national average price of diesel is cheap compared to the per-gallon price of some less vital fluids, according to Business Week.

Snapple $10.32
Evian water $21.19
Scope $47.47
Pepto-Bismol $123.20
Liquid Paper $424.53

For a four-wheeler, you’re pretty polite

Tracy Rue was hauling a load of horses through Denver when a kind woman in a four-wheeler yielded to let him into the stream of traffic. He realized he had no way to thank her, and an idea was born.

Co-Signs, developed by Rue and business partner Jess Sun, are rear-mounted, preprogrammed message boards that enable truckers to tell the folks behind everything from “Thank You” and “I Am Sorry” to “Please Dim” and “Too Close.” (No, there are no rude messages.) Phil Marsh, who drives for MI-CAN Transportation in Sunderland, Ontario, says his “Wide Turn” Co-Sign has prevented at least one wreck.

For more information, visit www.sunstreettechnologies.com .