by Mike Dalgaard
As all of you know, the 2nd Tacoma Narrows Bridge opened to traffic on July 16th. This new bridge collects a toll on the Peninsula side of the bridge going south, and the old bridge is free coming north. In an effort to further improve traffic flow across the bridge, the D.O.T. created every bureaucrats dream, more bureaucrats(!) by setting up the “Good to Go” easy pass system: transponders are affixed to a car’s windshield and read by electronic sensors in predetermined lanes. Use them and you pay only $1.75 and fly across, don’t use them and you pay $3.00 and wait in line at the toll booths. The transponders are free and part of an auto toll account system. Great idea, right? Well I thought so. I signed up my car and both my bikes. I waited by my mailbox with gleeful anticipation for my transponders to arrive which they did quickly and none too soon, as my wife had refused to keep bringing food down to me at the mailbox.
I tore open the surprisingly large envelope to find a 2 X 2 sticker for my jeep and 2 big, ugly, black sticks of plastic for my bikes. They looked like a cross between a breadstick and some weird adult marital aid. Not finding a place for batteries I dismissed the idea that it was the later. Damm, I am going to have to resort to reading the directions.
The enclosed pamphlet instructed me to place the 2 X 2 sticker on the inside of my car’s windshield. Easy enough. Then it said to “locate and hang” (?) these plastic breadsticks on my bike forward of the gas tank and console. Say what? Where? Hang? Are you nuts? Desecrate my Harley or my Indian with a non-chrome pug-ugly piece of techno crap? This is wrong! The thing isn’t even curved so I can’t attach it to my windshield. Besides I can see from the size & the mounting holes that it was meant to fit a full size front license plate on a car. It appears “Good to Go” must have bought a closeout from Haliburton or Enron!
I immediately called the “Good to Go” hot line but was told via an automated message that the staff was unavailable as they were all in a union meeting watching a training DVD entitled “Maximize your retirement benefits while minimizing your work output.” I think that was the follow up to the previous days seminar about how to schedule your 4 weeks of paid vacation or something.
Now I was on my own. It was obvious I would get no help from the “Good to Go” people. Besides, I had heard that despite 7 years warning they had not realized that the 2 X 2 stickers would not work on bikes until the last minute. Seems the sticker needs a large glass area to extend its signal. It didn’t help that no one at “Good to Go” had ever been any closer to a motorcycle then an old Peter Fonda Drive In movie! Being clever, innovative and a survivor, I quickly figured out several solutions to this dicey problem. I feel it is my duty as a good citizen to offer them here in the spirit of helping my fellow riders. I also feel that complainers like me have to try harder to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. After all, we have the bureaucrats for that don’t we?