Tales from the Open Road: A Modest Proposal

Imagine driving along through Western Kansas on a rural, two-lane highway. In front of you is a beautiful panorama of green grass and blue skies. The fresh air is blowing in your face, and the sun is shining down. You feel so free.

Then, suddenly, out of nowhere, it hits you. It hits you like a car hitting a brick wall. Your face turns from a full smile to a look of disgust faster than the cropduster flying overhead. Despite enjoying a sip of your Sonic Cherry Limeade just seconds earlier, you are now in the process of dry heaving.

Congratulations. You’re approaching the Cargill stockyards.

These are cows. Acres upon acres of cows. And their waste. It stinks to high heaven. Given the choice between the smell here and a puke-covered dive bar restroom, I’d take the restroom. It’s that bad. And at least you expect the puke smell in a dive bar restroom.

Worst of all, the smell doesn’t go away quickly. It lingers for several miles, especially when you’re downwind of the yards. You cannot breathe. You must cover your nose and mouth with your shirt. And since you’ve been out in the 105-degree heat, that doesn’t smell so good, either.

So, here is a modest proposal for the Federal Highway Administration: I propose a highway sign. This sign will provide a generous warning that you are approaching a stockyard. It will provide warning that not even the most powerful air conditioning will block the stench of what’s around the bend. To those not acquainted with the scent of 4,000 tons of cow manure, the smell alone could cause someone to faint and lose control of their vehicle. This sign could save lives!

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7 Comments

Filed under On the Road

7 responses to “Tales from the Open Road: A Modest Proposal

  1. Meaghan

    Did you ever play that road game when you were a little kid? Whoever was first to see a cow would bellow “MOO COW!!!” and the other passengers in the car would hold their noses. The last person to hold their nose would be the loser, and recieve a sucker punch from the person who had originally yelled. I have a feeling that these stockyards are the location that game originated at.

    Either that, or it’s another violent game my brothers made up as an excuse for parent-sanctioned beatings. Who knows.

  2. Anonymous

    those are some nice stink lines

  3. Oh come on. Like you’ve never driven past the oil refineries in Jersey. ;-)

  4. I saw you on “Cash Cab” this morning! I thought you and your friend did a very respectable job. Some of those last few questions were really tough, even for a “trivia master” like me!!

  5. Brandi

    I’ve made that drive, and it is NOT a pretty smell. Although add in the heat and humidity, and I think you win for the worst experience ever.

  6. Bryan

    Is that on the 5 between LA and San Francisco? Because I’ve definitely experienced that there.

    Even recycling the air in the cabin doesn’t help, uggh.

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