by Carol Dunn
HUERFANO- You start to smell them about ten miles before you see them. Everyone in the car does a little sniff, to test the air and figure out if it’s a human smell or an animal smell. Then you come upon one or more of the mobile fragrance makers – the cattle haulers. They release a blue streak of manure smell that will clear up the worst head cold.
For a long time I’ve wanted to see a brand new, shiny cattle hauler. Do they even exist? Because by the time we see them on the highway, they are dripping stuff out the bottom, or they have it dried all over the trailer and down the sides and on the tires. Brown stuff. I suppose in our climate, it isn’t all that drippy for long, but when the hauler is rocking down the highway, anything the backdraft catches will be hurled into a fragrant drizzle. For this reason, it’s good to stay back a distance from the hauler, which makes it difficult to pass. And even if it’s going 80 miles an hour, you will eventually decide to pass the hauler, because you want your kids to stop gagging and saying “WHEW! Who cut one?!”
Through the holes in the side of the trailer, you’ll usually see a whole herd of cows in there. And I swear once I saw a double-decker hauler, with an upstairs and a downstairs. Ok, what kind of mischief would a cow have to get into to be assigned to the lower level of one of those things? That is just wrong.
The worst kind of hauler to follow is one that is fully loaded, on a hot day, going not quite the speed limit on a two-way road, and not about to pull off so you can go around. Sooner or later you get used to the smell, which is kind of scary. This can happen on the way to La Junta or Lamar, and by the time you get there you’ve got that smell embedded in your sinuses as if you were right in the hauler riding with the cows.
Of course, there are other kinds of haulers – home made ones, which you can view on the Internet. Why waste all the fuel for a big rig, when you can load up your Brahma in your Pontiac convertible? This is extreme recycling, and it seems like the perfect end to a car. Because I can guarantee that this guy’s wife and kids are never going to jump in this car and head to the grocery store again.
Wins over 20 awards at the annual Colorado Press Association convention, including General Excellence for the second year in a row World Journal Staff Report