Next time you're on the road, get an extra sense of your environment. Roll down your window. You'll sample what motorcyclists and top-down convertible owners experience any time they take to the street. These two can tell you how the scents of honeysuckle in the summer will make you smile and how a recently deceased skunk has an immediate impact on your speed. If they've had the pleasure of roaming around the backroads of the south, they can tell you about some of the other smells too. You'll know you're next to a cow pasture without turning your head. From the "good smell" side, smoke signals from a bbq shack can make your head turn and your wheels follow, almost instinctively. Then there's chicken. Not quite KFC, but rather live chickens in their pre-KFC days. If the winds are not in your favor, you can smell a chicken farm for a couple of miles before you actually see the tell-tale long chicken coop building. While the smell does linger on, this isn't the ultimate in scent horror.
Today I experienced that ultimate. A semi truck hauling live chickens on a twisty road with no passing zones for what seems like endless miles takes the coveted top slot. It is the most horrific road smell I have encountered thus far. Take the foul smell of fowl you get when you pass by a chicken farm and put it directly in front of you for every mile down the road. Amplify it with the knowledge that the white fuzzy things in the air are fresh chicken feathers blowing by you, and those little splats you see in close proximity are what you think they are, chicken poop. I'm not sure there's a strong enough word for it, but disgusting is close. In a way I feel bad for the drivers of these trucks, or maybe their noses build up a sort of immunity to the unpleasant aroma that follows them mile after mile.
Fortunately that was only a small portion of my drive today.
There were the couple of great "Crooked and steep next ... miles" signs.
I found several reasons to crane my head around and look at the landscape below.
I've discovered my trip early this summer to the Blue Ridge Parkway has left me a little less impressed with the views I've encountered since in my home state. They haven't become any less beautiful; the bar has just been set a little higher now to truly capture my attention. I hope visiting Mount Magazine later this month will restore my joy in the Arkansas views.