This prestigious award goes to the stretch of U.S. 60 betweent Clovis, New Mexico and Amarillo, Texas.
When I was heading back to Interstate 40 from Roswell, I decided to head straight back up to I-40 through Amarillo rather than going through Lubbock, Texas. U.S. 60 picks up in Clovis and takes you all the way to Amarillo.
The stench that got to me? Cow shit. By the goddamn ton.
Now I’ve driven through areas where there are hundreds, even thousands, of cows before, but I’ve never smelled anything this wretched in my entire life. I think what probably happened is that I drove through shortly after all the farms in the area had fertilized their fields.
For city kids, if you’ve ever walked through a freshly mulched area, you know what I’m talking about. It smells like shit for about a week after the mulch is put down. However, for farm areas, the fertilizer is far more shit-intensive than urban mulch, so the stench is about 20 times more powerful.
My friend Joanna, who used to date a guy from a farm town in upstate New York, explained that she also found out the hard way that farmers all tend to fertilize at the same time, creating one horrific stench instead of an overall, seeping stench.
The worst part came from my own stupidity. When I first smelled it, I thought it was an isolated smell, so I rolled down my window to let some fresh air in.
I almost threw up about four times during this hour and a half ordeal, but I knew if I pulled over, it was all over. I stepped on it and figured that no Texas Highway Patrolman wanted to sit in this shit stink trying to catch speeders, then step outside into it when they had to write a ticket.
I kept smelling it right up until I got just outside of Amarillo. I was so obsessed with getting away from it that I decided to get as far to the west side of Amarillo as possible, and ended up overshooting Amarillo completely.
I ended up driving an extra 100 miles or so before I stopped in Shamrock, Texas, just to get away from this smell. Well, actually, that’s not entirely true. I could have stopped in Groom, Texas, about 40 miles east of Amarillo, but for one thing.
They had a 100-foot tall cross, brightly lit up by about 50,000 watts of electricity, by the exit to get off the interstate.
Now I try not to be too stereotypical, but when you’re a) not christian, b) not straight, and c) in an area you know to contain many Southern Baptists, 100-foot tall crosses do not tend to make you think, “Wow, what an accepting bunch of people!”
So I decided, well, I feel okay driving farther, and I am definitely not staying here. Of course, it was not until after I made this decision that I saw a sign that showed Shamrock as being 60 more miles down the road. Whoops…
But at least it didn’t smell like shit anymore.