The Worst Smelling Stretch of Highway in America 12

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.

Big mistake.

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.

12 thoughts on “The Worst Smelling Stretch of Highway in America

  1. Reply Ted Schroeder Feb 14,2018 12:37 pm

    I couldn’t agree more! THE WORST SMELL EVER IN MY LIFE!!!

  2. Reply Karen Aug 8,2018 3:01 pm

    Oh my word, I just passed through and had to google. I just knew I wasn’t the only one wanting to give this award away. It was pure torture and I can’t imagine why or how anyone could choose to live by this place

  3. Reply Virginia Oct 21,2018 6:48 pm

    Did you see the many head of cattle, living in their on excrement, in pens, on the side of I-40?
    The owner should be extremely ashamed of allowing animals to live this way!

  4. Reply Laura Oct 23,2018 10:08 am

    So funny that this was written back in 2003! We just drove through this area in our motorhome. It was really difficult not to throw up several times. I’ve never smelled anything as horrible as that. I had to google it to find more info. How could anyone live near that??

  5. Reply ellen_shapiro Oct 26,2018 6:17 am

    It’s pretty hilarious to me that somehow after 15 years something changed in Google to make this post come up way more often, and that it STILL smells that godawful.

  6. Reply Barbara McCormick Nov 1,2018 5:09 pm

    We drove past this area too and I was appalled at the pen with cattle practically on top of one another. The stench is from these poor animals being treated so poorly. How is this owner getting away with such poor treatment of the cows?

  7. Reply Linda Mar 10,2019 12:17 pm

    Just driving by now. No change it’s disgusting

  8. Reply Stevie Apr 29,2019 9:02 am

    Doea anyone know what this place is called? i know it’s a butcher but i couldnt find the name. We just drove through it yesterday for the second time and those poor cows and how they live until they die makes me sick too.

  9. Reply Judy Ballauer Aug 21,2019 9:46 am

    I drove through this in 1976 six time back and forth from chicago to cali hasn’t changed at all worst smell for miles will be taking a road trip to st.louis from cali next month hope i can hold my breath!!!!!!

  10. Reply Hannah Laycock Nov 29,2019 9:19 pm

    Omg we have just driven through this area and the smell hit the back of my throat instantly! I live in the UK countryside and smell farms etc all day long but ohh my this smell is unreal! I just had to Google it as its like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. Absolutely rancid!!!

  11. Reply jp Dec 27,2019 11:00 am

    We just came through a stretch of I-40 west of Amarillo last night and as you can see, I am Googling around for answers. I thought maybe it was a fertilizer plant or a meat processing plant or something to do with helium. It was unreal!

  12. Reply Bob Jan 25,2020 1:00 pm

    Like everyone else, I had the misfortune of driving both west and the East on I-40 not too far from Amarillo. As others have commented as bad as the stench is – and it would not be possible to overstate this odor – the animals live in this shithole (literally) and this can be described as nothing but abject cruelty.

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