Tuesday, July 14

Road to Elko

It was a pretty uneventful drive to Elko—at least, compared to what Leigh Ann said could happen.

“The first time I drove through here with Sean, we saw the bumper of a semi wrapped around a cow on the side of the road. The semi was gone, just the bumper and the cow were left. There were two other cows standing right next to the dead one. Just standing there, like ‘Duh…hit us, too.’”

Highway 51 between Bruneau and Elko is nothing but open range land and prairie. "I'm going to need you to help me look for animals in the road," she said, which did not make me happy. It only took one graphic story for my Drivers' Ed. teacher to convince me that hitting a large animal with a car is not good, because said large animal will fly right over your bumper and come through your windshield.

I became especially vigilant, whipping my head counter-clockwise and clockwise, scanning the roadside for cows, horses, deer, elk, bears, water buffalo, hippopatomi, anything. We didn't see any big animals that day. Not even a single cow.

Not that we didn't see any wildlife. At almost the exact limit of Mountain City, Nevada, we came upon a phenomenon I'd heard about but never seen: a Mormon cricket migration. It was as disgusting as I'd heard. The katydids' fat red bodies clotted the road; some living, some dead, most at least partly crushed and baking on the hot asphalt. The wave of insects jumping out from under passing cars reminded me of the wake thrown up behind a racing speedboat. Leigh Ann said she couldn't stand the sound of them being hurled about in the wheel wells.

Cricket corpses paved the road blood red for a few miles, then disappeared, then reappeared for another few miles, then disappeared again.

To be continued...

4 comments:

Mambinki said...

The Mormon crickets! Ahhh! There were so many on the drive up to Bogus Basin when my brother was getting married a few years ago. We were all talking about how disturbing they were and my cousin from Minnesota said "You guys blame everything on the Mormons!" which I thought was a pretty funny statement.

Jenny said...

I've remembered that quote and think of it every time I think about Mormon crickets! I must've said it to Leigh Ann a million times on that trip!

Can't wait to see you!

Kelly said...

Like I've said before, you should write nonfiction. You're so good at it! You could do great cultural criticism.

lili von shtupp said...

You're such a good writer Jenny! Sorry to freak you out about the drive, but cows do appear out of nowhere!