Cow jam, you ask? What is it? A bunch of cows who get together informally to make music? Perhaps the opposite of Vegemite for your toast? A substance found on hooves? No, a cow jam is probably what you sat in today on the freeway, except with cows. When you leave Tonopah, NV for St. George, UT, you drive on US 6 for 50 miles and then turn right on the Extraterrestrial Highway (NV 375). That’s about 140 miles of potential cow jam. Certainly, you couldn’t find a traffic jam, since we passed only 6 cars driving in the opposite direction during the whole time we were on these two roads. But it is open range. And cows rule. The concept of open range is that cows are allowed to walk around in groups anywhere they please. Just because you are hurtling down the road at 70 miles an hour (or so) is no deterrent. So what happens if you hit a cow? Well, if you are still alive after the encounter, you get to pay for the damage to your car AND you get to reimburse the rancher for his cow. After all, there are signs that warn you that it’s open range. So as you drive, everything in the distance becomes a cow. The signposts, the bushes near the road, the ravens – you see cows everywhere. A virtual cow jam.
Luckily, the only things we hit today were one too slow bird and about 1000 bugs. Yuck.