Jim Doty - Photo Blog

Photography: Photos, News, and Tips
Monday, September 29, 2003
Don't Pass A Cattle Truck With Your Windows Down

I've known this rule for a long time, but I was reminded of it anew on a recent trip.

If you have ever watched a cow relieve itself, you know the deluge can be quite impressive. If you haven't been in the country enough to have seen this sight, trust me, the volume of liquid delivered and the length of time it takes to deliver it, are both something to behold.

Couple this bit of information with how cattle trucks are constructed and you should be aware of the apparent dangers. If a cow happens to be backed up against the side of the truck and is aligned just right with one of the slots in the side of the truck, well . . . you can imagine.

On a recent trip to Colorado, I approached a cattle truck on I-80 in Nebraska. My windows were up. As I passed the truck, one of the cows found that to be an an opportune moment for a bodily function. The cow was not well aligned with the slots in the side of the truck, so my car was sprayed with just a little light mist. My windshield wipers took care of the immediate visibility problem and a stop at the car wash solved the remaining problem.

As I said, I learned my lesson some years ago.

I was driving through a small town in western Oklahoma on old U.S. 66 which was the four lane main street through the middle of town. It was a beautiful, drive with your windows down, kind of day. I pulled up behind some vehicles stopped at a traffic light. A cattle truck was in the right hand lane. Two or three cars were ahead of me in the left hand lane. Immediately ahead of me was a couple in a convertible. (I can tell that you are getting ahead of me!)

The convertible was even with the back half of the trailer of the cattle truck. As we waited at the red light, one of the cows let fly. It was an amazing, horrifying, aweful, and hilariously funny sight - depending, of course, on where you happened to be sitting. The cow released a virtual flood upon the unsuspecting couple. There was no excape. They were trapped between me and the car ahead of them. I could not back up because of the car behind me. All I could do was watch with rapt attention. As to the couple in the convertible, it must have been like one of those nightmares that plays out in exceedingly slow motion - with the added agony of being awake. I am sure you can imagine what it must have been like to sit there and watch the whole scene. I can't even imagine what it must have been like to clean out their car later.

A word to the wise is sufficient. Don't pass (or sit next to) a cattle truck with your windows or top down.


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