When cows fly

When you embark upon a 3,000-mile road-trip, you expect the unexpected. Except for when the unexpected turns really unexpected.

Following our week-long family reunion in Vernon, B.C., the kids and I dropped Jamie off at the Kelowna airport to fly back to Denver while we continued on our vacation. We had an 11-hour drive to Boise, Idaho where we stayed with my former LDS mission companion, Katie. This was to be the longest drive yet. Many parts of Washington are gorgeous; central Washington and Northern Oregon are not.  A stretch on Highway 17 after Dry Falls State Park was particularly tedious and I couldn’t wait to race through…until we ran into a huge traffic jam. Cars were making U-turns and a few people informed us there was some kind of rock slide that resulted in the closure of the small highway.

My phone’s GPS didn’t work (remember, we were in the middle of nowhere?) so I pulled off the side of the road to ask the State Trooper when they planned to reopen.

“No idea,” he replied.

“No idea? I thought there was a rock slide and I see crews out there working.”

“It’s not just a rock slide. There is a huge wildfire on top of those cliffs. Cows are getting backed up on the edge and are either jumping or falling off. The falling rocks you see are when they hit the side of the mountain.”

I stared at him in disbelief. Could this really be happening–jumping cows? As I stood there for a few moments, I saw it: a cow doing several backflips in the air.

I felt physically ill. Like everyone, I’ve seen my share of dead animals and road kill but have never actually seen anything die. It gave me a small glimpse at how horrifying 9/11 must have been to see people jumping from the buildings.

I walked back to the car, unsure how to deliver the news to Hadley and Bode. I gave it to them straight.  They were as incredulous as me but morbidly fascinated and started peppering me with a gazillion questions.

We ended up doing a huge detour on a back road, got lost for a time and eventually made our way back on another freeway, adding an extra 1.5 hours to an already long day.

A friend later sent me a legitimate road sign of exactly what we had witnessed.

Who knew suicidal cows was a thing?

For lunch, we opted for Subway instead of hamburgers.

It was our way of honoring the poor, ground beef.



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