Thursday, December 8, 2022


Gorgeous day, and I smell cows



By Chuck Woodbury
rsj-logotyping-767I smell cows. It’s a gorgeous day in Medford, Oregon. I’m typing at my picnic table. The sun is warming me all over. I am happiest when the sun shines.

It’s been raining way too much lately and so Gail and I are heading south, joining the snowbird migration —the thousands upon thousands of other RVers — half I believe from Minnesota. I think Minnesota pretty much empties each winter, at least the old people like me who have homes with wheels, and gas money.

Smell is vastly underrated as a travel experience. We mostly talk about how places look. Sometimes we mention how they sound, like in a big city where there are horns honking or in the desert where there is no sound at all (very nice!). But people hardly ever talk about smell. I know right now, if I take a sniff and I smell cows, then I know even without looking out my window that I am not home. There isn’t a cow within five miles of me at home. There, I would smell the ocean.

Oops! I forget there for a minute that I now live in an RV and home is where I am at any particular time.  So I can’t say “back home” anymore. It’s going to take awhile to get used to that.

cow-766BUT BACK TO THE SUBJECT OF SMELL. When you travel down the great Central Valley of California, you can close your eyes and there is no doubt you are in an agricultural area. You can tell how far you are from the next stockyard or dairy by the smell of the cows. You can be just driving along and then someone in your car or RV says, “Cows ahead!” And then you just wait to spot the stockyard or dairy. On the other hand, when you are driving through the country, where the cows are in pastures, it’s different. You don’t smell the cows. There’s too much space between poop.

Once near Florence, Arizona, I passed a stockyard that extended as far as I could see. It was like 200 football fields all put together, maybe more. What struck me were the half-dozen tract homes right up against the stockyard. I mean, right over the back fence, there were cows and giant stacks of muddy, stinky cow manure. I was too far away to see flies, but I bet they were thick. What a great place to be a fly! I wondered how anyone could live there. Then, as I thought more about it, I figured that the residents were so accustomed to the smell that they didn’t even notice it anymore. Otherwise, how could they stand it? If I had to spend a night in one of those houses I bet I would dream about cows, assuming I could even sleep. 


Did you enjoy this article?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.


Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Kenneth Merry
6 years ago

Chuck, I wish I could smell the cows, I lost my ability to smell several years ago, to smell bacon again sure would be great. My reason for comment, I found a great little nose I use in my MH it’s a gas sniffer, cost under $50 on line, I depend on it whenever my alRms go off at home or in MH and use it to check all before we head out every spring. Have never seen one talked about in any of the blog’s so I mentioned it here as I must depend on mine for my wife s and my travel safety. We spend 6to7 months on the road every year in our class A. You wouldn’t believe how often our gas Det. Goes off. Hair spray, furniture polish, you name it but I don’t take chances when it comes to the alarm. If it is GAS I need to know and fix. Thanks hope this info can help others.

6 years ago
Reply to  Kenneth Merry

What a great suggestion! I don’t have a problem smelling things usually, but it is possible to go nose-blind so you don’t even realize there is a problem because it kind of sneaks up on you and your brain just says ‘just let it go’. I also have a few friends who complain about losing their sense of smell. I will pass this idea on.

RV Staff(@rvstaff)
6 years ago
Reply to  Kenneth Merry

This is a great idea, Kenneth. And thank you for your “thumbs up,” Patti. I can’t pass up the opportunity to add a link to Amazon for “gas sniffers.” So here you go, for anyone in the market for one:
P.S. This reminds me of when I bought some very expensive perfume to impress my boyfriend (50 years ago!). He didn’t say anything about it so I asked him what he thought of my new perfume. He informed me that he couldn’t smell anything because he had lost his sense of smell when he was sick as a child and had a very high fever. So much for that “investment” in perfume! 😀 –Diane at