Through the Windshield 1

More or less random thoughts as I drive across America. I am an Over The Road truck driver. My wife, Mary, rides with me. We traveled through the lower 48 in 6 months. We have also traveled through all the lower Canadian provinces from Vancouver Island to Nova Scotia, except for Saskatchewan, up to Edmonton. We have visited all the Northern Mexican states, though not in a truck, as far South as Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico.

This continent is overrun with deer. There are many counties where accidents with deer outnumber all other types of accidents combined. I had a deer run down a 50-foot concrete embankment and run into the side of my trailer in Cincinnati, OH. Wild Hogs are destroying the Southern States; coyotes have eaten most of the rabbits and anything else they can eat in Central Park, NYC. Anyone opposed to hunting has lost their minds. We need to at least double the hunting season of these out-of-control species.

Hawks are good guys. They are spaced about every hundred feet along most non-urban interstates. They perch on telephone poles, fence posts, trees and signs. Hawks seem to prefer manmade perches to trees. Falcons replace Hawks in Colorado, Eagles in Utah, Idaho and Oregon.

We have seen more bald eagles in Iowa than any other State. My uncle, Ron Wilson, told me that he saw hundreds of bald eagles fishing in the Mississippi River on the Illinois side, just south of Iowa. I have seen bald eagles in Maine, upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Arkansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, Montana, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, Canada.

Yellowstone Park has trout larger than salmon and bison come up to your vehicle. Grizzly bears up close are scary. Dead coyotes are beginning to outnumber armadillos for roadkill. Speaking of armadillos, the first live ones I ever saw were eating in the grass beside I95 just north of Jacksonville, FL. We see turkeys everywhere.

Last year we drove across I80 in Nebraska during migration. This is beside the Platte River for hundreds of miles. We saw millions of birds; Canada geese, snow geese, several varieties of geese and ducks we could not identify, herons, storks, small black waterfowl, white birds that looked ibis and several types of speckled birds. Birds of the same kind flocked together. The Canada geese circling over the interstate were so thick that they blocked the sun for miles.

In the fall, the pronghorn antelope herd up and travel next to roadways, especially in Wyoming. Though deer carcasses litter the highways by the thousands, I have only seen one antelope carcass, and very few elk carcasses. Elk Mountain, Wyoming does not have Elk roaming within view of the interstate (I80), but the largest Elk carcass I have ever seen was on Elk Mountain. There are farms with tame bison and elk all over the country. The largest herd of bison, with several thousand head, that I am aware of is in central PA.

The last load we picked up near Lake Champlain in Vermont permitted us to view dozens of porcupines dead on the side of the road. Muskrats, groundhogs, prairie dogs, beaver and raccoons are also plentiful.

Laramie Wyoming, at 7100 ft, has an abundance of seagulls and mosquitoes, but is nowhere near a lake.

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