Wednesday, October 29, 2008

road trips, monsterous birds and blogapalooza

Today is blogapalooza! (Or Pumpkin Fest, as I’m calling it, because of the pumpkins at the top of our posts). Angela Nickerson set up this wonderful blog tour and her story today is really frightening! Theme: What a Strange Trip It's Been. All the participating blogs have strange or scary travel stories today (links to all the participating blogs are on the right hand side of Angela’s blog).

Prizes! If you comment on Angela’s blog today, you might win a prize!

Here’s my scary-strange travel story:

I’m originally from Minnesota, where there’s lots of wildlife, like deer, moose, bears, squirrels, raccoons, wolves, and cows, lots and lots of cows. I’ve seen all of them except a moose or a wolf, but I’ve seen bison crossing the road in Yellowstone, which is basically the same thing (not really, but bison are BIG). So I’ve seen large animals before …

In college, a friend and I drove to New Mexico for job interviews. We went, we interviewed, we swam in the hotel pool in our clothes (because we forgot our swimsuits), and then we drove back home, which is when things got weird.

On the way back, we took turns driving. My friend was sleeping and I was driving, somewhere in New Mexico or West Texas, where there are long stretches of highway and no other cars. A large shadow passed over the car. I thought it was the shadow of a plane or a cloud passing over the sun or something, but no. A second later, a huge, and I mean HUGE bird dropped from the sky and landed on the highway right in front of the car. I slammed on the brakes, and stopped just short of the bird, and screamed or cursed (probably both) which woke my friend up.

We both stared at this monstrosity as it spread it’s mega wide wings (much wider than the car). I thought I was hallucinating, but it was in the middle of the day, and my friend saw it too. Maybe we were both hallucinating. This thing looked positively prehistoric, but with feathers. I knew that it wanted to eat us for lunch, from the way it tried to hypnotize us with all its wing flapping, and stared at us to see how fat we were. Eventually it decided not to try to eat us, or it realized we weren’t going to get out of the car, or decided it couldn’t eat the car and it flew away. I didn’t know they made birds that big, neither did my friend.

I vowed to never tell anyone, because they wouldn’t believe me, but that vow didn’t last long. The first person I told was completely un-phased and said, “oh, that was probably just a vulture.”

What do you mean it was “probably just a vulture??” You didn’t see how HUGE that thing was. Are you sure that’s what vultures look like?? It totally didn’t look like the pictures I’ve seen, or the cartoons, plus I thought they were smaller! This thing was like a pterodactyl!

The moral is, if you’ve never seen it before and it’s huge and menacing, anything can be scary, even a cow.

When there are news reports of people freaking out over a cow that got loose in the city, I can totally see how they’d be frightened if they’d never seen a cow before (but I still think it’s funny that they’re scared of a cow). I’d take a cow over a vulture any day, but that’s just me. Vultures are freaking scary! And nothing should have a wingspan that wide, unless it’s a pterodactyl.

p.s. My friend got the job and I didn’t, which I have always been grateful for. That bird looked like a stalker.

p.p.s. I looked up some info today, and from the pictures, it could have been a condor or a black vulture. I can’t remember the face well enough to be sure.

p.p.p.s. Even Sheila is afraid of vultures, especially zombie vultures. Can you imagine?


  1. LOL 'I knew that it wanted to eat us for lunch, from the way it tried to hypnotize us with all its wing flapping, and stared at us to see how fat we were'. That was too funny!
    I've seen Condors (trained) with their wings open and they are seriously big.
    Funny you should mention cows in the city. In Luxembourg, where I live, there was a maundering cow at the airport!

  2. I know this isn't politically correct, but car vs. big bird and car should win. Push the pedal to the floor and shut your eyes.
    Yikes, gruesome!

  3. Silly me, I left my comment on livejournal and forgot to sign it. Cool story! Condors have an amazing wingspan - but I've seen it only at the zoo.

  4. scintilla: Oh no, cows at the airport? I hope that turned out ok. I felt better about the whole freaky bird thing after I knew it was a real bird, that other people had seen before.

    Linda: I thought about it! Although now I'm glad I didn't. There are laws against that, and it's a big deal. I did honk my horn though.

    Adrienne: thanks for letting me know that was you - I was just about to comment on it. I've never seen one before or since, not even at a zoo, but it would be cool to see one again, now that I know what it is.

  5. I have seen some birds with six foot wide wing spans...At the zoo! I believe you!

  6. Very freaky! Golden & bald eagles have a wing span of 8 feet. I'm sure vultures are big too. But yeah, that would freak me out too. We see eagles here all the time and they're HUGE!!!

  7. Scary! You may not know his face now but I bet you could pick him out in a line up!

  8. Okay, now I'm terrified of vultures. AND cows!

  9. Zombie vultures - I love that...

    And, you must have been in West Texas, 'cause isn't it true that Everything's big in Texas?

  10. Wow! Don't you wish you had taken a picture? You were probably scared stiff and couldn't if you had wanted to!

  11. I'm always stunned by the size of vultures ... and it doesn't help that they weren't born with a pretty face. I, for one, am glad it didn't eat you. :)

  12. Zombie vultures would be KEWL! Are you kidding? Must go revise book now to include zombie vultures.

  13. Meredith and Rena - thanks for believing me!

    Kate - Ha! The beady eyes would give him away.

    Robyn - sorry! Cows are usually very docile, don't be scared. You can be scared of vultures though; I am.

    Kim - glad to see another vote for the zombie vultures, and yeah, everything's bigger in TX. I lived in Houston for a while, so I can attest to that :)

    Rebecca - I so wish I had taken a picture! It would have looked like one of those dash board cameras the cops have: vulture, caught in the act.

    3rdeyemuse - You're right, the face is almost as scary as the wing span.

    Carrie - I kind of like the idea of zombie vultures, although I would never want to meet one! Sorry you have to revise, again ;)