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Butterfly Smashed Grill
Flying Down The Road in Our Chevy...
In 1964, there were approximately 85 thousand automobiles owned and registered in the United States.* During this same time, a Corvette would cost a little under $5,000.00. Considering inflation and the price index, that was equal to about $23,000.00** today.
My dad was a long distance truck driver from 1959 to 1979. His living kept him traveling from coast to coast. He drove high risk loads, hauling a B-Double and sometimes a B-Triple loaded trailers. (two or three trailers).
After scrimping and saving, in 1960, he bought a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air. It had fins and a bubble style body.
As a kid, it seemed like the inside of the Bel Air had room enough me, my sister, dad and mom to travel spaciously. My sister was a baby, so my mother would usually hold her for short trips to the store and such. There were not really any seat belts, or other safety laws regarding travel in a car back then.
The excitement of having a "new" car, or a car at all was heady. My Dad was proud, and wanted to take us all on a road trip down Route 66. He wanted us to see the wonders of "Will Rogers Highway"***, the Grand Canyon, and the many Native American shops and stores along the route.
Less Than 40 Years Ago - Monarch Butterfly Migration Map
Getting Ready to Roll
When we were getting ready for our famous Route 66 Road Trip in 1964, we packed lunches in a basket and a cooler. My sister who was just born, was loaded in, bassinette and all. They just folded the wooden legs in, and wedged her between the seats.
Things like safety rules for driving with kids, and seatbelts were not on the horizon yet. There was no E.P.A., and we thought that the planet was there for us, our pleasure and exploration.
My parents smoking cigarettes in a closed up car, was never considered neglectful or harmful. Humans did not have the understanding of how environment and biodiversity were affected by humans, and effected human life.
Once we started on our 2700 mile trip, I cannot remember anything on the inside of the car. If I was not asleep, I was looking out of the windows. I could stand up in the backseat and view a vast panorama out of the windows of that old car.
...Killing Winged Things by the Hundreds
My father felt it was better to start driving in the late afternoon, so that when we hit the desert; from Lake Arrowhead, CA heading east, it was getting dark. I remember the pelting of bugs and other critters on the windshields, and even the doors and body of the car.
After about 5 hours, Dad's Bel Air started running hot. We had to pull off and check the radiator, and anything else that could be causing steam to come out from the hood.
Once we pulled off into a truck rest area, I followed my Dad around to the front of the car. There were so many butterflies, moths, and other winged things mashed into the grill of the car that it made it impossible for the car cooling radiator to work.
It took quite a while, but we finally got the detritus removed from the grill of my Dad's car.
Back then there was not as much speed enforcement, and the topic of maximum speeds was one being argued continually by the Federal Bureau of Transportation, and each State. The main idea was to keep slow moving vehicles from impeding fast moving cars, and keeping them from crashing into one another.
The idea that fast moving cars were killing millions of pollinators has probably still not occurred to any regulatory agency.
I cannot help but think of all of the years of cleaning winged bodies off of grills, and off of the radiators. I am ashamed of the years of speeding down the roads, careless to the other living things surrounding us, that did not get the memo to stay clear of the highways.
As a rider and driver, the vehicles I have powered, have caused harm to our eco-system
I never again want to walk around to the front of my car, and see a Butterfly Grill.
Highway 61 Revisited - Johnny Winter 1976
We Put The Pedal To The Metal
We put the pedal to the metal not giving one thought about moths, butterflies or and other sacred things.
How many owls, blue birds or sparrows did we just swallow up out there?
Endangered Hummingbirds, Motor Vehicles and Roadkill
Hummingbirds are the world's second largest family of birds with an estimated 328 species. Despite the fact that they are found only in the New World (North, South, and Central America; and islands of the Caribbean), they are a familiar subject aroun
- Using Crowds, and GPS, to Chart Roadkill - NYTimes.com
Projects in California and Maine ask people to photograph and locate dead animals to understand the impact of roads on the environment.
- Licensed Drivers, Population, and Motor Vehicles
Roadkill, Butterfly Grill
One of the things which prompted me to write on this subject is the declining populations of pollinators.
Most people do not really want to know the truth about life on earth and how biodiversity is crumbling.
Our oceans are no longer an optimum habitat for aquatic life, we have 0% clean water left on the planet, and when all of the pollinators are gone, we will follow shortly thereafter.
Why write about it? Because I know that it would not take much for us to turn things around. Every one good thing we do for our planet and species makes an enormous difference. We can all create habitat for critters, and we can slow down to keep from killing the bigger winged creatures like owls and hawks that are becoming extinct.
600 Million Vehicles in use in the U.S. 2012
What do you think about Road Kill?
The Monarch's Spring Migration: A Race Against Time
Route 66 From Helendale to Barstow - YouTube by BackRoadsWest1
- Monarch Butterfly
Biogeography of Monarch Butterfly (1987) reported in 1999
Monarch Butterfly Migration - 2013
Google Geo Developers Blog.
© 2014 Lori J Latimer