Friday, May 11, 2012


Recently, Katherine and I took a rented jeep on a long road trip to Santa Fe, NM. From Omaha, that's 14 hours by car. We did it in one day. A drive like that would ordinarily be exhausting, but the scenery along rural highways stretching across the eastern Colorado plains to Santa Fe was invigorating.

We stayed in Santa Fe for a couple days. I left the bike back home so Katherine and I could have some time to ourselves.  We hiked, went sight seeing and even took the jeep off-roading on deep rutted trails.

Our route home took us north through Taos, NM and Pueblo, CO before jumping back on the interstate system.  There was one stretch of road so desolate and expansive that signs were posted to beware of freely roaming cattle and horses on unfenced, open ranch land. It's uplifting to know that there's still wide open spaces on this planet.

Somewhere along this leg of the trip, Katherine mentioned smelling a foul scent. She said that it had started hundreds of miles back, possibly even in Santa Fe. She said that it smelled like death. I began to wonder if we had run over something. Perhaps a bird was stuck in the car's grill. Or that a small rodent had crawled into the engine cavity to escape the chilly Santa Fe temperatures.

So at the next gas station, I did a once-over on the car. I popped open the hood but found nothing unusual. Same for underneath the car.  Mystery unsolved, we cracked the window for fresh air for the remainder of the trip.

I may have never discovered the source of that smell until Bryan's recent post on "Relics" helped me connect the dots.

To be comfortable on the long drive home, I had taken my shoes off and stowed them beneath the driver's seat.

Could that have been the source of the mystery stench?

The shoes in question were an eight year old pair of Adidas Sambas. I played indoor soccer for two seasons before they became my casual shoes. Lately, I had grown accustomed to slipping them on and off without wearing socks.  But they didn't stink. Right?

I had to test the theory.  At arm's distance, I detected no odor.  I brought them up close for a second pass. Wow! They were indeed pungent.

Feeling more confident that I was on to something, I decided to repeat the test, this time with Katherine as the tester.

Katherine took a whiff. As she did, her face darkened and her body convulsed in a gag reflex.

Yea! Happy success, the stinky mystery had been solved. Case closed.

Hey Bryan, I've got some relics too.

At least, I did.


  1. So sad. A few weeks ago, I had to retire (shitcan) my first pair of modern era road shoes I ever bought. These blue Shimano carbons I was quite fond of. They were beat up and torn up, but still very comfortable. No discernible odor. Then, I got caught in the rain with them. Somehow, demons from the depths need water to grow big and strong. After that, no amount of baking soda, bleach, freezer time helped. In fact, I'm pretty sure the freezer time just made the ice cream taste funny. Goodbye old friends. You stink like a week-old warm bag full of damp grass.

  2. I had to do the same to my first pair of Diadoras. They smelled like cat pee after riding in the rain. Then again, I had a cat a the time...