Arizona (1)

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Starting on Sunday, September 29, 2002, 7:36:46 AM

Off down the highway I pulled over to take a nap for about an hour. The sun had come up and exposed the desert to me. I had taken hwy 93 from the Las Vegas and Hoover Dam area and headed southeast towards Tucson and my uncle's house to a much needed break.

Highway 93 ended up in Phoenix where I connected with interstate 10 for the hundred-mile drive to Tucson. Along the way I saw several of the huge dust devils that are common out in the desert. Very much like a small tornado, these things are amazing to watch as they can really move a lot of air and pick up lots of dust and debris. A little further, about half way to Tucson, is Eloy. I had been there a few years ago to go jumping at Skydive Arizona and had an amazing time. Then down the road further is Picacho Peak that stands out in the middle of the desert all alone. There's a nice little Indian Gift shop off of the freeway and what was said to be the world's largest ostrich ranch.

The Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch raises hundreds of ostrich and there's a even a few deer there. They have a little tour area where you can feed the deer and ostrich. Now I don't want to break anybody's hearts or anything but I am sure that the ostrich are raised for their meat and I wasn't even going to ask why they had deer there as well. I kind of figured that out for myself.

Although it is amazing to me how we don't seem to have a problem eating cows, pigs, and chickens. I mean, after all, their not quite as cute and cuddly to us as these little deer or some other animals. But yet, when we look at it from another perspective, what is the difference between a deer, a cow, a pig, or a dog or cat, for that matter? After all, they're all animals, aren't they? Why should we discriminate just because one is more cute and fuzzy than another? I say we either eat 'em all, or not at all. You choose for yourselves.

Now the ostrich are an intriguing creature to me. If you really study them carefully they can seem so much like a living dinosaur that it is just amazing. From the way they walk, to their behavior, to their physical characteristics. Of course many of the ways that they perceived and theorized dinosaurs to be had to have come from the study of live animals today.

With so many similar characteristics they would have to assume that a dinosaur, with a build like an ostrich, would have moved and lived in a similar fashion. Its only obvious.

But enough of all that intellectual mumbo-jumbo. That's just my brain rambling on as it usually does. I apologize for letting it out.

The ranch was pretty neat. They sold a few items from the ostrich, like eggs, feather dusters, pens and just simply feathers themselves. I managed to collect a few of the stray feathers that were drifting around the parking area and have them with me. If anybody wants one I have quite a few to give away. 

At the ranch I could look out and see that they really had an amazing amount of the birds there. Hundreds of them out across the fields. Watching them as their heads bobbed up and down in the distance was quite amusing. 

Feeding them was another thing in itself. I think that it must have been a joke with the people at the ranch. When they explained how to hold your hand to feed them was all wrong. I think that they just wanted to see the people jump when the ostrich dove its head at the food, taking food and fingers and anything else it could grab. They are really quite an aggressive animal that I wouldn't want to tangle with and was really glad that they had tall fences. Their beaks were extremely strong and, although I didn't see anybody losing any fingers I'm sure that these birds could do some major damage. I was playing with a few as they tried to strike at me, I, in turn, tried to strike back to grab their beak, and they are very quick.

Out in the open I surely would not want to get in the way of these feet either. Looking at their feet all I could see was a dinosaur. Although, much like the emus I saw in Australia, their feet did appear to be a quite different. The first image is that of an ostrich, the second is that of an emu that I took back on 1998.

I ran out of feed for the animals so I left, I stuffed my feathers in my bags and headed down the freeway to my uncle's house just north of Tucson.

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