Thursday, May 16, 2013

Squashapenny and Shootatruck

On Saturday I was meeting a couple of friends to photograph some old trucks but on the way down I made a detour to Doswell, VA. The news on Friday afternoon had been awash with the newly released information that the Boston Bomber had been 'secretly' buried there in a Muslim cemetery. The town did not seem to be happy about this, hardly surprising since no other burial place would accept the body. I thought I'd drive through and see what I could find out. I stopped at their 7-11 and sure enough the staff bristled as I sympathized with them. I then thought I'd try and find the cemetery and leaving the main road I came across some rail tracks and suddenly I decided that looking for a grave was suddenly very unimportant as I noticed some trains parked next to a very inviting antique store.
Visiting Squashapenny Junction is like stepping back in time, for a couple of reasons. There is a board out front prohibiting any phones, cameras or purses inside. No modern technology is permitted. And then once you step through the door, you have to stand still and let your eyes adjust to the dramatic change in light. As I peered through the dimness I was gradually aware of old wood floors and ceilings, wooden shelves crammed and stuffed with so many antiques and oddities that it was impossible to take it all in. I really didn't know where to look first, or where to go. There were little walkways between shelves and through beaded curtains, tiny rooms and corners, all fully loaded with goodies. I've seen many antique stores in my time but none have overwhelmed me as much as this shop.
I decided to walk very slowly around the perimeter and knew that I was still missing stuff. My brain simply couldn't register it all. As I negotiated my way down the side of the store I was aware of a deep rumbling and a train passed by outside, seeming to be so close that I stopped with my mouth open seriously concerned that it might crash through the wall. It was amazing. I knew I didn't have the time to give the shop my full attention since I had to be elsewhere so made my way to where I could hear a couple of voices talking, one of them belonging to the owner, Tree. Tree is an extremely friendly and welcoming lady and had no apology for not welcoming modern gadgetry into her store. She doesn't own a cell phone or a computer, and so doesn't advertise on line. She simply can't be bothered with any of the technology, preferring a simpler lifestyle, and in all honesty, I envied her. She has no interest in tapping away on a keyboard, preferring to talk directly to people, face to face. She's very adamant about not letting cameras in her shop, saying it had been permitted before but had got out of control, with photographers cramming the aisles armed with cameras and tripods, ruining the pleasure of shoppers or browsers. Again I sympathized, and although itching to snap a few shots, I respected her wishes and had left my camera and purse in the car. So we had a long chat instead and laughed as she apologized for forgetting the flashlights which she usually brings with her to hand out to customers so they can illuminate the darker corners on their meanderings around the store. This place is delightful and amazing. Even though I couldn't take everything in, I was aware of seeing antiques that I'd not seen in previous shops. I shall most definitely return, even if it is sans camera.

The old bank opposite Squashapenny, it's also an antique store. Squashapenny used to be the General Store and the white house next to the old bank was once a hotel.
Squashapenny has many unique and interesting displays outside the store which I was allowed to photograph, I quickly snapped some shots and then started driving to the Truck Farm.
This is another unique place owned by an elderly gentleman who has been collecting cars since 1959 and trucks since 1975. He doesn't have many cars here but the trucks are plentiful. He was buying them up quicker than he could get rid of them and the ones left are those that he never got around to restoring or had picked clean of parts to restore other trucks.
The original plan in coming here was to start late afternoon and then do some light painting after dark but the weather was threatening rain late afternoon so we got there a little earlier to allow a couple of hours for shooting until the heavens opened.
The trucks were simply astounding, there were so many, with wonderful rich colors peeling off leaving dark crumbling rust behind. Huge round headlights like big owl eyes perched next to gaping grills and old company names could faintly be read on bleached doors.

I trod carefully in the long grass, taking care that my poor toe didn't end up down a pothole or get bent on a fallen branch. The air was still, warm and heavy with the expected storm. The ticks were out and I'd foolishly neglected to bring bug spray. As I pulled a couple off I looked up and noticed a few turkey vultures lazily circling above us. I determined to concentrate fully on my photos and stop scratching, I was now paranoid about the ticks. There were a few sheds with vehicles inside so I headed for those, trying to escape from more bites.

There were also some newer trucks that are still working, just as gorgeous in my eyes, and I chatted to the owner about those. He's still purchasing these too as well as the trailers that they pull. Some were entering and leaving the yard as we talked. I was astounded to discover that most do 5 - 5.5 miles per gallon, some only 4 and some if lucky will do 6. He won't buy a truck that does less than 5 MPG.
Just as I thought we were wrapping up I learned that there was another field of old trucks so we walked over there, although by now I was limping again, and could feel my poor toe had swollen inside my boot.
There were rows and rows of lovely old vehicles just waiting to be photographed but I was simply 'trucked out'. I couldn't believe how many we'd looked at, but these beauties will have to wait for another day, so as the sun started hanging low and casting dark shadows across the field, I decided to hobble to my car and scratch my way back home, shuddering at how many blood sucking vagrants were probably also coming along for the ride...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tire Geese!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Those guys are Billy's brother!