Thursday, March 9, 2017

Rusted Relics in Brambled Backwoods

Saturday was cold and windy as Rob and I drove up to PA to explore an old salvage yard that a friend had given me the coordinates for. The winds were buffeting Stanley as we plodded up the interstate, hand warmers already heating up in our pockets in readiness. We stopped to eat breakfast so we had warm food and coffee in our bellies then pulled into the yard. The owner was very friendly and let us rummage to our hearts' content, picking through piles of wheel hubs that caught my eye and he also told us where the older vehicles could be found.
I had wanted to come here before the weather warmed up. With the early spring and higher temperatures, blossoms and buds were starting to emerge, and that would mean brambles erupting from the ground along with ticks, mosquitoes, and quite probably, snakes. Time was running out to explore this yard but it was rough luck that today had to be comparable to an arctic ice cap. Ice glazing muddy puddles cracked under our feet and the leaves sounded brittle as we waded through. I was very glad of my hand warmers stuffed in both pockets and pulled my hood over my ears as the chilled wind whipped around us. The brambles had started pushing up pink tendrils already armed with red thorns but we could stamp these down without getting hooked up too badly, but we still had to clamber over a few as we wiggled between the old wrecks..
These huge shell signs were the main reason I was here today. I had thought there would be an ambulance and old plane but I later found out that, although the surrounding scenery on all her photos was similar, the two vehicles had actually been photographed in New Jersey.
I was absolutely amazed to see this old Ford Capri sitting here, the first one I've ever seen in the States. I'd had 5 of these cars when I lived in England and this model looked very similar to my first. When I checked inside I saw it was a left hand drive which again stunned me. It was rather tragic to see this lovely old car rotting away. Of all the cars I've owned my Capris were always my favorite. I'd had a couple of years without one and then turned up at my best friend's house in a new shiny black model. As she came out and saw me behind the wheel, she'd pointed at the car and said, "Wow, you've come home, Deb." And she'd nailed it, that was the exact feeling I'd experienced, so happy to be back in a Capri again, and one I've never felt since in a vehicle.
There were many sad relics in this auto graveyard, probably quite a few that had likely transported a proud owner and witnessed epic events, most with life stories that would have kept me riveted with rapt attention if these old shells could talk. The colors of the old hulks were still glorious though, orange rust blending beautifully with green mosses and faded teals, browns, golds and blues. The chrome hood ornaments, badges and trims still glinted and sparkled in the bright sun while panes of curved glass, still intact, glowed despite years of abuse from the elements.
Despite the disappointment of not finding an ambulance or plane the owner did point us in the direction of an ancient ambulance, almost unnoticed by us, since it was wedged in tight between taller vehicles and gradually being buried by pine needles from the trees above it. There were some old delivery trucks too, their hand painted signage still legible, the thicker paint of the brush strokes still remaining after the thinner paint layers had been eroded. I was also very impressed to see an old wooden wheel, all the spokes still intact, protected beneath the rusted body it once carried. I'm not sure we would have spotted that if it hadn't been pointed out to us.
On the way out there was an old barn building propped up with struts, looking ready to topple at a moment's notice. Stuffed with old boxes and papers, cans and barrels, we didn't dare go inside in case the slightest weight caused the sides of the building to cave in and bury us, but there were some cool old grain bags hanging across the rafters. We left after purchasing an old American Motors hub cap, and started on the long haul home. We were driving through Amish country, many of the houses with immaculate grass fronts, neat farm yards and rows of colorful washing strung up high and flapping in the strong winds. Hardly a soul in sight and no cars, it seemed ghostly driving along the country roads. and then we spotted a front yard littered with a huge flock of plastic flamingos. I guess we'd left Amish country!

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