We got an unexpected happy letter from USAA this afternoon telling us we’ve paid off the Accord completely, and they’ll be sending us the new title in the next couple of weeks. Bonus! There’s an extra $175/mo. we can use for other stuff. Now we own three cars outright: one that’s 8 years old, one that’s 11 years old, and one that’s (I think) 41 years old.
A few years ago, out the window of my train, I spied something interesting along a wooded patch of forest. I sat on the same side for the return trip and confirmed my suspicion: a the hulk of a finned 50’s sedan of some kind, minus doors and hood. I filed this away for future exploration and checked on it once every couple of weeks, always meaning to plan out an investigation. Recently I was appalled to see that a tree had either fallen on or had been felled on the roof of the car, squashing the back half flat, and decided I’d better shoot it now while I had the chance, and before spring vegetation swallowed it.
I did some Google sleuthing and found the nearest road to access the site, then found a place to park my car. I noticed that several lengths of chainlink fence nearby were missing or knocked over from snowplows, so I knew I could get to the trackbed easily without bushwhacking or climbing fences.
I woke up at 6AM on Saturday to balmy weather, stopped at McDonald’s for some breakfast (don’t judge–nothing else in the ‘Ville is open that early) and set out for my parking spot. Getting down to the trackbed was as easy as I expected, and the hike was short.
There’s been some work done to erect fencing along the track, and upon arrival it became clear that a bunch of the clowns on the work detail decided they’d use the car for target practice when they dropped one of the trees.
Using these three distinctive bolt holes on the remaining front fender, and the fact that it had single headlight buckets when most other sedans of its era were dual-lamps, I determined it was a ’57 Chevrolet Belair Sport Coupe, a desirable car in good condition.
This one had been abandoned since at least 1998 based on graffiti I found etched into the paint.
Anything of value is long since gone. The only distinctive element left on the car other than its shape is the wiper knob barrel, which holds one last piece of the hammered metal dashboard fascia in place.
I stuck around and shot a couple hundred photos with a Canon 7D and my Fuji X10 over the course of an hour, at times walking back into the woods for different angles. I found some castoff elements hiding under leaves and under bushes, including the brake pedal. Then I packed up my gear and headed back home.
This picture approximates how I feel after having signed the refi paperwork today. I’m glad to have that behind us, and hopeful that we can get started on our stalled bathroom sometime in the next month.
The picture above was taken at the St. Mary’s County Oyster Festival, our annual pilgrimage to the Ass End of Maryland to sample tasty shellfish and stuffed ham. We were accompanied by our friend Chris, who was in town visiting, and we sampled the culinary delights of the fair while people-watching and enjoying the weather.
Finley tried stuffed ham and was not impressed:
However, a man with a tiny monkey was entertaining the crowds, and for a dollar he sat on Finn’s shoulder and stuck his tongue out for us. I’d consider that a dollar well spent!
As the photos from Saturday suggest, I was at Jalopyrama for most of the morning. The show was huge and apparently is getting bigger every year. The cars shown were beautiful, even the rough ones. I find myself drawn to the rough ones, actually, as they’ve got better stories to tell. There were scores of deuce coupes, both surgically clean and clapped out. There were a lot of gassers, which I was never really a fan of, but have grown to respect. There was lots of original or near-original Detroit iron. And then there were the garish modifieds, usually painted a bright color, with all of the interesting stuff chopped off and a small-block Chevy under the hood. I would be happy if these all just stayed home in the garage. The main exhibition hall was curated carefully with period-era hot rods, which I appreciated, because that’s my reason for going to the show.
After walking the grounds, I found myself desiring a large early 60’s sedan of some kind, preferably with a bubble window and miles of chrome. There was an Edsel Ranger for sale, for $6500, which might have been fun, or a flawless Impala with an Inquire Within sign on the dash. My dream garage is not big enough.
After about three hours I was pretty burnt out, though; much like going to Carlisle for the truck show, I needed some quiet time by myself to recharge. This I did by taking the CR-V to get four new tires installed, something that has been necessary for months now. The tires it was wearing were two pairs of different brands, showing signs of caster imbalance, and balding heavily. The new tires feel tight and solid, and the car tracks smooth and straight. Now, to find a used hood to replace the original, which is suffering from unsightly clearcoat peeling…