The Northwest is justly famous for its meltingly lovely scenery: gushing rivers, brooding forests, wheat fields, rippling in waves across hills, desert rock monoliths, the Pacific Ocean pounding against rock domes and pinacles.
But wherever there is scenery, there is also scenery to be wrecked. So let’s include in this website some amazing, shocking and often amusing-in-spite-of-themselves examples of wreckage of scenery, mostly the result of sloppy hoarding by careless, nutty people whose idea of beauty is a rusted Buick in a forest glen. Every few weeks I’ll try to show a few.
You can send your own nominations to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll post them too.
This rural retreat that happens to be next to a county park is a striking example of obliviousness to the beauty of nature, the charm of trees, the winsome loveliness of a little park. It’s got all the elements of an idlyllic scene in reverse: wrecked cars, bent up machinery, sagging fences. It’s just a mess.
Americans fall in love with their vehicles but they inevitably jilt them when they’re old, sad and stuck in in a rut. Most wind up in wrecking yards or squashed and recycled. But many become part of the scenery. And once they are abandoned in a field, ditch barnyard or front lawn, they are almost never hauled away. They rust and sag, windows are shattered , doors hang ajar. Critters inhabit them, weeds and vines curl around flat tires, wind into the engine and push out the grill. This little beauty rests by the side of Hillburger Road, not far from the head of the Willapa Hills Trail in Chehalis, Washington. It’s a White Super Power Truck and looks to have been built in the late 1930s. It’s not completely derelict–perhaps the owners are giving it a rest — but they had better put it back to work or it will end up as a roadside planter, which is what it looks like today.
Stevenson, Washington sits on the Columbia River and commands magnificent views of the Gorge. The river is nearing the end of its push to the Pacific Ocean and the passage of water is vigorous and determined. But at Rock Cove in Stevenson, it has been tamed. The cove is an offshoot of the Columbia River and appears more like a lake than a river. The water is calm, although prone to rise and fall suddenly. Tiny islands, crowded with trees appear to float in the lake, and its background is the stirring tree-blanketed mountains of the Columbia Gorge. An eagle, floating high in the distance, completes this lovely picture.
But wait. I am standing at the north edge of the cove near a road. And if I turn around, I see not an exquisite view but a rust museum. A sign says Howell Truck Service, but the owner might consider whether this accumulation of busted out old trucks, cumbersome machinery and a gasoline pump that dates from the 18th century is the best advertisement for their business. The owners may actually intend to give us a treat. This is not commonplace junk, it’s junk with history and pedigree. The trucks could be placed in someone’s Beatup Truck Museum and give delight to those who relish the rusted-out-wreck period of life, to which we are all headed. But seriously, is this a proper accompaniment to one of the most magnificent views in the Pacific Northwest?