06 October 2013

Pink Car Hill

My fondness for wandering around in the woods looking at stuff has not diminished as I have aged, in fact it's probably grown more intense as I've found that, as an adult, I can wander farther afield without concern for having the right "permissions" to do so... my wife understands my propensity to sometimes wander a little off track now and again when I'm out riding in the woods... my mother did too, for the record, but I think she worried more actively about her overdue, errant 10-year-old son than my wife does about her overdue, errant 46-year-old husband.

Photo: Kurt Womack
(used without permission)
As a kid, the Prescott National Forest near Walker, Arizona, where we had a summer cabin for about 40 years, was littered with rusty old hulks of broken-down and abandoned early-20th-century to depression-era cars.  As we rode our motorcycles around in the woods, my family and I identified each locale and every major turn in the road by naming the wrecked car or rusting tractor or yellow-tallus mine-tailings or dilapidated cabin found prominently nearby.

The Pink Car was, and remains, one of the most famous of this regions's landmarks, and has, since it was abandoned (and stolen later and returned) here some 70 years ago, become the namesake for the Pink Car Hill road which now runs past it.

As we have many times before, though not with the same frequency as when I was a boy roaming the Prescott NF, we found an old car on our walk in the woods today.  A largely intact sky-blue late-50s vintage Buick-like thing, well-off to the side of the old road we were walking, flipped over on its top and riddled with bullet holes, as all old forest-wrecks must be.

I think I scared my daughter when I said, "I wonder if there's still a body behind the wheel." as we traipsed through the forest toward it.  I apologized for saying this.  And then I asked her if she thought the driver's ghost might still be in the area.

For this my wife's serious, reproachful glare and sternly whispered "John, she's eight," compelled me to apologize again.