Christine will always hold a dear place in my heart. My dad had a good friend that owned an auto junkyard and his yard contained the wrecks that came out of the movie. He even had some of the rubber parts from the car that "came back to life". I must have been about eleven when I crawled through those cars and picked through the junk inside, snooping along floorboards and in trunks for some forgotten treasure. I might even have a memento or two stashed in a memory box in the garage...
|Plymouth Fury. Photo from web.|
|Photo from web.|
I don't know what it is. It's some irrational, primitive fear. I can think logically and know I have nothing to fear. But as soon as I see those wispy branch fingertips grabbing from some unseen depth and scratch along the bottom of the boat like skeletal fingers on a chalkboard all I can wonder about is the dead body snared in the branches just out of my sight.
What does this have to do with riding? Read Stephen King's short story "You Know They Got a Hell of a Band" in Nightmares & Dreamscapes. Then ride around the South.
In a nutshell, the story is about a couple, long married with each typifying standard male and female stereotypes. The wife thinks her husband has to prove he is always right, at any cost. And the husband thinks the wife harps too much and gets the megrims too quickly.
While take a mini-vacation/road trip they get off the beaten path and find themselves on murky, dark, swampy two lane "trails" without any ability to safely turn around. Any chances to turn around occurred while the wife slept. And always one road ahead look promising...until after the next rise when it returned to two dirt lanes with grass growing in between that whispered along the undercarriage of the car.
When hope is waning a sign post appears. It simple reads:
Rock and Roll Heaven, Ore.
We cook with gas! So will you!
Then a beautifully paved and painted road rolls out. And you just can't refuse the enticing asphalt.
The next rise reveals the perfect little slice of "earth" that is Rock and Roll Heaven, Oregon, complete with perfect church steeples, clean shops along Main Street and even smoke curling from a couple perfect chimneys.
It is always too good to be true...
Mr. Oilburner and I took a relaxing ride along some quiet, almost forgotten back roads. The kind of roads that no GPS would take any well-apportioned, immaculate Mercedes down. Roads that any self-respecting yuppies would ever want to see.
Luckily we aren't those. We took turns that led us in the general direction of our destination. Roads that weren't traveled, except by the cars that lived on them.
But that is the crux. Not many people lived on these roads anymore. It was a little eerie traveling along these roads of second or third growth forest. Every once in awhile a house would pop up. It could have been a wood house that was quickly decaying into the trees and vines, left to die of neglect. It could have been some single-wide trailer that had died in a fire, with insulation stuffing oozing out of the remaining walls.
Interspersed within these derelicts would be a house that was still lived in. Occasionally the dooryard was swept nicely and the porch had rockers and pretty planters. More likely the property was littered with long planted Detroit iron that was sinking back into the earth with exploding bags of garbage piled around.
People standing around in these yards or walking along the lanes would turn and stare as we passed. There weren't smiles and waves, and there weren't malicious overtures. There were unsettling, suspicious stares of people unaccustomed to strangers coming down these roads.
I'm not necessarily a city girl. But I would probably not be a great rural girl if the rural were of this caliber. Traveling down these roads made me start thinking Twilight Zone or some Stephen King dimension. Had we slipped into one? I always have my suspicions of these dirty, sinking back roads. Afraid that I will zip around some curve in the road to be presented with the perfect little community... And wonder if I will have the guts to stop. Or just continue on through before I become caught in someone else's dream.