It was an average Friday in mid-February, chilly and grey. My adventure buddy and all around amazing stuff spotter, Autumn, and I were out on the back roads of Idaho looking for something spectacular; anything spectacularly rusty, or broken or decaying to be specific.
Our first random encounter with the abandoned was an old cattle pen with decaying chute. It sat disheveled and forgotten along side bright shiny new trucks parked near a new workshop.
The fence sagged under the weight of its years in the harsh Idaho desert.
The weathered wood split where rusty nails once held the fence together. Orange and yellow lichen now made their homes on the beams
The small barn stood empty, doorway yawing in the boredom of being forgotten.
All the bits and bobs that once held important jobs lay unused and rusting.
We followed the fence around to a grave yard of machines and parts. It was a place where all good rusty things hope to go when they are no longer needed.
Satisfied with our documentation we moved on in search of our true desire: an old abandoned car.
Driving down the road at a decent clip, I hit the breaks when Autumn said, "Cars!" Thank goodness the road was empty as I made a u-turn and headed back to the unmarked dirt road.
At the end of the drive sat a little white farm house, two Dish Network satellites pointed to the sky. An old sway back horse looked at us with curiosity.
I went to the door in hopes of finding a human to ask if we could poke around their rusty cars and collapsing out buildings. An echoing bang was all that answered my knock. I peered in the window; the house was empty.
We quickly checked for No Trespassing signs, we saw none. But, to be on the safe side, we decided to follow the road behind the house in case we could find a human. We wanted to let some one know what we were up to, we have little desire to get shot. Idaho is gun country.
The road led about a mile back, past some old corn fields. The last field was the winter hang out for a herd of black cows. They excitedly greeted us, they thought we were bringing them something better than old corn stalks to eat. Sadly, we had nothing for them. We took the cows agreeable nature to mean that we could poke around.
Coming back down the road, we spied a gloriously rusty conveyor of some sort.
Back at the old house we walked through the yard and to the out buildings that surrounded it. We found that the property was uninhabited.
There were two buildings that caught my attention. The first was windowless and white, with a thick crumbling wall.
But there was a window.... on the other side....
So Weird..... did they keep a werewolf in there? or was it just some sort of root cellar. We decided to leave the door closed. Better to not start the Zombie Apocalypse.
The other building also disguised its true purpose, greenhouse, chicken coop, play room. I really have no idea.
But at least we learned who built it, and when.
With the grounds around the house explored we turned our attention to the real prize! The old Chevy(?) that sat patiently waiting for her portrait.
There was a problem. The beautiful truck and her companions were behind and electric fence and guarded by the horse. Autumn named the horse Butternut Squash, then shortened it to B.S.
B.S. was obviously old, and was probably retired. He was fat enough and had a thick winter coat, so we decided that some one must take care of him, or he liked to hang out in the quiet solitude. He watched us as we inspected the barn and looked longingly at the beautiful truck.
At some point, as we walked around the electric fence, we realized it actually wasn't on.... But we were still feeling trepidation about crossing over, even when it was only ankle high. We were able to revel in the beauty of the the truck and her companions from a far.
We weren't satisfied though, maybe we could take some good photos from behind. We continued to walk around the fence.
We can upon this beauty, hood raised, as if some one had just given up on her.
She wasn't alone, she was abandoned near a death machine.
Okay, it isn't really a death machine. It some how harvest things with spikes and blades.
We waded through weeds that were over our heads; I had an ever growing collection of burs on my pants. We made it behind our prize. It was some how a hollow victory. We wished there was some one to ask if we could go in.
As if the Gods of All Abandoned Things heard us, a tracker hauling hay for the cows came rumbling up the dirt road.
At this point, if you don't know me, you would maybe wonder why we didn't hide and do what we wanted.
1. I am an incredibly honest person and I really don't want to get in trouble. (yes, I am that girl)
2. Better to ask forgiveness then permission right? Um, no, not here, where people have all the guns. I have a serious aversion to being shot.
3. What if they wanted to see my work and then tell their friends about me, giving me access to more rusting, decaying cars and barns and things. What if they actually wanted to buy one on my photos!?
For those reasons we ran back through the weeds to try to get the tractor driver's attention.
He waved back, seeming as unconcerned as the cows at our presence.
After a quick discussion, we decided the wave was consent for us to be there, after all he didn't bother to stop the tractor to yell at us.
We stepped over the ankle high un-electric fence.
We finally had access to the beauty we had longed for. We walked slowly to the truck, we didn't want to upset B.S. He was content to just watch us, never getting too close.
Our Beauty was, in fact an International Harvester KB-1 and she was GLORIOUS.
The old yellow/green Ford proved to be just as beautiful.
As I was photographing the last odds and ends around the paddock:
Autumn thought to take a look in the barn with two fresh two-by-fours holding it up.
Behind the door on the left, she found quite the surprise.
Little 202 all alone.
The little calf seemed cheerful and wanted company. It had food, water and an ear tag, so we figured some one was looking after the calf too.
We said our goodbyes to B.S. and 202, vowing to return again to see our beautiful trucks in the summer and fall.
I think the biggest take way from this trip is: always have a partner, they might get in your shots, but they can can drive the get away car if you are hurt. (no one was hurt on this adventure, but it is better to be safe. And we can fix it in post.)
Thanks Autumn for being the best Adventure Buddy anyone could ask for.