From our AMTRAK suite heading west through Montana, I was not expecting to observe “Antiquity”. Montana is very up-to-date. Not “cattle” ranches—Black Angus. Gone are the double-bottom plows turning over a few acres. They are replaced by enormous disking implements that need acres to turn around. Silos next to barns are replaced by elevators next to railroad sidings. Those silver silos are about the only un-flat viewing in the sprawling flatland of eastern Montana.
I take that back. There has been several other smaller rises in the rather blasé for scenery. Junk.
It is amazing to me to see so much scrap metal languishing in the yards of dilapidated buildings. Now, I realize that Michigan has very spacious “Scrap Yards”, some of which specialize in recycling discarded automobiles. For the most part, those “yards” are in metropolitan areas where it is rather easy for folks to dispose of their junk. As we travel west on the rails, I haven’t seen any city worthy of “metropolitan” in two days. So, with most every farmer having a yard big enough to dedicate some of it to a scrap metal repository, there is some reasonability to the frequency of automotive graveyards.
And in most instances of such scenes, there is a rich heritage of the family’s automotive history. Kinda makes me wonder if there might be annual pilgrimages by the family into the “memorial yard”…A time to wander among 50 years of rust to share memories about grandpa and grandma’s first date in ‘that rumble seat’. Yes, many of the derelict vehicles I’ve seen today are even back into the 1930’s.
In Michigan such classics would be bid on by dozens of car enthusiasts. In Montana, I’d bet there are not a dozen enthusiasts in the whole state. But wait. Some of these “yards” actually do seem to focus on “antique vehicle collections”. We did pass one that seemed to be all busses. At least if you remember when the family station wagon was the bus to school. Oh, and one was all 1960’s road resurfacing equipment. Considering most of the roads visible from the train are gravel and don’t even have RR Xing signals, makes me wonder how far that guy must have gone to find the Asphalt roller. Missed a great photo op there.
Oh, look, was that 20?…no had to be a couple dozen rusty, steel wheeled, tractors and some vintage harvesters. Oh, my goodness. And an antique manure spreader.