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July 27, 2010 / Robert Ross

Ford tough…..



Taking a trip can either be an exercise in how to get from point A to point B in the quickest manner, or an exploration of the road less traveled.  I find myself more likely to take the latter approach lately.  I’m discovering that I prefer exploring the offbeat and more isolated locales for vacations. With that seems to come more side trips down America’s quieter byways and the unexpected that can be found there.

One of more special locations is our annual spring break trip to Alligator Point, Florida. Located in Florida’s Big Bend, it is surrounded by nature preserves and like stepping back to a time before the state became a tourist mecca. To get there we travel 75 South from Atlanta, leaving the interstate at Omega. That is where the trip begins to become interesting. We drive through rural Georgia with its alternating rhythm of rural fields and crossroads towns, punctuated by every form of Baptist church ever created. It is amazing that so many can exist with the limited population!

Each town has it’s own landmarks that have become a way to mark the journey.  The most striking images to catch our memories are those that catch us by surprise.  One of our favorites is this collection of antique trucks.  I first saw them during my sophomore year in college when a group of us shared spring break at a friend’s cinder block beach house at Alligator Point. I was happy to rediscover these beauties when I returned to Alligator Point some 30 years later with my own children.

It has become an annual tradition to visit the trucks– resplendent in their rusting glory.  The display is located along the side of US 319 outside of Medart. With no fanfare or signage, it is just one of those things you happen upon. Recently I discovered that they are listed in a guidebook as “Harvey’s Historic Truck Display”

For many reasons, I find this to be a more authentic experience than that induced by more famous “artistic” endeavors such as Cadillac Ranch.  It is the very public display of an individual’s fascination with and passion for a vehicle type. It probably evolved over time with each truck being personally and particularly placed by “Harvey”.  The power of the display comes not from an artificial justification, but in their simple, physical placement. It looks as though they were parked at the edge of the woods and are still awaiting the return of the drivers.

It is interesting that as the trucks age and deteriorate, the anthropomorphic features of their design become even stronger.  In fact, the more the polish and finish is stripped away by time, the power,strength and personalities inherent in the lines of their design emerges. Looking down the line of trucks, it is very easy to visualize them revving their motors, ready to roll! You can still see the pride of the maker stamped into the metal parts. I imagine that at some future date a scuba diver may discover a fossil still proclaiming the word FORD etched into an iron rich bedrock.

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  1. Jeff Ribnik / Jul 28 2010 6:36 am

    Robert,

    Again, I’m impressed with your clear & concise prose. Glad to see the well chosen photos too.

    As a fellow designer that has come to love the rural South, I really enjoyed this topic.

    You show much feeling in your writing, & I’m looking forward to the next installment………………

    Jeff

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