What would a 57-year-old car say if it could talk

Mountain Secrets

Tony KrizanMay 17, 2012 

If you have been following my Sierra Star columns, you will remember the one in the April 12 edition titled "Chepo Saddle Revealed Another Secret."

My personal quest was to find the route between Chepo Saddle and the Willow Creek Trail.

Secondly to solve the mystery of an old abandoned mine which to my forgotten mountain road.

Now a third mystery entered the equation of how and when did this antique 1955 Buick end up and settle at this remote location?

The other day I had the privilege of meeting the individual that originally drove this vehicle to Oakhurst. First we spoke about my hiking article following that old abandoned mountain road at Chepo Saddle above Bass Lake. During our conversation he mentioned the old 1955 Buick Special that I photographed that afternoon.

Was I surprised when he told me that in 1968 he moved to Oakhurst and that was the vehicle he drove. But he made it clear to me that he didn't abandon the vehicle at that location. He sold the vehicle one year after he arrived in Oakhurst.

Now here is the story surrounding the mystery of this discarded 1955 Buick.

If this old forgotten Buick could talk, what would it have to say about its travels before completing that fateful journey to this final resting place?

I'm thinking it would say something like the following:

I started my career in 1955 on those deserted and mountain roads of Southern California. Through my infant years, what a pleasure to surprise my four wheel competitors that I had a performing V8 engine under my hood. Not the old straight eight engine of my predictors.

This newly acquired performance was recognized that year by the California State Highway Patrol who drove identical Buick Sedans. Their colors were black and white but blue and white were my colors of choice.

Through the years I've had many driving masters with each introducing me into exciting distant places. I traveled through many states, but it was always a pleasure to return and snuggle into the protection of my own garage.

When the freeway system was being constructed I was one of the first to be driven on its wide multiple lanes. What a pleasure to drive the Southern coast highway admiring the blue Pacific Ocean.

I was disappointed when my present master changed our residence and moved to Oakhurst in Central California. Gone are the days of wide streets and those flickering nightlights. Will I ever see my reflection again when passing by those large plate glass windows lining the main streets of Los Angeles?

Well I am getting a little older and maybe this location change will extend my productive years.

The following year my master changed again. My new master had a different lifestyle. He drove me on roads even a horse would hesitate to travel.

But I preformed to the best of my ability. Then one day loaded with passengers while driving on a mountain back road I accidentally drug my gas tank on an exposed rock. My master temporarily left me at this lonely spot to purchase material to repair my damage.

He returned a few days later with a compound to seal my tank to bring me back to life. When I wouldn't start he realized that someone had stolen my voltage regulator. Once again I was abandoned to wait for my replacement part.

When my master returned, he installed the new part, but I still wouldn't start. Now someone had stolen my generator. Once again my master departed for a few more days.

Almost two weeks have passed and at this point in time I'm not sure if my master will ever drive me out of this isolated area on the dirt road. Finally from off in the distance I can see him walking toward me with a replacement part in hand. He'll be in for a surprise ... someone had stolen my engine while he was gone.

To make a long story short ... through the years my parts have been disappearing and all that remains today is just a shell of my once proud image. But I do have memories of all my travels and experiences.

Even though this lonely wilderness road is my final resting place, I won't be forgotten? Once two lovely newspaper reporters posed next to my weathered image and most hikers that pass by me hesitate and ask themselves -- "I wonder how this old vehicle came to rest on this mountain side?"

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