Vaughn, New Mexico, sits on Highway 285, ninety miles northwest of Roswell, and about 100 miles south of Santa Fe. Although there’s not much there now, it was once a passenger train stop and one of the famous Harvey House Restaurants occupied space in the train station that stills stands.

On one of my trips to home to Roswell, I decided to stop in Vaughn and explore the junk yard. It was hidden from view of the highway, but it lured me in with a few interesting looking junkers from the fifties that were parked in front of a tumbled down, deserted service station that still sat next to the highway in front of the junk yard.

Nobody was manning the station, when I pulled up in front. Lucky I wasn’t out of gas, because the last drop of gasoline there had dried up years before. Anyway, I wasn’t there for fuel, I was there for the adventure of exploring a forgotten junkyard, full of once classic cars from bygone days.

As I scrambled through the weeds to gain entrance to the huge back lot, I was on the lookout for any rattlesnakes, which might have been standing guard. Luckily, I slipped into that bygone era, without any undesireable encounters.

After many years of driving by that junkyard, there I was
at last - wondering what lay within. Now I was there - alone in silence, except for the whistling of a hot New Mexico wind that was blowing amongst the old cars, rustling any ghosts that may have been lying in wait to greet me. However, no ghostly tour guides appeared and I was on my own to wander between Detroit’s old memories and muse to myself how great those cars once were, as they sped by on the roads and highways of my high school years.

There were Chevy’s, Fords, Buicks, Oldsmobiles, a Studebaker or two, Pontiacs, Chryslers, Plymouths, a Nash and even a rare Kaiser, resting there quietly, wondering if they would ever be restored to their original beauty, complete with new paint jobs, or just end up being sold for scrap iron as the price of iron rose.

I told them they were all still beautiful to me and they smiled at the sound of my reasurring voice.

I felt like I was in a time warp as I explored the American automotive past. I just wished that I could have turned a key and revved up one of those old engines to listen to its purr.

A lone coyote wandered by, uninterested in my daydream.

As the wind howled on and the afternoon grew late, the   setting sun began to cast long shadows on my friends in the lot.

Finally, I had my fill of nostalgia, went back to my car, turned on the engine and headed north back to Colorado.

The next time I came through Vaughn, the cars were not there. I guess the price of scrap iron had caught up with my friends. 




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