Taken for Granite > Intensive Porpoises

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nacho and tyson are fellow urban explorers like me.  So, between the three of us, we should be able to come up with some entertaining stories, right?

I'll start.

Kent Ohio, before it became a college town, was a stopover for trains criscrossing the midwest.  There are tons of train tracks all around, and many of them are abandoned.  The bold tradition of "walking the tracks" was handed down to me and my roommate, the Great Ernesto, by some other guys in our first dorm.  

Oh, the terror!  For 18 year old freshmen who are still trying to get ahold of the whole "being on your own and responsible for your own safety and well-being" thing, this experience was terrifying...walking across the darkned town well after midnight, sneakthiefing through the quiet blocks of homes away from campus and jumping the guardrail of a bridge that traveled over one pair of tracks.  We walked, being led by the older students, aiming nowhere, stumbling over the ties.

Imagine pitch black. Ohio seems to manage this above all other states.  There are sounds in the woods on either side of you, skittering gravel, growling rodents, shrieking owls and...what's that rustling in the bushes!?

But it's worth all the fear when, far off in the distance you can see the beaming headlight of a freight train and start to hear the rumble.  You slide down the gravel slope into the woods, cowering there in the darkness, because engineers have been known to stop fifty-car trains and shoot rifles into the dark if they see trespassers, but when the engine has shot past, you know you're safe, so you come out of hiding, stagger up to the track again and hold your arms out as this metal behemoth flies past you at forty-five miles per hour, chang-chang, ching-chang.  The wind is incredible and the smell of pure racing metal is enticing.  

We went out at least once a month, including one stint where we went three times a week, guaging the different phases of the moon.  There are abandoned tracks that are falling apart and lead to rundown old water tanks, underpasses filled with graffitti, evidence of campfires and winos' beds.  And the tunnels...always a threat to be caught in one when a train comes.  One time Ernesto and I had no choice...we stood leaning flat against the concrete wall, pressing ourselves as thin as we could, and the train flew by six inches from our faces, and all we could think about was some stray bulkhead or loose door swinging wide and decapitating us.  But after it was over....well, our souls were never the same.  

I'll take anybody that wants to go sometime.  I've got the whole map in my head.  It's one of the only true ways to face your fear of the dark.


Put me on the list to go.  Less train dancing and more to the tumbledown shit.  All of that has been wiped out here in DC.  The old train spurs that used to serve the warehouses between Silver Spring and the city are fading away.  A few cool spots, but all privately owned areas now.  Warehouses still in action and well protected.

But a couple of the areas that could be reached have been torn up, broken down, built over, cleaned up.  The long arm of total gentrification.  Nothing dead should be visible from any of your windows.

A trip to Ohio should involve my usual visit to "the end of US 40."  Neat little spot outside St. Clairesville where 40 crumbles into a man-made swamp, backed up against the wall of I-70.  The old phone poles rotting away.  40 picks up later on, of course, but the Ohio stretch is some classic old road.  And between Hagerstown and the PA border, where you have to work really hard to stay with 40, criss-crossing I-68 and running into mysterious number changes and residential turnoffs.  Might be worth a trip from DC to Team Jackson using the best parts of US 40, eh?  

Now I have the urge to repost, from the old GS, my lengthy visit to the Forest Glen Seminary (www.operant.com/seminary/main_page.html).  Might get around to that in a bit.

Also, if we can manage a lengthy Ohio trip sometime, I'd like to write to the Forgotten Ohio folks and organize a joint tour of Crate City:

We should attempt (and it's so very hard, isn't it) to plan out a week for an Ohio adventure.  My time off is shot in July, thanks to the summer vacation.  But I return to good graces in September.  Maybe something around Labor Day?  Or maybe certain point covered around the weekend of the 4th?

Oh, fuck.

--- Quote ---UPDATE: I've received several reliable reports that Crate City, which stood behind Starck's storage locker area on Groveport Road in SE Columbus, has been bulldozed and no longer exists in an explorable form. I'll check up on this personally, but as of right now (September 2004) I can't confirm that it's still there. With all the housing developments popping up in the area, it doesn't surprise me that such a dangerous place would be gotten rid of. But it still sucks.
--- End quote ---

It's everywhere man!

ha ha...september.  you slay me.

the days of road trips to ohio are coming to an end for me, my friend.  you know this.  this july is the last hurrah.  start in akron, the home base, day trips to kent bars, night walks on the tracks, record an album, try to break into the EJ Thomas building...Cleveland for the art museum, then a quick trip to Athens to see the unmarked graves and Cuckoo's Nest sanitorium.  also going to wellsburg for a weekend, the 9th i believe.  maybe i should drop in on action jackson and rascal ruschell.  then ann arbor and back down, perhaps stopping off in DC if you're back yet, then back to asheville and the folks.  

Gather my stuff and move on down to the Big Easy.  simple, right?

Oh, right, you have something due in September, don't you!  And speak of the devil, too. I just got done with a 20 minute call to the l-a-w-y-e-r.  He says:  "G'day!  Liquid lunch Friday?"

I'll be around in July.  We'll hook up, talk shop, and visit some DC sites.  And drink...drink...drink...drink...

And I'm going to visit the fuck out of you in NOLA.  You know that, right?


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