Off the Grid

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Off the Grid

If you’re even remotely tech savvy, you’ve more than likely heard that phrase before. If you’re old school and have somehow managed to avoid technology so far, I gotta say, I am somewhat envious. I’ve heard it said that even most 2 year olds already have a “digital footprint”. Meaning they’re on the grid – somewhere there’s an electronic or cloud (or both) based database with all their info neatly categorized. Somewhat alarming, I know. Like it or not, this is the world we live in.

I am 100% on the grid. Not really by choice, but life has pretty much funneled me that way. Google my name, and yep, there I am. (I do, however, take a back seat to actor Colin Farrell – that guy has a lot of nerve!) If you dig enough on the internet, chances are you’ll find your name somewhere out there. There are even websites containing much of your personal information – and it’s usually accessible by anyone willing to shell out a few bucks to find it. You can thank the “computer age” for all of this. When I get a chance to escape the madness, I jump at it. And I recently did just that.

In mid-June, I flew up to Harrisburg, PA, to catch the GM Nationals. The annual show held at the Carlisle fairgrounds is always a treat. I get a chance to meet up with some old friends and photograph just about every make and model that Eckler’s offers parts for. This year, my brother joined me. After the show field had cleared out, we hit the road southwest – the ultra-high-tech navigation system in his new 3 Series BMW operating flawlessly. But not for long…

abandoned-TorinoBy the end of that long day on the road, we were deep in the heart of West Virginia – headed east, probably 100 miles or so off Interstate 79. The BMW’s nav system was now telling us that it couldn’t relay accurate information. When you’re driving down steep mountain roads that are barely the width of a car in the middle of the night, this can be a tad unnerving. We went old school, and pulled out the Rand McNally Road Atlas. Ahh, good old paper maps. And you know what? We found the cabins we’d been looking for. Amazing huh? We spent the next few days enjoying the scenery, hiking, and looking for old abandoned cars. No cell phone service, no internet, not within reach of any GPS signal – off the grid completely. It was bliss.

The scenery in the east/central portion of West VA is both breathtaking and extremely remote – the kind of area in which you might stumble across one of those mythical barn finds. You know – the ’69 Chevelle that’s been in the old shed since ’73, covered in 3” of dust and dirt, showing 25,000 miles on the ticker. Well, we didn’t see anything that mind boggling, but we did see a few cool old Chevys nestled in the weeds, seemingly long forgotten. It got me thinking – how many of you have done something similar? I’ve got to hear a juicy found-in-a-barn story! Doesn’t even have to be in a barn – how about some old car abandoned in a field, or at the end of a dusty back road? Chances are, in areas of our fine country that are still (thankfully) off the grid, old cars are just waiting to be discovered. Feel free to use the comments section below!


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