Ranch Country photography
by Robert McCune
Utah. October 2009. Part Six
Sunday morning. Parked under that tree, we’re near the tiny community of Luna Mesa, altitude 4573 feet. (Not even a Mom & Pop grocery store). The next three photos are from an hour-long photo shoot while Maggie and dog Josie read and napped and enjoyed the shade of the cottonwood. No one else in the area. An auto graveyard to the right; a ten minute sage-brush hike, and then flat-on-my-back to get under a stretch of barbed-wire fence.
Scattered over a half acre of desert were the hulks of a half dozen foreign cars, a couple of loose axles, a rusting radiator, and assorted smaller objects of auto junk. Moving about slowly and enjoying all this tremendously (but keeping an eye out for rattlesnakes), I finally worked around to having a look inside what once was a small, plywood-sided cabin. Inside, a scurrying lizard was the only apparent occupant. The floor was hidden under a jumble of discarded “stuff” including a Tune-Up and Ignition manual for foreign-made cars, and one for working on Wheel Bearings.
The shed adjacent to the cabin provided shelter for auto mechanic work, with an A-frame chain-hoist for removing engines. Searching through a heap of rubbish (for what?), I flushed-out a large rat. Boy, did I jump! Lucky it didn't bite me.
Who was this fellow who lived alone in this remote area of sagebrush desert and repaired foreign-made autos. Withdrawn from civilization and maybe too, human companionship except for a need to have some contact with vehicle owners. Nearest town is Hanksville, 15 or 16 miles further east near the junction of Muddy Creek and the Dirty Devil River. It’s easy to picture this fellow as having died out here. He would have wanted to die there. (How do I know that).
Two miles further up a side road is that remarkable Blue Valley formation and line of cottonwoods seen in the 4th photo.