Car Cemetery

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BY NEIL PANKLER

The completion of the Tahoe-Pyramid Trail between Hirschdale Road and Verdi allows for non- motorized exploration of the Truckee River canyon between Truckee and Reno — an area we are all somewhat familiar with from traveling at 65 mph along I-80. But how much do we really see at that rate of speed? How much more could we be experiencing at a slower pace?

Having taken a number of bike rides along this new trail, I have found some really nice swimming holes, craggy rock outcroppings, and scenic stretches of river. One of my most surprising discoveries, however, is historic automobile wreckage that has tumbled down from the freeway over the years.

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With the development and gradual implementation of guardrails, which originated in 1933, highway safety was improved as vehicles veering off a road with a steep embankment could now be deflected back to the roadway. A second chance for the careless or misfortunate driver.

On one bike ride this spring I heard a terrible commotion above me: tires screeching, metal scraping, and a cloud of dust. I scrambled up the embankment to find a motorcycle and rider lying along the shoulder next to the guardrail. Amazingly, the guy suffered only minor injury. The story I got was that the car in front of him hit its brakes and he veered around it, lost control, and slid along the guardrail. Hmmm … yet another second chance … life goes on.


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