Wednesday, August 26, 2009
First Solo Road Trip Part 3. Vesuvius, VA
Level with the town Roanoke I decide to descend the mountains and turn off at a tiny junction onto a tiny single lane road with thick forest either side of me. Hairy too and every tight bend is just like the last and it feels like I am driving the same 100 yards over and over again for hours - like on some broken record time loop - steep cliffs on one side and on the other deep ravines covered in the same endless dense forests layering away. My imagination goes haywire. On the way down I pass through a small village name 'Vesuvius' (like Pompeii volcano) which looks deserted and half reclaimed by the forest. Every building and telegraph pole and signpost, dripping in luscious vines. Further on I pass a homestead which I want to photograph, but am nervous about it. The house is hidden in the trees up a winding dirt track. The ground littered with garbage, broken down and rotting cars and other nameless rusting farm machinery, vine covered garden furniture, stained tarps and dozens of faded, chipped, peeling or decapitated religious icons, some standing twice man height litter the grounds. It reminds me of the home of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre family, complete with loud and spluttering nearly failing generator. I pull over and wait a few moments taking it all in - looking up the track for the house, which is difficult to make out - a dilapidated single story place almost completely covered in vines. The windows are dull and dirty with grime and an old sorry looking leather couch sits on the paint peeled porch outside with a hole filled red blanket thrown over its back. I wonder if in fact the house is empty, but the sputtering generator says otherwise. I notice too that a thin wisp of smoke is coming from the chimney. I really want to photograph the place, but when I open the car door to get out two large sounding dogs suddenly start barking viciously so I decide against it and drive away with a pounding heart, telling myself that something's are better only written about..
Posted by Simon Kossoff