Tuesday, December 18, 2012

DRAGWAY ZERO

     If you head west out of Alsace, chances are you'll be doing it on Route Eight, which runs in a near straight line all the way to Sandusky, parallel to the lake shore. It's a busy six lane stretch, part of all that roadbuilding Ike did in the Fifties. There used to be dozens of stores, restaurants, and even a drive-in on either side of Eight; now, most are darkened, dusty memories.

     Just past the drive-in is an intersection,  where Eight meets Gherson Road. From the intersection, there's a mile or so of road that's so level and straight, it seems tailor- made for drag racing. Indeed, duting the Fifties and Sixties, the days of muscle cars and cheap gas, that's exactly what it was used for on warm summer nights. Some folks drove their wheels to victory, some to losing the race to the police, and some.....some lost everything, and it's said they may be out there, still trying to win.

     More than one motorist, coming in from the west, had the unnerving experience of a black car, a vintage '59 Corvette, appearing out of nowhere, whipping past them, and vanishing just before reaching the traffic lights at Gershon. Some say it's the shade of a Vermillion boy who blew a tire at high speed back in '62, and rolled his fiberglass coffin to a horrible end.

     People hitching to Sandusky or Toledo at night claim to have been knocked  flat by the wind of an invisible car, hearing the whining roar of the engine just as it passes them, then being slapped down by the slipstream; those who would know say the sound is that of a 389, known as the Bobcat, a celebrated muscle mill, generally found in the GTO.

     A group of musicians, heading home from a gig in Alsase late one night, were scared silly by the vision of a Ford Econoline van passing them, bathed in an eerie glow, and ablaze from stem to stern. It disappeared into the distance, trailing the stench of gasoline and burnt flesh.

     I rarely get out that way, and I've never personally seen anything out on Eight.
However, I know many who'd swear that some competitors just can't quit, though Hell should bar the way.

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