The area around McNichols, 7-mile road and East Davidson in Northeast Detroit seems to be a hot bed of scrap yards, junkyards and used auto parts joints. I must have come across a good half-dozen or so within a few blocks of each other while riding in this neighborhood. Some I pedaled by were clean, well-kept places spread across a few acres of land. Peering through their surrounding chain linked fence or gate; topped with barbed or urban razor wire, they appeared to be neat and well-organized. Chrome bumpers (remember them) were stacked on specially designed racks six to eight high. Car doors, fenders and hoods, sorted by make and color shared similar space. In some of the better-organized lots, wrecked cars or those missing doors, hoods, etc., were lined up in close to perfect rows, like a new car lot, waiting for a yard worker to strip off a little more of what remained of them.
Other places I rode past looked as if a bomb went off. The partially stripped, wheel less, rusted vehicles were randomly mixed together with other oily, tarnished scrap metals and heaped into piles similar to those I’ve seen after a building had been imploded. The nasty looking, pure auto junkyards I bicycled past had cars parked everywhere. Judging by the weeds grown around and through many of them, it was clear they haven’t been moved or touched in years. They were basically hulks of metal slowly deteriorating and rusting into oblivion. They too were surrounded by chain linked or sold metal fences that in many cases were bowed out because so much stuff was stacked against them. Looking at them, it’s a wonder they were still standing.
Every yard I passed had a locked gate of some type and a few looked like they’ve been bashed into so many times that a small nudge would push them right off their hinges. “Do Not Enter” or “Beware of Dog” signs were everywhere with many placed prominently on the entrance gate. It didn’t matter if they were a chain linked fence type, solid sliding metal or a combination of both, most had at least one sign. A few had them plastered everywhere I looked.
If no sign was posted, there were usually junkyard dogs roaming the black, oil caked lots; mean looking, barking, snarling dogs with noses poking through the small gaps between the solid metal sheeting used for fencing. Others were jumping on the chain-linked fence or running back and forth, barking while keeping me in their eyesight. Judging by their fierce barks and the appearance of their sharp teeth as they growled, I didn’t think they liked me riding so close to their territory. Go figure.
But not all were ready to jump the fence and rip my leg, arm and head off. Some were quite casual and wagged their tails as I rode close by, much like a neighborhood dog looking for a treat. A couple were even sleeping in the sun, so I gave a quick whistle and a “hey man” call out to wake them from their guard-duty dreams. One such beast, a good-sized Doberman, looked over his shoulder at me and yawned before getting on all four and walking slowly to the gate where I was sitting on my bike smiling. Although he looked friendly, I was glad the fence was between us as I pedaled away.