Mammoth Melt Out - Winter of 2023

Dated: May 16 2023

Views: 514

As we finally start to melt out from the record winter, I’ve be amazed from the abundance of abandoned vehicles that are starting to appear.  The winter of 2022/2023 ended up being one for the records, with the Town of Mammoth Lakes and Mammoth Mountain Ski Area both reporting the most snowfall in recorded history.  And although Spring has been stubborn to rear its head, the days have been long and the massive snow banks have started to recede.  With that comes the melt out of many interesting things, and many that completely surprise me.  

Ever since I was an adolescent, I’ve been baffled by what I refer to as toilet graffiti.  What I mean by toilet graffiti is when I see etching of graffiti into the tops of a toilet seats in public restrooms.  I typically see this in gas stations.  I always thought it would be interesting to somehow round up a few of these “taggers” for an interview.  I’d love to see an in-depth interview targeting the mindset and technique of such an action.  What is one thinking when they use some keys or a knife to scratch into a public toilet seat?  Do they drop to their knees to be able to apply the necessary pressure as they etch away?  Is it their own idea or are they feeling pressure to commit such an act by someone else.  Ha, seriously… since my teenage years I’ve wanted to know the thought process (or lack thereof) behind representing via toilet seat.

You might be asking, what does this have to do with winter and record snowfall?  Well, my 30-year-old desire to understand toilet graffiti has now been trumped by a desire to understand the winter “vehicle abandonment” thought process.  This is where you live in Mammoth, own a vehicle, it snows a lot, and then you decide to just walk away from your vehicle rather than keep it undug throughout winter.  Is it shear laziness?  Is it a denial of the reality of the situation? Or perhaps lack of experience, as in the vehicle owner just thinks they’ll let these storms pass and then dig it out, only to realize the extent of how buried a vehicle can be after a big storm or two.  But then what….?  They just give up and hope for an early and warm Spring?  Seriously, what is the thinking with these folks in these situations.

A bike, a trailer, maybe even an old boat… but your car?! Your daily driver?  Your independent way of escaping Mammoth mid-winter when you need a reprieve from the elements. And many of these vehicles I’m seeing start to melt out are nice too!  Check out the buried Escalade.  The personalized license plates.  My favorite is the Scion.  I love how they put up their windshield wipers like they would be back out in the morning to shovel… but then never came back.  That’s just odd; right!?!?

Ideally, I’d love to somehow track down these Mammoth vehicle owners and interview them too!  Who are they?  What do they do?  How old are they?  How many Mammoth winters have they resided here?  Do they own a shovel?  And if they do, do they know how to operate it. 😂 Ha!

Yup, this is the sort of s*#% that goes through my head.  But come on, it would be interesting, right?  And now what do these vehicle owners do?  Many are crushed and perhaps inoperable.  Insurance claim?   But what do you tell insurance?  Does insurance cover you in the case of abandonment?  Perhaps the owner claims that they physically lost the ability to keep it dug out.  I’m sincerely curious about who these people are, what their story is, and then what happens to the severely damaged vehicles when it all melts out.

If you know one of these local Mammoth Lakes vehicle abandonment owners, perhaps you can dive-in investigator style and get all of us the 411 behind the situation.  This way I can cross that off my list and go back to my lifelong curiosity of toilet graffiti.  

Written for fun by Eric Leach

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Eric Leach

Eric Leach is a California Real Estate Broker with extensive knowledge and experience in the Mammoth Lakes real estate market. He has dedicated himself to being a true professional and sincerely enjoy....

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