Of roads and weather forecasting

We live on a dirt road. In order to reach my house, you must turn OFF the paved road, not just once but twice. The county came and paved the steepest part of our road about 12 years ago, but they left the side roads and the part that connects to the main road unpaved. An unpaved road means that they must scrape it occasionally in order to avoid lawsuits from people whose vehicle suspensions are ruined by the ditches and ruts keep the road somewhat maintained.

It is very curious to us that the county almost always chooses to scrape our road a day or two before a big rain. Dee asked me today if I thought someone at the county office watched the weather forecast to see if rain was coming so they could be sure that our road got scraped right before it.  We often joke that the Atlanta TV station weather forecasters have nothing on the guy that schedules our county road maintenance. In fact, I think we could solve the drought every time it happens by simply scraping the road more often.

Of course the thing that is so irritating about having the road scraped right before it rains is that the rocks and dirt that have been smoothed into the bumps and ridges washes right back out again. The county grumbles and says it’s because we all drive too fast on our road. And no doubt there are idoits slightly less experienced drivers who do exceed safe limits of speed, but the majority of us have lived up here and respect our road. It has claimed a lot of vehicles in the years we have lived up here.  In our family alone we have lost two Volvos and the passenger side mirror on my van.  (One Volvo was the result of a collision between the Handy Man and the maniacal school bus driver who always exceeded safe speeds on our road, and the other Volvo was the loser in a contest between car and tree when Lindy couldn’t bring herself to hit Bambi.)  The road is always more slick when the gravel has been loosened and re-arranged. It’s a bit like driving on marbles. And then the ridges and ruts just show right back up because the rain washes them clear again.

Coming to my house requires something of an adventurous spirit–between the steep hills, the dirt road, the drop-off as you climb the mountain, and then our driveway, anyone who comes to see us must REALLY want to come see us–that or they get paid to, like the UPS man.  It’s funny, though, because we don’t really give it a second thought, unless one of our children is a driver-in-training. We spend a lot of time teaching our teens dirt road safety when they first get their learner’s permit. Dee is our latest permitted teen….she will soon be eligible to test for her driver’s license. Star Child is hot on her heels and begs weekly to be allowed to get her permit. (We like to wait until our teens are mature enough to handle the 5000 pounds of missile that our 15 passenger van  becomes when in motion. Call us crazy, but we are not of the opinion that 16 years automatically equates that kind of maturity.) Dee is a reluctant driver, especially after the road has been scraped or when it rains. (And since those two things happen in tandem most of  the time, there really is no need to differentiate between them.)  She did not drive today–they scraped our part of the dirt today, the main part they scraped yesterday, and today it rained.

I am not sure what the remedy is to our road situation. I suppose I could go down the the county office and complain, but frankly, I don’t think my complaint will have the punch it did when my girls were younger. No matter what our road situation, I think I have the answer to the county’s budgeting woes: let the man who schedules road maintenance do double duty as the weather forecaster. He could make a lot of money!

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