Someone Paved Our Driveway – Sort Of

It’s that time of the year again – when the snow melts and the ground doesn’t. As a result, billions of gallons of mountain snow turns to water within the space of three weeks and heads in our direction.

The layer of permafrost won’t let it in except for the topmost couple of inches; just enough to make sludge. The road is worse. It should have been regraded and graveled a couple of years ago but that would require the neighbors to agree on something.

In the past it was bad enough that the easement doubled as a creek but this year we have three times the traffic.  Wheels turn into large beaters and the weight of the vehicles leave behind ruts as deep as the Grand Canyon.

The destruction extends to the main road. Recently, the postal service stopped delivering until we fixed the area in front of our boxes. Luckily, someone came forward and dumped a load of rocks in the well that had developed, restoring our service.

The trek has become so intimidating, if we don’t need something critical like milk or gas – we stay home.

Yesterday, however, we needed cat food so we steeled ourselves for the passage and piled in the four-wheel drive. As we inched our way to the top of the worst part of the easement – a steeply graded slope – we noticed someone laid pavement at the bottom.

More accurately, someone lobbed chunks and fragments of broken pavement all over the road. Some slabs were two feet in diameter, corners jutting up threateningly. Smaller shards haphazardly filled the shallowest of points through the sinkhole. In places, they lay stacked as much as three deep.

It had our uppermost neighbor’s signature all over it. A true “hold my beer” job if I ever saw one.

Whatever vehicle they drove left the deepest ruts we’ve ever seen, which they missed with the asphalt. It was almost impassable. I told my husband to hold on while I jumped out and proceeded to redistribute the minefield in some logical fashion. I took the pictures after I rearranged the pieces.

I  jumped back in to safety and we crawled, squished and fell into the hollows as far to the right as we could. We inched past, on the verge of losing our grip and rolling down the slope away from the road.

Now we had to make it past Cowhead Guy’s house (explanation here).

The adventure continues.

The Long Long Long Driveway

7/10’s of a mile of hell.

It is a buffer between us and anyone who isn’t hell bent on visiting us.

The postal service won’t drive up after that one time they dared and left us a note saying “never again”.

The UPS driver delivers but only in summer. The first few times he drove up the easement, we could hear the overhanging branches scraping along the sheet metal shell of the box truck. He finally asked us to cut the trees back but we still know he’s coming before we see him because of the rivet-busting potholes.

The route is dusty in the summer, clogged with heavy snow and slush in the winter and becomes a bog in the spring. It hasn’t been graded and graveled in God knows how long and has a very steep incline towards the end.

It is our driveway – seven-tenths of a mile of natural disaster area. It is our only way in and out and it is the bane of my existence. We have been within eyesight of our front door and had to abandon the vehicle with our groceries to go get the shovels and salt.

20200131_125529.jpg

When the thick layer of snow and ice begin to melt and the ground is still frozen, crevasses open up and torrents of water with no place to go converge to form streams in the ruts. When the ground thaws, driving through the mud displaces giant slabs of Play Doh-like ooze. On subsequent passes, we drive on the tops of those and squish them down until the road is finally flat and dry again. We lay down rocks in the worst places.

We had the gauntlet to ourselves until the neighbors moved in. One of them drives a little sedan that isn’t suited for the terrain. I occasionally see them make a run for the last portion of road – speed helps. I can hear the wrenching sounds of the suspension as they lurch along, bouncing violently over the uneven ground. The scraping of oil pan against bedrock sends shivers down my spine as the car careens up the last fifty feet of hill to safety.

A couple of weeks ago we spotted what is still left of it abandoned halfway up the grade, with it’s wheels frozen solid in knee-deep mud. I don’t know how they got it out.

The sheriff once drove all the way up over an issue about a dog. We found part of a bumper near the gate the next day. The Washington State Patrol once stopped us because chunks of our driveway were calving off the underside of our car onto the freeway.

Someday we will have our little slice of heaven repaired. Until then, I shut my eyes tight and pray every time we back out of our parking spot.