For the past few years, we have been coping with our dirt road. Anyone who has lived on a dirt road may possibly relate to this. In north Idaho the local joke is there are 5 seasons, summer, fall, winter, mud, and spring. During the time between winter and spring we have what we call spring break up. The 6 or so inches of topsoil are frozen and begin to thaw during the day and freeze back up at night. When this occurs, the road turns to mud on top of the frozen earth below. As the vehicles drive on the dirt, now mud, the frozen areas sink lower in the ground forming deep ruts. With the frozen portions sinking lower, they become insulated in the cold earth and take even longer to break up.
We have been road warriors for the past 4 years. With the strange shift of climate in the northwest, we have begun spring break up and mud season earlier every year since we moved here. Plus, the break up has increased in length from a week to almost two months. Last year we even had a small break up occur in the late fall early winter with a strange warm spell, not enjoyable.
However, our muddy road problem is about to end forever. We finally saved enough money for constructing a garage/shop and decided to use that money to build a gravel road. We couldn’t go another season. I felt that my neighbor had been kind enough to level our road after each season with his tractor, but this year I needed to ease that burden and no longer request his kindness. Sometimes the things we want most are meant to wait; especially, when we rely on the kindness of others.
The gravel road is expensive because we want to do it correctly the first and last time. We live on sandy loam soil. When we dug our water cistern 8 ft deep, we didn’t even stumble upon a single rock, just sand. Other neighbors have dumped rock on the main road before us and each year after, it disappears into the sand below it. We decided to learn from others’ mistakes and place road fabric down to hold the gravel and sand mixture in place. It costs a whole lot more, but it should last the rest of our lives.
With the new gravel road, we will no longer be parking off the main road and hiking late at night with flashlights and groceries the quarter of a mile to the house. Or, loading a toboggan with our work and school items and dragging them out to the car each morning. The war with the road should finally be over.