Whatever the cause, the effect was a night spent at the Hotel Floyd–not a terrible tragedy in itself (I am drinking my first two of the four-cup coffee maker’s free trade roast from the Parkway Room just now).
Briefly: yesterday morning heading off for work, the road from the house to the hardtop provided the most harrowing driving experience ever in a Subaru. I think my utter lack of steering control came from the fact that it was zero degrees and the tires hard as rocks and packed with snow from Ann’s trip home the day before, and the snow was so deep there was no contact with anything but snow, so the studs were useless.
Coming home from work last night, I chose NOT to return the way I’d come out until the road was scraped. Instead, I was thinking to park at Havens Chapel and walk in 1.7 miles from the high side, but when I got to that point at 5:45, the big road grader was sitting there where Goose Creek plunges down into the “gorge”. He’d broken a tire chain, but was headed down soon as it was replaced–probably 10 minutes max, he said.
I’d sit there in the car and wait for him to traverse the 1.7 miles to the house, call home to confirm he’d passed, give him another 15 minutes to reach the other end, and I’d come home the way I’d gone out that morning, less a foot of snow.
So I waited. And I waited–far longer than it should have taken for him to make it to the house. After almost 45 minutes (with me sitting in the failing light, very hungry and thirsty and tired, pretending to read) A VDOT truck descended down the luge run that is our road (apparently to address some grader malfunction–lord, I hoped he wasn’t under that Volvo monstrosity upsidedown in the creek).
I waited some more. No, the road machinery hadn’t gone by the house. So I couldn’t go down the high side because I couldn’t get past the grader and that way is really not safe, even after being “improved” by the snow-pusher. I couldn’t come in the other way because it was no better than when I went out that morning and I had no way of know if the VDOT machine would be rehabed in an hour, or two or never.
So I knew I could get to town, get a meal and a place to stay. So here I am. Soon, I’ll head over to Blue Ridge Restaurant for a high-protein breakfast. And about getting home, well, we’ll slip and slide across that bridge when the time comes. Ann, meanwhile, has the problem of knowing when or if to risk leaving this morning to drive to Pulaski.
And when March arrived, I thought we were outta the woods.
So this seems in some way a sign of things to come. Two of the three road graders at the VDOT office that normally clears out road promptly were broken; the third broke between a tired man and home. That public service department has nothing to work with. I’d usually expect the cinder or salt truck behind the snow plow. Not any more. That’s just the way the infrastructure crumbles I guess.