Today around three PM, the road grader showed up to clear our street. For all I know it might have shown up at that time even if we had no organized a campaign to let VDOT know that we were not amused with their statement that 100% of Salem District roads would be plowed by midnight on Sunday when we found our road untouched on Monday morning.
My wife made an early morning call to VDOT and was told that we were just missed. Upon talking to more people farther now the hill, we found that statement to be government misinformation. A plow had come up the hill about 100 yards, had trouble, turned around and left.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I have done a lot of snow removal. There are times when you cannot plow going uphill so you get to the top of the hill and plow going downhill. Normally that just requires lifting your blade like they do when they are not plowing. Maybe the driver did not want to fool with a difficult hill, but as my wife likes to say if they did not want to take care of the road up here or collect the taxes, then why did they issue the permit and why did VDOT agree to take over the road from the developer?
The other way you solve a large amount of snow is by not waiting until the amount is more than you can handle. There is probably little institutional knowledge at VDOT that would identify some of the difficult spots and implement a plan which would keep them from becoming so problematic. However, at one time I know they used to plow our street in the middle of storms so they could manage it with a regular truck mounted plow.
I hate to be picky but it would have been nice to see a truck plow to touch things up and add some grit to the ice. That is the trouble with services. When the most basic is denied, you end up being glad that they even showed up and forget what a really professional looks like.
Our road grader driver did an excellent job considering they are not the most easy beasts to turn. After the first plow run, I hitched a ride down the hill with Sam, a neighborhood teenager, who was doing a good job being a good Samaritan and ferrying people up and down the hill in his four wheel drive truck.
It did not take me more than a few minutes to dig out my car, and I headed to Kroger. Along the way I found an idiot with cross country skis walking in the middle of my driving lane on Keagy Road just as you crest the blind hill at Hidden Valley Country Club.
If you want to get yourself killed that is a pretty good place to do it. Fortunately I was going slow and avoided him which he did not seem to think was good enough. I found the Kroger parking lot at Ridgewood Garden pretty messy in spots, but all the main roads and Keagy itself were in good shape and mostly dry.
I had toyed with replacing the all season radials on my Acura MDX with a more aggressive tire, but I was unable to get through to the SAM's Club tire people so I decided to head home. I think my wife was surprised I did not take the opportunity to go to Kroger, but really we did not need anything even though we have been marooned on our mountain for three days.
The trip back to the neighborhood was uneventful. I turned up our hill, put the MDX in second gear and engaged the traction lock. I had no problems and was about half way up the hill when a guy in a skid steer loader backed up in front of me. I had to stop and was a little worried about starting from a dead stop on the hill, but there were no problems so I got to my driveway easily. I parked for a few minutes until I had cleared the most recent snow from the grader and then pulled into the driveway.
I finished up the driveway and widened the mouth. Then as is always the case, I drove my car back out on the road and backed into the driveway so I could have a good running start up the hill.
It feels great to have my car back in the garage. The MDX is like my trusty sidekick so it is good to be back together.
With the relatively warm weather, I am predicting that the road conditions will improve at least until Christmas eve when freezing rain is predicted.
If freezing rain comes there is nothing we can do except stay inside and enjoy our family.
I might do another post tomorrow on our mountain adventure, it reminded me a little of the days on the farm when were often snowed in by a blizzard. Of course there was no Internet in those days so our only news was the TV or radio.
Much luck to everyone who is still waiting for a visit from VDOT. It was nice to see them retract their earlier statement and own up to the fact that they had not managed to hit their goal.
I also have a post on the virtues of a clean driveway which I offer up for your enjoyment.