Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Glance At Our Life: the Sand Plough

This is the sand plough that periodically restores traversability to our road.

Our road is not paved. It is made of sand. Compacted sand, perhaps. But, still, sand. Unlike most sand, the sand of which our road is made is a type of sand that becomes gloppy mud with a bit of water. Even a little shower of rain can transform our sand road into our mud trap. And if our road suffers a few days of rain - oh! it can get bad. Rain wreaks massive mischief on the traversability of our road. So does the sun. Yes, if it gets too dry our road can become an eye-blinding whirl of blowing sand. And if the weather is such that it is both dry and wet, well, we get potholes. Bad potholes. Potholes that stretch to gigantic proportions. Potholes that can eat a truck. Ok. So that is an exaggeration (...most of the time -I have seen at least one SUV in the grip of a desperate struggle with our road). In any event, you get the idea. Right? I suppose it doesn't need to be said, but snow and ice can also impact the traversability of our road, though it does make for a firmer surface.

Sorry if I'm being verbosely redudant here. I could probably have condensed that entire paragraph into this one sentence: it is not rare that J. puts the truck into 4 Wheel Drive to get home and every now and then the sand plough comes through to temporarily fix that. But I wanted to share all those weather and seasonal details so that you, dear readers, could better understand just how exciting it is to see the sand/snow plough in our neighborhood. I wish we saw it more. It is so exhillerating to travel along a traversable road. But I won't be ungrateful for when we do.

These are pictures from the last time the plough visited our neighborhood. I took it the day before leaving for Sonya's wedding in Seattle. In fact, I made J. stop the truck so that I could hop out and take these pictures. I'm not sure who was more surprised by my camera - J. or the plough driver. But here you go. Here is a very real glance at our lives: the plough that periodically restores traversability to our road.

It looks, doesn't it, like a snow plough? But no, it is a sand plough. Even when we freeze up, and no longer deal with sand or mud because everything has been frozen more solid than cement or asphalt, I still call it the sand plough. I do so, probably, because we rarely see it in the winter.


Anonymous said...

I've always called these Road Graders.


Are they commonly referred to as Sand/Snow Ploughs/Plows?

Used a lot in Iceland, where there are more packed gravel/sand roads than paved asphalt.

Aileen said...

Hello, Anonymous - You are not alone in calling them road graders. I confess, most do. I'm not sure if I am alone, necessarily, in calling it a snow plough. But I do think that title is more descriptive. Then again, I also call other pieces of road construction "diggers" and "rollers" and "water sprayers" - so I am guessing that I have little to no credibility on this topic. Thank you for reading - and thank you for leading me to a better understanding of the equipment I rely upon.

Monkey Wrangler said...

Yeah, I know that thing as a scraper. Sure it grades things, but it does it by scraping it......

PF, an avid fan of yours said...

Dear Aileen,
I love your descriptive writing.
"in the grip of a desperate wrestle"
please keep on writing......

PF, one of your avid fans said...

Oh No !
I see that I have misquoted you.
"in the grip of a desperate struggle" is correct.
Oh well, it is the 1st time I have ever published a response on a blog

Aileen said...

Hello, Mr. Monkey Wrangler - I think "scraper" is a very apt name for that piece of equipment. Isn't it funny how we subconsciously personalize these random pieces of industrial equipment? I suspect that by calling it a "sand plough" I may be attempting to soften my ire at being delayed or inconvenienced. There is some delicious irony to giving this hunk of massive, practical machinery a name that summons up thoughts of bucolic fields and honest industry.

Helly - my dear PF! I'm very flattered that the first blog you ever commented on was this one. And I'm very glad to know that we have such an avid reader! One of these days I shall post about our favorite dinner that makes us think of you: tomato soup with chunks of cheddar on the bottom, and grilled cheese sandwiches prepared a'la a family secret!