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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Apr 11, 2014

With the snow now gone for the second or third time and temperatures staying above freezing including most nights, we can mostly assume that winter is done.

I cannot be so naive as to think it is completely over, but I can feel a guarded optimism that I have probably stopped wearing my hooded jacket for about the next six months.

Living on a gravel road, we are in that good time between mud and dust. Sadly, it only lasts about a day or two.

When we wash our car, we know it is only a matter of a few days until either a layer of mud or dust (sometimes both) will make it look it was never washed.

Those people whose driveway ends at a paved road, ah, yes, I do envy you. You get at least twice the amount of time between car washes than I do.

The gravel road we live on comes to a T-intersection at each end. At the end of our road, there is no “straight ahead.”

There are only two roads that lead to ours and it is a mile and a quarter to the nearest blacktop.

Getting to our house requires a combination of skill mixed with luck. You can see our place; but how do you get there?

It certainly keeps traffic to a minimum.

We have around six vehicles a day pass by and on a busy day, we could see 10.

In a day’s time, there will probably be one of those vehicles that we do not recognize because after the neighbors and mailman, there’s not much else.

Fed Ex and UPS leave our packages at the post office.

It is the “road less traveled” you have read and heard about.

My wife thinks of the gravel road in a different way. She says, “We will probably never see RAGBRAI go by our house.” I would have to agree.

I’ve spent 56 years of my life living on a gravel road, all of that within a two-mile stretch. I won’t say that makes me an expert on gravel roads, just lots of experience with dust, mud, and snow.

It is easy to tell who lives on a gravel road by looking at what they drive.

Their vehicles are either coated with mud or dust depending on what was the most recent weather system to pass through.

Friends of ours, who live on a gravel road, have a similar model of Buick to ours.

One Sunday after church my wife got in a muddy Buick for the ride home. Then she saw me sitting in a different muddy Buick.

She had gotten in our friend’s muddy, blue Buick when she was supposed to be in our muddy, blue Buick.

Hey, if you’ve seen one muddy Buick, you’ve seen them all. OK, back to the car wash.

Robert Frost wrote, “The Road Not Taken” and in the last two lines said he:

“I took the one less traveled by,

“And that has made all the difference.”

I suspect Robert Frost owned several car washes.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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