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Stuck in the Mud

Normally we have a great dirt road with a nice crown, coarse material and drainage where it’s needed. As I’ve written before, it serves our small neighborhood in the high desert well.

Ah, but snow and above-normal temps this winter changed that. We got mud.

Throw in a couple of propane deliveries and we got car-sucking mud and deep, wide ruts that freeze overnight.

People say the mud in Taos is the worst they can remember. That’s small consolation when I worry about getting in and out safely.

For a while, I could steer my front-wheel-drive car over the road’s firmer spots. In the morning, I drove over the frozen wider ridges. Our neighbors did the same.

Hank walking on our muddy road.

Hank walks our road. The photo doesn’t do the mud justice.

But conditions didn’t improve. A garbage truck picking up trash at a neighbor’s house made things a lot worse. I’m not going to go into the hairy details except to say I had to enlist Hank’s driving skills to get me out the next morning, and then I parked at the top of the road for a couple of days. Friday I donned a headlamp to hike a half-mile to the end of the road to make a 7 a.m. work meeting.

There is hope, however. We are fortunate to know the resourceful Armando, who has done work at three of the four houses in our cluster. Last year, he and his crew redid the stucco on our home. Now we will chip in for him to fix the road since it is private. He’s given us a fair price. Fortunately we have great neighbors who also want to get the work done.

This week, he got a head start fixing the worst ruts. His heavy equipment is parked at a neighbor’s house ready to go.

Nature did throw us a curveball Friday with a good amount of snow, maybe close to a foot. Ugh, warm weather is in the forecast next week.

By chance, we met Armando at the supermarket today. He’ll be back tomorrow to plow the snow before he hauls in gravel and gets to work sometime next week. Armando says it’s important to keep the moisture off the road’s center. Otherwise it will sink in and turn the road to a muddy mess.

I believe him.

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