Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bituminous Bouquet


Maybe I should have married a garage mechanic. Aside from the obvious benefit of continuous car care, there would be the aroma of a man with petroleum in his system.
I’ve always been partial to bus fumes, gasoline, the bouquet of summertime dusty roads that have been freshly oiled. It’s probably genetic. My grandfather was a geologist for the Sun Oil Company, after all.

          So my delight at seeing men on big yellow machines outside my door this week was two-fold. Not only was our Baja-like road finally getting a much-needed repair, our small neighborhood was filled with the scent of hot asphalt. 

     When we were buying our house, we read its specs and said to each other, “Look, honey! It’s on a private road!” This sounded ideal, moving as we were from the city. And as a dead-end street with only three houses, it is quiet. However, as it turns out, the real implication of “private” is that while the town had been meticulous about plowing and sanding in the winter months, it is under no obligation to repair it. 

Over the eighteen years we’ve been here, our road has experienced that many years of frost heaves and rains, undermining its base. The surface had become one giant washboard, challenging to both car suspensions and snowplows, and as a result, chipped away and gouged. 

     
     One routine task before mowing the lawn has been to gather up the larger chunks that have found their way into our grass. 
      All visitors are reminded to depart at no faster than two miles an hour if they value their vehicle. 





          By some act of providence, our town found the wherewithal to put down a coating of hot asphalt in places, filling in the larger holes and smoothing things out a bit. We can now drive up our street without checking our teeth for loose fillings afterwards.

          This afternoon I may look like I’m outside raking the front yard, but I’ll really be there to savor any remaining aromas from our new road. 



17 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. You have no idea. The street guys informed us that our street was the worst in town.
      I didn't argue.

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    2. Never say sorry for a good joke! I loved your comment.

      When replying to the street people my children in their youth would say, "Duhhhh"

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  2. Congratulations on a smoother ride and a fantastic? smell.

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    Replies
    1. Yep - can't say which I'm enjoying more.

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  3. I grew up on a ""private" road. It wasn't even plowed in the winter, but that was the '40's. It's not easy, giving a road to the city, which happened to the street after I left home. It has to meet certain specifications, and must be brought up to those specs for it to happen. If improvements are needed to bring the road up to city standards, the homeowners are assessed. Just FYI.
    The summer smell of hot asphalt is divine. I could follow the tar bucket out of the yard when the road guys leave the yard.

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    1. I love the image of you trailing after them, nose in the air, Joanne.

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  4. Ah to each his own as far as smells go. I have no room to talk as I really have no problem with mild skunk. But that the smell brings a smooth ride does sound wonderful. Enjoy.

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  5. I love the looks of your private road. Oh we have a time with our private road! 25 years on a dirt road. The state say they will take over and keep it up IF we will get it up to standard. :)

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    1. I feel your pain. The latest quote - through the town and thus cheaper than a private contractor - is $28,000. Shared between three houses, one of whom is on the verge of moving.
      You can see why I'm driving a fresh loaf of banana bread over to the town public works guys today.

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  6. I like the smell of Magic Marker. :-)

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  7. Glad to see it's being fixed up. Your petroleum addiction is a new one for me. :-)

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  8. You should have been at my place this summer. The whole street was paved after 51 years. so the stuff does last a long time.

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  9. You remind me of my late sister in law. As a child she begged to go along whenever her parents were going to the service station to fill up the petrol tank. She just loved the smell of petrol and would hang her head out the window and breathe it in.
    We recently had the driveway replaced throughout the complex of flats here and I shut all the windows and doors here. "All" ha ha. I have one front door and window and one back door and window.

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  10. back when I was doing the river guide thing and we would be in Big Bend in the Chihuahuan Desert I loved the way it would smell after a rain when the creosote bushes would release their fragrance.

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    Replies
    1. OMG!! I had no idea! Is that where it comes from?
      I'm moving.

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