Thursday, January 14, 2010

SkyWatch: Blue Sky Over A Bad Road

The unusually cold temperatures that put the Ozark Mountain region into a deep freeze for a couple of weeks have moderated. On Wednesday I made a trip into town and re-provisioned for the first time in a couple of weeks. All is now back to normal.

The photos below were taken while we were still debating when we'd be able to make a trip out. We live a couple of miles off the blacktop and the last three-quarters of a mile of dirt road is a dead end down to our house, though parts of our "driveway" are used by our neighbor when checking his cows, cutting firewood, etc. We did not receive much snow and ice during the deep freeze -- only about an inch of snow. The problem was that our temperatures stayed so cold, the little bit of snow received would not melt.





The snow on sections of road receiving full sunshine on clear days melted fairly quickly. (I know this looks more like a dry creek bed, but it is a road. Trust me on this.)




Other sections of road stayed mostly in the shadows. The snow compacted and glazed becoming almost as slick as ice. Not negotiable by our 2WD vehicles with street tire, especially when trying to drive uphill.




We have many winter seeps. When they empty in to the road, an ice flow forms. One must be careful getting around these even when walking, especially when they're hidden under a dusting of new snow.




On the other hand, the red clay sections of road can become even more difficult to climb after they thaw.




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25 comments:

Doug Taron said...

Why is it that, even in the snow, I see these pictures and all I can think of is tiger beetles? Great series, BTW.

TSannie said...

Yes, I DID think that was a dry creek bed. Glad you got out ok.

J Bar said...

Great shots.
Sydney - City and Suburbs

Serendipity said...

The contrast between that red and the snow is great!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

My goodness Marvin. You were housebound for awhile weren't you?.
Beautiful blue sky to go with that red clay.

jeannette stgermain said...

So, it's cold in the Ozarks too, huh? The red clay is a beautiful contrast with the snow! (I know, I'm not a practical person:) )

Marvin said...

Doug: I see quite a few Tiger Beetles during warmer times, but most of the ones I spot end up being Ted's Cicindela ubiquita

Ann: After a heavy rain, that section often looks like a wet creek bed, but it's still a road.

J Bar: Thanks.

Serendipity: Thanks. The white snow made the clay look several shades redder than it normally does.

Lisa: Yup. We were starting to run low on coffee and I thought I might have to arrange for an air drop of supplies.

Jeannette: We had several days with nighttime temps down in the single digits and several days when the temp didn't get above freezing even with the sun shining. That was an unusually long, cold stretch for here.

Leora said...

Thanks so much for the note on the (possible) lichens. That made sense to me (I had read about lichens as one possibility).

Your photos make me want to go hiking, even if it is cold. At least it won't be muddy yet.

Marvin said...

You're right, Leora. Hiking is often easier (and cleaner) when the ground is still frozen.

laughingwolf said...

neat pics/story, marvin... going to near 40F today, and back into the deep freeze on weekend

Crafty Green Poet said...

glad your temperatures have moderated too! Excellent photos, there are places here where the snow and ice still haven't disappeared

itsnotjustapicture said...

does not look like a road i would even want to try and navigate. i had enough trouble on the road in my subdivision which had 4 inches of ice...needless to say i missed a day of work as it was impossible for me to drive on...
enjoyed your post and photos.

Wren said...

I take you don't worry about rushing out for bread, milk, and toilet paper every time snow threatens?

Kenneth Ramos said...

Reminds me of where I used to live in SW Arkansas. I too lived a good ways off the black top, down a stretch of dirt road that dead ended at my place too. Though SW Arkansas doesn't get a lot of snow, if any at all, but when it did the dirt roads can be just as slick as the paved ones.

Yep, nothing like living back in the sticks though. I did not realize just how much I enjoyed living out in the sticks until I had to move back to North Carolina and suddenly found myself having close neighbors, LOL!

Marvin said...

Laughingwolf: Evidently someone up your direction was kind enough to shut the door. We don't have any really cold air headed down this direction in the next several days.

Juliet: We are snow and ice free and can now complain about all the mud created when the frozen ground thawed.

Erin: Four inches of ice would definitely create significant mobility problems for me.

Wren: No. Normally we only go into town every week-and-a-half or thereabouts, so we stay prepared for an extended stay at home. A couple of times our routine re-provisioning coincided with wintry weather predictions. Every business in town is busier than normal and, of course, our one and only grocery store is near chaos. Even the library is packed as folk stock up on reading material.

Ken: A lot of people cannot handle being stuck out in the boonies, but it suits the wife and I just fine.

eileeninmd said...

Nice photos, it does look like a dry creek bed.

Marvin said...

Eileen: It is the steepest and rockiest section of our road out.

Lana Gramlich said...

Those photos reminded me so much of Canada. I totally hear you about ice floes & compacted snow. Fortunately it's 60F here today & the birds are a-flutter out back, so I have good distraction from such memories. *L*
Glad you got reprovisioned!

Marvin said...

Lana: And isn't it so much better to be reminded of such things via photos and not direct experience?

WR said...

Your posts take my memory back to 2007 when I was living in the back woods of New Hampshire. Frozen dirt roads are tough on the spine but less of a problem than thawed dirt roads and the all engulfing "mud season". I suppose that is a small comfort as one bumps along the road... As always told myself it was better than the frost heaves on the paved road.

I love the photo of the red clay road...very nice series!

Marvin said...

WR: Our situation isn't as bad as in NH and other points farther north. Our ground doesn't freeze nearly as deeply nor does it stay frozen all winter so we don't experience one big Spring Thaw. Instead, we go through cycles of shallow freezing and thawing, gradually working ourselves into a quagmire over the course of the winter.

Rambling Woods said...

You really can't run out to the store can you? I'm glad that things warmed up enough so that you could get out....Michelle

Marvin said...

Michelle: I'm surprised at how often some of our neighbors do make the sixteen mile trip into town, but neither my wife nor I enjoy taking the time out of our day, so we put a trip into town off as long as conveniently possible.

Deb said...

Sometimes bad roads are good roads, unless you need to get somewhere and fast.

I like your roads.

Of course, I don't have to walk/drive them. :-)

Marvin said...

Deb: A couple of times our road became completely impassable. We had to walk in and out until the county got out with a few loads of river rocks. Our "driveway" is actually a county road, though not one they maintain regularly.