Tricksy & False
March 24, 2022
It's a free-for-all out there. Addison County drivers navigate with impunity; I recognize the shape of my vehicle but not the color, make, model, or the state of my plates. I believe I could drive through the Walgreen doors, plow the inventory to the ground, and exit the way I came in without much fuss. I'm held in check by a near complete lack of visibility and for the first time in ever, I've run through an entire gallon of wiper fluid in under three months. Given my location that might make sense except I've put gas in my car exactly once since the end of December.
I do the math. In this terrain I get no more than 20 mpg from a fourteen gallon tank. I no longer drive a day or two with the fuel light on because the safety of that average is a myth at the end of the tank. I calculate 8 mpg between the hills, the snow tires, and the mud. I panic at the end of VT 17. Do I drive north where I'm headed? Starksboro's got no gas and the Hinesburg station is a thirteen mile crapshoot. I head south and blow the remaining half gallon on the three and a half miles to Bristol at which point I theoretically consider the Walgreens possibility. Driving through a plate glass window is one thing, taking out a shopper or two is flat out unkind. I won't do it but I'm biased and worry about the seasonal influx of orange plates.
I like mud. I like to dance in puddles but I draw the line at lakes and tar pits. I calculate the odds of making it to pavement and come up with:
DON'T DO THAT, HEATHER! THEY'LL NEVER FIND THE BODY!
I consider walking the two miles to my fiddle lesson but I've got two instruments and I'm fairly certain neither case is mud proof.
The trick, I'm told, is to ride the rails and that might be fine with straight track but I'm looking at a minimum half mile of railroad junction designed exclusively for this part of Vermont by the PA Railroad. The PA Railroad failed to leave a dispatcher and my vehicle is not suited to mogul fields. We, my car and I, make it out in one piece. I am mortified at the prospect of flipping myself into a ditch which is more likely than stuck in a car eating rut because I'm moving too fast to do anything other than bottom out. I'm locked in 4-wheel drive and I have never had to lock into 4-wheel drive, not even on black ice.
Mud Season: Officially Unlikeable. Can't even play in it without losing a boot.
On Tuesday we heard the big trucks come in. The ruts and chasms were filled and leveled and I wondered how often they'd need to do this before true spring arrives. Not many, I'm told. This sort of patchwork is reserved for end of season but I'm not buying it. I walked that stretch on Wednesday and then the rain came back and then it froze and thawed and froze again. That road looks pretty good but it's like the last gallon of gas in the tank. Statistically speaking, I should be able to drive to Hinesburg. Statistically speaking, that road should be solid all the way down.
Sneaky little Hobbitses.