Sunday, May 15, 2005

Duck Pond Road

I took a birthday ride this afternoon after brunch in Newport with Amy, Dwight, and Andy and all of the little dogs. It was nice.

I had wanted to see Duck Pond and I still haven't seen it: the road became too hazardous for my car. Seeing as I have never changed a tire, and that I am now taking the importance of tires in Vermont very seriously, I decided not to risk the rough trail to the pond.

Duck Pond Road begins in Barton, off of Rte 5 and ends up going parallel to I-91 all the way into Sheffield. The homes are what you would expect; some single-wides, double-wides, and some framed homes. The woods are deep. But many lots are cut for camps. There are a lot of trash sites, which is a damn shame. The road was bad in places with boulders cutting underneath the car. On one steep corner I nearly collided with a young woman who thought nothing of taking the road and the conditions too fast. She scowled at me.

In Sheffield, Duck Pond Road travels underneath I-91 through two huge culverts. You travel right through the median. The highway fence is on either side of this section, and obviously this helps wildlife travel from one side of the highway to the other.

Duck Pond Road Trip - 1.JPG

I turned left after this section and came upon a large sugar bush. It was after this section that the road became bad and I turned back

Duck Pond Road Trip - 4.JPG

I drove down into Sheffield, then into Wheelock to reach Barton through Sutton on the Underpass Road. Sutton reminded me of Brownington. The town is off all of the state roads. It is clean and has old trees lining the roads. The houses are not like in Barton but more like Connecticut. There seems to be money in Sutton. On the way out of town I found a waterfall by the side of the road:

Duck Pond Road Trip - 5.JPG

And finally I went through the underpass off of Rte. 5. This is the infamous underpass where last summer's Agway bandits, who stole a truck at the campground at Willoughby, crashed the truck, breaking the driver's legs. Both legs. He was taken to Dartmouth hospital but not arrested. Nobody knew who had jurisdiction and he was heavily medicated so there seemed to be no rush. But the next day the bandit wheeled himself out of the hospital and escaped. He was found the next day hiding out in Lyndonville.

Duck Pond Road Trip - 6.JPG

It was an enjoyable ride. It calmed me down.

I never would have completed it with those old winter tires.

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Saturday, May 14, 2005


Last Friday, May 6, I had my snow tires taken off. They were in such bad shape they were illegal: they were worn past the tread and the "core" (I think that is the name) was showing. This core looks fibrous. Now I know why I had so many problems driving this winter and was skidding in water and even on gravel and dry pavement.

In November I remember that I called Dwayne at home at night and told him I didn't know if I could go to work the next day. I was clearly having a panic attack because I had slid down the hill near the veterinarian's office in Newport at a slight angle. He now tells everyone that he has never known anyone so afraid of winter driving. I remember the first year with those tires: I had caution and no fear. Next year will be like that. For another three hundred dollars I can be without fear.

In Hartford I never once worried about tires. No one cared if they were bald or bad. There were no hills. The commute was two miles. And school was cancelled for any reason at all. There were no white-outs, no roads with an inch of dry powder or an inch of icy slush. And if you did skid, you wouldn't fall into a ditch and flip over. You would only hit another car or a curb. You weren't going fast enough in city traffic to get hurt.

I bought those old tires in October, 2002. So that is three winters with them plus a part of one summer because I couldn't afford summer tires in May. From now on I will just use winter tires for two seasons. From November first to May first. That's the plan.

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