the drawbacks of living out in the country is during extremely dry times the dirt
roads have a tendency to form series of small ridges on the surface, which I call
washboarding. I have heard many theories of why this happens, none of which I
believe in full. About the only plus of washboardy roads is the jokes spawned
while rattling along the byway. |
Ruth and I once visited the Indian ruins
of Chaco Canyon in New
Mexico. The access road was some 29 miles of the worst washboard surface we
had ever encountered. Our van was nearly shook to pieces before we finally finished
back at the Indian trading post where we turned off the highway.
for a cold drink and remarked to the lady proprietor about the condition of the
road. With a totally straight face she replied, “The Anazazi Indians left the
area about 1100 AD. As far as we know that was the last time the road was graded.”
A neighbor whose elderly father had spent his entire life on the family land located
at the end of a long dirt road, gave him a birthday present by taking him to see
“Texas” in the Palo Duro
Canyon. A few days later one of his neighbors asked, “Well, how did you enjoy
The old man answered, “It was sure pretty nice, and the road
was paved all the way down and all the way back home.” I’ll bet his road got pretty
washboardy down through the years.
doubt the weather, especially drought, takes its toll on the many dirt and caliche
roads in the Texas Panhandle.
The County employees do a good job in spite of the weather and dwindling budgets
each year. Most of them could write a book on the excuses and reasons they have
heard about why a particular road should be graded immediately. Here are a few
Recently at the Alanreed Coffee Shop, the Gray County precinct
foreman dropped in for coffee. The “slurpers” present started in with stories.
One man stated, “My road is so rough my false teeth rattle loose every time I
travel to get the mail or go to town. I have to use Gorilla Glue to keep them
A second man related, “My road is so rough, my hearing aids
turn on high, go to squealing and finally fall out into the seat.” A third man
said, “When I take my daughter to school the ride is so rough her gym socks fall
down around her ankles and they got elastic in the tops.” The foreman never batted
an eye and quietly sipped his coffee.
The last man solemnly stated, “Each
time I carry my wife to town for groceries, her pantyhose rattle down to her knees
and when we hit the pavement we have to stop and let her redress.”
that remark the foreman put his cup down, pulled his cell phone from his pocket
and called the motor grader operator and said, “Drop whatever you are doing and
come grade County Road Y immediately.” Now, that is the truth, so help me!
© Delbert Trew
- October 25,
Trew is a freelance writer and retired rancher. He can be reached at 806-779-3164,
by mail at Box A, Alanreed, TX 79002, or by email at trew firstname.lastname@example.org.
For books see delberttrew.com. His column appears weekly.
Texas Ranching | Columns
| Texas Panhandle | Texas