Monday, January 21, 2013

S Hill Road

My daughter needed a ride today to a fellow student's house to work on a school project with some other kids. (Brief parental sputter: what possesses teachers to assign out-of-school homework that has to be done in a group on a school holiday? Do they have no comprehension that our district is like a hundred miles wide? And it's the middle of January? And that most kids don't have their own cars? And that maybe, just maybe, a parent might like to enjoy a day off without having to drive her kid somewhere?)

Anyway, we printed out directions from Google and saw that this kid lived on S Hill Road. Well, I assumed that was short for South Hill Road, and, like Treebeard, I always assume that going south is going gently down hill, and warm, to boot.


The road is named after its shape, and it was straight up. And it wasn't plowed or sanded. And the kid lived at the top.

Since we had our January Thaw last week, the dirt roads all turned to mud. Now they're frozen into ruts. This prevents one from getting a good head of steam built up at the bottom. And S Hill Road starts going vertical from a sharp right turn.

I could have turned around, gone home, and written the teacher a nasty email about what he could do with his assignment. But no, I'm a dedicated mom, so up the hill I went. And started to spin almost immediately.

Backing down was not an option. (I don't back well in the best of conditions, and going down unsanded, unplowed, rutty S Hill wasn't the best of conditions.) I managed to get my right tires out of the frozen ruts into the loose snow on the edge of the ditch and my left tires into the loose snow in the middle of the road. That helped a little, but did I mention how narrow this road is? I was still spinning, but I was going up. My daughter wasn't saying much. She was on the ditch side.

At last we made it. I dropped her off, turned around  and hit my brakes. The view was astounding. Mt. Mansfield, right in front of me. I grabbed my camera, took my time, took a bunch of photos, feeling adrenaline pumping through me. The reward for courage! What a view! I couldn't tear myself away from it. (Of course, this had nothing to do with the fact that I now had to go down S Hill. Which empties right on to the main road without the slightest bit of level ground first.)

Okay. Put camera away. Put it in drive. Low gear. Foot off the brake. (I never get that part. I know I'm going to skid anyway, so wouldn't it be better to skid slowly than quickly? And how am I going to stop at the bottom without using the brake? On the other hand, there is something to be said for getting the inevitable over with fast instead of in slow motion.)

So down the hill I go, holding my breath, sinking my fingers into the wheel, and hugging the ditch again. Half way down, a rut grabs me. I freak and go for the brake. Fortunately, I just slow down and don't skid. In fact, I just give control over to the set of ruts I'm in, and let them guide me down. A few moments later, I'm nicely stopped at the edge of the main road.


Except, wait a minute! My kid is up there now! I have to do that whole damn thing again in two hours!

Oh, that teacher is going to get a nasty email He can go pick her up if he wants that project done so badly!

But here is the view:

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