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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Lots of  snow today - nasty driving and lots of accidents on the roads.  I think the snow has stopped now, but we got several inches of mushy, wet stuff that was too wet to snowblow, too heavy to shovel, and too gushy to drive in.  Fred had to go into St. J. this afternoon and fortunately he got back before the driving got too bad.  Around 5 o'clock things were pretty well tied up on Route 2.  There was a truck that couldn't get going after having to stop at the light in Danville - no surprise there, anyone with any experience driving around here in winter would know that making folks stop there when it's slippery would be a really bad idea; then there were trucks in trouble west out by Molly's Falls dam - the new stretch of road that cost millions and still has more curves than a super model.  Yesterday there was someone off at the bridge in South Cabot that was replaced (near Goodrich's) and "straightened" - sort of makes one wonder.  Seems like an awful lot of money gets spent without much benefit.  

I've just been reading about the turnpikes that were popular many years ago when roads were first being plotted in New England.  It seems the idea was to send the road on the straightest possible direction to its destination, regardless of hills and swamps.  We know the Bayley-Hazen military road was laid out that way, but a lot of the old turnpike roads were the same, and then the corporation that built them put gates on bridges or at other strategic spots and people had to pay to use them.  The fees were expected to cover keeping the roads in good repair, but that didn't always work out.  Our region didn't have many turnpike roads.  There was at one time a short span between Danville and St. Johnsbury that was supposed to connect to one in Littleton, but they couldn't decide which bridge to use in Waterford to cross the Connecticut River, and finally the charter ran out so it was never finished.  There was another span between Burlington and Montpelier, and then some in the southern part of the state, and a few short scattered spans along the Conneticut River and Wells River communities. That was in the early 1800's, and the roads had to be constructed by hand, using crude shovels and felling trees for corduroy-fashioned stretches through marshes and swamps.  They were better than the Indian trails that were used earlier, but not by much.  I wonder if they still charged during the winter.  I suppose a few people had to use them in winter, but that was before such things a snow rollers were available, and keeping them open, even for foot traffic would be difficult.

All this snow is the envy of Fred's brother, Tom, in Colorado.  He sent this picture of green grass where they live in Beaver Creek.  From what he said, there isn't a great deal of snow in the mountains yet, either.  It doesn't look very Christmasy outside, but inside Ella has decorated and "Grizzly" looks pretty comfortable.  He gets to go with Ella a couple times during the day along the walking path near the condo where they live.  When winter finally sets in it will be pretty cold and then they shorten their walks, but for now it looks more like fall in Vermont than winter in Colorado, and I'm sure they both enjoy being outside.

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