I don’t believe that any inanimate object has directed and re-directed the course of my life more than has this Hole.
On March 24th, 2012, we had massive thunderstorms that brought large damaging hail and widespread flooding. These storms began the development of the Hole. It is located almost exactly half way between the Bairds’ and the Browns’. Since the Bairds and the Browns like one another and seem to get along pretty well, they like to spend time together. In addition, the Bairds’ horse is located at the Browns’ and requires the Bairds’ care once to twice daily.
At first, the Hole wasn’t too bad. It consumed and swallowed one lane, but could still be bypassed on the other side, if not by car, then on foot, bicycle or on horseback. Time passed, and with each rainfall, heavy or otherwise, a little more asphalt became Hole fodder. A few weeks or so after the initial wash, someone (I’m assuming with the County, but that may be a faulty assumption) finally came and trenched out the entire road. It appeared that, even though at that point there was a gully beneath the full width of the road bridged only by about 12 inches of asphalt, some fools were still taking cars and tractors through the roadblocks and over the Hole.
Once trenched, passage by means other the motor vehicle became impossible, to most. Not to me and my intrepid Mother. We are nothing if not resourceful, and the fact that two trips a day to the Browns’ equals about 15 miles in a truck that gets about 6 miles to the gallon, something had to be done. So we continued our biking and walking, simply climbing down into the Hole and back out the other side. Yes, it is muddy and a little treacherous, but you do what you gotta do.
More rains came and turned our foot path through the Hole into a slip ‘n’ slide. Resourcefulness won again. I drove over in the truck with digging tools in tow and dug steps into the bank of the Hole. It was fantastic! Mom and I could walk or take our bikes across in seconds with little danger.
More rain, this time a gully washer. During my trip the morning following, I found half of our pathway washed away, and in its place a baby Hole that revealed the broken drain pipe and dropped five feet into running water. Ick.
That was the Hole that broke the Baird’s back. I got on the phone with VDOT to find out what was going on with this 3 month long pain in my rear end. I mean, they’d been out to put up barricades and signs, and trenched it out; we just assumed efforts were being made to fix it. That was also a faulty assumption. There was no work-order started for the Hole. There was no record at all of a giant gaping Hole present in Carroll County.
Don’t you love government?
The lady I spoke with was really nice and helpful, and she started a work order and gave me the number, and told me to call and check on the status as often as I liked, and to pass on the information to neighbors so they could also call on it as they felt so compelled.
This was around 9 am. Around 4 pm, I got a call from a local number. It was a VDOT supervisor, calling me from his truck. He was also very nice, and told me that he’d just gotten his water permit allowing him to fix the Hole, and he’d given the county their required two-weeks’ notice. He said they have Rome Drive on their docket for the first week in July. Second week at the latest, due to the holiday. And he told me that since I was the one to call, he wanted me to be the first to know, and for me to get busy spreading the word to the locals.
The Hole is still passable on foot, but requires two people to get a bike in and out of it. So Mom and I are still crossing it as we are able. At least for the moment, Sully only needs my attention once per day since he’s on pasture.
I will say that my bicycle has proven to be the best money I’ve spent this year. Without it, I think we’d have been put in the hole by the Hole, ironically enough.