It’s pothole season once again in Northeast Pennsylvania.
Sometimes it seems like we have just two seasons in NEPA. Pothole season. Pothole patching season. I wonder if there isn’t a conspiracy going on here. That maybe the guys who fix the potholes are out in the dead of the night with shovels, jack hammers and dynamite making new and bigger potholes. Reopening the ones they fixed earlier that day. What other explanation can there be for the miraculous, sometimes overnight appearance, of these suspension breaking monsters?
The Rising ranch abuts what should be a pleasant, sleepy, two lane country road. It’s a narrow stretch called “Old 115” that has a speed suggestion of 35 miles per hour. I say a suggestion because most people travel at 55 miles per hour plus on it and I have watched with silent wonder at a few travelers who were no doubt in training for breaking the land speed record which is 415 miles per hour, set on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Key word there, “flat”. No potholes there. Also, no telephone poles or trees or ditches.
Here on “Old 115″ we have a pothole farm. We grow lots of them and, they are big ones. Magnificent, really. They appear every year which a regularity that you could set your watch by. The people who are working on the land speed record hit them. All the time.
We know this how?
First of all, we hear them hit. It sounds like a sonic boom. Deep, chesty reverberations that could wake you from a drug induced coma. Because this once sleepy road is now, apparently, a superhighway it’s relentless. 24 hours a day we hear hapless motorists slam into these potholes of doom. Boom. Pause. Boom. Brief pause. BOOM! It’s almost, but not quite, hypnotic. Learn to sleep through that distraction and you will sleep with ease through the apocalypse.
Our second tell-tale?
Hubcaps and spare parts.
I used to take the hubcaps and hang them on highway markers, so the owners could reclaim them. I considered myself a good Samaritan. I no longer bother. I would spend all my time doing it.
I have collected enough spare parts ejected from passing vehicles to build a car. Yesterday I found an entire spring and shock absorber assembly. It was at least three feet long and weighed enough that it took me three tries to throw it in the woods.
One of these potholes is more like a crater. You could stand in it. Only the top of your head would show. This evil creature fills with water (when it does this we call it a “lake”) and when the conditions are cold enough the h20 is splashed out by land speed record setters. This then freezes on the rest of the road and soon we hear cars bouncing into trees, telephone poles and landing in ditches.
One year someone skidded off the road and vaporized my poor, defenseless mailbox. We never even found a smell.
I have heard of plans to “improve” this section of road. This summer, I am told, the highway department guys will be out in force with fluorescent orange cones, big machines that beep when they back up and men with bored expressions leaning on shovels. Traffic backups will be the stuff of legends.
I am against this for obvious reasons. The amount of time it will take to do this project will be measured by calendar pages. Misery awaits.
When the road is fixed and is as smooth as a baby’s posterior, the land speed record setters will increase their velocity. What was once just stupid will become insanely dangerous. Cars will be catapulted off the road as if they had jet assisted take off devices mounted in the tailpipes.
Also, how will I ever sleep without the sonic boom of cars hitting the bottom of my pothole farm?
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