Friday, April 1, 2011

An Interesting Traffic Pattern

Where we live, we tend to be quite observant of the traffic that goes by. Our road is an unmarked gravel road, a road we tell friends and visitors where the turn is by the sign on the other side of the road or the distance from the taxidermist who is our "neighbor to the north."

Nice, huh?

Anyway, even though this lovely road is dusty, dirty and only has a handful of houses on either side (thus the need for blokes like us to have blacktop...grrr), it's a thoroughfare to various places. In nearly five years, Joe and I have spent many an evening peering out the windows as well as waving at random people as we play outside with our girls. My findings have led to the beginning of a case study of sorts. I think I will entitle it, Who Goes There? or The Crazies Who Fly Down My Road and Their Destination.

I'm still working on the title.

Anyway, here are my findings:

Group #1: The High School Student
These glorious children are out for a good time, speeding down our road after curfew. We have watched their headlights cut through our fields, go down in our ditches, all the while on the way to a destination, hidden from their parents. I don't want to know what they're doing, but I have an idea (thanks to a good friend who used to frequent the lake by our house in high school himself). Joe has even chased out a few of these kids (man, we're old), following them to make sure their stupid driving tactics and trips through our fields wouldn't knock out the hot wire (aka, electric fence), thus letting the cows out to roam free with these speeding teenagers at 2 AM.
These drivers tend to come out in late night/early morning, generally in the 1 to 3 AM bracket, and keep their speed a steady 60-70 MPH.

Group #2: The Sunday Afternoon Tool Around and Rubberneck Driver
This is a seasonal driver. As my girls and I play outside on a pretty Sunday afternoon in the fall or spring, these drivers, typically males in their upper years (aka old farmers), are just out for a drive. Especially when we were putting up our biggest grain bin (the one we also use as a landmark, as you can see it for miles), we had a lot of these gents. The track tractor my uncle purchased also led to four or five old man pickup trucks and/or Lincoln Continental/other boat like cars to drive by,creeping down our road, swerving as their necks craned to check out what was sitting in our driveway.
These drivers are late afternoon lookers whose speed never tops 20 MPH.

Group #3: The Spoon River Drive People Who Are Just Lost
These folks are very, very rare. Two weekends a year (right around harvest, thus making moving equipment and hauling grain super fun...thank you, crafters!), our area shuts down and gears up for the Spoon River Scenic Drive. If you want anything for your house from crafts to crap, this is the weekend to head to our area. We are between the "hot spots" of Farmington and London Mills, and middle aged women in painted and appliqued sweatshirts tend to think our road will get them to the next stop where they can buy goat's milk lotion and another painted Christmas nativity set faster. I have never seen so many unhappy people buying happy-faced, ruddy cheeked snowmen in my life.
We have had people stop for directions, but generally, these drivers are on a mission, from out of the area, even out of state, whose speed ranges from 30 MPH (to see if I'm selling my ruddy cheeked smiling children) to 50 MPH (to hurry to get to the next stop, the wreaths may be picked over! Hurry!).

Group #4: The Dude on the Lawnmower
Thanks to some field research and local interviews, Joe and I have discovered that our road is a cut through from the Middle Grove Tap (Middle Grove's population is about 14 with a bar count of two ...I think) to My Place in Yates City. Therefore, we have some older, over 21 road trippers who cruise by our house now and again. However, the most recent and most rare of these road trippers is a man on a riding LAWNMOWER. Seriously, this guy must have had some sort of issue with the law and his licensing, but for the past few weeks, he has been up and down our road, past dark, with no lights on. Sounds safe, doesn't it? Last night, as I peered out in wonder, I noticed he even had a small wagon attached to his lawnmower! How fascinating! He's going slow enough that I could probably ask him why the lawnmower, but I don't want to scare such a rare traveler.
His speed never tops 10 MPH (I don't think he can go any faster), and his presence is announced by the typical lawnmower buzz. He generally drives by between 7 PM and 10 PM.

My findings have yielded nothing but true entertainment and curiosity, but as you city folks watch your nine thousand cars pass by in a matter of minutes, think about who is driving. Consider where he or she is going and why. I guess life in the country is good because it's slow for many reasons, especially if your main mode of transportation is a lawn mower!


  1. When we lived in Smithshire our house was on a road leading out of town to a couple houses on a gravel road a mile away. Once a night if one car and then another went by in 15 minutes it was normal but if in this once a night occurrence a third car went by then you had to ask "what's going on?"

  2. too funny! we hae some of these kind of drivers on our road also. the exciting country life we lead. ahaha

  3. Oh Emily, so many of your posts are so relevant to my life!! Although we are lucky enough to have our road black-topped (I'm sure only because the township road commissioner is our "neighbor to the north") we, too, find ourselves peering out at who's driving by! The best entertainment for us is to watch the drivers who are unfamiliar to our area head down the very steep, dirt road, only to come back after realizing they don't want to risk it! Who would have ever thought us Oneida "city girl" neighbors would have become farm wives?!!!!

  4. The road that our farm sits on is a country road but busy....we also have the high-schoolers that fly by, especially this time of year with some spring fever happening:) This is my first time here and am following now. Look forward to reading more!