30 Days of Dirt Roads: We’re not Alone


It’s easy when you’re driving your favorite Dirt Road to feel like you’re the only person out there.  There’s a certain solitude in it, an anonymity.  It’s part of the draw.

And when you’re driving a grain truck, hauling a stock trailer or moving equipment across a Dirt Road,.. you’re really hoping you’re the only person out there!  Dirt Roads aren’t usually equipped with wide-load turnouts or passing lanes.

But all too often, we’re reminded that we’re not alone.  And it’s not that I mind sharing the backroads.  There are plenty to go around.  (Check out yesterday’s post to get the numbers)  It’s just the way they’re being shared.

Take the feature picture from this post for example.  It’s a picture of the gate going into our farm yard.  It’s on a Dirt Road.  A secondary dirt road to be exact.  It branches off from the main County road.

There’s a large gate that can be opened to move machinery & wide vehicles through. (on the right)  And a smaller cattle guard (on the left) so we don’t have to open the big gate every time we head up the road in a pickup.  Pretty self explanatory.

One morning however, we woke up to find the large gate gone.  Well, not gone.  Parts of it were still there.  Along with strange tire tracks.  We found the rest of the gate up the road about a quarter of a mile,…wrapped around a vehicle sitting in the ditch with a flat tire.  I love karma.

Same story, different gate.
IMG_2793 Again, a large gate, this time on the left, and a small cattle guard.

Granted, the path across the cattle guard isn’t well worn, because it isn’t used often.  This gate is open most of the year.

But when it’s closed, it’s closed to keep the cows that are Fall grazing the harvested fields from wandering off.

A few seasons ago, we found this particular gate obliterated, and cows spread over several miles.  It took 3 days and a combined effort with 3 neighbors to get everyone’s animals back where they belonged.

Or how about this kind of use.  This is just off the Dirt Road by the bridge on the way to our place.  It’s a common fishing hole and summer swimming destination.  It’s also a frequently used party spot.  And apparently, a garbage dump.

IMG_2775 At the risk of sounding like a party pooper…. who do they think is going to clean that up?  Their mother?

I’m pretty sure their moms don’t even know they’ve been there.  Yet anyway.  Oh yes, I’d go there.

That’s a tank top at the bottom of that last picture, by the way.  ??  I probably don’t want to know.

And how about this.

IMG_2776 It’s not on a Dirt Road,… but it’s pointing to a Dirt Road.  With a bridge.  That also has frequent traffic not native to the road.

At first I thought it was directions.  For a baby shower maybe?  Optimistic, I know.

I’ve asked some of the neighbors, and nobody seems know the artist, or the intent.

And it doesn’t really matter.  Because these other users of Dirt Roads have been around as long as the roads themselves, and they aren’t going away anytime soon.

I just wish they’d stop and think a little.

About the hours someone will spend picking ditches to clean up their mess.

About the Sunday afternoons with the family lost to fixing gates and rounding up cows to get them back where they belong.

About the nights parents with young drivers will spend worrying whether their kids will meet a drunk driver on the Dirt Road on the way home from a game at school.

About the ag users of these roads– transporting the food that will end up on their table, and the fiber that will be their clothes, or football, or shoes.

The Dirt Road will remain silent.  Harboring secrets.  Forgiving indiscretions.  A forever faithful servant.  Relying on the regular travelers of her beaten path to defend her honor.

And we will. Because we’re not alone.

Check back with us tomorrow for more 30 Days of Dirt Roads.

I’ll see you soon on the Farm (and on a Dirt Road)!   -Shauna


Oh,..one more thing!  Be sure to spend some time with Holly at Farm Progress and her ‘Agriculturists Who Influence’ series and these other awesome blog authors and their 30 Days of Ag series:



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