I love living in the country, I really do.
Except with it’s icy.
Or when the snow is so deep that it’s drifted higher than the minivan, which happened one year.
Or when it’s muddy.
Sometimes I even hate when there is fresh gravel.
Call me a pessimist, or one of those people you can just never make happy.
While driving home the other day, I felt kind of like this: click to view mud racers
Now, seriously, our road isn’t THAT bad, yet, but sometimes you grip the wheel and hold your breath.
I’m not known for putting around, although I find the older I get the slower I drive, so driving in mud this week has been an experiment.
If the road is “just right” 50 or 55 isn’t impossible to travel at.
“Just right” means that none of the above conditions exist.
A road that is “just right” means that the gravel has been laid, but enough traffic has driven on it so that it’s pressed into the ground.
If fresh gravel has been applied to a dry road there are two scenarios.
If you are lucky enough to have new tires on your car, the tires will pick up that gravel and throw it at the sides of your car making you cringe if you have a nice paint job.
If your tires won’t catch the gravel you kind of “hydroplane” across the gravel.
This week I slowed down to 40 mph knowing that there was no way I’d stay on the road at 50 or 55. Driving in the mud is a lot like driving on snow except that you can feel the car becoming sucked into quicksand. Now when I say that, I’m sure you picture as I do, the old TV shows where people are being sucked into the ground and just in time someone hands them a large branch to fish them out.
It’s kind of like that when driving in mud. You grip the wheel and hold your breath, hoping that you don’t have to make the embarrassing call for a tow truck.
At 40mph I felt like I had a good shot of getting through the mud, on the flip side when you top the hill and are going down the other side in mud, you aren’t sure whether you are having fun or are about to end up in the ditch where the mud decided to launch you.
So I slowed down to 30 mph.
30 mph while driving in mud isn’t bad if it’s flat. Going up a hill it’s just about right, but again you’re on your own going down the other side.
So I thought as long as we’re playing around and I have to drive on this road, let’s try 20 mph. That was obviously too slow. To be honest, I had JUST washed my car and was trying to keep it clean. You CAN get through MOST of the mud, at this speed, but it is excruciating to do. When you drive a small car as I do, the mud scrapes across the bottom and you can hear it mocking your stupidity at trying to drive over it.
After finally arriving home, I pulled up to the mailbox to retrieve the mail. That was a mistake.
Sliding into the mailbox, and knocking my mirror back and unable to move, I thought for sure that I was going to be calling a tow truck.
My instincts told me to try to rock the car like you do when you are stuck in the snow.
There is no rocking when you are stuck in the mud.
There is digging.
There is also, if you’re lucky, the ability to use common sense.
I didn’t when I pulled up to the mailbox.
But if you take a second to assess your situation and picture what is happening below the car, you realize that you need to straighten your wheels and aim for something that is NOT as muddy. You take a deep breath and try to find that creeping, but not digging a hole speed. If you’re lucky, you find it.
Feeling relieved that I was able to get out of the mud I was now ready to tackle the muddy driveway, while noting that there will be no way to retrieve the mail without sinking in 6 inches of mud.
I won’t complain. I’d rather deal with mud in January than ice and snow. Well, at least ice.
I kind of chuckled thinking, if my car could talk, it would be crying and asking, me to go back to San Antonio where it came from. Back to the concrete jungle where it’s owner would never dream of driving her baby like it’s been driven in the last year.
It’s sad to see the first signs of rust on the wheels of my 2002 car. On the heels of that thought is again the practical side of me.
If I coat the bottom of it in this mud, would it protect it from the salt?