A continuing tale of life in the boonies

No. 197

Stars of the Moonscape

"I s'pose they got my name written all over 'em," said a jovial Clark Hackett when told the Potholes, Frost Heaves and Sinkholes contest had attracted a bumper crop of entries. But hardly so! Nominations bounced in from all over.

Mind you, Rick Washburn of Clarkie's Road Crew does have the biggest entry, a two-mile long exhilarating toboggan run known in smoother times as Meetinghouse Hill Road but now dubbed "Luge-ing Streak." And Mike Whaley is favoring the high and mighty "Heave Ho" near Farmington Mill Pond. Guy Richardson of Middleton also turned in a pothole in the Farmington section of Route 153, but, this being regarded as a hostile act, Ramgunshoch of Farmington immediately fired back with a sinkhole on the Middleton section of the same road.

"Bert George Gorge," a mind-boggling feature of Oak Street, Gonic, previously nominated by Randy Orvis of Farmington, gets another plug from Harvey Bernier of Rochester. Gloria Sylvain of Four Rod Road is rooting for "The Body Snatcher," a drive-in horror show outside her house; Linda Waldron sings the praises of "Lowell's Hole" and other staff at Strafford County Superior Court point and yell about "Pickering Road Pit."

An alarming heave called, "Sobering Thought," right on Route 11 near the New Durham/Farmington line is suggested by Joan Bittrolff, and while in New Durham let us not ignore Brad Bowden's dramatic "Mt. Plummet" on Valley Road. Strafford, too, has its claim to fame with "Dump Bump" a dangerous animal which attacked Josh Black among others.

Also in the running - Craig Lancy's "Hully Gully" on Ten Rod Road, Susan Williamson's "Sink HooOOoole" on Whitehall Road, Rochester, and Ken Gilbert's "Pip" lurking on Rand Hill Road, Alton. But...after courageously test-driving these suckers and weighing the aptness of the titles, the 1992 Rochester Courier Trophy for Pothole, Frost Heave or Sink Hole of the Year goes to Milton.

This year's winners are 7-year-olds Brendon and Justin Campbell of Hare Road who have named a monster frost heave near neighboring Mrs. Wood's house "Buddy Bumper - because we bump into our buddies when the bus goes over it."

Now, let's hope things will begin to settle down for another year.

Glacier news

River Road, made famous by the presence of Hackett's Crevasse, had hoped to sink back into thankful oblivion after this piece of geological absurdism was dealt a crushing blow by 16 loads of hot top. Well, dream on! Allow me to introduce Thibodeau's Glacier (thoughtfully named after the person it is liable to bug most) and which consists of a 30-yard ice field just at the end of the dirt section of River Road.

"Aha!" think motorists, "the end of the dirt section!" But instead of gliding onto macadam unwary drivers suddenly find themselves hurtling hither and thither on the most startling stretch of ice this side of the Yukon.

And Thibodeau's Glacier ain't gonna give up easy. The gallant road crew was out the other day, armed with a compressor, a steam maker and a long metal pipe. This plan of attack (pioneered during the Medieval Crusades) is to suddenly poke the pipe, gushing steam the while, up unsuspecting culverts, hoping to surprise the ice and scare it into melting. But the ice near Thibodeau's Glacier refused to come out with its hands up, and so with this Brenner Pass of a culvert still jammed, River Road's newest tourist attraction will be with us for a few weeks yet...unless, that is, the Road Crew refuse to be licked and return with a flame thrower. Remember that Battle of Pork Chop Hill?

Compressor news II

As Clark is always needing the compressor for something, whether it be launching assaults on glaciers or sand blasting plow blades, he told the selectman this week that it would be better to buy one than keep renting at $50 per day. He knows a peach of a compressor deal, it turns out, where for $4,500 the town gets a three-year old beauty complete with deluxe attachments like a moisture separator. Clark reckoned that with the money he had budgeted for compressor hire and this year's savings in snow plowing overtime he could come up with half the money and Dale from the water department could spring for the rest.

Under fierce questioning from Biff Silvia, however, it was conceded that the road crew might use the compressor 60 percent of the time, but Clark then countered that Dale got more shots of the backhoe.

"Dale is paying for 75 percent of the backhoe," said Biff.

"He uses it 90 percent of the time," protested Clark, and so the jolly banter went back and forth.

Ramgunshoch chipped in to suggest the Recreation Department could help pay for the compressor and then use it to inflate balloons for the Henry Wilson Winter Carnival. And, in this vein, the Library also could purchase a share and blast the dust out of its books annually and Fitch could employ the flame-throwing attachment in his defensive bulwark against that approaching infidel - Rabies.

Anyway, Dale, when told of Clarkie's 50/50 split idea, blinked in disbelief and said he only used a compressor five days a year. The selectmen then swung towards having the road crew pay for the whole shooting match, but Dale insisted on helping out some on the grounds that he wouldn't get to use the compressor otherwise. The final score: Road Crew 78 - Water Department 22.

Recreation news

Twice Gardener-of-the-Month Bubber Haycock has just returned from his annual vacation in Daytona Beach, and this year he comes bearing a handsome trophy, the fruit of a motorcycle win. Bubber's Harley was judged the Bike of the Decade, 1970s Division, in no less a contest than the Rat's Hole Broadwalk Coke Classic.

Bubber's horticultural tip for March, incidentally, is to lay your hands on one of those flame-throwers and thaw out your plot early. Then you get the jump on those gardening green thumbs, the Woman's Club. But, check with Joel about a fire permit, first.

March 21, 1992

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