gravel drive

My drive is 220 ft long and is a gravel drive with most of the original gravel buried, worn or washed away.  Time for a new face.  I contacted the local trucking company and dispatch was not available but the accounting lady, who acknowledged she was not very knowledgeable about gravel, suggested that #34 gravel would work and that it costs $30.50 a ton.  A ton is 2,000 lbs which is what she was referring to, though there is also a metric ton which is defined as 1,000 kg which equates to 2,204.6 lbs.  The trucking company uses 17 ton trucks so a truck load would be approximately $518.50 (17 * $30.50).  I asked her to check with dispatch for a shipping date and to confirm that #34 was the right grade gravel.  She called back with a shipping date and said dispatch also mentioned #57 gravel but she wasn’t sure which grade dispatch recommended.  Time for research  – and I found that #34 is  2″- 3″ diameter, and #57 is 0.75″ to 1.5″ diameter and is the recommended grade for drives.  (Larger sized gravel can be used as the base on which #57 is packed, but my drive does not need a base.)  So I ordered 2 truck loads of #57, which costs $28.50 per ton.

The drive is reasonably smooth and on a hill and I previously dealt with crossing rainwater by digging a diversion ditch on the uphill side of the drive.  Delivery day it was raining incessantly and continued for the next day and until lunchtime the day after.  Which is when the trucking company called and said they would really like to deliver the 2 loads.  When the truck arrived I asked the driver if he could spread the load as I have seen often done by slowly raising the bed as he drives slowly forward.  He said this needed chains and, after a pause, that he had chains in his cab.  Clearly this was a favor.  And I tend to be independent, eschewing favors.  I said do the best you can without chains.  To do this he said he would have to angle across the drive and his left rear wheels skewed off the drive and began churning up mud.  I said to forget spreading and just dump the load on the drive.  Which he did and took off for the next load.

And now to spread the 35,000 lbs of gravel (17 tons*2,000lbs) I fired up my bobcat which I repaired painfully slowly earlier this year (see posts).  It worked fine and I had almost all the gravel spread when the dump truck arrived with the second load.  Total delivered was 35.94 tons at $28.50 for a total of $1,024.29.

I will not say it was easy spreading the gravel since it has a tendency to slide off to the sides of the drive and my objective was to do all the work with the bobcat and minimal work with a shovel.  So it took time and looked a bit disheveled when I was done.  But next day I started packing it down with my Murray lawn tractor and it is looking better.  Some collateral damage – the large wheel ruts on the side of the drive are still prominent and the raised truck bed ripped away a large branch leaving half behind which I sized down safely with my powered pole saw.  And, I hope with time, the gravel will pack down nicely and give years of service.

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