Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Paving On Shoreham Brings Back Memories

Yesterday crews entirely re-paved my part of Shoreham St.  Seeing the machines and smelling the smells brought back lots of memories.

I never had ambitions to be a cross walk guard in grade school but a good job for a high school kid back then was being a flagman for paving crews.

They were always repaving portions of the two highways my family frequently traveled, especially from 5,000 foot elevation of volcanic caldera under Fremont County, Idaho, up the “Ashton Hill” to nearly 8,000 feet over Targhee Pass on the way to the West entrance of Yellowstone or the more than 8,000 foot Teton pass heading to Jackson Hole.

The machines were wider and had more stations of course than the one you see in the video at my driveway above.  But the process was the same, a stream of trucks running ahead of the paver to dump hot asphalt into the machine.  They were followed by another job I envied back then, driving the big rollers to smooth and compress the pavement.

I guess I come by it honest, in 1915, once the grain had been harvested and livestock had been auctioned and before he began breaking colts during the winter, my Grandfather Mel Bowman and a friend each took four-horse wagons and hauled cement up the passes and into Wyoming for the construction of the Jackson Dam just east of Moran.  Four days over, two days back for $80.

The smells of pavement yesterday brought back good memories of the smells of forest and sage and the quiet, lonely periods when a flagman for a paving crew can only hear the wind and the birds.

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