After the pavement in front of the house was done, the machines disappeared far down the road and busied themselves on a stretch out of my sight. Finally hiked down after the crews had gone home. Ooooh, the paving machine had gone off its game for a quarter mile. Heavy tires had sunk through the fresh asphalt. The crew had been busy all day filling in ruts and scrambling to fix the damage. A series of long, lumpy patches marred the velvety smoothness of the new pavement. The illusion of perfection was broken, drivers shook as tires bumped and rumbled over the rough edges.
However, my section is lovely. And the next step was installing a shoulder band of crushed gravel to exact width and depth so as to look like fine grey edging on a handsome evening cloak. Unfortunately, I was in town for the day and missed seeing how they got it all so precise. I also wondered why random daubs of white paint appeared down the centre of the road as though someone had dashed along with a paintbrush flicking paint as they ran.
Turned out, the daubs were but guides for the strange machine that appeared next. A workman in hard hat and boots drove along the middle of the road in what was looked very much like a motorized scooter. This scooter was escorted by a pickup truck warning off traffic. As this little contraption putted along, a small spray head sprayed yellow paint in a solid yellow line. The spray head followed the white daubs, covering them over and only showing a slight wobble a the skilled driver kept to the daubs.
So, with the flourish of the yellow stripe, the road was done for the year. I knew that when, at last, a dump trunk showed up to collect all the road warning markers and, the final confirmation, a fellow loaded the portable toilet onto a pickup and drove off along the new road complete with yellow line, neat gravel shoulders and smooth, smooth driving. Left behind are only the stakes driven in at intervals with their mysterious numbers, a couple of cardboard boxes containing, of all things, leftover rock hard asphalt.
Oh, and and the jarring, disfiguring patches.
No worries, the road men say. They intend to return next year and cover all flaws with a whole new layer of paving. Can’t wait!