Events Page

Gravel Driveway (April 2019)

The Spring of 2019 was very, VERY wet. We had put gravel on the driveway into the west pasture several years earlier and we discovered it was not enough when we tried to move the mobile cattle corral into the pasture in preparation for the vet visit in April. The van got stuck in the driveway as we tried to back the panel trailer through the gate. The hubby disconnected the trailer and then went for the tractor. He left the tractor on the road and used the winch to assist pulling the van as I 'drove' the van forward. Without the weight of the trailer and with the assistance of the winch, we inched the van back to the road. The hubby moved the tractor out of the way and I drove the van back to the house (spewing chunks of mud from the tires all the way). Then the hubby backed the tractor (with its great big rear wheels designed for mud et al) up to the trailer, hooked it up, and drove it back to the house as well.

Luckily, the pasture south of the house was not as soggy as the west pasture driveway and we were able to set up for the vet visit there (and shift the visit back a week for which we had to pay a second visit fee).

There was no way that west pasture driveway was going to allow passage of a truck and cattle trailer loaded with steers going to processing. And there was no way it would also handle a second rig to haul the rest of the herd to their new home. We had to get gravel on that driveway, but FAST since it was only a few weeks until the steers had to be taken for processing.

I called Robby Hotmer (Hotmer Excavation, LLC in Odessa MO, 816.263.0055) because he and his crew did such a great job on the drainage around the garage to ask about whether they could fit us in for some 'flat work' SOON. As I recall, the wet weather had messed up his job schedule and he happened to have time. Lucky for us! He came out and looked at the driveway and determined how much gravel we needed, the appropriate size gravel, and arranged for it to be delivered. At first he thought the delivery person would be able to spread it as it was dumped and I thought I could use rake to shift what needed moving after that. I was wrong (not the first time and not the last, LOL).

As you can see in this image, the gravel driveway had become covered in dirt, cow plop and grown over completely. This was usually not a problem but the wet weather created a muddy bed even with gravel under the top layer of new soil.

In preparation for the dump truck, we marked the edges of the driveway beyond the gate with those yellow step in posts. There is a slight curve to the left about 40 feet in.

I also opened the gates and secured them with bungee cords to the fence so they would not close accidentally while we were working there.

The cattle were in the far field with the electric fencing live so no worries about cattle on this occasion.

Here is the dump truck with a full load of 2" gravel.

This image is to show the gravel road and how there is a REALLY deep ditch on the north (left in the image) side of the road.

Directly across from the driveway to the west pasture, there had been a collapse the previous year and the road crew had 'repaired' it by putting in gravel to create a rounded slope.

I'm sure if that dump truck were to get into that rounded slope, there would have been trouble.

Thankfully, the dump truck driver was skilled!

He first tried to back into the driveway from the road and turn at the same time. You might be able to see in the image at left the DEEP ruts from that first attempt next to the second set of deep ruts that go a bit further into the driveway.

He ended up maneuvering the truck on the road without getting into that ditch so he could back straight into the driveway.

Normally, he would have backed all the way in and dumped the gravel as he pulled out. This was not a normal day.

In this image also, you see he has started lifting the back to start a trickle of gravel onto the driveway where the deep ruts are.

This is just a better angle of the truck on the road.

The decision he made was to distribute a thick layer of the gravel onto the driveway AS HE BACKED UP.

In this way, the gravel would support the weight of the truck and allow him to continue backing as far as he could.

This image shows the first layer as he backed up.

He then pulled forward and did the same thing a second time but moved to our right (west) as he did so.

That should explain the large rut you see on our right side of the truck since there was less gravel hitting the ground before he backed over it.

This is the result of his fine efforts. The need to spread a deeper layer of the gravel so he could use it to support the weight of the truck resulted in not having the gravel go as far as we hoped.

We thought it would be enough to cover the 20-foot width of the initial driveway completely and extend another 40 to 60 feet into the pasture.

These remaining images were taken a week later. I had tried to use a rake to spread out the gravel, but that 2" gravel is big and heavy and my little efforts were only successful to the extent of lowering the mounds along the tire tracks of the dump truck (which had to be done to close the gate).

I came back with a shovel and was able to shift a bit of the gravel into the deep ruts close to the road.

Let me tell you, shoveling heavy gravel is back-breaking work and I was (and am) definitely NOT up to that.

I took these images to send to Robby so I could adequately explain why I needed his help spreading out the gravel after all.

The hubby had raised the gate about 5" in anticipation of the gravel and we figured there would be a couple of inches clearance after it arrived.

As you can see the gate barely clears the gravel.

This image also shows you just how BIG the gravel is. We needed these big chunks because they need to bite down into the mud and not get lost in the process.

Robby was able to send a crewman out a week later and that guy was amazing with his bobcat! I was SO impressed and jealous of his work with that 'toy' that I completely forgot to take pictures!

And as you may have discovered from this website -- if you have looked at it at all -- I ALWAYS have my camera handy and take LOTS AND LOTS of pictures.

I kept thinking how I wished I had known about this kind of job back when I was figuring out what I wanted to do for a living. I enjoy construction and from what I've been told, the controls of a bobcat are much like using a joystick (or like the controls for my Dad's motor boat back in the 70s - which I was quite good at driving). I must tell you I was feeling pretty sorry for myself by the time he had finished and we had chatted a while (until it started to rain). Women were especially unwelcome in the construction industry until the last couple of decades. Even if I had known about the job of bobcat operator, it is unlikely I would have been hired for it.

And then I watched the fellow drive the bobcat up onto the HUGE transport trailer, maneuver the BIG chains around the tires to keep it in place and manhandle the lever to cinch them down. As he did that on the second tire, the chain BROKE! Thankfully, it did not hit him (or me) as it flew. Luckily, there was enough chain left to try it again and this time it cinched down fine.

Between the amount of effort it took to work that lever and the danger of the flying, broken link/chain... I decided I'm happy with not having taken up that job after all. LOL. (I do still envy them.)

Costs? All totalled for the gravel (15 tons of 2" clean gravel) and the bobcat work it was $450+/-. Definitely worth every penny.

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