Liberty Nature Preserve


Driveway Development

Well, this is my best guess-timate for the route.  It is Plan B.  We scrapped Plan A because it was less interesting and too straight.  For the record, Plan A was a straight line/direct route between the east end of the access lane and the last road segment that leads to the existing pond area (you may be able to see it very faintly as I erased it from the plan).  Plan B adds about 250 more feet of road, but it is much more interesting and adds appeal to the journey.  Yes, it also adds cost in equipment time, gravel and aggregate, and underground utilities, but the resulting scenic drive far out-weighs the cost. 

Many apologies for the random waviness and then blocky and sharp cornered route sketch; it is only an estimate.  The outline of the existing pond is the circle with the wavy lines in it.  The surrounding tear-drop shape is the existing opening in the woods.  The outline surrounding all this is the approx. estimate of the completed pond shoreline.  The 2 dotted parallel lines are the location of the embankment dam.  The stupid little house icon is the approx. location of building site option #2 (the most likely option).  I conjured up this pond shape and location based solely on the topo maps, surveys, and walking the property a buncha times.  As hard as I try to be realistic on my drawings and calculations, I have difficulty believing this rendering to be appears to yield about 5 acres of water surface.  John the excavator is guessing about 4 acres.  We will see.  Like John says, it ALL changes when you start clearing.

The total distance from the entrance at the county road to the edge of the existing pond is about 2030 feet (.38 mile).  The last straight leg of the drive (the last straight section that runs to the pond) is about 165 ft. long.  This last 165' leg will serve 2 purposes.  First, it will be the access for the heavy equipment to clear the pond area...and...second, it will ultimately be the road to the boat launch when the project is completed.  When the time comes to begin construction of a cabin, a new leg of drive will be attached at this last bend in the drive (the last bend nearest the pond).  It will likely run due north to the building site, creating a split in the route to the boat launch and one to the home.  The proposed sand beach area will lay between the launch area and the homesite.

   The plan to break ground for the drive is going to start soon, so time to clean up the entire meadow adjacent to the county road and locate the specific route.  We mowed it all down with the garden tractor and used marking spray paint (kinda tuff to mark it when the vegetation is 3 feet tall....besides, it looks much better mowed).

  A look into the hole into the woods about 500 feet from the county road.  The drive will actually veer about 30 feet to the right of this hole and head up to the top of a ridge.  The "bump" in the center area of the access lane (see the plan at the top of the page) is this area.  The top of the bump is where the drive enters the woods.

  Looking from the edge of the woods toward the county road....all mowed and marked with spray paint.  Just the other side of the truck is a row of very young pine trees that run from the woods out to the road.  These were planted by the neighbor on his property about 10 feet the other side of the property line.  We will locate the meadow portion of our driveway parallel to these trees, about 25 feet on our side of the same property line.  Our portion of this meadow area varies in width slightly, but averages about 100 feet wide. 

Time to break ground.....

Well, the phone call came from John, our excavator; time to start moving dirt and trees.  He is going to use a dozer, track hoe, and an earth mover.  The primary players for this phase are the dozer and the track hoe (back hoe with tracks or also called an excavator).  The earth mover will be used to core the drive in preparation for the base stone, but that's about it. 

He and Red are going to handle this part of the project.  Red is a retired heavy equipment operator that works with John....I don't even know what Red's real name is or if it is actually "Red"....doesn't matter.  After a few hours of watching John and Red whip that dozer and back hoe into an orchestrated dance of heavy equipment creation, names don't matter anymore.  Even the destruction part of the job comes off as somewhat poetic.  These guys are ready to rumble. 

In the course of 2 days, they were able to open up the entrance at the county road and beat thru about 1400 feet of woods to open up the entire driveway.  This includes creating 3 burn piles of wasted timber, burning all 3, and burying one of 'em.  The other 2 will be buried in the very near future. The 600 feet of open meadow adjacent to the county road is where the earth mover will come in handy in the next couple of days.  It will be used to core the drive area here, also, in preparation for the base stone.  They were also able to pull 2 soil samples from the proposed pond area.  I am very pleased to report that the findings were rewarding; good clay was found in each.  These were 2 full days of awesome exhibition.  I am sure that John and Red would tell you that it was just another day on the job.

The link below is a photo album of the activity during these first 2 days.  It is 3 pages; a page guide is in the upper right hand corner of the screen and the buttons at the top will operate a nice slide show, or one pic at a time.  Click on one of the "photo thumbs" to get things started. 

Driveway (rough) development (click here)

OK, roll in the truck-loads of gravel.....

So, I guess I under-estimated the required gravel to set the base for the driveway.  I figured all the dimensions using an average of 5" thick for the entire length and got about 1 million pounds.  At the completion of 2-1/2 days of gravel delivery and the subsequent spreading and running it into the sub-soil, the actual quantity has elevated slightly to 2.25 million pounds....OOOOPS.  So much for averages (this is just another reason why I don't gamble).  I will admit, though, that I added a parking area just above the pond area that took about 200,000#, but the rest of it was extra required throughout.  The following photo album is evidence of my need for a new calculator.

(The buttons at the top of the photo album screen will operate a nice slide show, or one pic at a time.  Click on one of the "photo thumbs" to get things started)

Driveway gravel (click here)

Well, right when you thought it was safe to forget about gravel for a couple of years, wouldn't it figure that we had about 6 soft spots that needed help.  We stock piled a truckload in the parking area for this kinda thing, but the consensus from John and my supplier was that a slightly different product would be best for the fix.  Knowing that I was once again on the 3 yard line and goal-to-go,  we used some of the stock pile to prep. and then called back the tri-axle with a finer grade of the same product, refined to minimize the fines within the mix.  We brought in 3 more truckloads of the new stuff and used the tri-axle truck to tail-gate it in and the dozer to track it in.  It worked....Whew!  The following photo album is not alot different from the one above. It is basically another ride out of the pond area back to the county road, only this time a sedan doesn't risk losing it's muffler.  Seemed worth it.

(The buttons at the top of the photo album screen will operate a nice slide show, or one pic at a time.  Click on one of the "photo thumbs" to get things started)

Driveway Finished, some "touch-up" (click here)

GPS Pond Map





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