Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Highway That Isn't

Old King's Highway often sparks the curiosity of guests. Some express surprise that it should be called a "highway." They do not expect a dirt road at all. Others wonder what it's like to live here in winter. Our single-lane "highway" was once used by King George's representative, who came by to collect taxes, or so the story goes. Wellfleet has two separate roads that were once on the taxman's itinerary, which can be confusing if our guests do not leave home with detailed directions to the portion that is closer to the village. Truck drivers often get lost. I like living on a dirt road because it fits perfectly with our traditional three-quarters Cape, moved here in the first half of the 18th century.

Today our portion of Old King's Highway is one of Wellfleet's scenic roads because a group of neighbors, including my mother, banded together to save it from development. Were the road to have been paved, it would also have been widened and resembled any other road in the USA. Most of the original road was saved south of Orleans. Read all about it here. Fortunately Old King's Highway, in Wellfleet, gets maintained by the town. Snowstorms can be exciting because our road does not get plowed in priority and sometimes we find ourselves snowed in. Ice makes it treacherous. But even rain can create problems. This summer, after Earl, and a night of heavy rain, I alerted the DPW that it was time to do some grading. How pleased the men were with their work!

"Now you've got a super highway again," one said with a chuckle as they drove away.