Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Drizzle and slippery mud.

It has been raining in Robertson, off and on, for several days. Not a lot of rain (10mm over 3 days), but somehow it has been enough to make my red soil as slippery as glass. The soil here has an extremely fine texture, so when it is wet, it just turns to mud, slippery mud. The local shops have signs always at the ready "Caution floor slippery when wet". That is because of mud tramped into the shops from people's boots. It is inevitable.

This shot is an old image, taken looking below the house.
It shows the red soil though.
These days some of these "seedlings" planted out here are 25 feet high.
That's another feature of the red soil of Robertson, its fertility.
Today my car started to slide sideways down the hill in front of my house as I drove down the hill, to complete the circuit from my top driveway, across in front of my house, and down the hill to my side gate. I have been using this "circuit" for the last two months or more, with no hitches previously, but today, I went into a sideways slide, at less than 5 Km per hour. Scary, but ridiculous.

I was able to stop before I careered sideways into my bed of my favourite Peonies, planted in front of my house. I knew I was in no danger, but I was certainly concerned for the Peonies, but they are fine. The next thing was could I back out, up the hill? After chocking my wheels, I was able to reverse back up the hill about two car-lengths, in 4WD mode, fortunately. Then I could drive safely away, forwards, and down the hill. But even then, I could feel the rear end wandering away sideways, somewhat. Clearly I need to arrange for a load of blue metal to be dumped on my front driveway area, as soon as the weather dries up.

Until then, I clearly cannot drive my car off the formal driveway, which is made of compacted "road base".

I shall have to warn Brendan not to attempt to drive his vehicle into the front yard, when next he returns.

8 comments:

mick said...

Amazing! Only 10 mm and that's what happens to the soil. I wonder what would happen if you got real tropical rain down there for days on end! However, it sounds like wonderful soil for growing things.
It's frightening to have a car slide out of control like that. It happened to me years ago in Canada. I parked on ice (which I had not seen) - had the car in gear and the handbrake on - got out of the car and it started to slowly slide away! Fortunately it did stop when it slid onto a piece of drier pavement.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mick
Yes, it seems silly. We get heaps of rain, normally, but this slow drizzle has mad everything so slippery.
You're right about the slow-speed slide. Scary, but of little risk (fortunately).
But if I had not had a small 4WD vehicle I would have been totally stuck, and needed to be pulled out with a bigger vehicle.
Mind you, there are lots of useful blokes around town, who could and would help.
Just lucky that I got out by my on resources, though.
Denis

Flabmeister said...

it is interesting to compare the 'drivability' of different soil types. The black soils - while also very fertile - are not slippery when wet. They seem to become semi-liquid and one just sinks when trying to drive on them. I have photographs of my (lack of) skills in this matter.

Should anyone wish to perform a comparative experiment I noticed that the Darling River Run (from Wilcannia to Bourke) has good lengths of both red and black soil. This is probably why the Shire closes that road as soon as there is more precipitation than a heavy dew.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Martin
Thanks
I remember driving from Bourke to Wilcannia (in the dry) and noticing how smooth the black soil road was, with occasional "thumps", which turned out to be cracks across the road, wide enough to drop a car wheel into. It terrified me that I would find one running along the road, not across it. Fortunately I was OK.
I am sure it would be impassable if wet. And it would also be along walk to the next house, to get towed out.
Sounds like you would have a story to confirm that theory.
Cheers
Denis

Miss Eagle said...

Next time you go "slip-slidin'-away" try to make sure you have a video going.

B&B
B

Denis Wilson said...

It would have had to be set up outside, to get the sideways movement.
Nice idea, though.
Cheers
Denis

Flabmeister said...

Denis

My story is a bit long, so I have told it at http://franmart.blogspot.com/2010/07/driving-on-black-soil.html

Martin

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Martin
Great story over on your Blog.
Denis