One of the first things that that MUST be done when setting your house way back in the sticks is to provide access!  That means at a minimum you need to put in a driveway, or in our case we needed to build a road.  We were fortunate that most of the road was already there.  We had to connect to the road and also put in the driveway, which really is a road!

As I’ve mentioned before, here in East Tennessee we have some of the stickiest mud I’ve ever seen.  Plus it’s slick like ice. And we get a lot of rain here, so generally speaking roads and driveways are in a constant state of disrepair.  Since everything is so expensive, you really need to figure out a way to maintain it.  Harassing the road department is one way, a group of neighbors chipping in to fix/maintain their road is another – but don’t bank on that one. Mostly people can’t afford it – or claim they can’t afford it. All responsibility is abdicated to the Road Department, even though each property owner bears at least some financial responsibilty. You can buy a tractor, which may seem outrageously expensive, but when you calculate how much you will spend over the next 5 years to maintain your road and the cost of a tractor, you will probably come out ahead with the tractor AND have a maintained road.

Then there are culverts – chances are high that you will need several.  The clay soil here creates a lot of run off, so the watershed is all over the place.  The water needs to go under the road and not on it, and definitely not pool on it.  This was one of our first expenses.  image-2_4


Although all this dirt looks pretty nice, and in this condition it’s not bad, but wait until it gets wet.  Total nightmare!  If we lived in a part of the country that got average rainfall ~39″ per year, the clay might not be too bad left partially or fully exposed like this.  Here, we need gravel.  To build this road ‘right’ we need geotextile cloth, but since this was more or less a construction access road, we added some gravel later and lived with it for about 18 loooong months.

It did the job, but now that construction is basically over we will need to bring the road bed up to par.  Meaning no soft muddy areas!  I look forward to that day!