phi (totient) wrote,


I maintain a catalog of unpaved through roads in Essex County, MA. There aren't very many of them, and for a while I thought I had them all. Starting with a thorough list compiled from 1970s USGS maps, I've made a bunch of trips to verify roads, typically resulting in about a 10% return. The rest have been paved, gated, built on, plowed under, or allowed to deteriorate to hiking trails.

But I hadn't counted an another variable in the lifespan of an unpaved road, which is that although new roads are all paved, sometimes a disused paved road can deteriorate to the point where resurfacing it with gravel is more economical than repaving it. There aren't a lot of those kinds of roads, because it's generally even more economical to just shut the road entirely. But there are a few, and they account for nearly half the mileage of unpaved roads in my catalog.

Every time I go out scouting new roads for a rally there is a chance that I'll find a road like this. This weekend I found two, with a total length of almost two miles. And I can use them both on Essex. Wahoo!
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