RIP, Duncan R. Ruby Dundee

My mother always names her cars, and as this was her car before she sold it to my sister who then sold it to me (because my working philosophy with cars is “DOES IT RUN? IS IT SAFE? CAN I JUST GIVE YOU 4K IN CASH?). She always gives Duncan as the first name, the R. stands for my mom’s maiden name, and Ruby for the color, and Dundee because it was a 97 Outback (Crocodile Dundee, anyone?). Here the chariot sits in the middle of the field, sad and cold and alone after 17 years of dedicated service to the Cole family:



Oddly enough, the car flipped and rolled twice, over a fence, and ended up upright, and not all the eggs were broken. So well done Subaru and egg carton engineers.

Some of you don’t seem to understand what happened. He was driving north on 88, and on the passenger side of the car there basically is no shoulder. It’s a drop-off into a pasture:


See where the white car is? That’s the road, and it immediately drops off. So a convoy of truckers came in the other direction, over the fucking yellow line again, and he moved to the right, catching the passenger side tires on the lip. He braked, tried to get back on the road, and the car shot across both lanes before he over-corrected and the ass end tailed. At that point, this car is starting to flip and is tipping on both wheels on the driver side, which blow out. He rolls twice, and the car lands down the embankment in the pasture facing the road.

It’s fucking amazing he was not hurt, it’s amazing the air bags did not employ nor no windows broke, potentially lacerating him, and it’s amazing how little external damage there is to the car. Having said that, the car is clearly totaled, and even if they say it could be repaired, I think I am putting the old guy out to pasture (no pun intended). He did his job. He safely served the Cole’s for three decades (17 years, pedants, spanning three decades, not having this argument again tonight), and then saved my boy’s life.

There is a mechanic at the Subaru dealership who has the same exact make and model and we have talked about how much he loves the car (and I do to), so I figger I will offer it to him as an organ donor for his car for a couple hundred bucks. Since he did the work on the engine rebuild a year back, he knows what he is getting.

Adios, Dundee.

*** Update ***

I forgot the funniest part, sort of. The car is still there, because I only got hold of the farmer at 8pm. He basically said that you aren’t the first and you won’t be the last, and I’ve been yelling at that sheriff for a guard rail for 25 years. I told him that the car ran but had no tires, and I checked and it was not leaking oil, coolant, transmission fluid, or gas, and he said it’s not doing any harm there, and I’ll just keep the cows in the other pasture down the hollow and feed them there, and they won’t come up anyway because of the snow. Then he said something that made me almost laugh- “I’m retired, so just call me whenever and I’ll be there to talk to the tow truck guy.” I found that funny because the guy is retired and still getting up three hours before all of us to trudge down a hill and feed a bunch of livestock. I think I have never felt lazier.

At any rate, we’re supposed to get a mess of snow tomorrow, and we both decided it made no sense to bring a big wrecker out and endanger him as we block traffic on a blind curve and maybe cause other accidents, so we are just going to let it sit there in the field until Monday afternoon. He aid the only way it is an inconvenience is because his friends keep calling to tell him there is a car in his field. He’s going to string up some wire just in case the cows get weird, and I am going to make a big sign to let people know that they can stop calling 911. I had to call Sheriff Jackson today and apologize for all the calls, because while I was waiting outside the farmhouse for two hours today to try to find someone, I saw dozens of people slow down to an almost stop, so I knew they were getting a ton of calls.

West by God Virginia. I never want to live anywhere else.

162 replies
  1. 1
    La Caterina (Mrs. Johannes) says:

    Wait, what? Were you the one driving?

  2. 2
    raven says:

    @La Caterina (Mrs. Johannes): Did you READ the damn post?

  3. 3
    JPL says:

    So what’s up with the eggs? Is that a West Virginia thing?

  4. 4
    Violet says:

    So sorry for the loss of your beloved Subaru. Glad it protected the lad as a last brave gesture. And the eggs. RIP, Dundee.

  5. 5
    PeakVT says:

    Hope you get some decent coin for what’s left.

  6. 6
    rammalamadingdong says:

    Damn. I think it would be safer to move to NYC. Dude is lucky to be alive. What kind of road is built so you can fall off?

  7. 7
    raven says:

    @efgoldman: 66 chevy longbed fleetside.

  8. 8
    PeakVT says:

    @rammalamadingdong: Little rural roads are like all over the country. Guardrails cost money, and often they’re not put in except where it’s a long way down.

    ETA: @efgoldman: all new cars are pretty safe compared to anything designed 15 years ago.

  9. 9
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    the air bags did not employ

    Might be a good thing; when air bags do start hiring it would mean that the economy is picking up, but it could also lead to inflation.

  10. 10

    I had a red Subaru that I totaled in 2003. I still miss her.

  11. 11
    raven says:

    My mom’s middle name was Ruby.

  12. 12
    cmorenc says:

    …and NONE among the convoy of trucks even stopped? Was it the lead truck in the convoy which forced him over or the tail truck? Surely the driver of the truck or someone in the convoy had to notice that he was forcing the Subaru over the edge to avoid him – that’s not merely negligence, it’s hit-and-run. Do you know what company the trucks belonged to?

    You owe it to fellow citizens of your area to follow up on this – the local D.A., whichever company is actively engaging in local fracking, because it’s only a matter of time before someoe is seriously injured or killed by these jacklegs.

  13. 13
  14. 14
    gbear says:

    after 16 years of dedicated service to the Cole family

    It was outstanding in its field.

  15. 15
    Tara the Antisocial Social Worker says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: You win the series of tubes that is the Internet.

  16. 16
    La Caterina (Mrs. Johannes) says:

    @raven: Read it three times. Did not say who was driving. Did not know there were earlier posts either.

    I was too busy to keep with BJ this week and gosh darn it found out today I AVERTED TWO COUNT ‘EM TWO FORECLOSURES for my clients.

    That is all.

  17. 17
    wasabi gasp says:

    Long live Duncan R. Lemon Schwinn.

  18. 18
    Tara the Antisocial Social Worker says:

    I also name my cars, but I name them after Goddesses. The last one was Fortuna Redux, after the Roman Goddess of happy journeys, but also because our fortune got reduxed when we bought it.

    Last January, I got rear-ended on the freeway while taking the cat in for his checkup. The cat and I were both fine, but the car was totaled. I remain convinced that Slippers hired the hit-and-run driver to get him out of the vet appointment – he’s the kind of cat who’d do that.

  19. 19
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Some of you don’t seem to understand what happened.

    Some of you explained it as “he got run off the road by a convoy of fracking trucks, and my car is now in the middle of the field” without mentioning rollovers or things like that. Run off the road can mean anything from forced to the shoulder to plunged 3000′ into a raging torrent.

  20. 20
    raven says:

    @La Caterina (Mrs. Johannes): Way to go! it is not written very well now is it?

  21. 21
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @rammalamadingdong: Have you ever been on a mountain road?

  22. 22
    JPL says:

    @La Caterina (Mrs. Johannes): That’s great news and congrats are in order. I hope the bank/banks will be willing to set up a long term solution.

  23. 23
    NotMax says:

    He safely served the Cole’s for three decades (17 years, pedants, spanning three decades, not having this argument again tonight)

    None would ever be arise if you said over three decades. As in over the course of, or during.

    Obama has not been president for two decades, for example.

    Now, about that blatantly erroneous apostrophe in the family name….

    As someone who is driving a vehicle old enough to legally buy booze, I feel your pain.

  24. 24
    Violet says:


    What kind of road is built so you can fall off?

    Most of them.

  25. 25

    My parents once had a Mercury station wagon. It had a ginormous front end. It was the car I got to drive to HS, on the few occasions I was allowed. Any rate, kids in HS made fun of the thing. They’d shut up quick when I challenged them to a game of chicken on the road in front of the HS. It was long and straight. And the station wagon was literally the next best thing to a tank.

  26. 26
  27. 27
    scav says:

    no complement on focus yet? and yes, good job Ruby D.

  28. 28
    raven says:

    @Tara the Antisocial Social Worker: The Heavy Chevy, handles like a sports car goes like a rail!

  29. 29
    John Cole says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: You’re right. I think I may have told so many people on the phone what happened that by the time I wrote about it I was so sick of talking about it I failed to include any details.

    On the other hand, everyone around here knows what I mean when you say a big fucking truck ran you off the road, because we deal with the same roads and everyone has had it happened, so I was just using the local vernacular, if that makes sense.

  30. 30
    ruemara says:

    @La Caterina (Mrs. Johannes): Congratulations! It was one of Cole’s frat sons in a traffic incident.

    Fare the well, Duncan R. Ruby Dundee.

  31. 31
    Pogonip says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: Hee Hee Hee Hee Hee Hee Hee Hee. Hee.

  32. 32
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @La Caterina (Mrs. Johannes):


    Excellent. Now avert three on Monday. Seriously though, good for you and your clients.

  33. 33
    La Caterina (Mrs. Johannes) says:

    @JPL: We are working on that. Sometimes, only sometimes, when you kick their butt in court, they cut the deal they should have cut in the first place.

  34. 34
    Pogonip says:

    @cmorenc: What you said. Go after those motherfrackers, John. It could save a life someday.

  35. 35
    Violet says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I did pretty well at guessing what happened, didn’t I?

  36. 36
    La Caterina (Mrs. Johannes) says:

    Sorry about Ruby but glad the young squire was unhurt.

  37. 37
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @John Cole: Certainly it makes sense. I’ve been lucky enough to never see a fracking convoy in action, so I was picturing a shitload of HEMMTs hurtling through the backwoods.

  38. 38
    Pogonip says:

    My car has a name too. It’s “The Car.”

  39. 39
    raven says:

    Your an old armor man, get a tank retriever.

  40. 40
    Botsplainer says:

    Damn, Cole, that car is still driveable. I’d give it to a teen as a beater.

  41. 41
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Violet: Not bad.

  42. 42
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @La Caterina (Mrs. Johannes): Well John did say “Yes, this will be on the test!” in the original post. If you can’t be bothered to pay attention in class, I don’t know what to say. At least I think he said it, but finding out would mean going back to check, and I’m far too lazy to do that.

    BTW “deploy” was the word you wanted, but you knew that. Er, not you, him.

  43. 43
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Botsplainer: A 16 year old Outback is probably worth about $2K. Look at the damage; it’ll be more than $2K to fix it. It’s totaled.

  44. 44
    wasabi gasp says:

    Years ago, I drove my 78 Honda Civic Hatchback off the road. My buddy and I picked it up and put it back on the road.

  45. 45
  46. 46
    Violet says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I think it’s because I lived in WV for awhile and remember those roads paved only 1 1/2 cars wide. And I was there two summers ago and drove those roads again in the northern part of the state. I can only imagine the fracking trucks and the chaos they’d cause. The logging trucks are bad enough. You get out of the way for those.

  47. 47
    raven says:

    @Violet: I suggest you get out of the way for ANY truck. How’s your email?

  48. 48
    Elizabelle says:

    Putting up a sign, hmmm?

    This car in this field care of fracking.

    Run off the road by a fracking convoy.

    Next time it’ll be your car in this field. Thanks, fracking.

    Fracking convoy: 1 fearless Subaru: 0

  49. 49
    FelixMoronia says:

    Totaled? Whadda ya mean totaled? That’s fresh off the used car lot in Montana and Wyoming! Hell, it still has all of it’s glass. You’d get top dollar for Duncan.

  50. 50
    Keith G says:

    I think it might be a while before the young man borrows another’s car. Talk about aversion therapy.

  51. 51
    raven says:

    @FelixMoronia: With hen fruit on the roof!

  52. 52
    FelixMoronia says:

    @raven: Add another $3.00 to the list price.

  53. 53
    Botsplainer says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    New tires and some duct tape, and it’s a perfect learner for a 16 year old…

  54. 54
  55. 55
    Ivor E. Towers says:

    @La Caterina (Mrs. Johannes): In “King Leopold’s Ghost,” Adam Hochschild tells us that in his dotage King Leopold began referring to himself in the third person. Examples: “He wants his toilet now. He wishes to dine alone. He is tired now and wants his bed.” Then Hochschild drops the hammer: “He wants to flip a ’97 Outback into a cow pasture.”
    This has an ominous look, John. Ask your doctor for a Pronoun Specific Assay without delay!

  56. 56
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Botsplainer: I learned in a four year old Volvo 264GL.

    ETA: And then, once I had my license, I continued to take the bus or ride my bike most of the time because my parents had way too much sense to let me have a car.

  57. 57
    khead says:

    Blocks. In the front yard. Next to the old refrigerator.

    Anyone who wants the stuff your mechanic skipped can knock on the door and ask about it.

  58. 58
    raven says:

    @khead: Part that baby out on eBay.

  59. 59
    Omnes Omnibus says:


    Next to the old refrigerator.

    I bet that is where the mustard is.

  60. 60
    KG says:

    About a year and a half ago, I totaled my truck. It was a law school graduation present from my folks. Single car accident, driving a road I’ve been on 7 billion times, looked down at my phone and/or stereo, missed a slight curve, ended up sideswiping a freeway overpass support post. Shattered windows (tempered glass is amazing), broken axel, passenger side looked like a crushed beer can. It’s never fun to be in an accident like that. Glad the kid is ok. Hopefully you’ll get a decent price from the insurance (mine actually gave me the best replacement value, more than blue book value).

  61. 61
    NotMax says:


    Guardrails cost money, and often they’re not put in except where it’s a long way down.

    And oftimes not even then, especially when there isn’t any space for them.

  62. 62
    KG says:

    @NotMax: I need to go on a road trip

  63. 63
    Amir Khalid says:

    When I first saw where you said that, I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I know it’s to save on road-building costs, but roads 1.5 lanes wide are just accidents waiting to happen. How is it legal for a local authority to build such narrow roads? Are there not state and federal safety standards?

  64. 64
    khead says:

    Hang the engine from a wooden tripod.

    For months.

  65. 65
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @khead: I seem to remember that “If you own a home that is mobile and fourteen cars that aren’t” was one of those old Jeff Foxworthy criteria for the self-redneck test.

    The other one I remember offhand is: “If your wife has ever said “Come move this transmission so I can take a bath”….”

  66. 66
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @NotMax: A couple of years ago, I was in Romania and was looking forward to driving the Transfăgărășan. Road trip with the ex and her parents in a Skoda. In mid-June, the road was still closed by snow. It’s often open for only a month or so a year.

  67. 67
    Narcissus says:

    Sneak out to the fracking site and put sand in all the gas tanks.

  68. 68
    kc says:

    Sorry about your car, Cole.

    At least the farmer sounds like a cool guy, and I’m sorry I had snarky thoughts about his wife earlier.

  69. 69
    jl says:

    FRACK it all! I had no idea the wreck was that bad. Glad the driver is OK.

    As for the car, you can let it know you still love it for all its loyal service. Tow it into the yard, cut off the top and turn that sucker into a big flower bed. The neighbors will fall in love with it, sooner or later.

    You could put a rhododendron in there. Surrounded by ramps.

  70. 70
    khead says:

    I’m only making light of this shit because it’s probably some kind of miracle that I never ended up going over a steeper hill myself while growing up. Most likely from some combination of skinny roads, dodging coal trucks and a heavy dose of youth stupidity.

    Hey, if you are gonna set the curve up right you need every bit of those 1.5 lanes.

  71. 71
    JPL says:

    @jl: Have you been to West Virginia? He could just tow it and leave it in his yard and folks wouldn’t notice.

  72. 72
    fuckwit says:

    @khead: And leave the body of the vehicle on the front lawn, up on cinder blocks, too. It is West Virginia, after all.

  73. 73
    NotMax says:

    @Omnes Omnibus

    The thing I still find puzzling about the road to Hana involves the fifty-some odd bridges (many of which are single lane, some single lane and built on a curve).

    As seen in the picture linked above, there are not any houses, driveways, turn-offs, etc. for long stretches, only mountainside and rainforest on on side and a drop-off on the other side.

    Keeping in mind those areas, one comes to a bridge with a “Weight Linit 5 Tons” sign. And then another. And another. Then, after a bit another bridge, this one with “Weight Limit 10 Tons” signage.

    After that, some more with the 5 Ton signs.

    Never understood why a heavier duty bridge which a 10 ton load cannot get to was plunked down there.

    The road and the bridges were a CCC project during the Depression. Presume they were just showing off.

  74. 74
    scav says:

    @Amir Khalid: Massive country, started building roads a long time ago, cheap govts now, it rapidly gets to be an utter hairball, especially with local control getting mulish in the face of outside, let alone the dreaded federal control. Still, for skinniest, there are a few in France and Norway that beat anything I’ve seen in the US, and they got buses down theirs. Route 13 Norway and Gorges Galamus
    in France being outstanding. well, Ok, probably lying about the buses in Gagamus, but on other D routes yes.

  75. 75
  76. 76
    Omnes Omnibus says:


    The road and the bridges were a CCC project during the Depression. Presume they were just showing off.

    That’s probably your answer.

  77. 77
    jl says:

    @JPL: Sure, but Cole is fussy.

  78. 78
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @scav: Have you seen the end of the original The Italian Job?

  79. 79
    NotMax says:


    Watch a few episodes of the Ice Road Truckers series filmed in India if you want to see some hairy scary roads.

  80. 80
    Ramalama says:

    How many miles did Duncan R. Ruby Dundee have racked up before breaking the eggs? I switched over from my Toyota Subaru that had 409K miles on it – to a Legacy turbo. Could not take another winter commute to Quebec. When I got my subaru, it made the drive so much less stressful. But I’m nervous about racking up any miles. Glad to see them lasting long – unless your commute is low.

  81. 81
    scav says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: No, but isn’t there a quote involving car doors?

  82. 82
    JPL says:

    @jl: For him it might be a new raised garden. He can sell the extra produce.

  83. 83
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @scav: It’s worth watching. No spoilers from me.

  84. 84
    David Koch says:

    I named my car Christine. Christine was always jealous of my girlfriend.

  85. 85
    Violet says:

    @raven: My email was down for two days. I was unable to log in at all. Apparently it was a Yahoo issue. Their customer relations around the outage was appalling. I’m sure it’ll end up some case study in what not to do. At this point I can log in, although I’m not sure if emails I send are getting through or not.

    I am still missing all emails from December 1 through December 10. I know what some of them are and if I search for them, they come up in a list but when I try to open them, they aren’t available. Weird. Maybe those will just take time to be restored. It was a big outage and a giant clusterf by Yahoo.

    Edit: I do get out of the way for all trucks. I know someone who was crushed and killed by a long hual truck falling on their vehicle on an overpass–truck’s load wasn’t centered, weight shifted, truck fell over on this person’s vehicle. Horrible. There is little oversight of trucks in the US so I stay well clear.

  86. 86
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Great movie. One of my favorites. The DVD commentary, at least I think that’s where I saw it, has info about well lots of stuff, but what I remember is the story Michael Caine told about how the music came about. Caine and Quincy Jones were drinking in a pub with the rest, and Caine sang him this old Cockney thing that went “Dah da da da dat da, da da da dah lat dah, da da dah dah laht da — brown bread!”

    I think it was brown bread, I can never remember that part. So Quincy liked it, ran with it, and through the whole movie you can hear that theme, repeated over and over in different ways. Absolutely made the movie in some ways, along with everything else that was so well done.

  87. 87
    Lurking Buffoon says:

    With a car name like that, am I the only one hoping Cole keeps a photo of the wreck in his wallet so he can say “That’s not a wreck, this is a wreck!” … I’d have a better reference but it’s been a long, long time since I saw the movie.

    I too, named my cars, but when I was a teenager. First was “The Pimpin’ Ford Taurus” because sarcasm is a beautiful thing, followed by an equally unimpressive car which was dubbed “The Sexmobile” for much the same reason. Years ago my ex insisted on naming my current car, but it was a blandly generic name, so hell if I can remember what it was.

  88. 88
    max says:

    Having said that, the car is clearly totaled, and even if they say it could be repaired, I think I am putting the old guy out to pasture (no pun intended).

    I’m with Botsplainer – if the engine cranks, it’s fixable, since it appears the roof support posts weren’t destroyed. If the air bags had popped – but they didn’t so the shock from the rollover wasn’t that big. Gonna need some front suspension work and some new rims.

    (note: totaled for insurance purposes and totaled for repair purposes are two different things in my book.)

    I’m sure the mechanic that did the rebuild and knows the cars will absolutely delighted to take it off your hands – but not as a parts donor, as donee.

    [‘Might be in better shape than the one he has.’]

  89. 89
    Violet says:

    @NotMax: Been on some of those Indian roads. Years ago the road to Dharamsala was a real eye-opener. Took the bus from wherever the train stopped, then a terrifying mountain bus ride in the rain.When we did the trip the back wheels of the bus kept skidding out on every curve. I was sure we were going to go over the side. A week later the same bus went over the cliff and everyone died.

  90. 90
    burnspbesq says:


    the road to Hana

    That’s not a road, it’s a bike lane.

  91. 91
    Violet says:

    That farmer sounds great.

    The car is still there, because I only got hold of the farmer at 8pm. He basically said that you aren’t the first and you won’t be the last, and I’ve been yelling at that sheriff for a guard rail for 25 years.

    I’m two for two on guessing what happened. Me earlier on why the farmer’s wife wouldn’t deal with Cole:

    Or this happens far more than you can imagine

  92. 92
    Helen says:

    Cars. One of the best things about living in NYC is that you do not need a car. The best dirty little secret about living in NYC without a car? You can drink all you want to and you can either throw yourself on the subway, or if you’re MEGA drunk and you can get in a cab. No drunk driving. EVER!

  93. 93
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Elizabelle: Those are all great, but I think John should test local Internet literacy with a simple BECAUSE FRACKING sign.

  94. 94
    Anoniminous says:

    REM: Losing My Religion changed from minor to major key.


  95. 95
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Anoniminous: It was written in A minor for a reason.

  96. 96
    the Conster says:

    West by God Virginia. I never want to live anywhere else.

    That’s how I feel about my home town, Boston. I’ve always “loved” it, but the way everyone came together around the Marathon bombing made it my home in a way that only a shit show makes it clear why. Boston you’re my home.

  97. 97
    NotMax says:


    Changing Mozart from A minor to A major, and more.

  98. 98
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @the Conster: You are lucky. The only place that is “home” for me is the small central Wisconsin city where all my family is. I don’t want to live there though.

  99. 99
    🎄 Martin says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Are there not state and federal safety standards?

    State safety standards vary considerably and only apply to state funded roads. Federal standards only apply to roads with federal funding like interstates and US highways. Lots of roads are local/county and may have even more lax standards.

    And even if the roads don’t meet standards, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

    The US has first world standards but the GOP believes in third world funding levels.

  100. 100
    Spike says:

    “Takin’ his half out of the middle” is how we described it back in eastern Kentucky. I had a similar encounter with a coal truck in my youth, with a similar result. Mine ended up on its side, but I climbed out and walked away with just a scratch on my temple. I was an indifferent and occasional seat belter back then, but wore one that day and have never failed to buckle up since.

  101. 101
    StringOnAStick says:

    Subaru’s are basically the state car here in CO, so even a wrecked body or engine still means some value is left. Our first one blew a main bearing and the mechanic gave us $1,500 for it because the interior was in such good shape, even though the exterior had that “whacked everywhere with a ballpeen hammer” look so common here in Hail Alley. Get a good set of snow tires on a Subaru and you can handle pretty much any weather this state dishes out (until it gets too deep).

    Sorry you lost your Suby, John. And I’m really happy that the young guy driving it has nothing more traumatic than a scary driving story. I hope that fracking convoy gets nailed for this; there is no way they didn’t notice a car rolling in a field thanks to their actions. Bastards.

  102. 102
    MikeJ says:

    @StringOnAStick: Washingmaton, too. I’d bet you could get money for a parts car.

  103. 103
    Helen says:

    @Amir Khalid: Fun Fact. In 1986 the drinking age went up all over America from 18 – 21. Why? Because the Federal government made access to Federal highway funds contingent on increasing the drinking age.

  104. 104
    Violet says:

    From an article in August:

    The sharp increase in heavy traffic from a historic oil boom has damaged many farm-to-market roads in South and East Texas. The damage related to energy development has become so extensive that state and local authorities lack the funding to make all the repairs. Last month, the Texas Department of Transportation announced plans to convert more than 80 miles of paved roads to gravel. The conversions are expected to start Monday, TxDOT officials said. But the plan has been met with criticism from lawmakers and some of the farmers and ranchers who live near those roads.

    “Since paving roads is too expensive and there is not enough funding to repave them all, our only other option to make them safer is to turn them into gravel roads,” TxDOT spokesman David Glessner said.

  105. 105
    Ruckus says:

    I’ve been on a couple of those roads, one of them what feels like a gazillion times. I know of other picturesque roads with shear drop offs and no guardrails though. Some of them are fun to ride on real fast. Some of them can cause a slight pucker in the nether regions.

  106. 106
    WaterGIrl says:

    My Subaru saved my life in the 90s when a semi turned in front of me, managed to somehow attach itself to part of the car on the driver’s side, with me in it, and drag my Subaru around a corner and then down the street for awhile.

    I am in the car, with my seatbelt on, having to lean as far as I can to the right because my side of the car was repeatedly crashing into the side of the semi, with me honking my horn all the while, trying to stop the car with my brake – like that was going to help.

    The semi driver eventually stopped. I will never forget both of us being in the back of the cop car as the cop got our versions of the story, and the semi driver saying “I kept wondering what that honking sound was.” I thought I might clobber him, right there in the police car.

    I burst into tears when I saw my Subaru the next day when I went to get my stuff out of the car. The whole driver’s side was smashed in, and I realized how close I had come. My beautiful, black, sporty Subaru was the only car I ever LOVED, and then it saved my life. You can’t ask for more than that.

  107. 107
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    Lived in many parts of the country and traveled a bit around the world. Most of the places I’d like to live, I can’t afford to rent a shack. So I try to make where I am my home. Hasn’t always worked. Maybe that’s why I’ve moved a lot.

  108. 108
    JDM says:

    OK, so I’m in a somewhat serious conversation with SO, and as I do in serious conversations, I am occupying my eyes reading, in this case blogs. I had been on BJ, but just as I clicked “back” the conversation got more serious (in detail, not emotion) and I, not paying close attention, thought I had clicked back several times, and was on a different blog. I glanced at the title, and thought “Duncan is dead?”, but then looked a little closer and thought “Oh, Duncan’s cat is dead- I sort of remember that he has a cat.” Then the tiny part of my brain that was reading saw that it wasn’t “cat”, instead it was “car.” I read a bit further, and saw that his mother always named her car after her son, which I thought was nice (I did note that he hadn’t talked about his mother very much). The conversation with SO tapered off, and I read a litle more closely, and saw that the car had been in an accident. That got my attention, and I read about the accident and thought “Oh Heilige Scheisse, did Atrios have the same kind of wreck that JC’s buddies had just last night? Are there fracking trucks everywhere?”

    Then I noticed that the page wasn’t blue.

    So- never mind.

    First comment here after years of reading, BTW

  109. 109
    rikyrah says:

    your family is so funny. the love you share just pours through with every story.

  110. 110
    🎄 Martin says:


    Didn’t we read last year that Texas and some counties therein either couldn’t or wouldn’t spend money on maintaining paved roads, and so ground up the pavement and laid down gravel instead.

    Lots of places in Texas doing this, but all over the country – mostly states run by the GOP. Michigan is doing it quite a lot. I think Indiana as well.

  111. 111
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Apparently this is a thing by this French website.

  112. 112
    Origuy says:

    A lot of mountain roads in the US and Canada are single lane. You’re supposed to drive slowly enough so that you can react to oncoming traffic. If the oncoming traffic weighs five tons and doesn’t give a damn what it hits, though, you’re pretty screwed. Logging trucks in the Pacific Northwest would do the same thing.

    I drove on single tracks a fair bit in Scotland, too. Everyone seemed to keep to a safe speed. There are a lot of places to pull over there called lay-bys, and a very specific protocol on how to use them.

  113. 113
    Ruckus says:

    He couldn’t see it in his mirrors? What a moron. I guess it is true, some places will give anyone a license.

  114. 114
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ruckus: Happens to motorcycles all the time.

  115. 115
    Ruckus says:

    5 tons? Full loaded my van weighs over 4 tons.

    More like 40 tons.

  116. 116
  117. 117
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    How well I know. Have somewhere around 400,000 miles on bikes. But a Subaru is not a bike. And when I’ve driven big trucks, you know ones that bend in the middle and have air brakes and I could always at least see where the wheels were supposed to be and the trailer in the mirrors. A small, invisible thing like a motorcycle maybe not, but a car?

  118. 118
    WaterGIrl says:

    @Ruckus: Thank you for sharing my ire!

  119. 119
    Ruckus says:

    @🎄 Martin:
    And it’s even more revealing that in southern CA many roads are getting a major rebuilding. Not enough for sure but I think it says a lot about who should be in charge in state capitals. For sure not the idiot children with an r after their names.

  120. 120
    WaterGIrl says:

    @Ruckus: Especially when you keep “wondering what that honking sound is”. Some people might do something like, oh I don’t know, maybe look in a mirror to see what might be going on.

  121. 121
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ruckus: I had someone in a car take a corner wide and hit my old GTI as it sat peacefully at a stop sign. I think our standards for licensing drivers are too low.

  122. 122
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @WaterGIrl: If you are listening to Convoy loud enough, you don’t notice the horn.

  123. 123
    Violet says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: The driving portion of the test to get your drivers license in the UK is something like an hour long. You have to do all sorts of things, including reversing around a corner. It’s rigorous and people routinely fail it several times before finally passing it. I wonder if it keeps the accident rates down. Or maybe cars and/or insurance are more expensive there and people take more care with them.

  124. 124
    WaterGIrl says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: You made me laugh. Out loud.

    That’s quite a feat since that was a pretty traumatic event in my life. Excellent work!

  125. 125
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @WaterGIrl: I have my moments.

  126. 126
    Anoniminous says:


    Now that’s just wrong.

  127. 127
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    When I took my motorcycle test in the 70’s the guy watched me drive around a few cones and the when I stopped by him to see what else he stated, “Go around the block and if you come back here alive I’ll have your endorsement for you.” Needless to say I’m still here. Haven’t taken a driving test since.

  128. 128
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ruckus: Wisconsin had a reasonably rigorous testing regime back when I took the tests. I almost failed my car test because the DMV guy thought I was too cautious. We got home and my parents let me take my brother out for a ride for the first time, and I nearly rolled the Volvo on an S-curve that transitioned from asphalt to gravel. Did my kid brother say a word to anyone about this? No f-ing way. The kid was awesome. Following the incident, we motored rather sedately home after plucking the gravel out of the hubcaps.

  129. 129
    DanR2 says:

    Welp, there’s nothing better than some portrait-orientated phone photos to document the grass and sky like the view I have with my horse blinders on. Or the view paranoid people have looking at the world through their chained door. What the hell is wrong with you people. TURN YOUR PHONES 90 DEGREES. It’s almost 2014. We can do it.

  130. 130
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @DanR2: They were in focus. Baby steps, man. Baby steps.

    ETA: You have horse blinders? Are they part of some S&M thing? Bits and whips as well?

  131. 131
    Violet says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Was wondering the same thing. Maybe he is a horse?

  132. 132
    MikeJ says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: You don’t even want to know about his tail.

  133. 133
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Violet: Jewel’s mother is a horse. My mother is a fish.*

    *I hate that book but it sticks with me.

  134. 134
    DanR2 says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Hard to see the forest through the sliver of trees, but you’re right.

    Glad no one was hurt. Car damage looks like mostly it will buff out.

  135. 135
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    I got the too cautious thing as well. For my test I had a piece of shit car and had to make a right turn onto a 6 lane road at 3ish in the afternoon in Pasadena. Told me I should have just gassed it and pulled out. I thought he was nuts and I was only 16 and had not a lot of experience with my permit. But being just a slight bit cautious has saved my ass on several occasions.

  136. 136
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Fine if no one is going to put up an open thread I will share my new discovery here. BBC Radio One’s Live Lounge. Bands doing unlikely covers. Vampire Weekend doing Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines. Bastille doing Miley’s We Can’t Stop. Kings of Leon doing Robyn’s Dancing On My Own.

  137. 137
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ruckus: I had read Paul Frere’s book, Sports Car and Competition Driving and already knew how (theoretically) to pick the best line through a corner. I knew the best braking points, etc. Cautious? Nah? I almost overplayed my hand. OTOH, when a bunch of young LTs raced up Mt. Scott just outside of Ft. Sill, no one beat my GTI.

  138. 138
    BillinGlendaleCA says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Also, in landscape orientation we’d probably get a picture of Cole’s thumb covering the lens.

  139. 139
    Bobby Thomson says:

    Maybe if the sheriff would put up the damn guard rail he wouldn’t be getting so many calls. Just a thought.

    Unfortunately, doesn’t sound like anything will be done about your traffic situation unless and until there is an unlikely accident involving a one percenter.

  140. 140
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @BillinGlendaleCA: That too.

  141. 141
    eemom says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I like it, and The Sound and the Fury, better than his other books.

  142. 142
    Violet says:

    @Bobby Thomson: Yeah, what 1%ers live nearby that might be driving on that road? Perhaps an oil exec might be happening by on some fracking business?

  143. 143
    MikeJ says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    almost overplayed my hand. OTOH, when a bunch of young LTs raced up Mt. Scott just outside of Ft. Sill,

    I worked at a tourist trap in CO called 7 falls. When we closed for the night we used to race down the canyon until we hit the city streets. Much fun trashing the Dodge Dart down the twisty road. Nothing like what my dad did years ahead of me though.

    When he was in HS, he and his friends built a car for the Pike;’s Peak hill climb. You have to get to the starting line well before dawn. He got pulled over going in excess of 100mph through Manitou Springs. Never mind the speed, the car wasn’t remotely street legal. Luckily, the cop just said, “the mountain’s that way, slow down until you get there.”

  144. 144
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @eemom: God. My university has a program called Freshman Studies. Every freshman takes the course and every professor teaches it. Wide ranging reading. This has the current list. As I Die Reading was on the list then. It was a neat program because it ensured that every student and every faculty member had a certain shared intellectual base. You knew every one had read Plato’s Republic or that Faulkner horror.

  145. 145
    Violet says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Not a Faulkner fan. Not at all.

  146. 146
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Violet: Not a Southerner, are you? I was born about 30 miles from Hemingway’s birthplace and grew up about evenly placed between Hemingway’s and Fitzgerald’s homes. I get them. Faulkner escapes me.

  147. 147
    Ruckus says:

    None of those execs are going to be within several hundred miles of the actual fracking. They may be greedy fucking sociopaths but they aren’t stupid.

  148. 148
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    By my early 20’s I’d taken the open road part of fast driving out of the equation and started racing motorcycles on track. It was more fun, lots, lots faster and sometimes you got a plastic trophy. But sometimes you got seriously messed up. Or died. I was lucky and passed on those parts. Hard to understand what speed really is until you race. And I was never one of the really fast people. Nor the really, really, really fucking fast people. That ever so small cautious side I guess.

  149. 149
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    I believe you may not be the only one.

  150. 150
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ruckus: No, the really, really fast are special. I know what they know. I studied. At some point, it is eye sight and reaction times. And some times the willingness to go that insane extra step.

  151. 151
    sm*t cl*de says:

    He’s going to string up some wire just in case the cows get weird
    Things are bad enough without weird cows.

  152. 152
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @sm*t cl*de: All cow are weird.

  153. 153
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    Most of the professional racers I have known, it’s that little extra risk taking. But some of those really fast pro guys have told me about the people they respect and it’s about pure talent. Talent to do things the really fast guys don’t even understand. The first time I heard a racer I respect immensely tell me that he didn’t understand how another racer did what he did on a motorcycle I understood that speed really is relative.

  154. 154
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ruckus: The talent is what I an talking about. I am a fast driver. I was a decent fencer. I am not and never could be one of the truly elite in either sport. Doesn’t matter what I do, I am not the best at those things. OTOH, I understand the need to push that edge.

  155. 155
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Dupe. This one fixed the spelling though.

  156. 156
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    I’m still fast. Not as fast as I used to be and not near as fast as people I know. But I used to run in a pretty fast crowd. I’ve got more trophies than my best friend, who when we raced on the same bike was about 1-2 seconds a lap faster. But I also know a few who were world champions and we travel in different universes. In comparison they at about the speed of light, me at the speed of hair growing.

    ETA That’s hair growing on a 20 yr old, not some old fart.

  157. 157
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ruckus: It is the difference between competent and brilliant. Between good and great. And the difference between great and “Holy, fucking god, who can do that?” And hard work can’t make up that difference.

  158. 158
    pseudonymous in nc says:


    The driving portion of the test to get your drivers license in the UK is something like an hour long. You have to do all sorts of things, including reversing around a corner. It’s rigorous and people routinely fail it several times before finally passing it. I wonder if it keeps the accident rates down.

    Somewhat. Significantly fewer deaths per capita (or per 100k vehicles) and anecdotally, a lot less in the way of fender-benders too. An idiot teenager reversed into my wife’s car last weekend at a little two-pump gas station while she was at the pump. Stupid fucker simply didn’t look behind, and was too dumb to appreciate that perhaps someone might want to use the other pump. He’ll know when he gets his next insurance premium.

    The German test (and driver education) makes the British one look like the Florida test. I had about 30 hours of lessons in the UK, passed on the second attempt.

    In the US, it’s wrapped up in all sorts of weird shit: not just the sense that it’s a right and not a privilege, but the way in which it’s often tied to high school grades and other irrelevant shit. And there’s no real culture of defensive driving or lane discipline, because if you’re in your big rig (or your pickup or your cabin-sized SUV) then you think you own the fucking road.

  159. 159
    evodevo says:

    @Amir Khalid: HAHAHAHAHAHA !!! That WAS a good one. You’ve never been in Ky or Tennessee, have you?!

  160. 160
    Violet says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Probably too late and you won’t see this, but I did grow up in the south, although not in Mississippi. I have spent a lot of time throughout the south and understand quite well where Faulkner is coming from. I get the culture. I just don’t like the writing. Not a fan.

  161. 161
    Simon says:

    I drive a 1996 Outback — two weeks ago I skidded at low speed on black ice and rear-ended a cop . . . No damage to my car at all, her car had a little scrape on the back bumper, everyone was OK and not even a sore chest from the seat-belts, but . . . My airbags blew out, bruised my wife’s face, broke the windshield, and are going to cost more to fix than the car is worth. We’re going to fix them anyway, though — there’s no way that 3000 bucks could buy us a car as reliable as the Subaru Outback, which my parents drove carefully and took care of for 14 years before giving it to us.

  162. 162
    Berial says:

    Just wanted to say, Subaru’s must be loved by their owners because I hardly EVER see, or hear of used ones for sale. I just checked to make sure my memory wasn’t failing me and yup. Only around 9 used Subaru’s(of any sort) are being sold within a hundred miles of me on there.

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