The High Road

When we first discovered our house up here on the mountain, our introduction was the road. This long hill to climb to reach the goal. We knew from the start we could not drive up it. Maybe if we owned a little car but not our Vito.

So one of the things we had to decide on before we bought our chalet was were we willing to accept that limitation. We were and we did but I know that life would have been much easier back then if only we could have driven up that hill.

When we bought the chalet it came with a jeep. It was an old ratty jeep but it did go up and down that hill. Now it did make the task easier but it was not a licensed vehicle so anything we hauled in the jeep had to be first loaded onto the van and brought to the bottom of the hill, then unloaded and loaded into the jeep. 

We used it to haul all our earthly possessions up to the house. It was a long hard move.

 I didn't help matters any when I fell down on December 30th landed on the top of my foot and ended up with an ankle that resembles a deformed balloon animal in various shades of green, blue and purple.

 The rest of the moving job rested solely on the back of Frenchie. I'm still not sure how he managed it.  That jeep was our grocery delivery jeep, our firewood hauler and everything else in between.

 It was a sad day when the jeep ran no more and we were forced once again to haul our groceries up the hill by hand. 

Finally this spring we hired a company to redo the driveway. 

They started by grating the whole driveway from top to bottom. They also had to remove some roots and rocks. Just doing that was a great improvement. There were places where the driveway sloped like the mountain and places where it humped in the middle.

Soon it was smooth all the way down.  Then they added the gravel.

Frenchie stuck by our neighbors entrance in one of the two attempts he made to go up the driveway.

Our road is shared by our neighbors and their entrance was where some of the roughest parts were,  The workers smoothed the area and rebuilt their little wall so there were no more worries about the road eroding away in that area. 

Last but not least, they laid pavers down from the garage all the way to the gate entrance. Frenchie chose these beautiful latticed pavers and had them filled with gravel. It provides great traction for the van since, though this is now much smoother, it is still quite steep. What a difference! 

While they were working on the driveway and pouring the concrete at the gate entrance, Frenchie was working away on the terrace, readying it for the work to be done on it later this year. Since the workers were already here pouring concrete, he hired them to also pour the slab for the new patio. 

I couldn't believe the difference in the surface area. Before it was so broken up with different openings that we really didn't benefit much. We hardly used it. Now it is this nice big expanse. Big enough for a table and chairs and an umbrella with room to spare.

This is not the finished product though. We still have many changes to happen out here but that's for another episode about this ever changing chalet in the mountains!

Last but not least, we had the workers remove the huge tree next to the drive.  This was a hard decision for me. Frenchie wanted it gone almost from the beginning but I was stubborn and wanted it to stay. It was such a beautiful tree but even I had to admit that it robbed the house of light all morning and into early afternoon. 

Losing the tree would provide us with the much sought after sun. It was also pointed out to me that the tree was on the edge of a small cliff area. If a storm decided to take the tree down it would take a big chunk out of our driveway also, it might even fall on our house. So even though it was a hard decision, now that it is done I realize it was for the best. We have enjoyed a long sunny summer this year and I also have a new view! 

SO this is just one of the things that happened while I was waiting for my camera. I lost my camera shortly before they finished the project so I went out and took pictures of the finished driveway today.

We have a few other big projects going on that I hope to cover soon. They are all making a HUGE difference in the comfort of this house. I am amazed at the differences here since we first came.

I'll be back soon to fill you in on more. I hope you are all having a joyous December!

3 comments on "The High Road"
  1. Wow Diane, that is a big difference. I love those pavers you chose - so interesting looking. It always seems to take forever to get things done but you have done some mighty big bits on the chalet. Lots of work - great changes. Cathy

  2. I can't imagine trying to get up that hill the way it was before but it looks like it would be great for sledding! What a great improvement.

  3. This is an interesting post. I can't wait to see more of what you are doing. I can't imagine a walk up that mountain! But surely it's very healthy to do it!! Too bad the tree has to go, but necessary for sure.

    Merry Christmas