Castle Valley Comments
August 8, 2013
by Ron Drake
Aug 08, 2013 | 633 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Plans are currently under way to form an emergency medical response team in Castle Valley, according to Andy Smith, director of Grand County Emergency Medical Services. The team will be under the direction of the Grand County EMS once the members are trained and organized, and will possibly include the agency’s surplus ambulance to hold medical supplies and get a patient out of the weather, but it won’t be used for transport.

Paula Dunham, Grand County EMS assistant director of education has outlined the 60-hour course of instruction, which will include all aspects of medical emergencies that first responders might encounter. She said the course will begin Sept. 2 and run every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Day Star Academy until Oct. 3, when the course will be completed.

In addition to Dunham, other instructors include EMS Director Andy Smith, EMT Jake Blackwelder, and Dr. Michael Duerhssen of Castle Valley.

The cost of the class will be $300 per person. The Castle Valley Fire Department was able to obtain a grant to go towards the class and Grand County EMS is donating workbooks and some other expenses to help keep the costs down.

All interested persons are welcome to attend the class and become a valuable asset to the community by becoming a member of the Castle Valley emergency medical response team.

* * *

We are nearing the 20th anniversary of when Castle Valley Drive became paved with chip seal. The county road department scheduled the day to begin the project 20 years ago and warned residents to drive slowly on the road while the first tack coat of oil was put in place to avoid damage to their vehicles. That coat of oil had to be in place for 24 hours before the rest of the chip sealing process could begin.

As the day neared to begin the process, the oil, which was to arrive by train, had not yet been delivered. It was finally learned that a destructive flood of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers that year had re-routed the train, pulling the tanker full of oil from the east. The detour around the flooded area took the tanker down through Texas and it eventually ended up in Denver, where it sat for several days because of the emergency traffic that was taking supplies to the flooded areas.

The oil eventually arrived, and after the tack coat another a truck sprayed another coat of oil followed by a layer of gravel, which eventually hardened to a smooth surface. Grand County Road Supervisor Dave Warner warned that residents would experience a lot of dust, flying gravel and washboarding until the excess material scattered. But for those of us who were used to the road the way it was, a few more days of dust and flying material was not a big deal.

Some people didn’t want to see the road paved for some reason, but for the rest of us it was a blessing. The washboarded road was really hard on our vehicles, but the bigger issue was the cloud of dust that hovered over the valley during the morning and evening hours when the road was heavily used by commuters. Some people drove the road faster when the washboard road was at it worst because they reasoned that at high speeds they only came into contact with every third bump, which smoothed out the ride.

Another issue with the old dirt road was the mud during the early spring months when the snow melt came down Castle Valley Drive like a river, creating huge ruts. Sometimes if your car slid off of the higher part of the road into the rut you became high-centered and were stuck in place until someone with a larger vehicle pulled you out. One resident with a larger truck said he would simply put the wheels in the ruts at the top of the valley and wouldn’t have to touch the steering wheel until he reached the paved Castleton Road because the deep ruts kept him on the road.

You could spot a Castle Valley car in Moab from a mile away. It was the one with red mud splattered all over it except for where the wipers cleared the muck from the windshield. Driving the muddy road at night required an occasional stop to clear the mud from the headlights so you could see where you were going. There were many other issues with the dirt road but suffice it to say that life in Castle Valley was a whole lot better with the paved road.

The road received another armor coat the following couple of years, followed by a chip seal coat the final year about 16 years ago. More recently, when Castle Valley Drive began to deteriorate and just before the town accepted ownership of the road from the county several years ago, another chip seal was applied to the road to renew its integrity for another decade.

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