A Doug's Life: Country Roads Don't Always "Take Me Home"

When you yearn for the rural appeal of places like this, you have to take the bad with the good.

No, I'm not talking about the smell that wafts our way from the dairy farm every once in a while. Nope, not even the "road apples" one must watch for around the horse stables. Not the skunks, the rattlesnakes nor the coyotes.

I'm talking about the roads you people have out here.

Remember, I'm a transplanted city boy. Where I come from, they don't put brand new housing developments next to 100-year-old farms. Back home, a rough road is a three-lane boulevard with a few potholes. Out here, it's a cow path that doubles as an avenue.

Granted, the tremendous growth in this community in recent years has resulted in more paved roads, wider roads and faster ways to get from one end of the valley to the other. Unfortunately, this whole transportation issue remains problematic, at best.

As we all know, you're still stuck in the middle if you live near Holland Road and want to get from one side of the 215 to the other. Your choices are the usually congested Newport Road bridge to the north, the unusually narrow Scott Road bridge to the south, or a catapult.

And don't get me started on why I can't drive from my home in Hidden Meadows straight up Menifee Road to my daughter's house in Heritage Lake. If they don't soon plow through the 100 yards or so of rocky landscape that separates the two sections of that road, I may have to buy me a jeep and go for it.

But that was nothing compared to my latest adventure, which occurred Monday morning while I was trying to navigate my Toyota Camry south on Haun Road past Scott.

Remember, it had rained hard the night before. If you know that area, you probably know the trouble I encountered. Still being a bit of a drifter in these parts, I wasn't prepared.

It was supposed to be a simple drive over to the Bouris ranch for an interview. I looked up the address and punched it into my trusty iPhone GPS. Coming from the intersection of Newport and Haun, where I started out after a few errands, the gadget told me to head directly south on Haun, which would become Zeiders Road, where the ranch is. A piece of cake, I figured.

I guess the GPS was a stranger to Zeiders Road, too.

About 50 yards after I crossed Scott Road heading south, the pavement ended and I found myself on a narrow dirt road. No problem, I figured. I couldn't make out any street addresses, but I was pretty sure the ranch would be just a house or two down the road.

A bumpy quarter-mile or so later, I realized I was the only car on the road. Worse yet, the dirt road had become a mud hole. I weaved through a mine field of puddles and ditches OK, but suddenly I was wishing I had brought the pickup truck instead. A horse, even. What kind of cowboy wannabe am I?

Finally, about the time I decided it would take longer to turn around and drive back through the mud than keep going, the middle of the road smoothed out quite a bit. I tried to follow some tire tracks I could make out in front of me, navigating between some rather deep ditches on either side of the road.

That's when I lost tire traction almost completely. Sliding from one side of the road to the other, it was like driving on ice. What could be worse, I thought? How about getting stuck in a rut and having to be towed out of there?

Fortunately, that didn't happen. For 20 or 30 treacherous yards, I kept on the gas pedal and slithered along at about 5 mph until I made it to where the pavement resumed -- right at the Bouris ranch.

Lo and behold, I now know you can approach the ranch from Keller Road to the south and avoid the dirt (and mud) patch. That's the route the locals take.

But hey, I survived. I didn't have to step out of the car in the middle of the quagmire and sink in up to my knees. I didn't need a tow truck to haul my vehicle out of there, or even a team of horses. Next time, I'll check out the landscape first.

Meanwhile, I still can't drive from my house to my daughter's house as the crow flies, and that stinks worse than the dairy farm.


  1. dad how about walking the 5 miles with a flat bike tire and a very sore left hip and limping along Menifee road

  2. Some of us wish more of the area was still like this rather than the concrete jungle it has become.