Bob Spiwak Monkey MazamaBy Bob Spiwak

This Labor Day we did something different from any other year since the 1900s. We tabulated vehicular traffic through West Boesel (mileposts 185-186) an hour earlier, from 9 – 10 a.m., instead of the hour following as has been the custom. The count was down, as we shall illustrate.

It seemed in years past that the 10 – 11 a.m. period represented a non-peak hour of traffic movement east to west, and vice-versa. This time the decision was made to count the old non-peak compared to what might be non-peak with non-non-peak.

As usual, we used our thumb-operated counters to document movement in both directions.  Earlier in August the county, apparently taken with our semi-annual holiday car counts, had stretched car counters across Goat Creek Road, a favorite thoroughfare for denizens of the Edelweiss enclave.

This, I surmised, could lead to a false reading, in that a zillion roller blades squishing the little rubber tubes and a bazillion bike tires doing likewise combined with motorized vehicle traffic would certainly skew the numbers. Perhaps due to mental telepathy, the county removed the tubes a few days before the Labor Day holiday.

There was a time, from the car count’s first inception, when we separated not only directional travel, but also separated out various transportation modes. Over the years, trucks have become the dominant sellers (according to a magazine), and we had a shortage of thumbs with which to diversify the traffic.

Hence, nowadays anything that goes past our strategically hidden bifocal visual radar is counted as an element of traffic. We have been able, thanks to the utility of an Eberhard & Faber pencil (No. 2) to give two-wheeled machines their due.

Today, Labor Day, 212 rigs went west, compared to 344 last year. The eastbound count produced 16 vehicles; a year ago there were 82. The bicycle count was up by a significant 50 percent, with two last year and three today. Roller blades were absent on Highway 20 in both years.

In this report we have usually offered raw numbers to help calculate mileage, miles per gallon, coast of fuel and once, I think, even average lodging rates. We have done away from this to let you establish your own numbers if so desired.

Until the next Memorial Day weekend, we have months to decide if we will endeavor to return to those boring days of yesteryear or inaugurate yet another element to the count, or streamline it further. We would like to hear from you at some time between now and then. This count, flippant as it may appear, is one that the State Department of Transportation takes very seriously.

At least over an after-work beer.

PREVIOUSLY, IN MAZAMA