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Wickersham Road News
January 15, 2009

Greetings - This issue:

  • Sad News
  • Attention: Abandoned Car
  • Park and Ride Reminder
  • Thanks
  • Gate Combo Change
  • Regular road use reminder
  • Road Dues
  • Road Committee Elections

Sad News

Doug Porter, former Owner of Parcel 14, passed on November 2, 2008 after a two year battle with cancer.

For those who did not know him, Doug was a notable member of our little neighborhood out here and was very active on particular issues with regard to the Road Association.

He was highly opinionated and put a lot of energy into his causes. He did a lot of volunteer work for the Sierra Club, helping build and repair various structures and huts. He was also active as a group leader of rafting trips and winter outings.

He was my neighbor at the ranch, helped build my cabin and barn and variously amused and annoyed me over the years.

I hope his life was adequately full.(md).


An apparently abandoned car has been parked at the unofficial Park and Ride at approx. mile .025.

The Car:

White Volkswagen Jetta Washington plate: 871-MWZ

The car has been there for several months. If anyone knows the owners of this car, please notify them that the Owners of the front ranch would like it removed promptly. If it is not removed within 30 days of the date of this newsletter, it will be removed by the property owner.

The Road Association may be liable for costs associated with its removal so please help if you can.

Park and Ride Reminder

The Park and Ride area that is used by various neighbors is offered as a courtesy, and only with specific permission, of the owners of the front ranch. This area is private property and the Road Agreement does not authorize parking anywhere on the road.

If you wish to use the area to leave a car for a weekend or on a regular basis, please contact Dean and Kelly Falkenburg directly at: (707) 431-1517 dktfalken@aol.com.

  • Please park cars in such a way that others may park there if necessary.
  • Please do not leave any litter or debris. Thanks to those who use the area regularly and help keep it clean.


Thanks to Dave Schaeffer for scraping yarrow from the road side as he was moving equipment out this fall.

Thanks to various people who have cleared fallen trees at several locations on the road.

Thanks to all Owners who regularly pick up garbage, remove rocks, clear downed trees and assist with numerous other invisible tasks that help keep the road functional.

Finally, Thanks to Dave Otero for all that he does to support the Road Association and improve the neighborhood we all share.

Gate Combo Change

The gate combo will change on:

Sunday January 25, 2009
The new combo will be:
Front Gate: ******
Big Iron Gate: ******

Road Condition Update

After a number of "Comfort Grading": tasks this summer, the road has been in very good shape, with the exception of two areas that were problematic during the first rains. This was partially expected as any road work done over the summer is usually slick the first time we get serious rain.

The area around the Bridge continues to pose difficulties. We applied local rock there this fall and that rock, when combined with the fines, got very messy during the first rain. We are monitoring it during each rain, and if the material continues to perform poorly, we are planning to bring in high quality rock from either the rock pit at Parcel 15-1 or from a private source on the ranch.

The curve at Mile 10 also performed poorly after several non-Road Association grading efforts. This was in part due to the profile created as well as the usual problem of initial rains.

We have made further corrections to that profile and, after the recent dry spell, the surface appears to be stabilized. We will monitor this through he winter as well.

Pending severe storms, we expect good performance of the road this winter. Please help by doing your part to protect the road:

  • Avoid driving the road during or immediately after rains.
  • Slow down. High speeds on wet roads do severe damage
  • Drive in the existing tracks when the road is wet. The shoulders may be soft, particularly where recent work was done. No shoulder should be driven on during the first year after work is completed.
  • When the road is damp (not soaked) drive off the ruts a bit to help provide extended compaction. We rely on winter rains and traffic for much of the compaction and surface tuning for this road. Spreading the track around during damp conditions can greatly stabilize the road, work out washboards and level some potholes

Overview of 2009 Work

We have completed most of the critical grading exercises over the whole length of the road and made important corrections to cross slopes in the worst areas. For those who have not actually experienced those areas, this may sound funny, but we have dramatically improved the overall shape of the road in the last eight years.

Remaining areas requiring substantial geometry upgrades are Middle Snot Hill and 2-Mile Hill. We did some minor adjustments to both of these areas this year, but substantial grading still remains.

Since the likelihood of grant funding continues to recede over the economic horizon, we should assume that we will have to deal with the proposed grant work zones.

This will include:

  • Stabilizing the whole drainage picture along mile 6 (near the Bridge approach.)
  • Additional drainage renovations on Snot Hill
  • Two major culvert replacements at approx. Mile 3.5 and Mile 7
  • Specific work at the Bridge approaches

We should consider the possibility of Supplemental Dues for these areas over the next two years.

For 2009 we the following areas are candidates for Long Term Maintenance work:

  • Resolution of the immediate Bridge Approach problem
  • Basic geometry adjustments to Middle Snot Hill
  • Basic Geometry Adjustments to Lower and Upper 2-Mile Hill
  • Installation of approximately 50 rolling dips along various areas of the road to better protect work already completed
  • Rock Installation at corners
  • Selected Culvert replacement

Regular dues will not cover all of these tasks, so priorities will be further refined after we see what kind of work arises out of the winter rains.

Finally: The Bridge.

As discussed at the Owner's meeting, we should look at 2010 as the year we replace the Bridge. This will allow us to collect Supplemental Dues over 2009 / 2010 and prepare any designs, engineering and approvals that may be necessary.

The goals for bridge replacement include the following:

  • Wider bridge, to allow for easier equipment crossing
  • Longer bridge: to allow for more stable abutments
  • Slight alignment changes to allow for safer outbound approach

We have been discussing the replacement strategy with one local vendor who currently has a glut of railroad flatcars and is offering better pricing for bridge fabrication. Estimated costs range from $60k for modified flatcar(s) to $150k for a structural steel bridge.

We are recommending modified flat cars. This combined with a volunteer component from our own resources for installation could keep bridge replacement costs relatively low.

Please forward any comments or suggestions you may have regarding any road maintenance and design issues.

Regular Road Use Reminder

The following is the regular reminder about use of the Road. Please share this with all guests and vendors.

Some Hot Items:

Speed: With the improved quality of the road these days, we are seeing more people drive faster. We have gotten several complaints from neighbors and want to remind everyone that the functional speed for the road is about 15 mph. Speeds faster than this actually work the road harder and increase maintenance costs.

Additionally, as the road crosses private property, owners are concerned about potential liability risks related to vehicle accidents that occur on their property. The single biggest risk of high speed travel on the road is head on collision, a nasty affair at speeds over 10 miles per hour.

So for those driving fast, rushing to town and otherwise forgetting that they are out in the country, please slow down.


Also, please note that the chain at the Big Iron Gate does not have to be tight for the gate to do it's job. It's OK to leave a little slack in the chain and it will make it that much easier for the next person to open the lock.

The Usual Stuff:

  • Always lock the gate; regardless of whether it was unlocked when you got there
  • Make sure the combo is NOT left on the lock or the lock will not lock. Spin the numbers before locking and test the lock to make sure it is locked
  • If you wish to leave the gate open for a car that may be following, please wait at the gate while it is open
  • Please pick up litter and debris that does not belong on the road. If you are at the Front Gate and see litter, please assist in picking it up for removal. This makes the Front Gate more attractive for all users
  • Please remove rocks or trees that have fallen onto the road. (If you remove a large tree or perform other substantial work in keeping the road open, please advise the Committee so we can say thanks.)
  • Please get permission from the owners of the front ranch to park cars inside the front gate.
    Contact: Dean and Kelly Falkenberg (707) 431-1517 dktfalken@aol.com
  • Please park between the front gate and the second green-post and chain fence. This way the Owner can tell that you are a guest and not a trespasser
  • Please drive slowly and carefully


  • Please advise guests that they are traveling over private property and that they should respect the privilege to do so. It is not appropriate to stop for sightseeing or personal relief on other's property
  • Please advise your guests regarding Road Etiquette including basic driving methods for rural roads and basic courtesies
  • Please ask guests to say Hello and readily identify themselves and who they are visiting when meeting someone on the road. (It's always nice when I encounter a stranger on the road and they tell me who they are without me having to ask.)
  • Please advise all of your guests regarding the importance of locking the gate. It is your responsibility to ensure that your guests understand how to operate the gate
  • Please advise guests not to litter the area around the gates. (I pick up trash there almost every time I enter. This is not road trash but it came from people using the gate.)
  • Please advise guests to assist with Road maintenance by removing rocks or trees that are in the path of travel should they encounter them

Annual Road Dues

Annual Road Dues are due and payable as of January 1, 2009.

Primary Owners will receive invoices in this newsletter. If you did not receive an invoice, please contact any partners you may have to make sure that you are not missing out on the fun.

For each parcel at the ranch, we have identified the Primary Owner in out mailing system. This is the party that will receive road dues invoices and election ballots.

The Road Association cannot distribute multiple copies of these documents as it would generate an accounting and logistics nightmare. Instead we count on one owner form each parcel to handle dues collection and voting for that parcel.

Where partners split dues, the Primary Owner should ensure that dues are collected form each partner and, when individual checks are used, those checks are sent to Carol and marked with the Parcel Number.

Thanks for you assistance.

Thanks to all Owners who regularly pick up garbage, remove rocks, clear downed trees and assist with numerous other invisible tasks that help keep the road functional.

Road Committee Election for 2009 - 2010

As usual we are late in getting the election under way so please bear with us.

For the new Owners, we hold a Road Committee Election every two years. Each Parcel can cast three votes for any combination of people who may be running for the position.

Ballots will be sent out and collected by Carol at my office and results posted shortly thereafter. Ballots are numbered in order to ensure that we get each ballot back, but numbers are not correlated with parcels and ballots are, therefore, secret.

Members of the existing Road Committee have each stated their willingness to run again. These include:

Martin Dreiling; Parcel 8, 9
David Katz: Parcel 25
Rob Weinstock; Parcel 30

If anyone else is interested in running, nominations can be made by written letter that includes the signatures and parcel numbers of the person being nominated as well as the person doing the nominating. Please forward any nominations to Carol by January 9, 2009, ct@dtbarch.com.

We will try to get a ballot out by mid-January.


Ranch Mailbox wranch@dtbarch.com

Ranch Website "http://www.wickershamranch.com"

Thanks to Tami Bobb for her efforts in sharing space on her personal ranch site for our benefit.