(Samaria, MI) I drove on Tuesday evening down the worst stretch of a map-defined road I can recall when I made the mistake of turning onto Monroe County's Rauch Road, once deemed by Toledo Blade readers as "the worst paved road in Monroe County." Just as I headed west on this pothole-filled death trap, I came upon an older woman driving about 20 miles per hour, and I passed what I thought to be one of those stereotypical little old ladies driving at speeds better suited for a parking lot.
Unfortunately, this driver was much better versed than I was on the dangers of this remarkably ruined stretch of highway.
Almost immediately I began hitting bone-jarring chuckholes, some of which appeared to be of depths greater than a foot. Even at speeds of only 25-30 mph, I had difficulty dodging these killer holes, and my old Toyota Corolla groaned as it encountered pothole after pothole, like a CAT6 cable trying to carry broadband suckage from 10 laptops.
Worse yet, it appeared that the county had recently spread a few loads of gravel on Rauch Road to buy some time before making more permanent repairs. This action, though, had two unintended consequences: it made potholes harder to see, since everything around was a dirty gray, and the gravel made sudden stopping much more difficult.
I knew that my decision to travel on Rauch Road was a costly mistake as soon as I turned south onto Secor Road, when the Toyota started ominously shuddering at speeds approaching 45 mph. A trip to my mechanic revealed that the rear struts were utterly destroyed, having seized up and spewing hydraulic strut fluid around. $434 later, the Toyota is running much better, and I suppose I should be grateful that the front struts withstood the beating they took courtesy of the state of complete disrepair that is Rauch Road between Lewis and Secor.
Beware, you citizens of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan: there lurks in your midst a highway that's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered road you ever set eyes on (apologies to Tim the Enchanter).