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  1. #1

    Default Ideas for long steep gravel driveway at winter camp?

    Hello,

    I have an off-grid cabin in Vermont with about a 2000 foot gravel driveway with a couple of steep parts. We are not there every time it snows, but get there a couple times a month in the winter. For the last few years, we've hauled our stuff up on sleds when we go up for weekends. We would love to be able to clear the driveway at least some of the time when we are up for longer periods.

    I have an older B7200 gear 4wd and loaded rear ag tires. Have chains too. We have been thinking about getting a rear pto blower, having a plow made to replace the fel bucket, or even welding a couple of used gas powered push blowers together and fitting them to the FEL. Buying a plow truck that we park at the top and plow down is also an option.

    The key is being able to clear snow that may have been sitting for a week or two. what do you all think?

    Rob

  2. #2
    Gold Member
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    Jul 2008
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    near Williamsburg ,Virginia
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    TC 35 New Holland and 52 Case VAC,LT25 Woodmizer logmill

    Default Re: Ideas for long steep gravel driveway at winter camp?

    Having a steep driveway on a mountain means you have plenty of spots to just shove or plow the snow to the downhill side of the road. I think a blower would be nice but a luxury in your situation. A groomed driveway with hardpacked snow would be adequate for any vehicle with studs or chains. You do have to plan for the possiblity of loss of control on the steep sections and I would leave snowbanks or any other suitable barrier that will keep you from slipping off the mountain. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member lhfarm's Avatar
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    May 2002
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    Central Indiana
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    NH TC40DA

    Default Re: Ideas for long steep gravel driveway at winter camp?

    Welcome to TBN! We had a weekend farm here in central IN for many years (now live here full time) with a 1400' gravel drive up and through the woods. Not a great deal of snow, but when it happened, I wanted to be able to clear the drive quickly and with the least amount of hassle.

    For me, that meant a good starting vehicle with a front blade. I had plenty of space to push the snow to the side and didn't need to blow it. For light (less than 6") I use a old Cub Lo-Boy. I used a back blade and FEL on deeper snows. I now have snow plow mounted on the FEL arms.

    A cab for the tractor or a plow truck would make the job a lot more comfortable. I actually like plowing snow, but when I was only here for 48 hours, I needed to get the job done quickly so I get on with enjoying the place.

    That is a long winded way of saying I'd keep it as simple as possible. Trying to fire up multiple motors (the gas blower idea) seems like too much trouble. A rear-mounted blower would not be fun to drive down the drive (my neck hurts already!). And as much as I love tractors, I would be tempted to just get a plow truck and see how that works.

    Good luck and let us know what you do.
    Barry
    Lawson Hill Farm
    NH TC40DA
    '64 IH Cub Lo-Boy
    '47 Willys Jeep CJ2a w/ PTO
    '49 Willys Jeep CJ3a w/ PTO & 3pt lift
    http://www.farmjeep.com/

  4. #4
    Elite Member rekees4300's Avatar
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    Feb 2010
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    Indiana
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    JD 4300, JD X500

    Default Re: Ideas for long steep gravel driveway at winter camp?

    I have a 900' gravel drive with hills. Used only front blade for several years but snow would stack up on sides of drive and turn to "concrete". Last year got rear snow blower and that solved the stacking problem. With a blower and gravel you will need to prep your drive before snow season by removing stones larger than 3/4" and leveling it. Also set the blower shoes to highest setting. It's good you have 4WD and chains since those are essential on hills. Suggest you order the blower ASAP since it may take 2-3 months to get one.

  5. #5
    Silver Member
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    Sep 2005
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    Central New Hampshire
    Tractor
    JD 3320

    Default Re: Ideas for long steep gravel driveway at winter camp?

    We have a 650' gravel driveway in central NH, switch back half way with the upper section steep, see 2nd photo. I have a plow truck that I use to plow from top down. The tractor with FEL and backblade is used for clean-up and moving the piles back.

    If I had to I could do the whole job with the tractor but the plow truck is much faster. However if we had been away and there was 2+ feet of snow to deal with, the plow truck would probably get stuck. I would then resort to the tractor with FEL, a slow process but it would work. No blower experience but I think that a rear mount blower would also be the slow but sure solution.

    Note that the tractor has chains on 4 wheels (as did my plow truck that day). Dealing with deep snow or ice on a steep driveway calls for chains. Ice is the real killer, that is why chains on all four. I keep a supply of sand mixed with salt at the top. Many 5 gal buckets are stored in the garage. Dump a few buckets in the FEL; get the wife to drive the tractor slow and I spread sand on the steep parts with a shovel.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails -2008-snow-removal-jpg   -2008-snow-jpg  
    JD 3320 eHydro, 300cx FEL; HD '95 FXDS; '04 Ram 2500 plow truck, 2012 Toyota Tundra

  6. #6
    Silver Member Kioti guy's Avatar
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    Severn Bridge Ontario
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    2011 kioti ck 20S Hst,Case D

    Default

    My driveway is aproximately 1200' long,when i first bought this place i also purchased an old one ton dodge plow truck. It worked ok for the first several years but there were drawbacks ,first of all it weighs more then anything else i own so when it gets stuck( and it will get stuck lol)its a pain to get it unstuck, second anytime you plow you are working on diminishing returns i.e the first time you plow the drve is 10' wide the next time it is 9'10" etc. The third drawback to the plow and i think this would really be true in your situation is the longer that snow has to set up the harder it is to move and the more likely it is that it will pack up instead which leads back to getting stuck (ihate getting stuck).
    The last couple of years i have used a three point hitch mount ( buhler farm king) snowblower behind my ih 234 tractor . This is a way better option for me, the driveway stays the same width no matter how much snow we get, I don't get stuck or if i do the front loader gets me out and it doesn't matter if i am able to get to the snow before it sets up . I find the blower also leaves a consistant finish closer to grade level. Good luck with whichever option you choose.....craig
    2011 Kioti Ck 20s Hst,60" BB,Buhler Snow Blower

  7. #7
    Elite Member
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    Dec 2002
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    Foster, RI
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    Mahindra 3016

    Default Re: Ideas for long steep gravel driveway at winter camp?

    Since your visitations are sporadic, I'd find someone local that you can call at the periods of time you want to go up. Have them plow you out if in your consideration this cost comes in cheaper than other costs that are not necessarily measured with money.

  8. #8
    Veteran Member Carl_NH's Avatar
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    Coastal NH
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    01 Kubota B21TLB, 2010 Ferris 52" ZTR, Cub Cadet 1811, Gravely Super8

    Default Re: Ideas for long steep gravel driveway at winter camp?

    I agree with Arrow - have a local guy come in a day or so after a storm and clear it out - they are busy during snow storms but in between they are not and may give you a better deal.

    You could also stipulate say 6" or more plow if not leave it providing you have a 4WD to get in.

    The issue if you DIY is getting up through the snow first to access your machine then plowing out will take a few hours at least, unless you park your machine at the entrance? Slogging or snowshoeing up through 20" of snow is not bad if you are up for some exercise. The two DIY snowblower options in my mind are a large 30" walk behind, or a 4' tractor mount. The tractor mount would be around $3K+ I would think and the walkbehind you can find used for $900 or so.

    I still think the local plow guy at some rate say $50-75? once per major storm depending on rates in your area might be the best deal.

  9. #9
    Elite Member
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    JD LA115, WH 244, WH 525 hydro-pops,Original Troy Built Horse 8 HP

    Wink Re: Ideas for long steep gravel driveway at winter camp?

    Quote Originally Posted by rpvietzke View Post
    Hello,

    I have an off-grid cabin in Vermont with about a 2000 foot gravel driveway with a couple of steep parts. We are not there every time it snows, but get there a couple times a month in the winter. For the last few years, we've hauled our stuff up on sleds when we go up for weekends. We would love to be able to clear the driveway at least some of the time when we are up for longer periods.

    I have an older B7200 gear 4wd and loaded rear ag tires. Have chains too. We have been thinking about getting a rear pto blower, having a plow made to replace the fel bucket, or even welding a couple of used gas powered push blowers together and fitting them to the FEL. Buying a plow truck that we park at the top and plow down is also an option.

    The key is being able to clear snow that may have been sitting for a week or two. what do you all think?

    Rob







    Hello Rob,



    In you situation it will be simpler to purchase
    a snow caster for the following reasons.


    1. Your time of the lack of it.

    2. The terrain being difficult for snow plowing
    due to snow banks building up and leaving
    snow banks which is not good.

    3. Ice on top of snow fall which is never good.

    4. Your desired aggravation level. (mine is zero)

    5. Your physical condition and the use of an
    open station tractor equals how much seat
    time you can handle wearing insulated coveralls
    and several T shirts to hold heat and wick away
    moisture.

    6. Visibility and line of sight issues while doing snow
    removal.

    a) This is where a "Stihl Chain Saw Helmet" with the
    mesh guard and earmuffs is nice where the mesh
    prevents a lot of snow from being blown in your
    face and you can buy the hard hat liners from
    www.Gemplers.com that will keep your head and ears
    warm at all times preventing frostbite.

    I would purchase a rear snow blower in your case
    in a heart beat, and a second set of chains for the
    front wheels as well as chain binders for both front
    and rear tires.


    When you buy a rear mounted snow blower you have
    machine that will outlast the tractor and lose no value.


    A snow blower will be more productive and you will have no
    no banks.

    You can examine your purchase in this way where a smaller snow
    caster the width of the rear tire treads will allow you to
    go a little faster but a wider snow caster will allow you
    to remove a wider cut in the first pass but at a slower pace.

    The plus is that you can take a half cut when the road is opened
    and work faster if desired.


    I would contact Ken Sweet about a rear mounted snow caster
    as he is a forum sponsor in good standing.

    Ken also ships from his warehouse in Kentucky as well.


    If you would more help making your decision you are welcome
    to contact me via PM.


    __________________________________________________ ____________
    Once you go Flail you never go back
    Last edited by leonz; 08-20-2011 at 03:32 PM.

  10. #10
    Elite Member Coyote machine's Avatar
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    '10 Kioti DK 40se/hst KL-401 FEL, loaded tires, KB-2485 bhoe, Tuffline TB160 boxblade, Woods QA forks, MIE Hydraulic bhoe thumb & ripper tooth, Igland 4001 winch, & GR-20 Log Grapple. Woods BBX72" Mower. Diamondplate aluminum canopy.

    Default Re: Ideas for long steep gravel driveway at winter camp?

    I live in VT and have a couple of drives that are steep, winding, an a real pain in the butt to keep clean of snow. I had a Izuzu Pup truck with a Fischer 6' all angle blade which my wife convinced me to junk a year or so ago. Wish I hadn't, long story... Anyway, now I have the DK-40 and FEL, but no plow. I did just install a second set of rear remotes to run my front end grapple, so I could go to a plow setup if I choose to this winter. Last year i had a local plow guy do both my drives, my main drive is $100/plow job. HJe sands if necessary for another $35. He's there early morning and then it's done. No muss, no fuss, no frozen bones or getting stuck. I follow up what he does with the FEL and pile it higher and deeper as the banks start to intrude on the drives edges. My point is unless you have a cabbed tractor with an all way plow and chains on all four and want to spend copious amounts of your enjoyment time plowing yourself out, hire someone to do it for you in advance of when you're coming to the property or whenever there is 6 or more inches of fresh snow.
    having a plow truck is a good idea IF you're there to maintain it. And having it at the top of the hill to plow down is the best case. BUT you're not there to maintain it meaning the gas lines may freeze. The battery will go dead if it sits outside for long periods of no use, and the mice will chew on the wires and jam up the air cleaner filter, etc. The brakes and clutch may freeze up too- ask me how I know...
    So best bet it hire someone and maybe trade firewood, maple syrup, or hay for their plowing your drive.
    2010 DK-40se/hst, Kioti KL-401 FEL, (reversible Kioti cutting edge), 72" Ratchet Rake. Fit Rite Top-N-Tilt hydraulics & diverter valve. HLA Series 2000 7' snowplow, Aquiline MPC rear chains. Samuri Sickle bar.

    Scag Wildcat: Kawasaki 26HP, with bagger. Dr. brush mower, & 42" lawn deck, Dr. self propelled, 6.5HP Trimmer mower. Pro-Mow 3 gang mower, no HP.

    Bunch of STIHL chainsaws: 011x 2, MS192T, MS200T, MS180C, MS230, MS270 (Wood Boss), 038 Farmboss, '86 anniversary edition.

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