Snow Grader Recording 12-3-2010

Last week we got a huge amount of snow. The street I live on is a really well maintained road for North Idaho and the plow trucks had been zooming uo and down the road to keep it clear. Still, this did not prevent some considerable snow pack to form on the road by the local traffic. It had been really cold during the snow fall and then it warmed up a bit to make the icy snow pack even worse. This thick layer of ice on the road usually goes away by itself but this time the County felt it need to bring out the big guns to scape it off.

I had stepped outside for a moment and I heard this really loud scraping rumble type of sound off in the distance. I thought it was a plow truck but I soon realized it was the big road Caterpillar grader they usually use later in the season to push back the snow banks that build up on the sides of the road. I ran inside and grabbed my Sony PCM-D1 to see if I could record it passing by. My house is set back a 100 yards or so from the road so it can take me a minute to get the gear and set up out by the street. This day I got lucky. My neighbor was out shoveling his mailbox out and the grader stopped to chat with him and it gave my a minute to get close to the road and ready to record.

As the grader started to head towards me I realized it was really quiet outside so conditions were perfect. I stood at my mailbox and thought the grader was going to drive by me and then it slowed down and stopped right in front of my. The man operating it open the door and asked my what I was doing. I explained that I was recording the sound of the grader and gave him my usual speech about what I do. I told him I was going to walk closely next to the grader as it was plowing and he did not seem to mind. He proceeded to drive down the side of the road as I walked beside.

These winterized road graders have massive heavy chains on the wheels and while scraping the side of the road they are turned outward to keep the grader forced to the right side of the road. In the demo clip you can hear the diesel engine, the plow scraping the road and the chains digging into the road all in one very cool heavy machinery delight. I wish I had this sound when I was working on Supreme Commander!