I've been thinking a lot about Fleming Road (runs from Route 120 to Country Club, about 2 miles). If you haven't driven it, it is worth the drive. Truly one of the most scenic roads in the county. Hilly, wooded, gentle curves, the whole bit.
A friend calls it "tummy tickle" road because of the hills - a name that started when his kids were little and they liked the roller-coaster effect of driving along Fleming!
BUT, it is technically a county highway that is considered by them to be the route from Route 120 to Route 14 by way of Country Club Road and Ridgefield Road.
It may be safe to say that "scenic" is in the eye of the beholder. One person's scenic drive may be tedious to another who just wants to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible, and is annoyed by the hills, slower speed limits, curves and trees close to the road.
I love driving through the county's gently rolling farm fields, but know people who think this area is too flat and the farm fields are b o r i n g.
Whether one likes scenic vistas of farmfields, or curvy, hilly routes that cross through examples of the county's glacial remants (moraines, kettles, kames and outwash plains), there are many scenic driving experiences to be had in McHenry County.
For example, I think most any road through Bull Valley is scenic, with their windey turns and hills, plus the trees overhanging the road and the farm fields stretching across the rolling hills.
If you've driven on Fleming Road, you have probably thought "This is pretty" or words to that effect. But why do people react that way to some drives and not others?
The hills. The trees. The curves in the road. Trees close to the road. Trees overhanging the road way -- a canopy effect. It all contributes to a scenic driving experience.
A "peaceful and comforting ride" is how one friend describes her trip down Fleming. Another told me that when she is all stressed out, as soon as she turns onto Fleming, the stress melts away - it has that effect on her.
But there is a plan afoot to "improve" the road -- to make it safer -- by enlarging the shoulders to at least 4 feet, and by cutting some of the hills down. The work would also include a change in how water runoff is handled.
Currently, runoff goes wherever it can since there are not consistent swales along both sides of the road. That may sound bad, but actually, it seems to work okay. The runoff flows into the existing low spots along the roadsides and slowly infiltrates into the ground, or is absorbed by plant roots. Modern engineering "standards" say that proper road design means that one must build either large swales or curbs and absorption wells to handle the runoff.
And all that engineering comes at a price - it means widening the road way by nearly 30 feet, from the existing 22 feet of pavement, to at least 30 feet of pavement and up to another 28 feet of ditches. I'm sorry, but how is that an improvement? An improvement in what way?