DUMMERSTON -- It's less than a 15-mile drive from Governor Hunt Road in Vernon to Rice Farm Road in Dummerston.
But it would be fair to say the area's latest Habitat for Humanity house took the long way around: A meticulous truck ride and a delicate crane lift on Tuesday marked the end of a four-year journey for a structure that soon will serve as a new home for a Brattleboro family.
"It's quite an undertaking," said David Ryan, acting president of Brattleboro Area Habitat for Humanity. "We've had a great deal of help from a lot of people on it. We've got a great volunteer crew."
To move the house from Habitat's Brattleboro shop to the Dummerston site on Tuesday, organizers enlisted veteran home hauler Fred Wetherby. It was an obvious choice, since Wetherby already was familiar with the structure.
"I brought it up here four years ago," he said.
In 2008, Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant operator Entergy donated the home to Habitat for Humanity. Fred Wetherby's Mobile Home and Transporting, based in Winchester, N.H., handled the move from Vernon to Habitat's facility off Route 5.
"(Vermont Yankee operators) had increased their perimeter all around the plant, and they acquired the land and the house," Ryan said, adding that the home was sliced into sections for the trip.
"We went down and stripped off all the siding first and got it ready for the move," Ryan said. "We've since been working on renovating
It's been a relatively slow process for the volunteer, non-profit organization. But the house is getting a complete makeover including new windows, insulation and a roof.
"We kept the pieces from the old roof for a while, but we finally decided it wasn't going back on," Ryan said.
Brattleboro-based Barrows Roofing & Set Specialists is donating labor to place a new roof on the home, a job that likely will happen this weekend.
Other local companies also involved in the project include Farnum Cellulose Insulators, Leader Home Centers and Premier Supply Group. The Nature Conservancy donated two acres of land for the home near the West River.
Getting it there was Wetherby's job. With more than four decades of experience, moving the two home sections to Dummerston wasn't a major undertaking for Wetherby, his son Dale and his wife Jackie, who was accompanied in a purple escort car by a Chihuahua named Lacy.
"It's no different than hauling a modular home or a mobile home," Wetherby said.
There was no possibility that his truck, a long trailer and a 15-foot-wide load could travel on either of Dummerston's bridges over the West River. So Wetherby -- escorted by Windham County's sheriff's deputies -- traveled a route that included the winding Middle Road and East-West Road through Dummerston.
"I want to take it easy because the road is narrow," Wetherby said before his first trip. "It's always safety first."
There were a few glitches. First, a permitting snafu delayed Wetherby's initial departure from Brattleboro. Then, his truck -- while still carrying the first home section -- bogged down in an unexpectedly soft turnaround spot.
That problem was solved by a quick response from Dummerston town officials.
"They sent a truck right over and pulled him out, so that was a big help," Ryan said.
Once the first home section arrived, Vernon-based Valley Crane Service swung the 22,000-pound load around and gently placed it on a foundation that had been put in place last summer.
Among those watching was Steve Anderson, Brattleboro Area Habitat for Humanity's treasurer.
"It's been a long haul, but we're getting it together," Anderson said. "It's very gratifying to see it finally taking shape."
The second section arrived later in the day. More work remains at the property, which is expected to be finished by Sept. 1.
At that point or sometime before, administrators said, a working mother and her three sons are slated to move in.
"It's going to be great for them," Ryan said, adding that it is his understanding that the family enjoys fishing.
"They're right by the river," Ryan said. "It couldn't be better from that point of view."
Mike Faher can be reached at email@example.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.