I spent a lot of time researching rural road construction techniques and came up with a pretty simple formula that worked for my budget and hopefully works for the long haul: scrape off top soil (black dirt) down to good hard clay, compact with heavy equipment, place geotextile fabric down, cover with big gravel (2"-3"), compact with heavy equipment, and cover with small finish gravel (3/4"). We'll see how it works for both the near and short term.
For the first day we cut in and started removing the topsoil, taking off about six inches and piling up the black dirt to use later in the garden.
Our long driveway passes through a couple rolling hills, so we had to notch out a level spot for the road and build a little ditch on the up-hill side of the road. I had some good help checking the work at the end of the day. Kids ended up playing king of the mountain on the dirt pile and needed a good scrubbing at the end of the day.
Looking forward to the time when we can enjoy more of these sunsets from our own porch.
Last but not least, I need to add the daily stats:
Work done: excavation
Hours worked (me): 0
Hours worked (friends/family): 0
Hours worked (contractor estimate): 8.5
Contractor: Grishm Farm and Construction
Materials used: none