Thursday, June 23, 2022

Louisiana Trip, Day 3 - Alexandria to Lake Charles

 Not much to post today.  Had successful visits to Jennings and Gueydan for genealogical purposes, then a long visit with my old best friend from high school days.  Tomorrow is a gallivant around some familiar/favorite spots from the 50s/60s, and an informal reunion get-together before Saturday's big doings.

201.1 miles for the day, 962.5 for the trip.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

2022 Louisiana Trip, Day 2 – Malvern to Alexandria


2022 Louisiana Trip, Day 2 – Malvern to Alexandria

Took off at 0640, and headed south on AR-9. Passing the Arkansas Yam Company in downtown Malvern. A bit further south, there came Infinity Ranch and The Hangout – Home of Hippy Holler.

Turned on AR-8 to Fordyce, home of the Redbugs – and the Lady Bugs salon. It's also legendary 'Bama coach Bear Bryant's birthplace. Left Fordyce for a little trip to Marks Mill battlefield park. Not much there, a little roadside park and some interpretive signs of this 1864 disaster for the Feds.


After a short stop, it was back to Fordyce to pick up US-79 south to Camden. A little 25 mile roaund trip to me to Poison Springs Battlefield State Park. This is a nice park with a nature trail; it has only one sign commemorating the battle.

Driving thru Camden, I passed a street of classic old houses in Colonial, Queen Anne, and Georgian styles. I continued south on US-79 (I was supposed to be on AR-7). I discovered the mistake when I realized that I was in Magnolia, not El Dorado as planned. Well, it was going the right direction, so I continued on, stopping at Emerson, the purple pea capital and home of the world Championship Rotary Tiller Race, to check GPS – I somehow did not include a Louisiana map in my travel kit. Haynesville, LA, claiming to be the Gateway to North Louisiana, is home of the Golden Tornadoes, multi time state football champs.

At Homer, the manager of a C-store told me to get on LA-9 south and it will take me where I want to go. She was right. I came out at Grand Ecore, across the Red River from Natchitoches. The historic downtown dates from French colonial time; mansions from that and more recent eras provide plenty of B&B lodging for tourists and visitors to Louisiana Tech.

Picked up I-49 heading southeast, and arrived at my Holiday Inn Express in Alexandria at 1517. Fill-up for $4.39/gal and supper at Pitt Grill. Roads for the day: AR-9, AR-8, I-49, LA-1 and US-71.

For the day 340.8 miles, for the trip 761.3. For tomorrow: to Lake Charles via Mamou, Jennings, and Gueydan.

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

2022 Louisiana Trip, Day 1- 2022 Louisiana Trip, Day 1 – Warrensburg to Malvern.


2022 Louisiana Trip, Day 1 – Tuesday, June 21st

Yes, I'm on the road again, for a week this time, to a belated 60th Lake Charles High School reunion. I woke up early this morning, so I was on the road by 0630. The first tidbit? A bald eagle on the ground in a yard on MO-13 near SE 950 road. Further south, the old grocery store north of Osceola (across 13 from Osceola Cheese) is now the “Amish Trading Post” - we used to stop at the store for ice cream. Gas from here south was $4.59.

Took a short cut off of 13 to H Hwy, aka North Glenstone, then got onto I-44 to US-65 (for the next 180 miles). Branson has sure built up since my last time in the area. 65 is now 4-lane all the way thru Harrison, site of a nice rest area and Welcome Center. Once I hit the curvy & hilly 2-lane area, I saw large patches of butterfly milkweed along the roadsides. The road crosses the Buffalo National Scenic River at Silver Hill; the river was full of canoes.

This whole section is scenic, but there were few places to pull off for photos of mountain panoramas. Gas prices down here really beat those in Missouri, typically around $4.30, with one station in Leslie down to $4.09. A barn sported a roof-side sign urging travelers to “See Arkansas' Natural Bridge” - only 13 miles. I looked for a cafe for lunch, but ended up at a DQ in Greenbrier.

My next 65 miles were on Interstates – I-40, 430 and 30 – all going 75 mph and up. As a result, I got to Malvern at 1330, not expecting my room to be ready. It wasn't. I moved up one of tomorrow's activities and visited Jenkins Ferry State Park, which commemorates the last battle of Steele's Camden expedition. The area is all forested bottomland, and the Saline River was at flood during the battle. Steele escaped, but had to burn all his supplies. Tomorrow I'll visit other key places in that disastrous (for the Yankees)

                                                View of the Saline

The uplands are heavily wooded, mostly pines in uniform stands of varying ages. Lots of lumber yards, which seem to specialize in power poles and fence posts. Other firms include Ribbet Power Coating (do if frogs work there?), and Acme Bricks (do they supply old Wile E. Coyote?).

Supper at a BBQ place and try for an early bedtime. Roads for the day: MO-Y, MO-13, MO-WW, MO-H, US-65, I-40, I-430, I-30, US-270, AR-291, AR-46, AR-229, and back on US-270.

For the day (& the trip) 420.4 miles. Tomorrow: assorted roads to Alexandria, LA.