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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

DAY 227: RUSTON - SIMSBORO - ARCADIA, LOUISIANA

Before talking about the above dog:

I must apologize to Brandon and his wife, Lacy. The photographs I took this morning ended up on a portion of my camera chip which has become defective; i.e., I have no photograph for the kind young couple who graciously allowed us to park last night at their business property, ALLSTATE TOWING, INC & SALVAGE, on US 80 West of RUSTON, LOUISIANA.

Now for this pooch. He and his partner attacked me not once, but four times, crossing the highway to do so. I shooed then away from the highway, but this one came clear across to get at me. I pointed my MACE vial at him - but did not shoot -...he stopped, looked quizzically at it and continued to come at me. I then pointed my camera at him. HE STOPPED...LOOKED...AND RETREATED. The pooch was afraid of the camera.

US 80 West of RUSTON, LOUISIANA.

There were three cows; two ran away...this guy stood his ground...good for him.

The destination of many creeks I have recently crossed...unless some significant rain falls soon.

Louisiana has it's share of logging trucks. These two are rolling through ARCADIA, LOUISIANA.

Most towns along US 80 are very small...a single street or two. SIMSBORO, LOUISIANA is one of those small ones...it is two blocks long...but does sport a nice High School.

Main Street of SIMSBORO, LOUISIANA.

There was a second Police Cruiser hidden along US 80.

Water tower in downtown ARCADIA, LOUISIANA. SPIA is parked for the night in an empty lot next to this tower...with the Fire Department on the other side. Stopped in at the Police Station to get approval to park...alas, it was open, but not a soul to be found. Hope they don't kick us out during the night.

Oh, by the way: NO BITING LAST NIGHT. The Bug Bomb appears to have worked.


ARCADIA has some elegant old buildings, some of which are in the process of renovation.

This is a rather large town with an obvious upscale past. Most buildings are empty or being renovated.

Trash to Treasure: A nice way to offer 2nd hand and "antiques" for sale.

Please say HELLO to Apryl. Yes, spelled Apryl: ..."My Mom put a "y" in all my sisters' names.

Apryl comes from a very "old" family, going back to the early 1800s. She and I had a long chat in the only restaurant in town, Luigi's, where I enjoyed a plate of Spaghetti and Meat Sauce.

Apryl put me on to Mount Driskill...Driskill is April's last name.

Luigi's Restaurant, ARCADIA, LOUISIANA.

Next door to Luigi's is this open space. At one time, back during the Depression Days, it was the location for Congers' Funeral Home. It was to Congers' where the bodies of Bonnie and Clyde were brought after they were gunned down during a Police Ambush about 10 miles from town.


This Plaque stands in front of the vacant Funeral Home. Click click to read details.



I drove out to Mt. Driskill, as suggested by Apryl. My visit was a good one. Hiked up a rough trail to the top of the mountain...and safely back down again without re-injuring my leg.

Beginning of the 0.6 mile trail to the top of Mt. Driskill.

A portion of the trail.

Guide messages are posted along the trail.

The top of the highest point in Louisiana at 535 feet above Sea Level. Trees have grown so as to block any view...but still nice to get back into nature and off the hot roads.

Some background of how Mt. Driskill came to be...also some history of Apryl's family.

Find Highway 154: This is the exact spot where Bonnie and Clyde died.

Mt. Driskill is a bit to the right on Highway 507.

I have a question: My walk has been as a mission to get from Point A to Point B. I have spent little time or effort at any individual spot...even though many interesting things could have been included if I had spent a bit more time.

I do not have a cast in concrete schedule to reach Point B. I would be pleased to adjust my priorities to include interesting sights / history / people along the way.

What say you ?

Was an enjoyable walk with very little pain. Felt good upon returning to SPIA. In the morning, will leave SPIA parked in ARCADIA and again walk West.

Today, walked for 5.5 hours, covering 20 miles.



Tuesday, August 30, 2011

DAY 226: MONROE - RUSTON, LOUISIANA

we were fortunate to be offered a parking spot last night in a private business a bit off US 80. All started out so pleasant. Then, two hours after turning in, the biting started. In less than two minutes, I had six new bites. I scrambled out of the bunk, prepared a spot on the settee, and enjoyed the rest of an uninterrupted night.

Today, I was determined to get rid of my sleeping companions. Stopped in at the local FAMILY DOLLAR, which had "insect bombs", guaranteed to kill all pests in a list of about 30 choices.

Parked SPIA in a convenience store lot, set off the bomb, and walked for 5 hours toward the town of RUSTON, LOUISIANA. Upon returning, aired SPIA out for 45 minutes, thanked my hosts and drove into RUSTON.

A highlight of that walk of 16 miles was many meetings of the local Mail Man, pic above.

meetings, along this picturesque US 80.

We are back in Hill Country, which I am assured will continue well into Texas.

I was feeling particularly good, so had no difficulty negotiating the many hills. Left leg did become a bit sore just below the knee...probably bringing new tendons into play on the hills.

Our clinging vine is still with us.

Must be close to voting day in Louisiana. Many are running for the local Parish Sheriff position. Must be a desirable job.

This photograph is included because of the rendition of the Indian TOMAHAWK. In the old Western Movies, the Tomahawk was used to scalp intruding Pioneers.

This land owner has the good fortune to have a placid clean-water lake. Click click to see two folks on the distant dock.

This is a typical Bass (fish) Competition Fishing Boat. A powerful outboard gas engine hangs on one end, sending it speeding from fishing spot to fishing spot. On the other end is a small electric motor used to precisely position the boat to best advantage for casting the Bass Lure.

Two fishermen use the two raised seats - one forward & one aft.

Bass Fishing Tournaments is very popular in the South East. Prize money makes it worth having high-tech equipment to compete.



A quite unusual Church...using a Manufactured Home.

Competition extends to mail box design.

I call this rig the "Smok'n Beast".

Late in my walk this Dump Truck roared past me trailing a dense cloud of Black Smoke. I could smell burning brakes, but it was moving nicely, so decided it was just a oil burner in need of some TLC.

Half hour later, I came upon it again...parked off the road next to some Manufactured Homes.

From the opposite side of the road, a voice from the woods..."so, you caught up with me already...passed you a few miles back."

Please say HELLO to R.L. May.

R. L. is the driver of the Smok'n Beast.

Had to stop and beg for a water hose, says R.L....seems my rear brakes caught on fire and having no fire extinguisher, had to use a garden hose to put it out..

Naturally, I stopped and chatted with R.L. for at least 30 minutes. R.L. just returned from a trip to Seattle. He cruised from Seattle to Alaska and back. R.L. has, however, driven over most roadways in the United States.

Currently, R.L. is speculating on Commercial Buildings. Buys a piece of property - say in Texas - builds a commercial building on the land and leases it out. Seems to be working for R.L.

Another mishap for SPIA today. The "shroud" protecting her Catalytic Converter broke lose - from all the bumpy road surfaces on US 80. I tied a length of 4-conductor sheathed electrical wire to hold it in position temporarily. Wouldn't you know it...a few miles down the road, ran into an honest to goodness Hardware Store. They carried the perfect size Hose Clamp. Bought two clamps ($1.20 each), which I will install as soon as the exhaust systems cools down. Should have no further problem from that quarter.

Now, if that bug bomb just works. Would welcome a peaceful night sleep.

Oh...nearly forgot: Bank Read-a-Board said temperature this afternoon was 109 F...and that was before factoring in Humidity, which results in an even higher reading. As we already know, temperature down on the asphalt is always higher ...would venture to guess it was 115 - 118 F while I was walking. Felt great after my 5 hours hoof'n it.

Strange event: A white panel Van - about 10 years old with commercial writing and what appeared to be a Yellow Pages Book pictured on the back doors acted strangle with me today.
He passed me slowly...five minutes later he passed me again more slowly from the opposite direction. Another 10 minutes later, he passed me - again slowly - but continued in my direction. A half hour later, I rounded a bend to a long straight stretch of US 80...and there he was, parked 1/2 mile from me. A person got out and started walking towards me...dressed in all black; the van made a U turn away from me, but pulled off the road and again stopped...the walker continued walking toward me. Got goosers up my back...these guys are up to no good.

The walker, within 1/4 mile from me, I turned around, walking normally away from him until reaching my previous curve, where upon I doubled my walking speed - to about 6 miles an hour. About 3 miles further on, the van again passed me - in my direction and continued on.

At this point I reached The Smok'n Beast and R.L. May, who also saw the same Van. After chatting for 30 minutes with R.L., I continued walking - still 3 or 4 miles to go - back to SPIA. A 1/2 mile from SPIA, the same van AGAIN slowly cruised toward me...I turned to take his picture, but he sped up...

Have not seen the van or the walker again. Do not believe he connected me to SPIA...certainly hope not, as we are parked in an isolated spot in front of a Wrecking Yard about 2 miles West of RUSTON.

Hope I'm not just getting jumpy or psychotic...til now, have had NO feelings of unease during my entire 1-1/2 years walking America's back roads. Would like to keep it that way.

Monday, August 29, 2011

DAY 225: MONROE, LOUISIANA

Early this morning, the MONROE, LOUISIANA sky was threatening. The above clouds were unusual in that there were no Cumulus thunderheads common in this area. The rain came down lightly for about 30 minutes; the sky cleared; the day became hot and humid.


The WAFFLE HOUSE has been a regular stop all across America. Last night they even allowed SPIA, SAM & ME to park overnight. It is great entertainment to sit at the counter watching the artist(s) at work at the Grill. Truly artist(s) at work as they skillfully prepare up to a dozen breakfast orders completely from memory from verbal information given by the Servers. The food is also artfully presented and is really good


A construction crew was installing (looks like) water pipes along US 80.

Silos of a design not often seen any longer. These tall round silos receive fodder (or grain) for storage and later use...much like we use refrigeration.

US 80 - the old highway across America before I-20 replaced it. These bridges are potential death traps for walkers...no place to get out of the way from passing vehicles - especially 18-wheelers which use the entire space of the narrow lanes.

Some newer sections of US 80 are a delight to see and walk.

Each black horizontal line is an attempt to repair broken concrete. These repairs result in jarring bumpity bumpity rides. As the repairs are not flush with the old pavement, they are also a source for tripping the unwary walker.

We have all seen the yellow signs warning against digging because of buried gas lines. This is what that gas line looks like opened up...actually crews are installing additional pipes at this construction site.

Another meandering stream. No bubbly streams in this part of Louisiana...not enough water to move fast enough to bubble along.

This fellow barked at me coming and going. When I talk to the dogs, they are taken aback, not expecting a conversation from the object of their barking. This guy also gave himself away by wagging his tail as he barked. He is looking away as I got his picture because a vehicle went slowly past with another barking dog inside.

Church Architecture in the Bible Belt should be the subject of an in depth study and publication.

Please say HELLO to Bri.

Returning from my second walk of the day, stopped in at RUMORS, a roadside Ale House, for a cold beer. Spent a good half hour chatting with this interesting young lady, a local resident who has traveled extensively throughout the World.

Walked both sides of MONROE, LOUISIANA today for 22 miles. Spent 2 hours at the Laundromat washing all of SPIA's bedding...to get rid of whatever has been biting me at night.

It is now 11:30 pm. Tried to get a few early hours sleep before completing this Blog, but alas, within 2 hours, I was again chewed upon 6 times within a couple minutes. As soon as I jumped down from my bunk perch, the biting stopped. Whatever is chomping me is still up there.

Tomorrow I will look up an exterminator to see if we can rid SPIA of whatever is lurking inside. After that, will continue walking West on US 80.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

DAY 224: DELHI - RAYVILLE - MONROE, LOUISIANA

Yesterday we chatted about Soy Beans with photos and video of the harvesting operation. The above photograph depicts the rest of the story...as a famous Chicago Radio Host used to say.

This toothy 18-wheeler is loaded with grain on its way to the Distribution Plant.

I said one of these brutes passes me every 5 minutes...I was wrong...one passes me every two or three minutes. Harvest in Louisiana is progressing in a big way.

Toothy was a com'n; this guy is a go'n.


and, this is the destination. Grain is off loaded from the trucks and distributed into the silos by conveyor belt and gravity. Later, the grain will be shipped to processing plants...some even exported.

Agriculture: that is a major item produced by and in America. Uncle cannot ship our farms overseas, but is doing the next best thing - or worst thing - legalizing illegal immigrants, many of whom work America's farms.

The town of DEHLI, LOUISIANA also has a modern water tower. DEHLI is not really a big place, but it is very spread out. Not many abandoned shops in this town.

and that ain't no bull...Oh, yes it is. That animal staring at the camera is definitely a BULL.

A sign out on US 80 says ..."Bulls For Sale".

Another slowly moving muddy river. This one had a turtle in it, but was too far away to get a photograph of it.

But I did get a photograph of this "Snake"...at least it looked like a snake...it wiggled like a snake...but did not move...even when I nearly hit it with a rock - thrown in desperation to get it to move.

Turns out, my Snake is a tree branch broaching the surface.

So, after nearly 8 months walking through Snake Country, I still have seen nary a single snake.

But I did see this Cessna take off and make a few touch and go landings.

I think of this photograph as a perfect "His" and "Hers" depiction of the modern union.

The more traditional "Theirs".

This home must belong to a Pastor...it could easily pass for a Church.

And these home owners are either shy or enjoy playing peek-a-boo with passing travelers.

A field of Soy Beans. Johnny explained to me that there are a number of Soy Bean Varieties. Each variety has a different gestation (growing) period. The one we saw being harvested yesterday was harvested 110 days after planting. The field next to the field Scooter was harvesting has a growing cycle of 120 days...just right to allow time between fields, allowing a leisurely work schedule.

US 80...a nice road to look at. An awful road to walk or drive. This part of US 80...indeed, most of US 80 paralleling I-20...is not maintained. It just about shakes poor SPIA apart, and I have tripped more than a few times on broken macadam.

A row of impressive trees lining US 80 in front of a very up-scale home.

And, we shall complete today's photo parade with this impressive image of flowering cactus.

It is 34 miles from DEHLI to MONROE, LOUISIANA. SPIA is parked in MONROE - at the WAFFLE HOUSE - for the night. In the morning - provided I am not chomped up by them - I will walk BACK toward DEHLI for 5 miles and return to SPIA...then, I will have walked the entire 34 miles...

Only walked three legs today totaling 24 miles. Ankle is fine...first day without Ace Bandages or Pain Killers..., but the humidity is weighing heavily on me as I walk...

Crossing the Deserts of the West, I always walked at least 25 miles by noon. Today, I am struggling to get that far in the entire day. Perhaps 7.5 months of continuous walking in near/over 100 F. with only 3 days' rest might have a bit to do with my performance.

Leaving Louisiana we also leave most of the humidity behind...then we shall see.

After the initial 10 miles in the morning, will continuing Westering on US 80.