Day 10 – Easter – Heavener, Rich Mountain, Ashdown, Haynesville, and Jackson – 8 April 2012

by Jim on 2022/04/08

This is part of the Eastern Great Plains Spring Break 2012 Road Trip series.

Greetings, and welcome to Day 10 of 10 of Jimbaux’s Spring Break 2012 Road Trip.  These pictures were taken on Sunday 8 April 2012, Easter Sunday.  It’s great that this is finally about to be over.  It’s the beginning of the end, and it damn sure feels and looks like it.  There is an element of loneliness to this day’s pictures, an element of finality about more than just this trip.

That’s why I didn’t feel all that resurrected on this Easter Sunday morning.  

Since I sleep at night instead of traveling at night, we start where we ended yesterday, in Heavener, Oklahoma.

Our first picture is of a northbound Kansas City Southern Railway train descending off of Rich Mountain into Heavener.

Check out all of those coil cars behind the power.

That’s the beginning of the Waldron Branch in the foreground.

This would be a day of grey SD70MACs.

Let’s go and see what is happening north of town.

There’s a parked coal train, and there’s a dog.

I like the swoosh effect of the track here.

It’s not as cool as it once was, though.

So, let’s head to town.

I did something that I’ve never done here in Heavener, as many times as I have been here, which is to document so much of the downtown, including the parts of it that don’t look white USian.

That’s the Downtown Café, which had recently closed, which was a big deal for me because it helped make the Heavener experience.  It was a 24-hour restaurant in this small town, and why would a small town have a 24-hour restaurant like this?  Because it’s a railroad town, a railroad terminal, with out-of-town crews – almost always out of either Shreveport, Louisiana, or Pittsburg, Kansas – arriving in town at any and all hours of the day.  Of course they would be hungry!

So, of course, it was a fun place for railroad enthusiasts to go to immerse themselves in the experience, and Google Street View suggests that another business, a new restaurant, has taken its place, though I don’t know if it’s a 24-hour restaurant, which makes you wonder what crews arriving at closed times will do.

You’re going to notice plenty of Spanish here.

I did get a few scenes of downtown on the morning of Day 2, some showing Spanish signage. 

It gives me a strange feeling, to be sure, and I wish to know more.

I wonder when downtown Heavener became so Spanish.

Here is some English signage, including the town’s newspaper.

I reflected on this plenty, and the apparently poor state of this publication, given that I had just gone to work at a small-town newspaper, where I’d be back at work 48 hours later, and given that I understood that this was somewhat a dying industry.

The internet is great, but it has come at a huge cost with which we have not reckoned.

This is the Heavener Ledger.

I wish to know more about the history of Hispanic populations in Heavener.

By that, I include thoughts, perceptions, actions, and reactions of the local non-Hispanic population as well.

This isn’t as soothing as our beloved little big trains, but we can’t always soothe ourselves with diversions.

There are reasons even better than the welfare of animals to stop consuming animal products: human welfare, including the gruesome human labor involved in creating those products, the unsanitary effects of animal excrement in concentration, and global warming.

If you can’t connect what I just said there to what I said before, well, then that’s a sign of how deep this problem is.

That’s all for Heavener on Easter Sunday.  I left a place that had some meaning for me in my early adulthood.

I began the long, lonely journey southward.

Almost three hours later, I am on Rich Mountain, still in Oklahoma, but not for long.

This is Sunset Point Vista along Oklahoma Highway 1, and I don’t think that I had ever been here before.

I would have gotten here by leaving US Highway 59 before Page and getting on US Highway 259 and going a few miles until I get to this Highway, Oklahoma Highway 1, Talimena Scenic Drive.

These images demonstrate the development of my photo-processing abilities in Adobe Photoshop, particularly the quality of the rendition of the cloudy skies.

There is something very peaceful about this area, and I like it.

I am grateful for the clouds.

I have become more appreciative of clouds, as they make lighting less sensory-intensive and allow one to see and perceive so much more.

The next three images were taken as jpegs.

This is why they are of lower quality than the other images.

I really didn’t learn how to make the best use of RAW format until 2022, almost ten years after I made these images.

We are back to images taken as RAWs now.

Next, 13 minutes later, we are at Castle Rock Vista to the east.

I like how you have to climb to get to the placards, though that might make it inaccessible to wheelchair-bound people.

This placard explains why trees here are so short, short compared to the trees that you can see if you look down either slope of the mountain.

Look at those dwarfed trees, trees that would be larger if they weren’t on the to of a mountain ridge.

This is fascinating, isn’t it?

Below is an eastward view from the western entrance to Castle Rock Vista, and where we had just been is at the upper left.

So, as you can ascertain from the satellite view, while the parking area for the vista is to the north of the highway, from the parking lot, you go southward back toward the highway to get to the vista, which has you looking mostly across the highway southward.

In one way, it’s very cool, but, in another way, it’s not very welcoming.

Yes, in some ways, it is like a desert.

Let’s get a couple more shots from Castle Rock Vista here before we leave.

I suppose that there weren’t any trains coming out of Heavener to climb the mountain at the time that I needed to leave town, but I also think that this was still a good use of my time even there would have been a train climbing the mountain.

Here are a few scenes from the highway as I drive eastward a few miles and a few minutes later.

This is an interesting drive, and it requires your full focus.

This is my last picture in Oklahoma, and the parts of land in the far distance may be in Arkansas.

So long, Oklahoma.

Thirty minutes later, here is an image in Arkansas, from this same mountain road.

Here are a couple of neat views of the highway 11 minutes later.

At this point, the grade is going down, and motorists on this highway will land in the valley at Mena.

That’s all for Rich Mountain and the Mena area.  I must not have spent much time in Mena, though I wouldn’t be surprised if I ate at Subway there, since the next pictures, taken an hour and 49 minutes later, are from somewhere that requires about an hour and a half of driving time from Mena.

On the southern side of Ashdown, I encountered this.

This is KCS Railway train Q-NLKC train moving north.

The “Q” prefix tells you what kind of train this is, a “Quality” train, which means high priority, the station code “NL” is for Nuevo Laredo, and the “KC” code is for Kansas City, as I am guessing that you could figure out yourself.

And, for our second moving train that we photograph today, it’s also the second train that we photograph today that is led by a solid set of SD70MACs with the leader being still in the grey paint.

I have long been fond of the grey SD70MACs, particularly for wide-nose locomotives.

Here is a going-away shot before we continue our southward journey.

I didn’t chase the train at all; I had just seen a headlight in the distance and pulled off on the highway where I was when I saw it, which, fortunately, turned out to be at a decent view.

At some point, I decided to make a little big diversion.  Realizing that, although I had been to the state of Arkansas many times and across all of its latitudes, from Louisiana to Missouri, I had never been in any part of Arkansas other than far-western corridor along the KCS Railway, US Highway 59, US Highway 71, and I-49, and wanting to go to Jefferson tonight instead of home in bayouland, I decided to head east from Texarkana across the southern part of Arkansas and eventually find my way to I-20, the KCS Meridian Speedway, Vicksburg, Jackson, and I-55.

So, that’s what I did, for some variety.

My first stop on this diversion was to photograph some livestock.

We are about 18 miles east of Texarkana here.

This is along US Highway 82.

This is near Garland City.

This is not far west of the Red River.

This is new territory for me!

I just don’t remember it that well.

At some point in the afternoon, still with a decent amount of daylight left, I entered my home state in the part of it where I had never been and in which few outsiders go.  I really don’t remember much from this trip at all, but here are two pictures in the city of Haynesville.

I wish that I could remember what I did or what I felt and thought when I was here, but, to me sure, my mind was full of 10 days of memories of this trip, many of which I do remember well.

I vaguely remember taking some diversion from this diversion and feeling powerfully lonely as I was doing it.

Those two pictures are the only two pictures form Louisiana on this day.  I am just realizing as I type this the weirdness of the reality that my journey home includes pictures from my home state and state in which I lived but that they aren’t the last pictures from the trip.

This whole trip was, for me, shades of 2008, in different ways, not just from my Great Northward Pilgrimage, but also in that the last time that I went to Vicksburg was a few months later in 2008 for Hurricane Gustav when I also got gasoline there and ate at Whataburger.  That was the last of three times that I came south from Jackson to New Orleans just in 2008, the second being the Great Northward Pilgrimage that had me driving as far as Walhalla, North Dakota, five miles from the Canadian border, and riding with others well into Canada in all three of the Prairie Provinces, and the first one being the Kansas City Southern Historical Society convention in Monroe in June, the last one that I attended, when I came home this same way from northern Louisiana via Jackson, Mississippi, unlike the other two trips southward on I-55 that summer.

So, yes, I got gasoline and ate at Whataburger in Vicksburg on this day, which I know only because of what I read in an e-mail that I wrote to my Omaha friend shortly about a week or two later.

What I do know is that it was dark by the time that I got to Jackson.

Yes, I am at the KCS Jackson Yard, which is actually just southeast of Jackson in Pearl, which, interestingly, is the second time in the last month that I photograph KCS scenes in Mississippi, the first being on March 14 when I checked out the rebuilding of the Gulfport Subdivision and found the Hattiesburg Turn working.

Today is a very much a day of grey SD70MACs, isn’t it?

This is the east-west MidSouth Rail line – and MidSouth was spun off from the Illinois Central Railroad – that KCS acquired in 1993.

I really lowered the color temperature in these images.

I end this great 10-day road trip that had me as far north as Minnesota here at High Oak Yard in the Jackson Metropolitan Area.

I vaguely remember talking to someone out here, like maybe a crew-van driver or something.

That’s the crew office there.

This is an anticlimactic, and that’s okay.

This is where I make my last stand on this trip, and I have at least two-and-a-half hours of driving to New Orleans ahead of me.

This is all, folks.  Happy Easter.

I have no memory of the drive to New Orleans or Jefferson.

I hope that you have enjoyed my Spring Break 2012 Road Trip.  Part of a service that I hope my photo essays provides is the vicarious experience of the viewer being there with – or, even, as – the photographer.  Indeed, that was a major idea behind the justification of asking viewers who could afford to do so to become patrons of this publication, which you can do for as little as $1 per month to help me pay for the trip that you just vicariously experienced!

I have only the vaguest memories of re-entering the crib in Jefferson, and I have no memory of what I did the next day.  I’m pretty sure that I went back to work at the new job on Tuesday, and I know that, after a week-and-a-half of Culver’s and Braum’s food, and after not being in the best of shape before, I started a strict grazing diet with many legumes and vegetables, and I really paid the price for it a few days or weeks later, as my digestive tract went on strike from this shocking influx of healthy food.  I had to miss work and see a physician, who confirmed that what I was experiencing likely was a result of the shock that by body received from the influx of healthy stuff.

Anyway, I am glad that I did this trip, and I was glad for it to be done when it was done, too!

I hope that you have been enriched by what you have read and seen here, and I thank you for reading.


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