Road Trip: East Texas

We took a short road trip out to Texarkana this weekend for business.  We got off the beaten path and meandered our way through small towns dotting the map.  The wildflowers were blooming like crazy.  Why I didn't stop to take a picture of them makes me crazy.  They were everywhere. 

One of the neatest sights were the beekeepers out in the fields that were harvesting honey.  This is a trade I would like to learn one day.   

A sleepy town named after the sulphur infused springs in the area was our first stop.  We've passed through before and found a great quilt in an antique store.  There were not a lot of treasures this round except for a small tray for the guest bathroom, and of course a few McCoy pieces to add to the growing collection.

Next stop was Mount Vernon.  Just at the edge of the city square you'll find this old factory sitting vacant.  Over at the Our Place cafe it is rumored that it used to be a glove plant.  Whatever it was, I can't find any history on it.  Windows cover each side as well as a row of them in the roof line.  It would have been a great place to work. Now it stands in disrepair as the ivy takes over.  Note the restoration happening on the clock tower of the court house in the background. 

image via Some Old Guy

image via Some Old Guy
 We rolled into Texarkana late afternoon.  Out near the interstate the city is thriving with new builds everywhere.  Downtown Texarkana is another story.  Other than a small music festival going on and a few bars, there was no activity.  Almost all of the buildings have been abandoned and boarded up.  It was a sad sight to see.  The most interesting building is the one pictured above, Hotel Grim.  The name suits its character today.  In the thirties it was the place to be.  Buildings like this always make me wish I could travel back in time to see them in their glory.

Before the fireworks show we were attending we took a drive over into the Arkansas countryside.  It's beautiful and abundant with rolling hills and evergreen trees.  We took a backwoods, county road that lead us to a village called Genoa.  It was so heavily wooded with dead-end roads branching in all directions I was afraid we weren't going to make it out of the woods.  For some reason we got the case of the giggles and stopped a dog on the side of the road to ask him, "Genoa the way to go?" 

We made it to the fireworks show on time and saw some spectacular views.  I was playing with the settings on my camera and took a bunch of shots of the fireworks.  This is one of my favorites because it looks like a leaf.  

There is no doubt a change has taken place in American communities and it was visible this weekend.  I suppose it's a sign of the times and what we see today is evidence that change is inevitable.  What we saw were businesses shut down, boarded up and replaced by dollar stores, Wal-Mart, and McDonald's.  Occasionally, we come into a place that is still hanging on, even if by a thread, where people still talk to their neighbor's and take pride in where they live.  We savour those places and return when we can. 

As always, I'm glad to be home, but the weekend was a great reminder of how important it is to see the country for what it was before it's too late.