Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Spontaneous Road Trip

Do you like to do things spontaneously?

A couple nights ago we and friends went out to dinner then came back to our house for desert.  As we were sitting out on the patio enjoying the wonderful early spring evening something was mentioned about Dogwood trees.  Our friend told us about a Dogwood Trail he had been to in a nearby area several years ago.  That was all it took to decide we needed to take an afternoon trip the next day.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day to go deep into rural Northwest Louisiana.  The Red River was as lazy a flowing river as one would expect on such a day.
On the way to where we thought we wanted to be was a small, seemingly neglected village, known as Gilliam.
In 2010, the population was 164 with a median income for a household in the village of about $30,000 and the whole village covers about 2 miles.

 Mr. "Bob" Gilliam donated property for the right-of-way for the railroad route from Texarkana, Tx. south to Shreveport, La, with the understanding that the railroad would establish a depot on the banks of the Red Bayou and name it Gilliam.  They did this in the late 1890's.  This railroad line continued to operate until the 1960's.

Cotton was the main-stay of the economy of this area, but also the discovery of oil in 1904 added to the prosperity and development of this little town.  There evidently were several thriving business at the time.

In 1908 the Red River levee broke flooding the entire area including the town of Gilliam, killing 40 people and sending another 140 to area hospitals.
Following the flood, many of the land owners returned and rebuilt the village and brought in craftsmen necessary to maintain the cotton growing industry.  One of those buildings was built by Will Adger, Sr in 1916.  The building still remains as do several of the others from that period.
 I was curious to see inside this place called Adgers Grocery.
Will Adger Jr. who joined his father in the store in 1939, died in 1989 leaving the store under new ownership.  The shelves were packed with odds and ends that people in a rural town might need.
 For all practical purposes, it is now what the owner called a "man cave."  He has opened a restaurant/bar with the emphasis on bar, in the rear of the store.
He was even  happy to show off his kitchen to us and our friends who own one of the top notch catering businesses in Shreveport found it interesting, to say the least.
Getting to see the old triple layered original brick walls and hear its fascinating history made this a fun stop.
Across the street is the only remaining old cotton gin that helped established this area.
Since cotton is no longer "King" in this area, soybeans and corn have been added to the many large farms.  One of the major drawing cards to this area are the amazing sunflower fields and the annual Sunflower Festival in Gilliam.  I blogged about our trip to see these amazing flowers a few years back that can be found HERE.
This old relic plow could sadly depict what remains of the village of Gilliam; however, the friendly people and their optimism does not reflect this attitude.  That's because small town America still lives in the hearts and lives of the people.

We did find a neat little place to eat and it was worth the chance we took on it.  Sometimes the best food can be found in these little rural places where women grew up knowing how to cook for the men folk and big families.
 This building was built in the early 1900's like all the others and was once a grocery store and then a restaurant all these years.  We were told it has a thriving clientele now under new ownership.
The special of the day caught my eye and it was delicious and large enough serving I was able to bring some home.  Who can beat that for less than $10.00.
 We agreed that will be worth the 45 minute drive to return to Main Street Restaurant for another meal.

With full tummies, we continued our trek to find some dogwoods.

Actually, we were disappointed that we didn't find more, but the drive and little side road excursions were so much fun, we didn't mind at all.

I did take a few treks into the woods to find some pretty trees that I will share.
 This was one of the tallest Dogwood trees I have ever seen.  It was stretching for the sun.
On one of our little dirt road excursions, we found this beautiful rolling hill view.
 We also came across this calm little lake.

 If you look closely to the left in the above picture, you will see remaining evidence of last year's flooding in this area.
 We are so glad we decided to do something spontaneous.  You never know what might await you in this wonderful world God created.  I highly recommend it.

5 comments:

  1. Sounds like a fabulous day! Every once in awhile my husband and I will take a spontaneous road trip and it always seems to be fun. We should do it more often. Thanks for the inspiration, Elizabeth! Have a wonderful weekend. Your pictures are great!

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  2. If you had gone just a bit farther to Rodessa, you would have found the Buffalo Road dogwood tree...........the biggest and most beautiful of all! There is always sunrise Easter service there beside the tree and on years when Easter falls early, it is a glorious site to see as the sun rises on Easter morning!!

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  3. Hi Elizabeth! Yes, we have been out of touch for too long. Thanks for stopping by.
    This looks like such a fun day. Your photos are beautiful! No bloms here yet, but they will come...

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  4. Looks like you had a nice time. I do love the old buildings.

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  5. Elizabeth - what a beautiful place to visit with such amazing older buildings with great architecture. I love wandering around places like this with my camera and take pictures. I am your neighbor today at #ImpartingGrace

    PS.. if you are looking for another place to link to on Thursday's I would love if you would consider joining my new linkup #TuneInThursday - it opens Thursday 3am PST and runs through Sunday night. you can find it at debbiekitterman.com/blog (Please feel free to delete the link if you think it inappropriate).

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