Finding what’s there

Garage with smiley face

Some things you simply do not expect to see. A 9-foot tall Smiley on a garage door is right at the top the unexpected list. Seeing it is one of the rewards of an unplanned trip with no direction in mind.

This adventure started east of Bismark, Arkansas where I joined my in-laws for a niece’s 28th birthday celebration. I enjoyed a great lunch, a fun gift opening, and a good visit before departing. When I left the party with no plans or a clue where I was going, I had this realization: If I was to be home by dark, I had about 4-1/2 hours to meander around the territory before heading east toward my humble abode. Here’s what happened.

close up of horses

See more pictures at Corndancer dot-com

The first thing I did was to temporarily ignore my sister-in-law’s admonition to turn north on Highway 128 on Highway 84 toward Hot Springs, Arkansas. Instead, I turned south. In so doing, I found the Smiley garage above.

Before we go too much further, may I invite you to get in on the start of this story on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer dot-com. You will see a couple of pictures of a curious horse and a great old barn on Ragweed Valley Road in Garland County, Arkansas.

After finding a good gravel road that eventually connected  with Highway 128 north and then making that connection, I discovered that my sister-in-law’s advice was well given. I’m glad I listened.

mountain highway vista

Looking north on northbound Highway 128 descending from Jacks Mountain. Shot while stopped with a point-and-shoot held out of the truck window.

Highway 128 winds up Jacks Mountain from south to north. When the descent starts, a fine mountain vista appears — with no place to pull over and photograph it. Traffic was light, so I stopped and I held my recently acquired Nikon point-and-shoot out of the window and got a couple of quick shots, one of which you see below. See the other one, a bit wider, in our Weekly Grist gallery.

Avoiding the thick Independence Day weekend holiday traffic in Hot Springs, I headed West on Amity Road, formerly Highway 192 according to my outdated map. I found a memorable home-place tree, the right side of which was missing, along with most all other vestiges of the former home place.

large tree with fallen limb

An old home place tree on Amity Road west of Hot Springs. The property owner happened by while I was shooting and explained that this one is the survivor of two similar trees on the home place of his father and mother. Each had "their" tree. The home and the other tree are gone, as is the east side of this tree.

 See more of this tree in our Weekly Grist gallery.

Eventually I made my way to U.S. Highway 270, the way home. I hit 270 at Crystal Springs and immediately pulled into the Crystal Springs General Store. There I found the good ol’ boy elixir for a  hot, sweltering afternoon, a big Barq’s Root Beer ice-cold. Now refreshed, I had to admire the straightforward security statement at the entrance to the store. This sign is old. You can detect the sign painter’s brush marks, a thing of the past.

Crystal Springs General Store

This low-tech security system has worked well for years so the proprietor of the Crystal Springs General store says.

 Sometimes lack of direction is a pleasant respite from highly focused, pressure-cooker routines. It does well to recharge one’s system and in this case, exposes you to things you would not have seen otherwise. The rub is, you have to return to organized effort, so you can afford to temporarily abandon it again.

old barn

Click the barn for more pictures in our Weekly Grist Gallery.

See more pictures in our Weekly Grist Gallery

See a neat little barn, the pregnant Jenny, another shot of the horses on Corndancer, a cool country church and cemetery, more views of the home place tree and a house with a gravel yard and hundreds of trinkets in our Weekly Grist Gallery. Lots of pix, lots of fun.

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe Dempsey
Weekly Grist for the Eyes and Mind

%d bloggers like this: