Thursday, August 28, 2014

Following the old Roads


The railroad went across the Arkansas Valley in the 1870’s,building towards the pacific Ocean.  As rails were laid, stops were made to service the engines and replenish.  Many of these stops became towns along the way.  Providing business for the railroad.

The roads followed the tracks and became highways.  Then the highway department in all their wisdom, realigned the highways.  In so doing, many of these little towns were left high and dry and eventually did dry up. 

Some of these old roadways are still in use today, as a country dirt road. 

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I love to find them and follow along.  There usually remains or other bits and pieces left from what have now become ghost towns.  The old telegraph poles float across the land, the new utility lines follow on the other side, occasionally.  It is time throwback.  Here is what granpa and granma had when they first traveled out west.  It kind of becomes a melancholy ride, yet the sense of adventure is there.  What lies ahead, what is around the bend?  onwards I travel.

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There are diversions and treats ahead.  The car bounces over the roadbed, dust boiling up, windows flash up for passing vehicle and the cloud of dust.  The dust still sifts into the car becoming a dust collector. 

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What had been a store still stands, someone had taken care of it.  The water tower back behind, a few homes near by.  Over by the shed someone works on equipment.  Foundations line the tracks, dust bunnies swirl over the ground.  The land is quiet, times hav3e passed this little burg and the people have departed.   Emptiness is the air. 

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Further down the road are the homes of a few that have clung to their dreams.  An abandoned barn marks the time when things were different.  It is a journey back in to another era.  When life was different yet the same. 

The road winds next to the rails, crossing over to the other side.  Ahead are more ghosts waiting for my discovery. 

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High over head the railroad spans a side creek.  The road now winds back under the tracks.  Yet over there is another village that got left behind when the highway was moved.  Up the ridge, over a couple of ruts past a ranch house and ahead is the corner of main and main street.  Now vacant the stores whistle a tune from another day when they were a lively enterprise. 

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The empty storefronts look over and empty lot, where horses and wagons once parked.  The few remaining residents travel a good distance to the nearest town for shopping.  The corner store now collects dust on its counters, critters of dust float on the shelves and the cash register sits vacant. 

What are their stories?  In the back can be seen the living quarters.  Life was lived out in the little store until the highway went away. 

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