My Many Interests

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Weekends were made for adventures

I got my love for road running from my Dad. It was nothing to pile up in the pick-up, back when you could ride in the back and not get side-eye from someone. He'd take us out towards Long Lonesome, a road that traversed through the Georgia Pacific Wildlife Management Area northwest of Bastrop, Louisiana, my hometown. A little over ten miles of gravel road that ran straight as an arrow for a good portion of it. We'd go just to see what wild life we could see and listen to the quiet of those pine trees.

My wife had a bit of the wanderlust, also. She ran with a group of folks that called themselves the We Be Trippin' group and they would all load up in Carroll's little Ford Explorer and go to the Jazz Fest in South Louisiana or anywhere they could pop a tent. Our thing was to take the roadmap and just hang a turn on whatever small road seemed to lead to nowhere. This once lead us to a fox hunt, though we were told that since it was in Texas, they were chasing coyotes.

And now, we continue the tradition with me and my daughter. Since we've moved to Winnsboro, which will be a year ago in just a week, she has learned the joy of riding the roads. Her favorite request when we are going anywhere is "Daddy, can we take the back roads?" She has also picked up the lost art of being neighborly by waving at passerbys whether they instigated it or not.

One of our most recent jaunts started out as just us getting lunch and enjoying it at a roadside park. An order of tamales from the lady over at the parts place and a cold drink had us sitting at the little roadside park north of town on Hwy 37. Though she and I had passed it many times, we never knew it's place in history. Our local librarian had brought our attention to it after she had stopped to check it out the month before.

Built in the thirties Texas started scattering these parks throughout the state to the tune of 674 by 1938.Today only 41 survive. The Texas Highway Department tasked the National Youth Association with building these little respites to meet the possible throng of people traveling for the 1936 Texas Centennial. Lyndon B. Johnson was the director of the NYA from 1935 to 1937.

This little park north of town is one of only a few that has a natural spring supplying fresh cold clear water. An old stone picnic table and bench are there and I assume are original. The area is also covered with dark green moss and just begs to be enjoyed. I have a feeling we'll be enjoying more lunches there as the years go by.

You can read more about the parks in the link below. 

Have you visited this park? What are your memories of this special place?

Depression-era Roadside Parks by Bob Bowman