9.17.2007,10:47 PM
Onward Ho! Parker County

Segment two......

One aspect I miss in Texas is familiar wildflowers. I'm aware the southwest region has its own indigenous flora that bespeaks beauty and novelty, but I haven't taken the time to truly seek them out. This year was the first since moving here where I didn't have to search; the landscape was a showcase no matter where one went.

Because I grew a myriad of trees and vegetables over the decades (both Maine and Oregon) and the first half of my career involved plants (first degree was plant sciences/pathology), I OD'd on plants. When I left Oregon, I vowed never to grow plants again. Regardless, they still pull me and I miss a few of the wildflowers that surrounded me in the north. One of those species is day lilies, or lilies of any kind. When I saw the red lilies behind JC's, I was ecstatic. And they called to me like an old voice from home.


The lilies resided in front of a light blue abandoned house. Although the windows and doors were boarded up, it looked quaint and I imagined myself residing in that house, under the big oak trees with the daylilies and the creek nearby. But not in town. The house appeared to be on the park grounds since a paved walkway and bridge were fairly close by. A pity; it looks promising.


A bridge traversed the creek which was bordered by native oak and other hardwoods. The resident algae was like any other shallow creek and appeared as green brushstrokes painted them under the water. Ed found some fingerling fish in a small deep pool downstream while I captured the reflection of the blue sky, clouds and tree branches on the other side of the bridge.



I'm always intrigued by the shapes and textures of trees. Some of the nearby oaks were massive and had gnarled and twisted limbs. It's always a challenge to capture the feeling in a photograph that these big old grandfathers impart. If only these ancient things could relate the stories of history that unfolds around them over decades, sometimes hundreds of years. If one looks closely, especially at the rings in the wood that may be revealed at broken limbs, one can read history as if it were an unfolding story book.
And sometimes these things can be conveyed best without color.


The park in Springtown is nice, the walk pleasant, the bridge and creek inviting. I found a little buddy that hitchhiked a ride on me over the bridge and up to the bikes. As I climbed the bank back to the bikes it flew off. But as I was gearing up it returned, landing on the seat of the Whee. Perhaps he wanted another ride or just to bid adieu.



We rode out of the gravel parking lot and crossed busy Hwy 199 to ride on Old Springtown Rd again. We retraced our route here but this time with a destination in mind. Ed had spotted a perfect backdrop for a bike photo opp. And it was indeed perfect.


The next series of photos hint to the very things I love most about these country roads. Horses, winding surfaces, green grass, and hills.



On the way to Springfield we passed a dead skunk in the road, smack dab in the lane. I thought to myself that I could get an interesting shot of that roadkill to show my preference of the state of being all skunks should adopt. And remembering an old song in my head whenever I see a dead skunk:
"You got yer
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
You got yer dead skunk in the middle of the road
Stinkin' to high Heaven!"

I fully intended to stop and get down on my knees in the road to photograph that thing, but catching a whiff of it a 1/4 of a mile in front of it, and it clinging to me, changed my mind. Next time I have an extra set of earplugs.......

We turned onto Veal Station Rd heading south to intersect 730 and cross over for the shortcut to my place. But the best laid route sometimes goes a-fowl (saw lots of birds during the ride; the homophone seems appropriate). Twice I nearly missed the turn because the road sign was illegible, but a quick recovery (aka emergency turn on gravel) routed us on track. After turning onto Tucker Road (yes, there *is* a Tucker house!), I completely forgot about the next turn because that road is so sweet! It wound down and through huge overhanging trees, over creeks, up and up and whoah! didn't expect *that* corner! and one "Where the heck is the road!?!" followed by a "Wheeeeeeee!!!!!!".

Through a break in the trees I saw the road ahead climbed a steep hill. So I gunned the Whee and rode it up with a big smile and stopped to take a photo behind us. Next time I'll take one of the upcoming hill; it almost appears as though the road climbs and suddenly disappears into the sky.


The road deadended onto 730 and I had to think for a second: "Where's the road? It should be on the other side of the highway.... Uh oh.......". That's when I realized I was having too much fun and forgot to look for the last turn.

No bother. I 'think' I knew where we were.
Alas, I was wrong. We were further SW than I thought, which I realized when I passed familiar landmarks from earlier. Oh well. We'll just ride Lake Weatherford again

We rode only ~50 miles over five hours but it was a fun short ride and I discovered more of my current home county than I knew before. And made notes of places to return.

Another time.

[1] Words and music by Loudon Wainwright III.

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posted by Macrobe
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