Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Scenes from Old Highway 80 ... Where Eagles Dare

When we're traveling, my husband and I love to get off the interstates and drive the back roads. And that's just what we did this weekend when we were returning home from a "getaway weekend" in Shreveport, Louisiana. Our back road adventure began on old U.S. Highway 80 in Shreveport.

On the outskirts of town these pretty "brown-eyed susans" were nodding in the breeze, and seemed to be waving goodbye to us ...

Just east of Shreveport is a little town called Gibsland, whose claim to fame is that the notorious outlaws Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed there on May 23, 1934. There is a even a Bonnie and Clyde "Ambush Museum" ...

And a marker commemorating the spot where they were killed ...

Right around the corner from the museum was this pretty little house all decked out for fall and Halloween ...

{You can click on the pictures to enlarge them, if you'd like}

Our next stop was Arcadia, a quaint little town with several antique shops and also home to the Bonnie and Clyde Trade Days, a monthly flea market covering 130 acres. Unfortunately, the shops weren't open when we passed through, but I did get some pictures ...



All along Highway 80, between Monroe and Vicksburg, lie thousands of acres of the fertile fields of the Mississippi River Delta. There are soybean fields, cornfields, rice fields, and last, but not least, cotton fields ... as far as the eye can see.

I couldn't resist getting out and taking some close up pictures of this beautiful cotton field, which is ready for harvest ...



This probably sounds weird, but I just loved being in that hot and dusty cotton field. I thought it was beautiful and was so tempted to "pick a bouquet" of cotton for a fall arrangement, but I resisted.

After the cotton is harvested, it is pressed and stored in "modules" for protection against the weather.

The modules are stored in the field or on the gin yard until the cotton is ginned. Aren't you impressed with how much I know about cotton? (Wikipedia is a wonderful thing).

After my exciting cotton field adventure, we were cruising on down the highway when all of a sudden my husband said, "Did you see that!?" ... and before I could say, "No, what?" he said, ... "It was an eagle!" Now, among the cotton fields of the Louisiana Delta is the last place I'd be looking for an eagle, but sure enough, there was one in all his glory perched on top of an electrical pole right on the side of the road.

I was so excited and was grabbing for my camera and telephoto lens while my husband turned the truck around and slowly headed back in the direction of the eagle. I was so afraid he would fly away before I could get some pictures, but he was a brave little soul and sat still long enough for me to take a few very excited semi-out-of-focus pictures of him ...

Taking flight ...

I wouldn't take anything for seeing that magnificent creature in his natural habitat. My husband said that he and his duck hunting pals have seen a few near their duck blind which is in the Delta.

Needless to say, after our eagle adventure everything else we saw seemed a little anti-climatic, but I do have a few more pictures to share with you.

During harvest season, this is a pretty common sight on Highway 80, and you get used to sharing the road with John Deere ...

This was obviously an old gas station we passed in Tallulah, Louisiana, with its sign advertising gas for $1.45 a gallon (those were the good old days, huh?) ...

A few miles East of Tallulah, Highway 80 ends on the Louisiana side of the Mississippi River. The traffic portion of the bridge across the river at Vicksburg was closed many years ago, but the railroad portion continues to be used today (it's the bridge on the right in the picture below) ...

The bridge on the left is the I-20 bridge and after crossing into Vicksburg, you can pick up Highway 80 again and continue east through Mississippi and into Alabama. After crossing Alabama, it continues on across Georgia, terminating at Tybee Island near Savannah, just a few feet from the Atlantic Ocean.

One of these days, I'd like to follow Highway 80 to its end, but I don't think I'd see or experience anything more exciting or more memorable than ... "the day we saw the eagle."

15 comments:

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi Janie,
Thanks for a very informative and fun post!
I had no idea that Bonnie and Clyde were buried in LA. Guess I should have known.

Your eagle picture is magnificent! You are really tempting me to buy one of those Canon Rebels!

As a child we used to travel highway 80 to Jackson, so I have some concept of it. Our home is only about a mile from 11/80-so I travel it often. There are lots of old stations like the one in your picture.

I love interstates, but I think it is great to take the back roads when you have time!

Have a great day!
diane

The Quintessential Magpie (Sheila) said...

What an amazing sight! And what a treat for you and for us that you got those pictures! I'm so glad he's the symbol of our nation. To see him in all of his glory makes your heart swell with pride, doesn't it? Hawks and owls are really neat, but an eagle is the ultimate.

I miss that section of the country more than I can ever say. You carry it in your heart, particularly the cotton fields. I always like to see cotton scattered along the highways when the cotton wagons go to the gin with stray bolls flying out to dot the sides of the road like giant snowflakes.

Here in Florida, we always drive the backroads when possible. I've seen a couple of black bear in the Ocala National Forest (they were lumbering across the road), and from what I've heard, there are bear showing up in Mississippi, too! Was it Amite County or Claiborne? I read about it somewhere.

Thank you for sharing this. One thing I love so much about Louisiana is how there always seems to be an antique shop (and a great bowl of gumbo or red beans and rice)in their small towns.

Sheila

Picket said...

Morning girl....I loved that road trip and all that great info...I have always loved seeing the cotton fields..there is something so beautiful about those soft white puff of cotton in among all that hard prickly background that just is so beautiful to me and then when I saw the pic of the eagle...oh I literally gasp...what a site to behold....great post sweetie...a great post! Take care and have a beautifu week!

StitchinByTheLake said...

I love seeing these old towns - our past personified. blessings, marlene

Julie @ Sweet Chaos said...

Janie, I was just in Tybee this weekend! We happened to be in town during the Pirates Fest. I HIGHLY recommend Tybee, it is FANTASTIC. I'd love to travel 80 all the way across. You'd probably see some wonderful sites. The top picture on my blog is of my children in Tybee. Oh, I miss it already. Thanks for sharing your trip. As always, I'm jealous!

salmagundi said...

What a great road trip!! Loved the cotton fields - I remember seeing cotton ready to be harvested in West Texas once at about this time of the year. How did you resist taking some? I'm afraid I might have been a bad girl! Not really. Sally

Sincerely Yours said...

Hi Janie! I enjoyed our trip again! It's almost as if that eagle was waiting for you and posing! Very beautiful! Sounds like your husband is like mine; can spot an animal miles away - guess its that hunting eye! I have a fear of bridges and hate crossing them but I love looking at the architecture and am always fascinated how they can hold all the weight(including me!lol) So where are we off to next!lol Enjoyed your post - Have a great day - Jeannette

nikkicrumpet said...

Thanks so much for taking us along! I'm having a hard time deciding my favorite part of the trip!! So many amazing things to see. The eagle, that adorable town, the cotton fields. WOW. I love Louisiana...it's one of the most beautiful and unique places on earth.

Jill said...

Just looking at the Bald Eagle gives me goosebumps...what a beautiful bird, and picture!
~Jill

Anonymous said...

That was awesome Janie, being a Yankee (lol) I have never seen cotton up that close !!! I didn't know that little tidbit about Bonnie & Clyde either.

What an interesting trip you and hubby had !!!

My sil just moved to SC so perhaps one day soon I will get to your neck of the woods :)

Thanks for sharing,
Kathy :)

Cyndy said...

Loved the road trip! Thanks! Old 80 passes right through my town, Abilene, TX. That picture of the eagle was amazing. I never seem to have my camera handy at just the right time for something that great. And I love the picture on your header with the cows in the pasture.

Cottage Rose said...

Hello Janie; I just love all your photos, but the best is the Eagle, how majestic looking he is. When we went up to northern Mich. Where we were fishing at a very beautiful lake we saw one, I almost fell in the water trying to get in on my Camcorder. I was standing on a wall, he made his call and it was so wonderful I had goose bumps.
Thanks for sharing you ride with us.

Hugs;
Alaura

Granna said...

That was a fun trip! I travel I-20 everyday to and from work (I work near Arcadia, LA) and sometimes I take Hwy. 80 just for a change of scenery. Love the old barns and houses along the way.

Tracey said...

Thanks for taking us on another vacation! I love learning about your beautiful part of the country!
The eagle was GORGEOUS!!!

2Thinks said...

I felt the same way when I first saw a bald eagle at the family cottage one year. We've watched it every year since and when we go up there this weekend, I'll try to get a picture of it w/my new camera. When you mentioned telephoto lens here, I knew you were out of my league w/photo skill. I can't even handle my p&s yet. My dau. and son have the big lens stuff. :)

Thanks for the story!
Heidi