Saturday, August 3, 2013

Familiar roads and faces

U.S. Highway 167 runs north and south and it is of particular significance to me for two reasons:  (a) it is the main road that connects Little Rock, Arkansas, the city where I went to law school, got married and lived as an adult until 1997, and El Dorado (pronounced el-do-ray-do), the town where I grew up in south Arkansas; and (b) it goes south from El Dorado to Ruston, Louisiana, where I went to college at Louisiana Tech University from 1976 to 1980.

For decades both of these stretches of 167 were almost entirely two-lane, winding through towns in Arkansas called Sheridan, Fordyce and Hampton. In Louisiana the towns between El Dorado and Ruston are Junction City (on the state line), Bernice, Dubach and Vienna.  All are splendid little towns that have changed some with the times but in many respects remain the same as they were during the years I traveled these stretches of road so much, containing little service stations (now convenience stores) and fast food drive-ins with names like "Daisy Queen."

Today both stretches contain significant parts that are four-lane and although they have made travel more efficient, I maintain that the road has lost a bit of its character with less yellow lines, double yellow lines and narrow bridges.

I got to travel 167 last weekend as I returned to both my college town and my old hometown. Familiar faces greeted me at both places -- old college and high school friends who remain dear to me. Also had a good visit with my brother in Camden, Arkansas, just north of El Dorado, on Sunday.

Here's a picture of my El Dorado group at dinner Saturday night. That's me on the far right on the second row and blog friend Kelly on the left on the front row. I think we all look pretty good for middle-agers, if I do say so myself!


Kelly said...

Of course we look good! ;) And what a great visit it was...always picking up as if we'd never been apart.

I made the drive to LR this week and was pleased to see the by-pass around Sheridan is coming right along. I think what I miss most from the "old days" is the original bridge over the Ouachita River, especially the view heading south.

Andrew said...

Yep, ya look great!

Debby said...

KELLLLLLLLYYYYYYY!!!!!! Next road trip should be north! :D