Below, you can see the Mississippi Central heading southeast to Hattiesburg, Miss.
The first part of this ride was to get to Wanilla.
First Church: Sunny Hill Methodist, near La.38, one of my early finds long before Katrina (2005). There are many old closed country stores along the way, also.
At this intersection is the first old store. It is enjoying a kind retirement. Many are not.
Heading east on La.38.
Store No. 2 is at Porter's Curve. A David Allen Coe line. "Come here Porter, there's something you gotta see, There's a bear dancing around that big ol' tree". I had to share.
I opted for quieter roads.
And quieter places.
The cemetery was part of the Silver Creek Church complex. This "Silver Creek" was not my target.
The church seemed to have been enlarged.
I continued north.
I take these street sign shots to keep the pictures synchronized with the map.
I did veer off my northerly course here.
It was a Masonic Lodge with a early history. I have a shot of the sign but it is on the laptop. Free and Accepted Masons ... Click Here
The church, across the road, had prospered.
Continuing on, a familiar place appeared.
Again, it was a deja vu moment.
I should have checked out the park. It wasn't much the last time I was here.
Walker's bridge crosses the Bogue Chitto River, an ominous obstacle.
I followed the river north. "Hidden Springs Resort" can be found on the web. Looks like a nice place.
An old name, "Old Holmesville", appeared.
I arrived at MS 27 and went north from Sartinville.
I had been on Salem Church Rd.
The climb began.
Time was ticking.
The road gained altitude. I was in the high country approaching the famed Red Bluff Road.
At MS44, I detoured. I'd see MS 44 again, three hours later.
These are the rails connecting Bogalusa to Wanila. I had an appointment for1:00 PM.
I did the obligatory stop at White Bluff.
I keep taking pictures of the trees and the old house in hope "they" will appear like the first time I was there.
No, they are not gone.
Up the road.
A missed trestle shot.
I entered Wanilla from Old MS Hwy 27.
At the crossing above I looked east toward the big Ferguson Mill on the east side of the Pearl River.
Looking west from that crossing.
A little local color after the crossing,
I turned west and followed the rails
The Ferguson rails go east. The west rails go to Brookhaven. I could have used "that way" and "this way". My wife does.
I had expectations.
Looking south toward Bogalusa.
Yes, Wanilla has a church.
I went out on new MS27.
This is just west of Wanilla on new MS 27..
If you come in on the new road from Monticello, this is what you see.
Looking back into Wanilla.
I rode back into Wanilla.
I had forgotten to shoot north on the Bogalusa to Jackson line.
There the veering goes off to the east (left).
I was starting to scream. You probably are, too.
I looked toward Wanilla.
I shot the all important mile marker at Nola Rd.
I went to Sontag.
I wondered about "Small Mill Rd" and which was "small", the road or the mill?
I looked west.
I looked east at the box.
I was fried. The mile marker had jumped to "134.97" from "66.48" just a few miles east of here. It was like I'd jumped galaxies through some worm hole.
A man stopped and asked if he could help.
I went straight to Ferguson to pick up the rail's scent. This is what is left of the railroad which went to Silver Creek from Wanilla and Brookhaven. It crosses the right of way of the rails I wanted to follow south to Columbia. I was on the old Mississippi Central. I think that branch ended in Hattiesburg. I'm not getting into a bunch of rail history. That is available from many places. And, besides I conflate and look stupid when I tread into that arena. I rather follow maps out in the open countryside than try to memorize layers of railroad names which I'll botch.
The Canadian National RR has an consulate, I mean "office", at Ferguson. I've seen an engine parked there. Ranks right up with the Grand Canyon.
The first bit of business was to find where the actual rails were sawed off. GE does not show it well. It is just east of the crossing above. I went too far and had to backtrack.
I over shot and came in just about right. Climbing down to the rails was not easy. I hope you appreciate these fine pictures.
On the other side of the red square.
The road crossing is down there.
Then I realized much of what I'd find would look like this. I could tell you where each of these observations was, but, it doesn't matter. There wasn't much until I got to Silver Creek. I did get a angry look from an old black guy. He was probably a Shapton and Obama disciple. I waved and smiled to make him angrier. Made his day, made mine.
The road to Silver Creek.
Approaching Silver Creek on US 84.
Arriving at Silver Creek I had a "wow moment".
I looked around Silver Creek. Seemed like a nice quiet place.
The north south rails were to the right. OK, lets call a spade a spade. They were the old Illinois Central. This was the depot area mentioned above.
More Silver Creek.
I rode out toward the cross track and turned around looking toward Silver Creek. The rails would be beneath me. That would be an assumption since I saw them in town. The cross track would be behind me.
The GPS shows it.
To the south of town was RR Ave. The GPS said it was the RR.
I think the grade was paved over. I know it was.
Below, the road (which I think was new) is not shown. I was on the ROW.
OK, I'll succumb to the map people who have to know. The ROW shots before Silver Creek are "X1" and "X2". The cross track location is seen south of "43". The church was at the crossing at "X3". I had to leave the rails to get to Arm.
In search of the next crossing, I found another church.
At Garett, the bed was obvious.
Across the road it was not so obvious but it was obvious.
I was headed to Arm.
Look to the right of those bushes. The bed is clearly elevated.
In Arm Ignore the heavy black line. The lighter one is the approximate location of the railroad.
First Street was the first street from the railroad. The rail bed is where they haven't mowed in the back of the property.
Again, it is at the tree line.
Coach supervises the barn.
Past Arm. The rails cross the White Sand River. The gravel pits may have been customers of the railroad.
The new blacktop had covered two sets of rails at Oak Vale.
Then I saw the second.
I had to check. Indeed. There they are. It is too short for a passing track.
They had to be for the depot or businesses.
Old House on MS 43.
Church signs are convenient locators.
This old church was across from the huge modern one.
The other church at Hathorn.
The thin black line is the RR. Notice MS 44 at the bottom of the "map". If you take it west you will end up at MS 587 crossing the rails from Bogalusa to Wanilla and the Pearl River. It is a brand new road.
The bed was now next to the highway. Highway 43 transitioned into Highway 13.
A road crossing the old ROW. Gives you chills, doesn't it?
I was at MS 13. The rails ran with it into Columbia.
I left 43/13 and got on River Bend Road. It would take me to Goss.
Leaving 43/13. The burgers almost got me. Always ask what the "meat of the day" is.
On River Bend Road.
I had found this trestle using GE to research the route. I had to get there. The trestle is at the southern crossing. The buidings on that road are on the lumber mill property.
Defunct lumber mill.
A moment of silence, please. This made it all worth it.
Yes, on top. Looking south. Did you think I'd pass up going up?
You'd have to hold me down with a cement truck.
Looking north from the south end.
Looking north. Snakes? I hate snakes.
I was back at Expose after 10 years.
And, a treat was there.
South of Expose I spied another trestle from MS 13. "Twitty" seems to be part of the stream's name. Conway? Maybe next winter I'll come by.
It was over water this time. I knew it was full of snakes.
At Cedar Grove.
I was getting close to Columbia.
I know I believe in ghost trains.
Seems others do, too.
There was a cop in the bushes.
I saw him give out three tickets
for not yielding at the sign.
I did, but still he chased me down and pulled me over.
I was presented with a movie ticket for good driving.
I checked the web for the theater.
It's been closed for 10 years.
Street marker. I turned right. (the gas sign right)
That took me to a crossing.
I looked right. The road was wide and new.
I looked left. There was "industry" down there.
Rail scars seemed to be on the ground. Later, I'd understand.
Below is a recent map of the rails at these industries.
I think it is recent because I suspect it left out something very important.
I was in north Columbia's industrial (defunct) area.
I will bet tax dollars built these homes. The high wheel ghetto car tells the tale. We probably mow the grass, too. Above are the industries and our houses. Sorry about the mini-rant. No I'm not.
Moving down the line. People still stop at the RR crossing. I am not kidding. I sat there and watched them. How long has the "train" been gone. I think at the latest "1990" sounds right. Maybe they were stopping to look at me? Probably. I do strike a flare.
Frozen in time.
The ROW was over t here. I was over here. I'd make adjustments.
Here, I am here when I was over there.
It was worth the adjustment. I was approaching the depot area.
There was a park close by.
Where had the park property come from? You have to ask. More on that down the page.
The bridge I couldn't cross is seen due west of "43". Notice that there are 2 sets of rails up to where the park is. The depot is south of where you see "Water Tank". I will not speculate on "Water Tank". It may be the city's though I don't see it in the modern pictures.
OK, back to the park question. The yellow line originates from and is the Gulf Mobile&Ohio RR on the west side of the Pearl River (blue) I have approximated its route as it crossed the Pearl River and went to the industrial park, my guess. There the GMORR and the earlier Fernwood, Columbia and Gulf RR might have interchanged with the Illinois Central (black). Red is my route. I interchange with anything. So, my hypothesis is that the park was donated railroad property as is our neighborhood. Public housing seems to be all up and down the depot area.
Exhausted, I made my way past the county courthouse.
One more church before I left. Actually, I was taking the road sign. I was at the corner of Old Foxworth Road and River View.
South of Foxworth, I said goodbye to the rails that came from Wanilla and were headed to Bogalusa.
A fog set in as I tucked in and put the hammer down.
Time for one more store.
The Bogue Chitto, again.
And, I had to wake up for La.450.
My last bit of energy was used flinging the bike down this wonderful road.