History Hunts Blog

Following Louisiana's & Mississippi's Historic Railroads

My Ride Reports

Finding the Lumber Mill Railroads

Monday, July 18, 2016

Still Some Go on the GMO

I had no targets, no destination, no requirements.
Then why did I make the beginning of the ride so 
hard by going down the Gravel Road from Hell?
And look at the gps in the upper left hand corner.
 I had that much more to go.
It was a sea of gravel.
Ok, you don't understand not being familiar with motorcycles.
Try this on your bicycle.
Saying  goodbye to that was a celebration.
Then I saw a fella riding a BMW with a sidecar.
I caught him and we talked for a few minutes.
It wasn't a BMW. It was a Ural, a Russian rig.
He offered to trade for my bike. I almost bit. Now I'm sorry I didn't. 
The sidecar alone would have bought my bike.
I should have realized that this outing was going to be different.
 I reverted to my old formula of capturing the countryside before it is gone.

I was now hooked up with the Mississippi lanes. They are all paved.
Heading east I crossed the Bogue Chitto River.
I was approaching MS.Hwy.27, 25 in Louisiana coming out of Covington.
More lanes would follow. This is not gravel. Gravel was sworn off while on the semi crotch rocket.
"Crotch Rocket"?
For this presentation just assume that a gravel road is not its domain.
Then my innards began to scream. I had to get to the old GMO RR route above Bogalusa.
I was in the casino. I had to play the slots.
Could I catch a train on a Friday.
Friday was not a likely day, it seemed.

Cheraw is in the lower right corner. I was headed north to Foxworth.
You will remember some of the places shown  below later on.

Mile Post 102
The route going north is uphill.
US 98 just south of Foxworth
Above Foxworth the tracks have to hug the shore of the Pearl River because the relief
becomes so dramatic as the runoff from the uplift flows east to the Pearl.R.
In Foxworth I talked to two Maintenance of Way workers.
Half joking I asked if the Bogalusa train was running.
They said that it was and would be here about 1:00.
I could not believe my ears.
I told them of my 10 year search.
Their eyes got big as they hurried the process of leaving.

I rode up the rails to Morgantown.
Nothing inspired me about the setting so I turned back south to find a better place.
Besides, busy places make me nervous.
This was the depot area at Morgantown.
I don't think it was recently demolished.

I knew a trestle that had possibilities.
The road name was "Whistle".
Had it been a "whistle stop".
I like to shoot modern shots in historic places.
It would be my chase's start.
I had read that the rails had a slow speed limit. 
My enemy would not be speed but patience on this one, 
and, it was getting warm.
Possibly there would be little traffic to disturb me.
Wrong.  There were cars passing this loitering old man the entire time I was there.
One stopped and asked if I was OK. 
I explained that I was waiting for a train.
He replied, "So , you're not OK", and sped away.
As you can tell, I was bored. I waited an hour.

A complete inspection was done.
I have no idea what that ledge is for.
There have been suggestions but
unless a pool was beneath, those were wrong.
Someone suggested they were escape locations.
I think they are too close to actually escaping if caught on the rails.
The adjoining back swamp was a bug breeder.
I had the Deep Wood Off with me and they fled, also.
Someone had measured only once and then cut. 
That beam was not as tightly fitted as I would like.
Whistle Road was gated. Why? It has been a while since they were closed.
I was preparing to leave when what would appear.
Giving up has paid off in the past.

A CN  led and another Canadian National trailed.  "GTW"  was written on it.
CLICK HERE for an explanation of that. The "GT" on the first engine reflects the same heritage.

CN now owns these rails which were once
the property of the GMO RR, possibly the first railroad of which I had any interest.
It was running much faster that expected.
I thought that "25" would be the limit.
No, she was doing every bit of 30, maybe 32.

The "race" was on. I caught it at the filling station in Foxworth.
Making sure I was on the right road, it is confusing, I shot south to the US 98 overpass.

Back at Mile Post 102 you will notice that
the train is coming out of the Pearl River Valley and climbing to higher ground.
This may be Ten Mile Creek above Cheraw, earlier pictured.
At this point the engineer knew the "game" was on and responded in happy toots.
OK, note that the building part is still on the train.
I waited at Sandy Hook but the wait got long and this was a populated neighborhood.
I don't linger long in such environments.
Old store on the old version of MS 35.

Next would be Angie.
Angie has a living museum I roamed at will while waiting for the slow train.
Was this a "railroad shanty" or "yard office".
And the depot, though locked, is still there.
Within are treasures.
And a caboose.
That's 84 miles to the original GMO depot in New Orleans.

The sign said, "Do not use". You have to tell SOME PEOPLE.

The chair tempted me. With my luck I would have broken it.
It has been there a while.
I did not want to leave a trail of destruction, this time.
I decided to move the bike to the depot.
I could not get a good angle from the store.
I peered into the bay window.
The lamps might only be a hint of what was within.
The light was not right. I was getting more reflection that inner view.
Why didn't I change windows?
Mush brain.

See that the window has slid down? The glass was glazed or dirty.
It was my peek hole. I could not see through it so I shot wildly.
"Conductor's Valve"  and "1994" now catch my eye.
I'll have to compare this picture with other caboose shots I have.
Show time!!

At Angie, the original first car was gone. It is a mystery where it was dropped.
How many times has this scene been repeated?
Not that many with CN cars.
Next stop was Varnardo.

These shots were taken where you see the name of the town.
The only two really old buildings I can find are in these shots.
This has to be the depot area.
Next, finally, thank goodness, I was hot and tired and ready to get it done.
I turned off of La.21 onto Mitch St., the beginning of the Bogalusa Rairoad Tour.
The Tractor Museum is the first POI
The lumber mill and yards are directly below.

The freight depot adjoins it on the north side.
There is no good place on the west side to catch the train crossing the high and  long trestle across
the Boga Lusa Creek. The descent down would have been treacherous.
I was not up for treachery.

I returned to the station and settled on that spot.
It was Plan B but the shots worked out.

But, I would not give up.
I hustled and crossed a parking lot to avoid a red light.
My plan worked and I almost caught the water crossing
but this would do nicely.
It was taken as I sat at a red light just north of the mill.
I'd go straight to the yard.
Could I make it?
No train. Had it gone to another location.
Was this the anticlimactic end?
No. It was the grand finale.
The last of my battery took this parting shot.
I had no idea I'd gotten these last 2 after discovering the next was impossible.
That's it. The GMO from Bogalusa to Whistle Rd is done.

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