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History Hunts: The Ponderance Ride Complete

I've hooked up with some pretty knowledgeable people. I'm not mentioning any names since that would enlarge their egos resulting in a further tsunami of ponderous information. Like, I'll never tell this one cat that I like train schedules again. Need a schedule to anywhere that's 80 years out of date? I have it. Of course I'm kidding. I should back off this silliness fast since I love all the information as it continuously leads to new ride ideas. So, let's have a group hug.

Now that I have my credits taken care of, let's move on. It was Sunday and the day was slipping away. The wife was eying a nap which left me twiddling my thumbs. I knew it was late for a 200 miler, but knowing stuff never has made any difference. I bare the scars to prove that.

I wanted to see several things and document them in this rag. Two were brought to my attention by several correspondents who I list among those aforementioned knowledgeable people. One place was the field where the Red River and Gulf Railroad had its depot in or near LeCompte.

The depot was on a branch of the RR&G that originated in Longleaf, pictured below.

EL sent these three shots. They are a part of the Southern Forest Heritatge Museum collection. Visit the place at Longleaf, La., located between Glenmora/McNary and Forest Hill.

I recently met the grandson of the older couple. The lady was his mother.
Meeting him was a treat.

The other place I really wanted to see were the LaMourie Locks. Their existence was the bi-product of a discussion on the Red River Railroad which was spawned by LM asking if I knew what was the oldest depot in Louisiana. That was in LeCompte, also.

Here's the picture of the old Red River Railroad Depot, oldest in Louisiana. I sent it to LM after I had found it in a weird place and then when I wanted it to use here I couldn't find it. LM, reading this page saw my distress and sent my picture back to me. Now I can sleep. Thanks LM.

MW got in on the action and in fact went on a mission to capture some photos of the lock which the owner of the railroad had originally built. While he was on maneuvers, he went to Englewood Plantation and got me some shots of the saved Bennett home and store. I would still be in a funk if he hadn't related their rescue to me.

While I was in LaMourie, I could not pass the chance to see if I could find where the Rock Island Line had branched south off of the "Texas Pacific" (a guess for now). I'm sure LM or MW or EL will chime in on what was the railroad which ran with US 71 at that point. I would also drag LaMourie one more time to see what I missed, which I believed to be nothing. I was wrong. I constantly ponder that realization.

I almost forgot the first stop on the ride, the cross tracks. The Premium Members have already been given a hint of what that is all about.

I've traced several sets of rails coming from Cheneyville and Bunkie.The ones from Cheneyville are, of course, ghost rails. MW, who has been sending the great "Railroader" series and owes me one now, got me started on Bunkie as it was the location of the switch for the Church Point Branch, one of his dad's runs. Then, I traced the Southern Pacific branch that originated in Cheneyville and went south to Lafayette. Much to my surprise, I saw on my software that they had crossed. I really needed to be at that spot south of Bunkie. How bad? You'll never know.

That sounds like a lot of stuff, but worry not, I am efficient and dispatched each need to ponder with true abandon. Shall we begin? First, let me say that what you will be told is not in the order in which it happened as my movements were too confused and disorderly to be followed by anyone. That disclaimer out of the way, we can begin in earnest.

It was a Sunday afternoon in November.

Before we can even get into all the heavy pondering which my plan of attack included, I needed to get to the area. Basically I arrived at Washington as fast as I could. Remember, this ride required efficiency. I knew I could make time hooking up with La.182 and flying north on it. Assume what you will, yep, that's right. 182 would bring me to Eola, the holy ground of the cross track. I felt as if I was on a spiritual mission as I anointed myself "the pilgrim".

Flying along at a blurring pace, I read this street sign.

I'd never seen it before and it of course reflected that a train station had been here on the Southern Pacific run to Lafayette. By the way, this is an extremely history rich area. Washington was founded in 1720.

LM just sent me this. I'll have a link to the History Hunts article on this branch at the end of the show.

"Here's a 1916 schedule of the Alexandria Branch of Morgan's Louisiana & Texas Railroad (a Southern Pacific predecessor) showing the station at Garland".

How cool is that!!

The next sign I saw was this:

I looked down into the waters of Bayou Boeuf and saw this:

For the non rail oriented public, there lies the remains of one of the trestles the SP had to use to cross a constantly meandering Boeuf. See it now, another year and it might be gone.

I had to stop at one of my old stores. Ah, nostalgia.

Next, I turned west off La.29 (what 182 had become)onto the Eola Road.

Here was the target of my lust.

I came to the old T&P rails now used by the Acadiana RR. (thanks LM)

I parked the bike when I saw this.

And then this:

And then this:
Which was not a happy moment.

I pulled myself away and focused on the tracks that I would have to walk to find the spot where the rails had crossed.

Last night when I sent out the announcement that there would be a new ride coming, I suggested that I had ridden the bike to the cross tracks. I knew that I might solicit a story from Andy and maybe an admonishment or warning from others. I got both and I want to share them here. First is LM's which is dead on serious. Rail riding should never be attempted for all the good reasons he mentions. Heck, it applies to rail walking as well. Here, read this and take heed:

"I don't know whether the Acadiana Railroad runs on Sunday or not, but I wouldn't recommend riding a motorcycle on the tracks. Even if trains don't run on Sunday, that would be an excellent reason for the railway to do its track inspections by hi-rail truck on that day. When on the rails, they are so quiet that you can't hear them coming when on foot, much less over the sound of your motorcycle. Whether you get hit by a locomotive or a pickup, you're just a much in a world of hurt".

But, we all do stuff that could backfire. Most of the time we live to have good stories to tell. Here's Andy's. They always leave me with a knowing smile.

"Well Steve, I used to do quite a bit [of rail riding],from bicycles to motorcycles. But on light bikes (165 harley, 175 alstates, 500 triumph, XL500 Yamaha, DT2 Yamaha, XT650 Yamaha) Last time I did a lot of it was when we had this pretty good size flood in '72. I used to listen to the tracks as best I could and see what time it was. Then get on the tracks and cross the flood waters , including the Mermentau River to go to a club over there and drink a few beers, then return between train runs. I did stretches with other bikes till they got too heavy to make them jump the first rail and spin the rear over the same rail to get in the middle. I once rode from Jennings to Roanoke on the tracks on my 165 Harley. ;-) just for the heck of it. I used to go rabbit hunting on it and my 175 Alstate at times for a few miles down that same track. What days back then".

He goes on:

"Once,[I was] coming back because a friend had called me and he had a lady in his truck that wanted to meet me. So, I jumped on my old Yamaha DT2 and took off. When I get past the flood waters on the Jennings side, there was a sheriff's car along with my friend's pickup. I jumped the bike off the tracks and went through the ditch and came up beside them. The deputy was excited about that wanting to know what I would do if a train was coming. I told him I timed the trains and knew their schedule at that time [and] if I saw one coming I'd get off the tracks being they were much bigger than I. He let me go with a warning not to do that again.
All was good and I met the fine young lady my friend had brought along. After they left, I checked the time and grinned and went back across the bridge to get another few beers. Ha ha ha Those were the days, More skill on a bike than sense in the brain".

I know the feeling.
I'll also say this now. Only believe half of what you read from me. Which half? That I can't tell you. Where were we, oh going to the cross track.

There was stuff on the side of the rails. I could only guess how far to go. I was looking for a clearing on either side of the tracks.

I saw this opening to the left. I descended and there was an opened space running parallel to the tracks. I believe now that it was the previous bed of the Texas and Pacific, the newer grade now elevated.

Looking south:

Looking north:

Going down to the "old grade", there had been this pile:

Further north there was this:

Going back toward the bike still on the lower level I was stopped by this:

And this:

I wasn't real sure I was where I wanted to be. What had this been? My first guess would be that it was the remains of a tie change or dismantled trestle. Feeling pressured for time and knowing my welcome down in this area might be over, I climbed back to the surface. I'll add, down on this level I didn't perceive a raise area as if there had been a bed now I come to think of it. Maybe it had been a road?

No, I just reviewed the large versions of the pictures and I was walking on a raised bed. The small drop offs on both sides are clear.

Across the way, almost in line to where I found the heap was a tree line that seemed it could have been the rails to Cheneyville. I let that do for now. This was one of the situations I sure could have used Alphonso. After all, he had discovered the Mississippi River. But, then, he would have been doing forensics on everything, reassembling and carbon dating.

I do think this was the place, notice the bend in the tracks to the south going to Ville Platte. This picture is looking back toward the bike (north)

Come to think of it. I may have walked right past it and gone too far. I may have to come back because I didn't really have that warm and fuzzy feeling I get when I'm right on, which is so rare I think I've forgotten what it feels like.

The clock was running, I was in the ball park but it was a large park. I headed to Cheneyville following the SP into town. The rails butt right up to the road on most of that stretch. It was on to the LaMourie Locks.

After leaving Eola, feeling a bit half done, I headed west on the Eola Road to La.181 riding it to US.71, just north of Cheneyville. The sun was sinking and I had to make time. Up US.71 I flew.(again) My arrival at the beginning of the 4 lane was a welcomed vision. I resisted taking yet another shot of the old cane mill in Meeker, as I had several "must" to do up the line. The first, and easiest, I thought, would be the Lamouie Locks. I will say this now, visit there in the cold of winter. First the leaves will be gone and you can see the thing. Second, the mosquitoes will be gone, maybe.

There are no pictures anywhere of the LaMourie Locks. I have pondered that possibility. There are sites that point out the coordinates and spew this and that about the place. Because of that void in the digital world, this page will be completely dominated by pictures of the locks. Both Mike and I heard the call and both of us responded by traveling long distances to end this shame. Our pictures are featured below. First, if I have not lost them, are a few conflicting descriptions of the lock's history. I vote for the second one.

Here is the WPA description of the locks probably done in the 1930's. I mark as incorrect the figures that do not agree with the National Register's assessment, below. That is my assessment.

I've determined that you cannot read it, so I'll type it out the best I can.

"Remains of the old brick locks on Bayou LaMourie on US Highway#71, maybe be seen three (3) miles north of Lecompte. These locks were built in the 1880's [incorrect] by a Congressional appropriation of $50,000 [also incorrect]. At that time navigation on Bayou Boeuf was essential to the planters in that section. Cargoes of cotton and h---heads of sugar [could it be "hogsheads"] were floated down the Bayou Boeuf to Bayou Cortableu [Courtableau] to the Atchafalaya River to the Gulf, thence to the New Orleans market by boat. When the Texas and Pacific Railroad was built and water transportation was no longer used here, the locks were allowed to deteriorate"

The second, form HERE, below, is an assessment of eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places.

The Bayou Lamourie Lock (1857) is located on Bayou Lamourie about one-and-a-half miles southeast of its juncture with Bayou Boeuf. It is just a few yards east of U.S. Highway 71 and is visible from the roadway. Despite some deterioration and the loss of the gate, the resource remains eligible for the National Register.

The Bayou Lamourie Lock is not a lock in the traditional sense -- i.e., a device that permits a boat or barge to make a change in elevation as it traverses a canal or other waterway. Referred to as a lock in the 1857 legislation authorizing its construction, its stated purpose was to improve navigation on Bayou Boeuf. Bayou Boeuf was a major transportation artery for planters in lower Rapides Parish;
however, its variable water level rendered it unreliable much of the year. The
purpose of the so-called lock was to prevent water from Bayou Boeuf from flowing into Bayou Lamourie, thus lowering the former's water level. The lock functioned more like a dam, but with a gate that could be opened to release water when necessary. The lock structure itself consists of matching brick faceted retaining walls with earth backing which effectively narrow Bayou Lamourie. At the narrowest point was an operational gate. The gate is no longer extant; however, surviving curved cast-iron fittings suggest that it was a double gate that opened in the manner of a pair of French doors. The walls rise approximately eight feet above water
level and are about four feet thick. Each side of the lock structure is braced by a brick reinforcing wall which meets the retaining wall at an angle (see sketch). The reinforcing walls may also have been used to attach fittings to anchor gate handles in place when the gate was in the closed position. The retaining walls are greatly overgrown with vegetation for much of the year. Settling of the western end of the northern wall has caused a large crack.

Assessment of Integrity:
Despite the deterioration and the loss of the gate, the Bayou Lamourie Lock retains enough of its original character to convey its historic purpose. With its high brick retaining walls which narrow the bayou and the cast-iron fittings for a gate, the resource still looks like a device to control the flow of water.

Significant dates N/A
Architect/Builder unknown
Criterion A
The Bayou Lamourie Lock is locally significant in the area of transportation because it improved navigation on Bayou Boeuf. By stabilizing the water level in Bayou Boeuf, it facilitated the transportation of crops to the interior port of Washington and on to New Orleans. At the time the Bayou Lamourie Lock was authorized by the Louisiana legislature, planters along Bayou Boeuf were in serious need of a reliable method to transport their crops to market. Bayou Boeuf runs eighty or so miles,
twisting and turning, from its juncture with Bayou Lamourie to Washington. Because of its narrow banks, irregular channel, and oftentimes low water level, the Boeuf was certainly a less than dependable method of transportation. However, it was the only choice other than an overland journey of some twelve miles through swamps and forests directly to the Red River or a day's trip to Alexandria and the Red River.
To stabilize the water level in the Boeuf, the Louisiana legislature in 1857 authorized the construction of a lock at or near the mouth of Bayou Lamourie, as previously mentioned. The sum of $15,000 was appropriated, with the balance to be paid by citizens living along Bayou Boeuf, as stipulated in the legislation. Prominent planters were named as commissioners to select the location of the lock and oversee its construction. Bayou Boeuf remained the way to transport crops to market until the coming of the railroad in the 1880s. As was true across Louisiana, water transportation gradually gave way to rail transportation. The Lamourie Lock became of no use in 1901 when a dam was built close to Bayou Lamourie's juncture with Bayou Boeuf. The closing date for the period of significance is c.1890, by
which time the Iron Horse had become preeminent.

References to and Extracts from Acts Passed by the General Assembly of the State of Louisiana.
1856 to 1918. Affecting Levees. Drainage. Reclamation. Public Lands and Kindred
Subjects. Compiled by Frank M. Kerr, Chief State Engineer, October 1919. Revised to
include Acts of the Legislature of 1920.
Acts State of Louisiana Regular Session. 1857.
Report of the Board of State Engineers of the State of Louisiana. April 20, 1900 to April 21, 1902.
Reports the completion of the Bayou Lamourie Dam.
Plan dated January 1901 showing cross section of Bayou Lamourie Dam and its location, Office Board of State Engineers, copy in Register file, Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation.
Eakin, Sue. Rapides Parish. An Illustrated History. Northridge, California: Windsor Publications, 1987.

Mike drew the previous mention of the Red River Railroad together with the locks with this statement, "Smith's railroad initially ended at Bayou LaMourie, where he built a set of locks to help move his crops to the railhead. If you are northbound on US 71, you can see the old brick locks from the bridge, looking East down the bayou. Smith later extended the tracks to LeCompte, so he could ship on the small packet boats on Bayou Bouef".

I'll add, the railroad was destroyed in 1861 [Civil War] leaving no means of transporting crops efficiently.

I told you I know knowledgeable people. There is more that I want to add, that later.

Here are the pictures. From the above description, you should be able to tell at what you are looking. I noticed that the water was flowing into the structure, exactly what Smith was trying to keep from happening. The map shows that the water was flowing into LaMourie from Bayou Boeuf.

These shots were taken from the highway. The first one is of the opening where the gates were. Mike must be very tall or made his wife stand on his shoulders. My shot didn't measure up. The pictures are a little larger if you click them.

The next is zooming in on the left side.

I, not being in a suit like Mike, was able to climb down near water level for the following shots. This shows the crack mentioned in the assessment.

The next one is a good shot as deep into the structure as I could manage.

These shots were somewhat lacking because the locks were on private property. They were taken with long distance lenses as neither of us condone treaspassing. First is Mike's great shot. I can't figure how he managed that one, either.

And, mine from the ditch. Notice how long the structure is. Why? It seems if it was just a gated dam that there would be no need for this length. Possibly the length was for support purposes. The next time up there I will ask permission to shoot it all around and from the top down. I dig hydrology, the older the better.

That's it for the LaMourie Locks.

Next, we'll go up above LaMourie and try to find the branch switch location.

I've combed LaMourie. This time I tired to find where the Rock Island [purple dashes] had branched off of the Texas Pacific which runs with US 71. The thicket was thick along the rails and I almost got up on the grade except for this ditch that was full of the unknown thicknesses. I chose not to venture further. I tried, believe me. When you've invested countless hours of intolerable motorcycle travel into discovering a place long forgotten, you try. I tried again to get at it from the backside but a house at the end of the road did not look inviting. There's something about big dogs and no trespassing signs made out welded rebar that transmits hostility. I got down to the corner, ready to leave LaMourie, but decided to take a look at the Baptist Church one more time. I might have forgotten to shoot it last time. What I saw made me forget to shoot it this time.

It was the remains of the trestle across Bayou LaMourie. It is on the church's parking lot. I don't know why I didn't get off and explore it. Church was in session so I probably felt intrusive and decided to stay small on the scene. I nevertheless closed my eyes and tried to imagine a train crossing the bridge. I opened them and fell off my bike. The congregation came out hearing the racing motor trying to help. But, my screams were not because I was hurt, they were because C. Alphonso DelaSalle had figured out a way to get into this ride report.

Al, seeing I was upset about him disturbing church continued on. I thanked everyone and apologized for Al, yet again, and continued on south. At C&S Road, I stopped one more time for a glance back at LaMourie, a special place.

OH, NO, here he comes.

We better get off the "tracks".

Yes, there much more very serious ride report remaining to ponder. I promise.

Frankly, I should get a post office box in LeCompte. There always seems to be a reason to come back to town. Even Everett has acknowledged that. When I asked him a question regarding LeCompte, he replied that it would take another trip to figure it out. I figured he was being flippant, no, he meant it would take another trip for him, also. That's OK, LeCompte is worth the ride. Geologically, LeCompte sits snuggled up to the Kisatchie Wold, our Alps. I've read that settlers escaped the heat, humidity and "epidemic gasses" of the Bouef lowland by traveling to the high country in the summer. Were they talking about Louisiana? Maybe, the Red Dirt area of the Kisatchie National Forest does approach 400 nose bleeding feet. Suddenly I feel like Joe on Taxi. Where was I?

Back down in LeCompte I had one place I wanted to seriously ponder. I had already considered the ride a subdued success. I was close at the Cross Tracks, close at the Locks, pretty close at the RI Switch off the T&P above LaMourie, bingo at the Lamourie trestle find, but the search for the exact location of the old Red River and Gulf Depot and rail bed didn't pan out since I couldn't find a person old enough to ask and Everett wasn't around as he knows the location of the depot and watched it deteriorate. Since I have gotten down and dirty with the Red River and Gulf, I also wanted to know where the tracks had left the island and tagged the Texas and Pacific. I didn't want to know "over there somewhere". I wanted to know.

I had arrived in Ponderance. It was getting late and I was looking at a night ride back home. I decided to work fast to limit the dark time on the road which is not fun.

I efficiently rode into LeCompte dodging where I suspected drug deals were taking place. I never like to mix drug dealing with history hunts.

Some of those white lines are from when I came into LeCompte the first time going north to LaMourie. Here, I was coming from LaMourie. You see Carter C Raymond Junior High, it's the line between "m" and "o" in Raymond. I wanted to join the ghost rails of the Rock Island as soon as I could. I headed toward where you see "39" Sure nuff, there was a large median as if left to welcome the train coming in from LaMourie. In fact Don's Cajun Kitchen has located there in preparation for the revitalization of the branch. Don knows railroads are the coming thing in transportation.

Don might be right sooner than he anticipated? Oh mercy, it's Al again and he has a friend he's convinced to fireman.

After waving to Al and Julio, I made my way down to Water Street and turned east. I'd show you the remains of the trestle over the Boeuf, but that would require another drawing and I'm near out of ink. Just east of the old trestle is a bridge you can cross over to the island, the location of the of the old RR&G depot and cross track with the Rock Island.

Entering the island I saw this older couple exiting a house. I waved them down. She was all smiles but I got the idea she was suspicious and they were not moving until I left their enclave of 3 houses on the island. I ask her if there was ever train stuff out here, knowing that there had been. She said she remembered some rails but that was it. I suggested that there had been a depot and she drew a line in the sand, eyebrows narrowed and with pursed lips, said, "no depot ever in my life time or his". I asked if it would upset anyone if I rode out into the field. She curtly responded with pursed lips and narrowed eyebrows, "yes you would". Feeling like I was in the wrong neighborhood, again, I recrossed the bridge, them still in their car watching. I may have to look in a mirror and assess just how menacing I am.

On the way out I took a picture of the beautiful bayou as I was in the mood for something un-pursed and un-narrowed. First, this is a shot of the island looking toward where I suspected the the rails to jump the bayou. Gee, doesn't that look like a rail bed? Sometimes I'm standing on something and don't realize it until I post the pictures. But, the telephone poles that mark old rail beds were out in the field. I'm wrong. Ponder on.

Next is the bayou and then we'll get to some serious pondering as I have maps. But first, I have to ask you a question. In all the things you ponder, your navel, the source of the universe, why your mother in law is the way she is, gravity and on and on, aren't maps the most fun to ponder? Al said, "my navel".

This is an old topographic map Everett gave me. It clearly shows the Red River and Gulf coming in from Longleaf to the west. The bridge I had crossed to the island enclave was to the east of the Rock Island tracks. The cross tracks, as you can see would have been to my right, out in the field. It seems that the dash lines which I thought were the rails was a road bordering the water.

I didn't have any guidance from the old GPS TOPO map on this one so I just took Water Street east around the bend to where I supposed the rails might have come through. I saw two bridges, either of which I thought could be candidates for the RR&G.

This steel one was closer to town where I'd been. I think it went to a single residence. I should have panned out with the camera while I was on the island, I might have seen the house.

The second is creosote. Could it have lasted 90 years? The supports for the steel one were also creosote.

I was going to show you my Norman Street theory but that is blown to hell by the old topographic map. "I think we need to go to LeCompte one more time". I'll bring Alphonso since he's very familiar with the place and has ridden his ghost train right past the cross track. We'll meet Everett who will have converted the old topo map into measured coordinated analogical spirizoids plantums. Then we will stand on the spot and sing railroad songs.

Seeing me frustrated, the chief railroad spirit, we of Indian descent call Choo Choo Ding Dong, sent a real train to distract me from my failure. I set about photographing the train in such a manner I am sure Homeland Security was being dialed.

But then a new question arose. Remember, I know nothing of railroad workings, I just follow dash lines on an old topographic map. I was wondering what a Norfolk Southern Engine was doing down here hooked up to a Union Pacific. BTW, I like NS's TV ads. The engines have a neat color scheme, also. Further down the line, I'd see more ponderous couplings.

Mike wrote back with this information after seeing the stopped trains:

"NS locomotives are on the UP because a neat thing the two railroads cooked up. Two scheduled trains, the NHY (westbound), and the NNY (eastbound), originate in Asheville and Houston respectively. Both are made up of dedicated traffic bound either for the West Coast (Los Angeles) or the East Coast (Asheville). They do a moving crew change at Avondale, LA (foot of the HP Long bridge). UP crews from Houston gets off after making relief, and NS crews take it on towards Montgomery, AL. The reverse happens going towards Houston. The train never stops until it reaches the appropriate terminal. They don't worry about switching locomotives. The KSC engine has me stumped, but I'll find out from my son".

Sure, you want another shot, no problemo.

I split, not in the best of moods. Choo Choo Ding Dong intervened again. Down by the old mill at Meeker, a KCS was hooked up with a UP. Curse me, I'm talking RR. KCS is Kansas City Southern which has a long history in Louisiana. Learn about the Louisiana and Arkansas RR,it's your civic duty. OOps, a Jim the taxi driver moment. UP is the Union Pacific Railroad that bought or merged with our beloved Southern Pacific. That's all I know, little right be talking RR, RailRoad. That KCS is mo pretty than that UP.

This is a fine shot, I must be getting tired.

LM explained the presence of a KCS and UP together. Very interesting.


Meanwhile, I can explain the presence of KCS power on a UP or a BNSF train. KCS has separate agreements with each of these other railways whereby motive power runs through on unit coal trains between certain coal mines on BNSF and UP in Wyoming and certain power plants locate on KCS in Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. There's no need to change locomotives when the trains change hands and crews in Kansas City. KCS and the other partner each contributes locomotives to the respective power pools for these trains. Each locomotive has a cumulative horsepower/hour meter to measure its output. Various economic and geographic vicissitudes typically result in the BNSF and UP locomotives incurring more horsepower/hours on KCS rails than the KCS locomotives incur on BNSF and UP rails. Thus, periodically, KCS will hand over several of its locomotives to BNSF and UP for their general use to repay the debts. BNSF and UP use these locomotives as if they were their own until the meters say "enough already." Thus, KCS locomotives are subject to being seen anywhere on either the BNSF or UP systems.

I went back through Cheneyville and Bunkie. I took some pictures at both. I've pondered using them. I have decided not to. A whole page or two is coming on Cheneyville based on its history and not a railroad's but of course including one. I'm ready to leave this place, referred to as Ponderance, and hit the sack. I hope this has left you pondering some history. It doesn't have to be this history, it can be any history. Kick in some geography and you'll be ready for a pondering good road trip. See ya down the tracks or around the bend or splashing around in some bayou I just feel into. Steve

PS: Alphonse just sent me a swampgram. Don't make me explain. Here's his message:

Well, me, I'ma tell ya what; maa dat make me feel so good dat you put me along in de ride like dat. Dat make a much more conneck, like I was dere wit you, neg. maa you cover some ground an look at some lotta stuff dere. 'Course me I was havin' fun drivin dat train up an down dem old tracks like dat an blowin dat steam whistle an wavin' at all de peoples ahh see, maa specially dem purdy girl. Hey maybe you should start carring one of dem how you call,....MACHETTE with you, look like dat might come in handy for you kind'a 'splorin, an somema dem high snakeproof boot wouldn't be a bad idea neither no, you. But de bes ting would be to always have Alphonse wit you cuz goin in dem places two is better dan one in case somethin happen bad ya know, an too he's such good company haa? Alphonse

There is more. Lowell rented a helicopter and went out looking for the Red River and Gulf Bayou Boeuf crossing. He, without a doubt, found it. All the forensics point straight to his hypothesis. One, the cuts in the bank, two, the inline continuation with Everett's map, and third, the obvious road replacement for the hump that afforded the RR&G's access to the T&P. Bravo! You may join the gang as we will meet out on Water Street and sing Railroad Songs in the near future.