Reno Springs Road

I absolutely LOVE to explore country roads. We are blessed to live in an area where such things abound, and this morning I took full advantage of that fact. I had several hours free (alone), and it was a totally overcast day. This makes for excellent photographic opportunities, so with camera in hand, I headed out.

On Sunday, we had put the guys into Bear Creek (in a canoe) at the Reno Springs Road low water crossing, and since then, I have been absolutely aching to drive up that road, see where it goes, and take some rural pictures.

I now have a full memory card (insert blushing smiley here) and I can tell you where Reno Springs Road goes – to a point.

It goes. . . well. . . out into the boonies, crossing out of Taney County and into (I assume) Stone County. It was a lovely drive and I had so much fun. I was listening to NPR’s “Morning Edition,” and they read the entire Declaration of Independence – it being the Glorious Fourth. I would stop the car, crank the radio up loud, and step out to take pictures, while all King George’s atrocities wafted through the air, and my blood ran patriotic.

Reno Springs Road follows Bear Creek (or some significant tributary thereof) upstream for about four miles. A couple other dirt roads file off of it, and although they were mighty tempting, since I was alone in the sticks, I decided to stay the course. I was actually thinking that if I stayed on Reno Springs Road long enough, it would eventually either go west and hit 160/248 or go north and hit the Highlandville Road, so I kept going, expecting any moment to arrive on more substantial pavement.

However, after the road turned to gravel and got low and soupy, it also got very narrow. A house (?) appeared on the right, although I guess it depends on how you define house. . . It was more of a shack with additions, sided with what looked like shingles. The porch sagged, and there were some appliances and a lot of junk out front. In the road before me was a hound. He didn’t move as I approached, though he did eye the van suspiciously. Behind him, in the middle of the dirt road was a family of chickens. I know they were a family because the lead guy was obviously a rooster with his red head ornament. Beside him was Mrs. Chicken (not a redhead), and scattered around them were about half a dozen fuzzy little chicks. I couldn’t get a clear shot of them though. The windshield was too dirty, and I wasn’t at the right angle to shoot out the window.

Of course, I had no intention of harming the fam, and Hound saw to it that I didn’t. He turned around and watched his charges cross the road – I didn’t ask him why they did that – then turned to me and set up a fierce barking.

I rolled up my windows, which had been down to facilitate my photographic habit, and eased left around him. As his yapping subsided, I expected to move on down the road, but no. Suddenly, out in the middle of nowhere, I was at a Y. Reno Springs Road veered left and dipped into a low water crossing. It only had about an inch of water in it, but I am extremely leery of low water crossings. At that moment, I really didn’t want to find out whether our van’s recent $200 belt kit installation (“guaranteed to keep the belt on when driving through standing water”) had been a worthwhile investment or not.

My other option was to turn right onto Reno Hollow Road. It was even more rugged-looking than my now-familiar but rapidly deteriorating Reno Springs Road, and it, too, had an immediate low water crossing. Hmmm. . . What to do? My curiosity COMPELLED me to seek out the terminus of at least one of these choices. I eyed the mud and muck. I considered the water covering both concrete pads. I YEARNED to continue to the end of Reno Springs Road. In my rearview, Hound scrutinized my deliberations. Sigh. In the end, common sense prevailed over exploratory zeal, and I reluctantly turned the van around.

Back past Hound, his charges now hidden in the tall roadside grass. Back past the dead black rat snake I had stopped to photograph on my outward journey. Except that he was gone now. . . Back past two scenic barns. Back past the black-eyed Susans, trumpet creepers, Queen Anne’s Lace, thistle, clover, and other beautiful wildflowers that had already fallen victim to my Canon. Back past the little draws with their miniature waterfalls. Back past miles of barbed wire strewn with debris from last Saturday’s flood (when this whole valley was under about five feet of water). Back past horses that won’t stand still for pictures. Back past scattered slices of asphalt that the floodwaters had ripped off the road and deposited ten feet away on the inside of a curve. Back past pink and white hollyhocks adorning a yard full of rusting wheels and tools. Back along the creek, rushing, wild, and beautiful. Back to the low water crossing at Bear Creek Road, where we’d put the boys in. Back to civilization.

Back home.  On the Glorious Fourth.

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