When winter lingers in the northern part of the US, I like to head south for a bit of county collecting. Such was the case in mid-February when my travels took me to northwest Louisiana and southwest Arkansas, with a little foray into Texas for good measure.
My goal for this trip was to finish off the final parishes in Louisiana. In case anyone is wondering, Louisiana does not have counties. The governmental division below the state level and above the municipal (city) level is called a parish and serves the same function as counties elsewhere in the United States. The trip started with a Saturday morning flight to ATL connecting on to MLU. I ended up choosing Monroe, LA because the combination of fare and schedule worked out better than Shreveport or Texarkana. From there it took most of the afternoon to cover a couple hundred miles and half a dozen parishes/counties in Louisiana and Arkansas before arriving at the CY in Texarkana. Despite the city being split across the state line (technically two cites, one in Texas, the other in Arkansas) all four Marriott properties are located in Texarkana, TX.
Prices in town were low, under $70. Point redemptions were also low, being off-peak. All 4 properties (CY, FFI, ResInn, and TPS) are category 1, so it would only cost 5000 per night. I didn’t plan on redeeming points despite the decent value (5000 points vs $67 about 1.3¢ per point) because I only needed a couple more stays to complete a targeted promotion which would earn 3000 points per night. The other reason to hotel hop was that the CY was the least expensive location on Saturday night while the TPS across the street was cheaper on Sunday. Since I had to make two separate stays to complete the promo, I decided to go with the cheapest option each night.
Perhaps the most curious fact about Texarkana is that the United States Courthouse and Post Office, located on State Line Avenue, is the only federal building in the country sited in two states. The state line bisects the building and runs right down the middle State Line Avenue both north and south of the courthouse. Normally I don’t photograph federal courthouses, only county ones, but this time I didn’t mind making an exception.
Throughout the weekend journey, there was ample evidence of recent heavy rainfall. Only once did I have to reroute from road closures due to flooding. The detour added barely 5 minutes over my planned route. Here’s a city park in Camden, AR where the Ouachita River overflowed its banks.
When I’m on the road, I always seem to find something odd or unusual. This trip was no exception. While driving through the town of Gurdon, I spied this strange monument dedicated to the creation of the International Concatenated Order of Hoo Hoo. After a little research, I learned the order was founded in Gurdon, AR in 1892 as a fraternal society of lumbermen. The order is still going and membership is open to "people 18 and up who are of good moral character and engaged in the forestry industry.” You learn something new every day.
Over the course of the trip, I covered just shy of 1300 miles and visited 21 county/parish seats. I was able to complete the state of Louisiana, which was a primary goal of this visit. Although I did cross over into Texas, I did not make it to any county seats. Interestingly, Texarkana may be the largest city in Bowie County, but it is not the county seat. For that reason, I’m not including Texas in the before and after maps this time. Still, 21 new counties are marked blue (completed) from this trip, bringing the number remaining below 600 (599 to be exact).
At the moment I’m uncertain where my next county trip will be. I will be heading to Washington (state) in June, though will likely add something else before then. Wherever I go and whatever I find along the way, you’ll be able to read about it here.