Monday, on the drive to Bentonville, Arkansas, my friend and I drove the scenic part of Highway 412 and then veered off onto country roads to take the back way into Bentonville, missing the interstate, traffic, consumer mess of a drive. It was a beautiful spring day to journey through pasturelands and little towns in Delaware County, named after the Delaware Indians who settled there, heading over to Arkansas. There were still some dogwoods and redbuds in bloom in the wooded areas along the way.



I’m fascinated by the rural areas, being a city girl. Every state has them, so don’t go getting snobby on me. It’s just a different lifestyle, some things better than the city, some not so much. I always try to imagine life out here or what the area has been through in its history. You can see the stories in the buildings that are standing in various stages of decay. Sometimes you see a barn falling down right next to a new one. Or a house that has been deserted by its owners. You see them quite a lot, actually.




Traveling with my iPad, I look up the history of towns as we go. You learn a lot reading about why people settled here and what happened to make it rise or fall. Most of the towns aren’t growing. It’s a tough way of life out here in the country. The little community, hard to call it a town, of Colcord, with a population of 819 used to call itself “Little Tulsa.” I’m not sure, even in its thriving days, where they got that unless none of them had ever been to Tulsa. I guess the town leaders hoped…

I think it was in Decatur where we saw the Iva Jane Peek Library. I take photos zipping by areas so pardon the mistakes sometimes. I’m constantly trying to capture something that catches my eye as we whiz by. I love the name of the place and wonder about Iva Jane and her influence. I haven’t found out who she was…yet!


Chickens were and are a big industry in the area on into Arkansas, where we began to see Confederate flags every once in a while. If you look at a google map from above you see rows of thin silver roofs, chicken houses, all along the way. We saw a lot of deserted ones, but lots still active.



Bentonville was known as Osage after the Osage Indians who came from Missouri to hunt the area for months at a time. Eventually, the white settlers took over and named the town after Thomas Hart Benton, a Missouri senator who fought for Arkansas to become a state. At the turn of the century, being the 1900s, apples were the main resource, followed by chickens until WalMart was added to the mix to make that area a pretty bustling area for a town of 35,000. I’ve been to Bentonville from the interstate and from the backroads, which gives you a picture of the growth surrounding it. I like entering the back way best.

There’s something about traveling the backroads, seeing the honesty of it where you live your home is what you make it. You don’t have to worry about what the neighbors think about your well manicured lawn if you don’t want to. You can have it any way you want to. If you want to leave the remnants of the house or barn and build right next to it, you can. I kept thinking that some design person would drive through and make a nice offer for the reclaimed wood that they could sell to an upscale business or homeowner for an authentic look. I’m all for that and there’s a treasure trove out there for the clever and creative.


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The rural roads fuel my imagination, writing stories in my mind of the families who came before, the individuals who lived in tiny houses in the side of a hill. There are so many questions you have driving by.


And then you just enjoy the wide open views of the sky,


the rolling roads,


and watching the variations of spring greens in the hills which will turn darker as the season goes on.


When I see the skyline of the city in front of me, I know I’m heading home to bustling streets and landscaping and order of a sort. I’m comfortable with that life, but I love the spirit of the countryside I’ve traveled. Everyone should get off the main highways now and then. We’re in such a hurry and look at what we miss…