The French writer Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr is associated with the saying, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
Karr also often gets credit for coming up with, “What comes around, goes around.”
Regardless of who came up with these slightly overused quotes, I have a fondness for them.
I think there’s truth to both of those statements, as well as a common thread between them. No matter how much a person grows or society advances, life is more of a circle than a straight line.
Most humans find themselves craving the comforts of their youth. Many people actually love the predictability of a place that time and progress doesn’t ravage.
And, as much as people wander, there’s something special about coming home.
Perhaps that is why certain drives on remote gravel roads appeal to me. Memories flood back of bouncing around in my father’s truck while checking traps or looking for a place for his next great hunt.
I remember tightly crossing my fingers that on warm lazy summer days he would stop at the low-water crossings long enough for me to find a special rock or splash around in the clear water.
On the other hand, I remember praying on the bitter cold winter days that he wouldn’t get us stuck and stranded!
I have even more memories of riding along with my mom’s sisters to those same low-water crossings to help them wash the dust off their cars during hot summer days.
That is the perk of having aunts who are just old enough to drive, but not so old they are out of the house yet when one is a pesky youngster under their care!
It’s also a bonus of being a kid during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Car washes!? Never heard of them!
Those gravel roads and low-water crossings I cherish still exist today near Big Piney, Mo. I enjoy them with my own daughter and make memories with her, too.
Granted, we aren’t checking traps, plotting hunts, or rinsing off cars. However, we are enjoying ourselves with minimal to zero cell service!
Many of my early memories are tied to winding gravel roads along Bald Ridge Creek. It is located off Hwy. TT between Palace Church and Hopewell Baptist Church in Pulaski County.
There is a gravel road off of TT in Falls Hollow, called White Road, that immediately takes you to a low-water crossing of Bald Ridge Creek.
There are some mighty bluffs in the area that help one understand just how old and powerful this small creek is.
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This area is a mix of privately owned land and National Forest, that just also happens to be incredibly close to Fort Leonard Wood.
As one drives White Road, at the first low-water crossing there is a T. You gotta go left or right. Straight is not a viable option!
To the left, White Road continues. While to the right, the road becomes Windslow Lane.
By staying on White Road, drivers get to experience several other low-water crossings of Bald Ridge Creek, until a steep incline presents itself.
As one reaches the top of the ridge, there’s another opportunity for even more scenic beauty!
By taking a sharp left at the peak of the ridge and continuing on White Oak (also known as County Road TT-320G), drivers can go down off the ridge and back to another section of Bald Ridge Creek.
The last low-water crossing of the creek is near where it ends in the Big Piney River. It’s one of my favorites of the drive!
The remainder of White Oak Road follows the Big Piney River until it goes back up the hill to meet up with Western Road. That road can lead you back to the town of Big Piney and Hwy TT to come full circle if that interests you!
And, as you may guess, I do enjoy things coming full circle. In this case, that full circle is 9.3 miles, according to Google Maps.
This drive is fun, but not for anyone who isn’t flexible and willing to change plans. I have done this drive before only to find that one of the low-water crossings has too many large boulders washed into my path for a crossing to be possible in a Ford Escape!
Also, there’s sections that sometimes are a bit of a “washboard” to drive on.