Given recent organizational changes at work, given that my wife left me... again (she was up here for a visit last weekend and returned home to Louisiana on Monday), and given the recent crappy weather that followed a certain member of the forum as he came south for a vacation, I've been unusually grouchy, curmudgeonly, irascible etc. and was desperate for a ride today. I sensed that Ol' Fuj was ready as well. He's been cooped up in the house all week. I thought about riding south over Mt. Gaylor but got the impression from Ol' Fuj that he wanted to go somewhere he'd never been before. So, we headed east out U.S. 412 toward War Eagle Mill. The outbound leg was great. We had a mild to moderate tail wind, and the traffic on 412 had not built up to its normal level yet. We turned north on Ark. State 303 and got into the Ozarks.
Fuj was ready for a break, so we stopped above the War Eagle River valley. Just beyond the guardrail is a precipitous drop (200 or 300') to the river, and the valley is visible below. It's a peaceful place and a beautiful view.
Fuj is posing on the right for the shot. There has been a mill in that location since 1838. It was washed away by a flood in 1848 and later rebuilt. It was burned (by design) during the Civil War to keep Union troops from using it. It was rebuilt in 1873. It burned (by default) in 1924 and was rebuilt again. It is a working mill. I buy corn meal there and give it to my mom. She says it's like the meal they had when she was a youngster. She always makes cornbread with it when I pass through on the way to Louisiana, yum!.
The bridge was by by the Illinois Steel Bridge Co. in 1907. The deck consists of some rather large wooden planks.
Between what's left of the old dam and the mill is an undershot water wheel, 18' in diameter. That's what drives the mill. By the way he was mugging for the camera, I could tell Ol' Fuj was enjoying the trip.
Here's a shot of the wheel taken from the bridge.
This is a shot of the dam. As I understand it, it has deteriorated over the years. To restore it at this point would probably require environmental impact statements, acts of congress, bribery, and years of lawsuits.
This is the front of the mill. There are two of the old mill stones mounted in the rail around the front porch. In the mill, one stone is stationary, and the other rotates, as I understand it. The geese are there all year and are spoiled by all the people who feed them. They walk around checking out the visitors and honk to their hearts' content.
I'm not much of a photographer, and my photo of the actual mill inside was too dark to see anything. There is a rather large belt (about 10" wide) that comes from the pulley on the water wheel up through the floor of the mill and connects to a large flywheel. There is a big manual clutch on the flywheel which allows the miller to start the wheels and gears inside.
Fuj and I decided to stop for one more photo of the valley as we climbed out.
After the pastoral beauty of the river, the valley, the mill, the geese, and the Ozarks, the inbound leg turned out to be the ride from h-ll. We had sustained headwinds at 17 mph and gusts to 35. I had to use the little ring on level ground at some points just to make headway and stay upright.
We stopped on the U.S. 412 bridge over Beaver Lake for this view of some bluffs. Beaver Lake is one of a few reservoirs on the White River. The water was a bit muddy today. Given the wind, I suppose that's par for the course.
Ol' Fuj and I climbed 2,148' today, half of which was into the *#!@$ wind. When we got back, my 58-year-old legs were screaming. Fuj was doing just fine.
I wore the new wind tights I bought last weekend when my better half was here. They worked well. I should have bought these last year!