Monday, October 20, 2008

Oct 20, 2008 - Covered Bridges

Click on pictures to see them larger.
The McKenzie River Bridge (left)was off Hiway 126 just a little ways. It was a fun side-trip because we were able to see some lovely homes nestled in between beautiful autumn trees and scenery. I envied the people who lived on the other side of the bridge and were able to drive through it on a regualar basis. Wonder if it would loose any of its appeal over time?

Just past Vida on Hiway 126 is the Good Pasture Covered Bridge.(left & below) It is of the same design of the McKenzie River Bridge. Other than needing a fresh coat of paint, it looked pretty stretching across the river in the mist and the rain. Looking at the bridge from the front it doesn't look as long as it really is. Autumn colors just added extra beauty.

I use a wonderful program when I plan our trips. I entered in the North and West coordinates for the 2 bridges we wanted to see just north and east of Eugene and the trip planner showed me the little back road I should take. What it didn't show me was how the terrain, up and down and all around. As close as I can figure it was only 15 miles from the time we left Hiway 126 to the first bridge, but it felt incredibly longer. Mom thought we were on that road about 4 hrs (I think that comment was tognue-in-cheek). I thought it was more like an hour and a half. As we climbed the mountain on Angels Flight Rd the pavement ended and the road was covered with small basalt rock. A little further on there was a sign announcing that we would be entering private property if we continued. We already felt like we had gone too far to turn around so we continued on. It soon became apparent that this mountain was owned by a lumber company as we could see signs of cutting. We continued on with fears of never reaching civilization again and the probablity that there may be a locked gate at the end of our journey. Candleman commented that if we did indeed find a covered bridge at the end of this he would be heartedly surprised.
We finally came to a stop sign, which meant civilazation - YAY! When Candleman checked for crosswise traffic he looked to his right and there was the bridge just yards away! Whew! was my response. So this bridge that put our very lives in peril was the Wendling Covered Bridge. (pic at left)

Not far from the Wendling Bridge was the Earnest Covered Bridge, also referred to as the Mohawk River Bridge. This bridge appeared in the movie Shenandoah, filmed in the Mohawk Valley during the mid 1960s. The movie company altered the bridge to reflect Civil War architecture, and then restored it back to the original condition in 1965. From here it was a cinch finding our way to Springfield & Eugene.

I thought we stopped at the Wildcat Creek Covered Bridge just off Hiway 126 not far inland from Florence, but I don't seem to have a picture of it. And an aside - After Wildcat Creek Bridge we were hoping to stop at the Gingerbread Village, but we missed it completely. Hopefully, this note will serve as a reminder if ever we are in this neck of the woods again.

The last bridge we saw today was my favorite - the North Yachats Covered Bridge. There's something about the 10 mile drive from the coast out to this rural farming community and then arriving at a dead end at this cute little bridge. And if that wasn't enough the setting for this bridge is magical. When you arrive at the bridge there's a little turn around spot to park that's under a huge spruce that completely covers the road and car and quite a bit of the bridge. It's an amazing tree. It kind of shows up behind the bridge in this picture. In this case a picture will never capture the magic. You have to stand out under this tree and walk through this bridge and look down from the slanted sides to see the river trickling on its way.

While we were driving to and from the N. Yachats Covered Bridge we saw these Oreo cows. They are really called Irish Belted Cows. I remember teaching my students about them when we were studying genetics & evolution. It was cool to actually see some that were not in a picture.

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