Sunday, June 7, 2009

Covered Bridges

It's been many weeks of little sleep and constant caretaking. We haven't been able to go out much because we haven't been able to leave Goldie alone for any length of time. She's doing better and the weather was great, so against my physical therapists' orders (damaged a disc in my lower back) I hopped on the bike on Sunday.

We headed out with Alex, Joe and Annette and tried for a Covered Bridge tour. We originally plotted the route for 5 bridges. One was questionable since it is located on private property and the owner hasn't given explicit approval for visitors. We figured we could hit the first four and determine if we wanted to try for the last one if we had the gumption.

Our list of bridges included: Elder's Mill, Howard's, Watson Mill, Cromer's and Lula. While C and I had been to two on the list, the others had never been to any of them.

First on the list: Elder's Mill. You might recognize the bridge as I have posted about it before. It was nice to return to it in the summer to see the new growth...including all of the poison ivy. ;-) We enjoyed riding through the bridge, taking pictures, turning around on gravel and stretching the legs. The light was very bright and there was virtually no traffic. In all, a very nice spot to stop. I held everyone up by walking through the bridge and photographing the other side. Then stopping to smell photograph the flowers.

Second stop: Howard's Covered Bridge. This bridge was a little trickier to get to. Never trust a GPS 100%!! Both mine and Master of the Mechanical Stuff's (MotMS) tried to take us down some interesting dirt roads again even though a paved road was just around the corner. We bypassed the proffered directions and made some changes. Good thing we did. The original route would have brought us in from the other side...that is currently blocked by the crown of a very large branch fallen from a very old tree. As you can see this bridge is no longer maintained for vehicular traffic. It is for pedestrian viewing only. Also a good thing since the underlying floor is rotting through. Just don't step in those spots.

Again, I wandered around a little longer then the others and took in the mud, gravel and some Queen Ann's Lace flowers. Everyone else huddled in the shade and watched the ticks crawling around.

Stop three: Lunch! We continued on our merry way...again misled by the GPS'. Luckily we were having fun, and the GPS can sometimes take you on some very interesting backroads that we wouldn't have seen otherwise. So we went with the flow, gased up the bikes and fueled the humans at the only place open we could find: Zaxby's. Not bad, but would have been better if we could have enjoyed the local BBQ. Given it was Sunday and small town...not many places are open. Next time we need to bring lunch and sit at one of the picnic areas near a bridge.

Stop four: Watson Mill. MotMS and I have been here many times. Once even on our bikes if you want to remember. The park has a great little campground and wonderful walking, bicycling and horse riding trails. One can also rent canoes above the damn and sit/slide down the rocks below the damn. We haven't enjoyed either of those activities. The dogs are usually with us when camping. And I hear stories of leeches in some of the pools in the rocks. No Thank You! This time I allowed the others to wander around and take the pictures while MotMS and I sat in the shade and watched the bikes. We enjoyed watching many others motorcycles out enjoying the day on the same roads. One couple stopped to enjoy the water and parked near us. While most of us have saddle bags or locks for our valuables, we learned a new way of making sure no one walks off with the expensive leather vest...just park the bike on it!

Final Stop: Cromer's Mill Covered Bridge. This is another pedestrian only bridge. It had been restored recently as evidenced by the steel beams running under and through the bridge.

Time was rapidly advancing and we decided not to attempt the last bridge and just head home. We made a beeline for the freeway and took off. We had been gone for 219 miles and 7 hours, and while my back wasn't too bad, this was the longest we had left Frankendoggie alone. I wanted to spring her from the prison penned area that we had confined her to. So MotMS went with Alex, Joe and Annette and had dinner, I came home and relaxed and played with the pups. It was a good day with good friends and I can't wait to find more bridges.

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