Life at the Running Y

Life at the Running Y
Life at the Running Y

Friday, May 11, 2012

Six Covered Bridges, Corvallis and Points West

lots of mossy roofs in this part of OregonAre you getting tired of this paragraph yet?  Ha!  I still have two more groups of bridges to write about!

Clicking on the linked bridge names will take you to Bridgehunter.com with historical information about each bridge, location maps and photos. Hovering with your mouse over the photos will give you the name of the bridge as well. Again, the google map and link to our tour is here. My picasaweb/google photo albums have many additional photos of the bridges and our trip.

old house near the harris bridgeWhat a wonderful night we spent at River Bend! Everything was incredibly quiet until the storm came and the skies clouded up. We took our time getting on the road since it was a bit of a gloomy morning and the MoHo was all cozy and comfy.  Traveling west on US20 toward Lebanon was uneventful and we continued on US34 across the interstate toward Corvallis.  We chose the Benton Oaks RV Park at the Benton County Fairgrounds as our resting place for another two days of bridge hunting.  When we arrived, the park manager was off site, but quickly answered his phone with instructions for choosing a site.  We managed to get settled in just before the heavy rains started up again.

Benton Oaks is an adequate park, but for a county fairgrounds park, certainly not cheap at $34 per night.  That included full hookups, WiFi which was surprisingly good when it worked, and cable tv which had about 20 channels.  I gave up on the WiFi and hooked up my Verizon MiFi instead and we watched local news to catch up on what had been going on in the world during our several days without TV.  Not much! Somehow, with the storms and pouring rain, I completely forgot to take any photos of this park.

Harris Covered Bridge near WrenWith a long afternoon ahead, we decided to travel west to the little town of Wren and the Harris Covered Bridge (above). We drove west along US20 through the little town of Philomath and down a back roadway to the bridge.  Once again we were very happy to be in the Tracker, since the road was narrow and the bridge small, even with its 27 ton load limit.  As we have discovered, often there is some kind of home or dwelling near the bridges, and this time it was the Harris Bridge Winery.  I have learned to watch for dogs and people when I get out of the car to check out the bridges! 

Irish Bend Covered Bridge at OSU Returning to Corvallis, I discovered to my delight that the Irish Bend Covered Bridge (above) was just half a mile from our campground on the Oregon State University Campus.  With the winds blowing and huge black storm clouds threatening, we decided to walk the campus trail before the weather turned any worse.  It was so beautiful, and the sun came and went at perfect moments and the rain once again held off until we were back home. 

elk along Highway 34 I tend to get a bit low when it is gloomy, but somehow the rainy skies that greeted us on our second morning in Corvallis didn’t trouble me at all.  The nice thing about these spring rains is that there are shifts and changes in the light, the sun comes and goes, the rains dump for awhile and then everything is brilliantly green and backlit.  Still, when I woke up to another rainy day, I was really happy that we had the bridge hunt to keep us occupied.  If we had planned a lot of hiking, biking, and kayaking on this trip as we usually do, we might have been disappointed!

We traveled west along US34 toward Alcea to see the Hayden Covered Bridge. As usual, there was a farmhouse nearby and a beautiful old barn silhouetted against the dark skies. We were even treated to a large herd of elk grazing near the river.

Hayden Bridge at AlceaWe then found the forest road that led to the Fisher School Bridge, several miles along a narrow but paved route that let to one of the sweetest little bridges around.  The fresh red paint and the obvious love that went into the restoration of the remote little bridge was endearing. 

Fisher School Covered Bridge Leaving the Fisher Bridge, we thought perhaps we could find our way to the coast over the mountains to the North Fork Yachats Bridge, but after several unfruitful attempts to find the road (even with the GPS) we gave up and drove back north to Highway 34.  It was only another 20 miles or so to Waldport and then just another few miles to Yachats, so once more we decided we could cheat a little bit and go back to our beloved Oregon Coast.  Even on this rainy day, after being away for a few days, the ocean looked incredible. 

We meandered into Yachats and then up the river to the North Yachats River Covered Bridge.  I may start to sound a bit repetitive because again, THIS was one of my favorites.  Another one!.  The neighborhood seemed a bit “iffy” with all sorts of creative looking dwellings tucked in along the river, but it was another piece of Oregon I have never seen, as many times as we have passed through Yachats. The other really wonderful part about this remote little bridge was the old growth huge Douglas-fir growing on the slope just south of the bridge. Truly a magical little setting.North Fork Yachats Covered Bridge From Bridgehunter:

“Located just seven miles from the salt water of the Pacific Ocean, this trim little bridge is one of the few to escape the "graffiti artists" so common in many other covered bridges. Since the covered span is the only access for families in the area, the bridge roof was removed to allow a mobile home to cross in the early 1980s. In 1987, a loaded fuel truck crashed through a weakened approach on the bridge and the accident ruptured a fuel tank. Luckily, no fuel reached the river, and county crews soon repaired damage to the bridge. The bridge was rehabilitated in 1989 when work crews replaced the trusses and approaches. A new roof and siding were also added.”

huge tree near the North Fork Yachats Bridge with Sue for scale I t was getting a bit toward mid-afternoon, and the leftover quesadillas were a bit cold though adequate for a traveling lunch.  Then again, we WERE on the coast, and what is best on the coast?  Clam chowder of course.  As we crossed the bridge into Newport we decided that a bit of chowder at the original Mo’s would be a perfect afternoon treat.  Now I heard someone, a blogger or two, recently unhappy with Mo’s chowder, maybe Laurie?  Of course, Laurie is a true foodie, with exquisite taste, but I still love Mo’s and on this cold rainy day, it didn’t disappoint in the least.  The chowder was potato-ey, and creamy but not too much so, perfectly seasoned, and loaded with lots of tender juicy pink clams.  For dessert I succumbed to the famous Mo’s marionberry cobbler.  Ahhhh.  Not gooey or sticky, just perfectly sweet fat huge marionberries and tender cobbler crust.  Topped off with a great cup of coffee, we were ready for the last bridge of the day.

the sun came out for a minute at Chitwood Bridge along Highway 20Back on the road, we traveled the familiar route along 101 from Yachats to Newport and again headed east toward Corvallis on US20.  The Chitwood Covered Bridge is just off the highway spanning the Yaquina River about 20 miles east of the coast. It is one of those bridges that actually has a street view on google.  It was a pretty red bridge, but with its accessible location and utter visibility there wasn’t a great deal of excitement when we found it.  Do you suppose it was because it was the end of a long rainy day? We were happy to roll into the fairgrounds in time for a bit of relaxation with our 20 meager channels of television before getting ready to roll to a new campground the next morning.

Next post: Six bridges east of Salem