Scott Loring - High Desert Region Events Chairman
Who woulda’ “thunk”? Spend a whole day looking at what? Well, thirty-five of your fellow HDR members are now knowledgeable and transformed Covered Bridge enthusiasts!
The day dawned with dampness so we had our drivers meeting under the awning of the Best Buy storefront. Tour leaders, Greg Snyder and Joe Mansfield, provided handouts with an outline of our route and detailed descriptions and photos of the 7 Covered Bridges that we would be visiting. There are dozens of these bridges throughout Oregon, but we only had so much time! After being counseled about safe driving and our responsibilities to fellow drivers in our group, we climbed into our Porsches with our generously provided “goodie bags” in hand.
As we drove to our first bridge destination the weather improved nicely and the filtered sun highlighted the spectacular fall leaves and foliage in Central Oregon. What a magnificent drive! And because these bridges were built years ago to accommodate the logging industry, we traveled on some unfamiliar and picturesque byways. The driving in itself was a relaxing and beautiful way to spend a Saturday, but the bridges were the star attractions. Inspirational and historical they provided a window to just how this part of our country was built, the main livelihood of the surrounding communities, and why our ancestors were so intrepid and motivated in their building activities.
Our first stop was at the Office Bridge with the old building next to it now converted to a B & B. This previous logging office is in the process of updating and remodeling, but the proprietors still supplied us with coffee, sodas and munchies. We also had a brief tour and envisioned how this building was the busy nexus for the fresh cut logs that traveled down the mountain then crossed through the huge bridge to be sent off to the mill.
There are many vineyards and wineries in the Willamette Valley, where some of our bridges were located, so of course our tour leaders must have spent extraordinary amounts of time visiting and tasting fine wines in order to offer such a fun and lovely venue for our lunch, Iris Vineyards! The wine was tasty, the hot lunch eagerly devoured. While not an easily reached destination, what a view and what nice people!
After our midday stop, more bridges. Each of them was unique, picturesque, and historical. What a pleasure to see a long ago representation of Oregon history in so many sylvan settings.
Our resting place for the night was the Valley River Inn in Eugene. It is a very nice hotel right on the Willamette River. We enjoyed a fun and convivial dinner there with our fellow travelers. Though somewhat weary, we finished the day with fond memories and good food while enjoying our companions and getting to know each of them just that much better.
Thanks very much to Greg and Joe and their ladies, Polly and Lisa, for the planning, effort, and time involved to make this outing such a memorable High Desert event! Your fellow explorers appreciate all that you did.