We got a little side-tracked on the aforementioned “covered
bridge tour”. Surprise ! Getting side-tracked on our little
trips happens so often, the most common “surprise” might
well be that we actually do what we planned to do.
We had good intentions. We started out in the direction of the
covered bridges, then saw a very large ranger station in the
Willamette National Forest. Jo
discovered that they have a CD available that gives you an audio tour
of the Aufderheide scenic byway. We decided to pick up the CD from the ranger station.
Excited, we popped in the CD and started the drive. Guess what
the first stop was? A covered bridge, of course! It was a nice one,
the “office” covered bridge.
It was named during a heavy
logging time when the “office” of the logging company was
on one side of the river and the logging operations were on the
This is a long bridge (the longest in Oregon) and even has a separate pedestrian
You can still drive across the one lane bridge which now leads to
a check-in center and parking for hikers. This is a very nice bridge
as covered bridges go.
After getting used to when to stop and restart the CD, so we could
keep track of where we were, we traveled about 50 miles through the
forest, viewing old growth trees, stream crossings, rustic
campgrounds, and isolated small old cabins.
The CD was well done, providing us with lots of historical facts,
lessons on reading lichen on trees and rocks, and tips on identifying
foliage etc. Unfortunately, some fun-loving folks had removed many of
the key mile marker posts, and also many of the identifying signs.
(Probably some senior citizens that were trying to prank the younger
folks, of course) As a result, we still can’t tell a Douglas Fir from an Engelmann Spruce, but then, no one has tested us on that yet…. Not to be
deterred, we matched the mile markers to our odometer and forged
Somewhere along the drive we both got kinda sleepy, so we stopped
in a rustic campground, leaned our seats back, and took a nap
along-side the stream.
That was a great nap, and we were awakened by
raindrops falling off the trees onto the roof.
Refreshed and driving again, we passed along-side the Cougar reservoir
that ended at the dam.
The lake reminded us of Smith Lake in Alabama
at this time of year. The large fluctuation in the water levels made
the shoreline look very familiar.
(And of course, islands that would
be invisible at full pool, stood out starkly, reminding us not to
forget where they were, lest we destroy yet another prop. Of course that was when we lived in Alabama and actually had a boat).
The rain continued (after all, this is Oregon). After turning in
our CD at a General Store drop off station, we headed for home. We
arrived as it was getting dark, made our dinner, and listened to the
rain on the roof of the coach. As usual, it was not the day we
planned, but still a very nice, relaxing retirement day.
Today, (Tuesday) started with a little fog, which has has quickly burned off
to sunshine, as we have our coffee and breakfast.