Covered bridges & the Grumbys - Northwest passages: riding out the storm - CycleBlaze

June 17, 2020

Covered bridges & the Grumbys

The last week has been quite wet here in the mid-valley, with several near or complete rainouts.  Not that unusual here in western Oregon, but we were hoping for conditions a bit better than this by mid-June.

Today though we awake to a fine day - spectacular, really.  Pleasantly warm, mostly sunny, mild winds - an ideal day for a ride.  Especially welcome today, because we have a biking date: we’re meeting up in Scio with the Grumbys for a short, relaxed tour of Linn County’s fabled covered bridges.

There are five covered bridges near Scio.  Most were built in the late 1930’s, all are well maintained, have been rehabilitated in recent years, and are still in use.  Each is just a bit different, graceful and lovely in its own way.  It’s exciting when you round a bend and see one forming a narrow tunnel on the road ahead.  We saw two of them, the Hoffman and Larwood Bridges, a few days ago on our loop from Crabtree to Lebanon.  Today we’ll bike through the Hoffman Bridge again and will also visit the Gilkey and Shimanek Bridges.  If we can fit it in, we’ll make it back up this way one more time before leaving Corvallis to check out the Hannah Bridge as well.

Visiting the bridges would be enough to make the day special, but sharing it with friends raises it into a class of its own.  We’ve been looking forward to this day ever since we started planning it when we stopped off to visit the Grumbys in Silverton on our way to Corvallis two weeks ago.  Team Anderson almost never bikes with others, so this is a pretty rare event - and an especially welcome one when we’ve hardly seen anyone we know in person for over two months now.

We picked Scio as the starting point because it’s almost exactly midway between Silverton and Corvallis.  We time our arrivals well, and the Grumbys are just unloading their LHT’s when we pull up a fashionable two minutes late.

Howdy, stranger! Let’s have a long distance hug!
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Jen, always quite fashion conscious, brought her blue Surly today so it would coordinate with her outfit.
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Jen GrumbyVery important to have a bike to go with each cycling outfit!
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2 weeks ago
Jacquie GaudetI like the scarf; it provides a nice splash of contrasting colour!
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1 week ago
Scott AndersonI agree. Tres chic!
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1 week ago

The ride was pretty much perfect - fine weather, quiet roads, great company.  Not much room for improvement, except possibly through a strategically placed outhouse along the way; or a riverside picnic spot beneath one of the bridges; or especially by the passing of the plague, so we didn’t need to keep quite so much distance. 

I won’t say much about the ride itself, but just share the photos. They’re a collaborative collage, with contributions from all members of the party.  

Thanks, Grumbys!  Let’s do this again sometime.

And they’re off!
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Video sound track: Thank You for Being a Friend, by Andrew Gold

On Gilkey road, approaching the first bridge of the day.
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Jen and I have matching Lone Peak panniers! I can’t believe she’s kept hers looking so clean and new after biking across the Great Plains with it last summer.
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Jen GrumbyMy bag hasn't seen quite as many days on the road/ out in the sun.

Soon enough the Lone Peaks will be equally faded!
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2 weeks ago
Jen claims victory as she approaches the Gilkey Bridge, perhaps not noticing that Rachael arrived well ahead of her.
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Image not found :(
The Gilkey Bridge, built in 1939, spans Thomas Creek. It was just refurbished three years ago and looks beautiful.
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I’ve chosen not to attribute the photographer for each image. I’ll leave it to you to make your best guess.
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Ooh! Look at those two studly macho bikers!
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Jen GrumbyI was there .. that's exactly what Rachael said as Scott and Ron considered cow roping by bicycle.
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2 weeks ago
Gregory GarceauCow ropin' sounds pretty difficult for the un-initiated -- especially on a bike. Have you ever heard of cow-tipping? The theory is that you wait until night time when the cows are sleeping and you can sneak up on them and push them over. I know a couple of people who tried it once and it didn't turn out so well.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Gregory GarceauSuch a mean stunt. They deserve to be crushed.
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2 weeks ago
Look at those cows! Look at that great red barn!
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Jen Grumby"If only we had a couple of lassos!"
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2 weeks ago
It’s a bit off route, but we can’t pass up a look at exciting Crabtree, the only urbanization on the loop today.
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Ain’t Crabtree a sight though? Can’t miss.
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In perfect form, crossing the Hoffman Bridge.
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On the Hoffman Bridge, taking in Crabtree Creek.
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The legendary Undaunted Grumbys.
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In a re-enactment of the planned original ending of the document transfer caper, Ron #1 whispers the secret phrase, furtively looks around for evil-doers, and hands off the Top Secret envelope at a COVID-safe distance.
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Video sound track: Hitman, by Kevin MacLeod

This group selfie was a team effort. The photo was taken by Rachael’s GoPro, using its voice activation feature. All four of us are barking ‘GoPro, take a photo’, trying to activate it. Ron’s is robust call won the day, but we all sounded great together. It really deserved a video, if I’d been thinking quickly enough.
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Gregory GarceauThe post and the pictures and the videos were all fun. But I think I liked this photo of you protesters blocking the interstate highway the best.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Gregory GarceauDefinitely an intimidating group: the Fearsome Foursome.
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2 weeks ago
Two down, one to go! We drop down Hungry Hill Road, thinking of the Shimanek Bridge and lunch.
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OK. We’ve mastered radishes, and are ready to learn a new crop. What’s this? It almost looks like a field of lavender.
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Bill ShaneyfeltNeed more detailed shot showing number of petals, their shape, leaf shape leaf attachment. Even then, ID might be "iffy."
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2 weeks ago
Crushed! We puzzled at first about what this implement up against this fallen oak was, but I see we were only looking at the half of it.
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The Shimanek Bridge spans Hoffman Creek. Built in 1966 and the newest of the nearby bridges, it is the fourth in the series of covered bridges built at this spot. Sadly, the newest edition didn’t retain a quaint feature of the 1891 version - a two-holer built into the foundation.
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The Shimanek Bridge, like all of the others, still has a wooden plank roadbed.
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Rachael chats with the maintenance crew at the Shimanek Bridge.
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Mission accomplished! Now, to lunch.
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‘TIl we meet again!
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Ride stats today: 22 miles, 400’

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Comment on this entry Comment 3
Jen GrumbyWhat a day! Perfect, really. Thanks again for planning this beautiful route. So great to spend time with you two.

Rachael - so glad you told us about the quality of GoPro video going through the bridge .. impressive!

And love the slo-mo Secret hand-off video.

Until we meet again, happy trails!
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2 weeks ago
Ron SuchanekThat was a great ride. Thanks for putting it together and for putting up with me. Let's do it again.
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Ron SuchanekWell, we did it for Jen - we can’t take one without the other, apparently. Later, cowboy!
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2 weeks ago