Day 3: Springfield to Brownsville - Willamette Valley Covered Bridges - CycleBlaze

June 22, 2022

Day 3: Springfield to Brownsville

On the road at 9:05, but I stopped at McDonalds for breakfast because Village Inn doesn't serve breakfast. Then out of Springfield on Marcola Road.

This railroad bridge over the McKenzie river is converted to a trail bridge, but there is no connecting trail on either end of the bridge.
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Immediately after crossing the McKenzie river I turned left and began following the Mohawk river upstream.

Mohawk River, a tributary of the McKenzie river.
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About 10 miles upstream I turned off of busy Marcola road to see Wendling Covered Bridge. I enjoyed the peace and quiet of the 3 mile detour to the bridge. This bridge is far enough down a dead end country road that it has basically no traffic. I don't think a single car drove across the bridge during the 20 minutes I stopped there.

Wendling Covered Bridge, built in 1938.
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Wendling Covered Bridge.
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Wendling Covered Bridge crosses Mill Creek.
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I like this modern barn with traditional design.
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My detour to Wendling Covered Bridge crosses Earnest Covered Bridge just before returning to Marcola Road. This bridge is not so remote because it's adjacent to a busy county road.

Earnest Covered Bridge, built in 1938.
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Earnest Covered Bridge.
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Earnest Covered Bridge has one window on one side.
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The Mohawk river is noticeably smaller at Earnest Covered Bridge than it was in Marcola. I'm getting closer to the headwaters.

View of Mohawk river from the window of Earnest Covered Bridge.
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Marcola Road had a usable paved shoulder before I turned off to Wendling Covered Bridge. When I returned to Marcola Road a couple miles north, the shoulder was gone but traffic was still heavy. And now the road climbs steeply.

At the summit the road changes name and I enter a new county. Now I am in Linn county and descending Brushy Creek Road to the Calapooia River. The descent also has little or no shoulder. It was one of only a handful of roads that I judge to be unsafe during this tour. It's a good road to use two 350 Lumen red flashers.

Top of a 600 foot shoulder-less climb from Earnest Covered Bridge.
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Brushy Creek road connects to OR 228 where I turned west towards Brownsville. After half a mile I took a long stop to see Crawfordsville Covered Bridge. I like this bridge because it's in a benign state of neglect. The nameplate is not readable. Paint is peeling in many places. I think this is how a 90 year old wooden bridge should look.

Crawfordsville Covered Bridge, built in 1932.
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Crawfordsville Covered Bridge has a giant windows.  The south window has a good view of the Calapooia River flowing downstream.

This is the only bridge I remember seeing that has the wood road surface covered by a thin layer of pavement.

Crawfordsville Covered Bridge has huge windows on both sides.
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Calapooia River from Crawfordsville Covered Bridge.
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Crawfordsville Covered Bridge looks like it has been neglected for a long time. I think the shabbiness gives the bridge more historic character than other bridges that have new paint jobs.

Crawfordsville Covered Bridge is very close to the existing OR 228 bridge over the Calapooia River.
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Just across the covered bridge I turned right onto Northern Drive which goes into Brownsville on the north side of the river. It has less traffic than OR 228 but is longer and hillier. I was disappointed that it had no river views.

Northern Road goes straight into downtown Brownsville. Brownsville is a historic town that is similar in many ways to my town of Oakland. This was my first time to visit Brownsville. I like it. I arrived at 4 PM, leaving plenty of time to explore.

Brownsville, Oregon.
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Victorian house with out of place Craftsman style tapered square posts and modern windows.
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The biggest and fanciest house in town is now sort of a museum, open for tours.

Fanciest house in Brownsville.
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Brownsville is a bit bigger than my town. Both downtowns are anchored by a historic hardware store.

Downtown Brownsville resembles my town of Oakland, Oregon.
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Brownsville, Oregon.
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Behind the hardware store is an impressive Craftsman-style Baptist church. Probably built in the 1890's judging by the appearance.

First Baptist Church in Brownsville.
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Main Street crosses the Calapooia River on an attractive internal truss bridge. Most of these 1920's and 1930's truss bridges have been replaced by modern concrete bridges. I appreciate the few truss bridges that remain.

Brownsville Main Street crosses the Calapooia River on this old truss bridge.
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I was surprised to learn that the Linn County Historical Museum is in tiny Brownsville and not in the county seat of Albany. I'll have to go back sometime to see the museum.

Linn County Historical Museum in Brownsville has a railroad theme.
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I enjoyed wandering around and gawking at the historic structures. Brownsville is one of the best historic towns in Oregon.

Lots of stairs to this house.
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Brownsville, Oregon.
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Brownsville doesn't have a motel, so tonight I stay at an Airbnb for the first time ever. This one cost $120, making it one of the cheapest overnights of the tour.  Getting the bike up the narrow stairs was a chore. The photo below is taken while standing 5 stairs up from the driveway. The location is good, though. Between the city park and downtown.

Treetop Studio Airbnb is my home for the night.
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I had dinner at the Mexican restaurant. After dinner I went into the tavern for a beer. I like looking at bars in historic taverns.

Self portrait at the tavern in Brownsville.
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Later in the evening I explored the City Park. It's huge for a town this size. It has several historic buildings and a big covered amphitheater.

Brownsville City Park along the Calapooia river.
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Today had mostly sunny weather with a high temperature of 81F (27C). Perfect. Another successful day, visiting 3 covered bridges.

Brownsville is 7 miles off my covered bridge route. I didn't have to go here but I'm glad I did. It's one of the most interesting overnight destinations of this tour.

Distance: 43.5 mi. (69.6 km)
Average Speed: 9.3 mph (14.9 km/h)
Ascent/Descent: +1360/-1386 ft(+415/- 423 m)

Today's ride: 44 miles (71 km)
Total: 126 miles (203 km)

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Comment on this entry Comment 1
Genny FoxBrownsville looks extremely interesting! I am sorry we did not detour to see it. Maybe a good place for a rest day on our next Oregon trip.
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