Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Our first stop was Drift Creek Covered Bridge, where we met the remainder of our group. I don’t get the fascination with covered bridges- aren’t they just like regular bridges but…I don’t know…covered? I soured on covered bridges when I tried to read “Bridges of Madison County” . The book is about 6 pages and I could not get past the first 2 but people loved that book. I remember running into a woman I worked with in Chicago, she was finishing up the last few pages of that book and tears were streaming down her face.

“It’s so romantic.” She explained
“But isn’t the woman in the book married and having an affair with some random guy?”
“It’s a love you can’t understand,” she said angrily, as she wiped the tears from her face.
“I can’t help but think that if it was some guy having an affair because he was bored you might find it more piggish than romantic.”

In a fit of anger, she lunged at me with a knife that she had concealed in her sleeve. Thank goodness I am well versed in the art of self-defense and I quickly subdued her 4’ 6” frame, took possession of the knife and held her until the police could be summonsed. Today, she sits in an 8 x 10 cell, another victim of passion and bad reading habits. Anyway, the point is every time I think of covered bridged I’m reminded of adultery, tear stained cheeks, jail-time and a really crappy book. Imagine my surprise, when I found myself fascinated by Drift Creek Covered Bridge and the story of its survival.

The Drift Creek Covered Bridge was built in 1914; the wet condition and lack of attention began to rot it away. The bridge was condemned in 1997 and scheduled for demolition. Kerry and Laura Sweitze felt drawn to the bridge. They lived 8 miles away and the thought of a piece of Oregon history being treated so shabbily left them uneasy. Apparently the repair and maintenance of a bridge is expensive so they decided to just let the bridge rot and fall in on itself, much like the wedding vows of the couple in “Bridges of Madison County”. It was then that the coincidences began. The Sweitzes had a concrete bridge that spanned 66’10” across a creek that went to their house- the Drift Creek Covered Bridge spanned 66’10”. I wouldn’t have been moved to do anything because of this coincidence but I also wouldn’t have built an Ark just because I heard voices. (Not listening to the voices has also kept me from stalking Megan Fox and buying a convertible sports car). Still unsure about their role in the fate of the bridge, the Sweitzes prayed about it. The following day a calendar, with a picture of the bridge, arrived in the mail. That settled it- they gathered volunteers, donations and moved the bridge 8 miles to their house and rebuilt it. The tenor of the trip was set. This is a journey about passion, not mine of course, but other people’s passion. The Sweitzes had a passion and they did something about it.

Kerry and Laura donated the bridge and the land to Oregon. It’s a worthwhile visit- even if you don’t “get” the covered bridges you have to respect the passion.

To get there travel east of Lincoln City on Highway 18, about 3.5 miles. Turn south on North Bear Creek Road .The bridge is 1 mile on the left.


self taught artist said...

i almost get the passion of writing the book more than all that time/money and labor on a rotting bridge but hey, who am i?
good post btw

BJ Lantz said...

Yeah I always wondered ~ why cover a bridge? I mean, really. Why? But they are picturesque in their own way. I also wondered how a lousy book of purple prose could sell so many darned copies. I only read the whole thing because it was given to me as a gift (gee, thanks) by a very dear friend and I felt obligated. Up until I read this post I thought I was the only one who hated that book ~ usually when I tell somebody I loathed it they just can't understand why.

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Yay, you're back.

I was just thinking, maybe there's room for an Isaak-Dinesen kind of writers' group: "I used to have a blog in Paris."

Anonymous said...

Welcome back to your corner of the world!