Sunday, April 20, 2014

Coffee Stops and Finding the Grave Creek Covered Bridge

On the road to Portland some years back, I remember finding the historic Grave Creek Covered Bridge almost entirely by accident. And thanks to a cup of coffee, I found it. A cup of coffee and a few gallons of gas, I still had miles to go.

It was the off-season, and few cars were on the road. "Where you headed," asked the friendly gas attendant,  who probably noticed me fumbling through some maps, and I said "Portland." Guessing I was a tourist, she said "you should make a quick stop and see the covered bridge, it's along the way." And I'm glad I did. Along I-5, make an easy left at Sunny Valley Exit, and you'll find the graceful bridge. Constructed in 1920, seeing the bridge just felt like being in an old movie. And on cue, the shifting clouds allowed the sun to peek momentarily, washing the bridge with light. For more on the Grave Creek Covered bridge, see my post in my other blog here at

Further down the road, the visitor center was closed for the holidays. Walking around to stretch my legs, I find wooden wheels and saddles covered  in snow. And I remembered the old movies on the Oregon Trail, the iconic Conestoga wagons, and the pioneering spirit that opened the Pacific Northwest. With the sun hiding once again behind the thick grey winter clouds, there was something special in seeing the muted, almost monochromatic colors, and shifting to black & white seemed like the right thing to do.

It's quiet walks like these that make you appreciate road trips, and those coffee stops along the way, and seeing things you normally wouldn't notice or simply drive through. Finishing up my coffee, it was time to hit the road in a trip that had so many pleasant surprises along the way.

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