Covered Bridges of Parke County Indiana

Silhouettes in the shade  It’s the Sim Smith Covered Bridge in Montezuma Indiana.  This is my favorite picture from the trip. 

Over the weekend we rode our motorcycles to Parke County Indiana, the “Covered Bridge Capital of the World” as they call themselves.  Parke County has more covered bridges than any other county in the United States.   In 1937 there were 41 covered bridges, but it’s down to 31 now.   We only hit about a dozen of them.  About have were still operational and the other half were roadside attractions.

We met up in Collinsville Illinois (just across the river from the arch) at 2:30 on Friday afternoon.  We headed on up I-70 to Terre Haute Indiana.  We decided to go on up to Rockville Indiana and called for reservations at a local motel.  We ate at Cheeseburger in Paradise (a chain co-owned by Outback Steakhouse and Jimmy Buffet) in Terre Haute before the 30–40 minute ride to Rockville.  We must have stayed there longer than we thought because the sun was about to set when we left.  We arrived at the Covered Bridge Motel after dark.  We sat around the gazebo and discussed our plans for Saturday. 

We had a brochure that mapped out several different routes to see the bridges.  We picked a couple to try.  Saturday morning we met at 8:00 at the White Horse Cafe across the street for breakfast.  Excellent food at very reasonable prices… especially the biscuits and sausage gravy.  After that we hit the road.

Bike oopsWe visited about ten bridges on the Red and Blue routes, stopping at most for pictures.  Most were on paved roads, but a couple ended up being on (mostly packed) gravel roads.  I had a slight boo-boo on one of the gravel roads when I turned a corner the rider in front of me slowed due to loose gravel.  I put my feet down to stabilize my bike and then hit the front brake (a no-no) which caused my front wheel to slide in the loose gravel off the edge of the road.  Luckily my back tire stayed on the road.  A very nice guy who happened to be following us in his AT&T service truck stopped to help.  It took all of us to pull the front end of the bike up onto the road.  We thanked Mr. AT&T for his assistance and went on our way.  We avoided gravel roads after that.  I’ll grimace a little less the next time I pay my AT&T bill.

We got back to our motel about 6 pm.  We showered and headed out to dinner at the 36 Saloon Bar and Grill.  After dinner we picked up a few beers to take back to the gazebo at the hotel.  We sat out there until about 10:30 talking about our day and planning the next one. 

Sunday morning we packed up, ate breakfast at the White Horse again and headed out for the Brown route and a few more bridges before hitting road for home.  At breakfast we were talking about how this was our first overnight ride without our buddy Mel who died last November.  We each carry a little memento on our bikes to remember Mel.  We laughed how often we got turned around on this trip heading down the wrong road and had to keep making u-turns on those small roads (not always an easy task).  We talked about Mel’s sometimes unstellar sense of direction and said he must be with us on this trip.  At this point Mike said, his orange juice glass just moved.  We laughed and then as we all looked at it, the darn thing slid about 5 or 6 inches across the table.  It was probably just water from condensation that caused it to float a little, but we’re taking it to mean that Mel was with us on this journey.  We miss you Mel.

Anyway, we arrived home about 4:30 Sunday afternoon tired but fulfilled and with a keen knowledge of how pretty the bridges and roads of Indiana are. .  And as a bonus it was rain free.   It was a good trip

Here’s a video I put together from the pictures we took.  It’s 10:53 long.   The pictures are here.

Covered bridge tour ends

Union bridge
This is the West Union Covered Bridge.  It’s located a little north-northeast of Montezuma Indiana.  It is the longest covered bridge in Parke County Indiana.  It spans 334 feet including the roof overhangs on each end.  It was built in 1876.  More info on this bridge can be found
here.  This bridge was no longer in use by traffic but quite a few still are.

We made it home safe and sound and rain-free.  I’ll post more from the trip on Monday.  Now it’s time to unpack, play with the dogs and wash motorcycles and then take a nice and long cool shower. 

Things at B&P should be back to normal Monday.

Road Trip – Fishing in the gulf

My daughter (Krisgo) and her family are on family road trip vacation.  They headed out Wednesday.    Their first stop was on Destin Florida after a night somewhere in Mississippi.  On Destin Beach they collected a cup of oil “sea turds” but apparently it wasn’t too bad –  yet.  They did a little fishing and my son-in-law caught this sand shark guitarfish (below).  After a day in Destin they ran into the tail of Hurricane Alex and got pretty wet, so they headed east to Jacksonville.  They stayed there a couple of nights and are heading up towards Savannah Georgia on Friday.


Sand shark2 Sand shark
Click to enlarge

Covered bridges of Indiana ride this weekend

We’re heading out tomorrow afternoon for a ride through Illinois into Indiana.  Indiana is supposed to have more than 90 covered bridges still in existence.  We plan to visit a few.  I’m not sure where our fascination with covered bridges came from, except that there’s one not too far from my house that I accidentally discovered one day a few years ago while out on a ride.  After that we looked into it and discovered that Missouri only has four covered bridges left.  I think we’ve been to three of those.

Indiana ride2

 We’ll probably spend Friday night in Terre Haute and then Saturday ride to some bridges and then there’s supposed to be a nice scenic ride around and/or through Hoosier National Forest.   We’ll probably spend Saturday night in Bloomington and coming back to St. Louis on Sunday afternoon.  About  550 miles total if we stick with the original plan. 

If anyone has any suggestions of things to see or good places to eat along the way, please let us know.  I’ll be checking in during the evenings.

I have set up a few things to post automatically.

European airspace rebooted

A visualization of the northern European airspace returning to use after being closed due to volcanic ash. Due to varying ash density across Europe, the first flights can be seen in some areas on the 18th and by the 20th everywhere is open.

The flight data is courtesy of and covers a large fraction of Europe.