Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Taking the "Scenic" Route !

As promised, a tour of Parke County, Indiana, the "Covered Bridge Capital of the World".

A pleasant weekend is always an excuse to find somewhere interesting to ride the motorcycle. With the long weekend and a little research, we headed first to the Story Inn for a wonderful (as always) breakfast and then over to Bloomington and on toward Parke County. We've made the first half of this trip several times, but for some reason we made a wrong turn and took the extended "scenic" route! This must have been an omen for the whole weekend! Neighbors D & B accompanied us as far as Story but I'm not sure if they'll follow us again! We had to stop and consult the map and a couple of bicyclists once to get back on track! (no, he didn't set the GPS because we knew where we were going! - I guess we just didn't know how to get there!)

Parke County is home to 31 restored covered bridges. The Covered Bridge festival in the fall would be a great time to visit. The tourism board has created a map with the routes to all of them outlined and the roads are "usually" marked with arrows to follow each route. Following these sometimes proved to be a challenge and since we had already started the weekend off with the "scenic" route omen, there was no way we were going to visit all of them. Some of the roads were pretty rough and not motorcycle friendly. It was sort of like a scavenger hunt where the goal was to see how many bridges we could find. Our score was either six or seven. But we did see a lot of pretty Indiana farm country including some areas of Amish farms. I think during the week and maybe earlier on Saturday there would have been some interesting shops and markets open. The bridges varied in sizes but it seemed like they were all red. Some of them you could drive through, but let me tell you - the plank floors were exciting on a motorcycle! I'll admit I was nervous every time we drove through one. Our worst fear is tipping that big pretty Harley over! Most of the bridges were built back in the late 1800's. They were built covered so that the wooden floors and beams would be protected from the elements. I've read that sometimes they were the largest covered area in the community and often used as gathering places for town meetings, weddings and other social events. See how some of them even had windows to open for ventilation.

We spent Saturday night in the town of Rockville. There are a few small local motels and several bed and breakfasts in the area. We stayed at Miss Anna's. It was very comfortable, decorated nicely and convenient. Although their website says they have eliminated the breakfasts, the innkeeper did have a nice selection of bagels, breads and donuts (we enjoyed those - it has been a while!) along with coffee and juice set out on Sunday morning. I think it is for sale, so if anyone is interested in becoming an innkeeper - here's your chance!

I'm embarrassed to say that this old Kansas farm girl doesn't know what all the fields of yellow flowers were. Maybe someone can help me out? Is it mustard? Certainly were pretty though.
One more wrong turn on our little adventure and we found ourselves on a gravel/rock road. Now, I grew up in the country and normally it doesn't bother me to drive or ride on them - in a car! But on the Harley - it was not fun. I'm sure D would agree but he was more worried about getting the bike dusty than my comfort! We kept thinking the next corner would be the paved road, but ended up traveling two or three miles before escaping the dust and rocks. The GPS wasn't much help in this part of the state but we made it back home safe and sound!

Thanks for taking another scenic journey with us. Sometimes the best routes are the ones least expected!


JD said...

I love the pictures of the covered bridges! They are stunning.

Janet said...

Thanks J! My little Kodak keeps on ticking - but I'm worried that she's sick! Too much dust on the road I'm afraid.

Happy Camper Quilts said...

Yellow field is most likely the weed species cressleaf groundsel,confused for a mustard and related to the dandelion. See this website for more info. http://www.btny.purdue.edu/weedscience/
Weeds can be beautiful. My personal favorite is the oxeye daisy which is considered a noxious weed.

Janet said...

Thanks for the info! Interesting articles there. I bet you are right. I didn't think it had been planted intentionally but it was pretty!
Thanks for stopping by Happy Camper!