Posted by: bkivey | 8 October 2014

2014 Vacation Pt. 5

The plan for today was to work south along I-5 toward Medford, visiting covered bridges along the way. With cumulus dotting a blue sky and warm temperatures forecast, it was a beautiful early Autumn day in southern Oregon.

The first order of business was to backtrack up highway 138 to the Cavitt Creek bridge, southeast of Glide:

Cavitt Creek bridge

After rejoining I-5 in Roseburg, it was north a ways to the Rochester bridge west of Sutherlin:

Rochester south side three quarter

And on south to Myrtle Creek where the Horse Creek:

Horse Creek bridge

and Neal Lane:

Neal Lane north three quarters

lie in close proximity. Horse Creek is in town but isn’t open to motor vehicles, while Neal Lane lies just east of town and is a workaday bridge.

A little further south, I exited the Interstate at Canyonville and drove east to Milo Academy, home to the eponymous bridge:

Milo Academy south end

Milo Academy is a private Christian boarding school in the foothills, and the bridge is owned by, and on the land of, the school. There’s a small picnic area next to the stream open to the public during the summer when school’s out. This area was officially closed when I was there, but there weren’t any barriers to access, and no one shood me away.

This bridge is unusual among Oregon covered bridges in that it uses a steel kingpost design rather than the usual wooden truss. It’s also the only one I’ve seen with a rope swing attached.

When I pulled up there were a couple of gentlemen stopped at the bridge with their Harleys, and after I’d taken my pictures we got to talking. They were a couple of retired loggers out for a ride, and we talked about logging in southern Oregon and cutting redwoods in northern California before chainsaws (they weren’t that old, but they knew the history). We were in the heart of Oregon logging country, and I’d seen log trucks on a regular basis all week, but this is also a part of the state where the economy was virtually destroyed by the 1994 Northwest Forest Plan in a misguided and unsuccessful attempt to reverse the decline of the Northern Spotted Owl. It was interesting talking to them about the tree farms I’d seen in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, and the harvest cycles of Northwest versus Southern forests.

Presently it came time for them to leave, and I headed west back to I-5 and then south to revisit the Grave Creek and Wimer bridges I’d seen Monday, because after an unfortunate error the night prior, I had no pictures of them. I also revisited the Antelope Creek bridge in the town of Eagle Point:

Antelope Creek bridge

On the way to Eagle Point, I noticed a large volcano on the northeast horizon. This turned out to be Mt. McLoughlin, a 9500 foot volcano that I hadn’t heard of. Weather during the week had prevent sighting it earlier, and developing rain storms prevented any good picture opportunities this day.

Whew! That’s a lot of bridges for one day. On the way back to Medford I decided to stop at the airport to check in for my flight the next day. Except it turns out you can’t check in early but on the day of the flight unless you do it through the airline’s website. The agent was nowhere to be found, but Rogue Valley International isn’t an airport where you’re going to be standing in line for an hour, so I decided to secure lodging for the night.

Outside the airport, there was a nice double rainbow:

Double rainbow Medford

I checked into the same Motel 6 I’d stayed at previously, and headed to Red Lobster for dinner. Last day of vacation, I’d splurge a little. The parking lot was slam-bang full, but I figured I could hang out in the bar while waiting for a table. From the parking lot, I saw this:

Medford sunlit rain 1

Medford sunlit rain 2

At first I didn’t understand what I was seeing; I thought it  was sunlight penetrating the cloud. But given the thickness of the cloud, that didn’t make sense. I realized  I was looking at rain illuminated from above. I don’t think I’ve seen that phenomenon before, and thought it was neat.

As expected, there were a number of people waiting for tables, and when the staff found out I was a party of one, they told me that a table would be ready ‘in a couple of minutes’. I asked if those were restaurant minutes, or real minutes. They laughed and asked if I’d like to wait at the bar. I did, and ate there, too, as I could watch the Mariners.

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