Bird Haven/Covered Bridges

May 11, 1995

Thirty-one members and friends departed for Covered Bridges and Bird Haven on this sunny, cloudy, stormy day. We traveled through Marcola and wandered our way to the Wendling covered bridge over Mill Creek, where we spent 15 minutes admiring the bridge and its surroundings. At this point the sun was shining and it was warm and lovely. Retraced our route somewhat and via Paschelke Rd. and arrived at Ernest covered bridge [weather still OK]. Another 15 minutes was enjoyed looking at the bridge, the Mohawk River and a few lavender, wild iris, purple vetch, yellow scotch broom, and other wildflowers along the road. Some riders were curious about the window in the bridge (it gives drivers crossing the bridge a view of oncoming traffic approaching around a curve leading to the bridge). Having viewed two of Lane County’s covered bridges, we continued on Marcola Rd. and Brush Creek Rd, with our next stop at the Crawfordsville covered bridge with Calapooia River running under it. We spent another few minutes here in a light rain. This was the first of Linn County bridges we visited today. Our next stop was in Sweet Home at the Weddle covered bridge, where we had our morning snack on the bridge out of the light rain. This bridge was moved some years ago from its original spot near Scio to a park in Sweet Home and is no longer used for motor traffic. After our snack of coffee and fruit bars furnished by Evelyn Hile, we traveled westerly on Hwy. 20 to the Waterloo exit, and after many twists and turns over hill and dale on various roads we arrived at the Larwood covered bridge, where there is a small park and an old water wheel. We were unable to inspect the building holding the dilapidated water wheel as the access was blocked. We were blessed with better weather here as we spent our 15 minutes of examination and discussion of this bridge spanning Crabtree Creek. Downstream of the bridge, Roaring River gallops over a falls into the creek. [Does a river enter a creek? Always thought creeks entered rivers!] We continued on our journey to Hanna covered bridge spanning Thomas creek, then traveled to Shimanek covered bridge, also spanning Thomas Creek downstream. Our weather was holding, so enjoyed most of the bridges without precipitation. This was the last of the covered bridges on our route today.

By 12:30 we reached Bird haven as it began to sprinkle. Our reservation at Bird Haven had been canceled but we were not aware until we reached the facility. Their call did not reach us before we left this morning. Tony Koch and his wife decided to give us a shortened tour anyway since we had come, and only charged us a nominal fee since we would not be getting the whole tour. We ate our sack lunches in the picnic shelter as the rain hammered down and the wind blew. Some of our group remained in the wind and the cold, but many deserted to the bus to finish eating. Since the storm kept most of the birds out of sight we did not get to enjoy their antics, but we did have a most interesting lecture by Tony concerning his bird and bat houses, how he built them, and the difference between houses for various kinds of birds. Nearly 60 different kinds of birds frequent his acreage. Well over 800 bird houses hang from barb wire strung from pole to pole around his farm. He even has an “apartment complex” — houses attached at different levels on his TV antennas. Our group was divided in half with one group enjoying the small museum of a collection of minerals, bird nests, and other artifacts while the other group heard the lecture, then the groups switched so everyone had a chance to enjoy both presentations. A small gift shop is available where several of us purchased bird houses or bird and bat house plans, small bird knickknacks, and other trinkets available. And the rain continued to drench; we even heard thunder. After two hours of receiving much interesting information both in lecture and observation we departed for home.

We traveled more by-ways, made a few circuitous turns finding ourselves moving in a direction we hadn’t intended but enjoying every minute of the tour through Scio, Griggs, Lebaron, Brownsville and Coburg on the back roads, and more gully washers, arriving in Eugene at 5:00 p.m. on the dot. Our good fortune included an excellent driver in John Goddard of Charter Bus Lines of Oregon. An added bonus this time of year is the display of bright green pastures, blooming rhodies and azaleas along country lanes, roadside patches of deep purplish-blue camas, graceful white branches of hawthorn, hillsides of yellow Scotch broom, and of course the myriad of trees we enjoy in our beautiful Willamette Valley, rain or shine.

Riders were: Ethel Allen, Margaret Baldwin, Mary Bentsen, Marian Borchardt, Ingrid Carmichael, Harriet & Paul Civin, Marian Hessel, Barb & Kess Hottle, Ray Jensen, Lillian Johnson, Dody Leppmann, Marie Loome, Norman Lumian, Lenore & John McManigal, Bill Montgomery, Bonita Rickard, Clarence & Dorothy Scherer, Kathleen Schlenker, Lois Schreiner, June Smith, Nadine Smith, Tom Taylor, Louise Thurber, Margaret Wiese and leaders Clair Cooley & Evelyn Hile.

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