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Friday, January 30, 2015

No Termites Here

Turkey Run State Park is located in Clarke County, which claims to be the covered bridge capital of the world with 31 existing bridges, 21 of which are still open to vehicle traffic like the Cox Ford Bridge pictured below which is on its western edge.  The road to the bridge is a narrow dirt road but well maintained and there is a parking lot right before the bridge.

Cox Ford Bridge, 176 feet + 2 overhangs that measure 8 feet each

I jumped right out of bed when I woke up, not as early as Sherry did in a recent post of hers I'm sure, but 8:00 a.m. without an alarm in the winter ain't too shabby.  I knew the weather wasn't going to hold so I wanted to see if I could get any good light at all.  Turns out I got the last 10 seconds of light from the road approach in the picture below and then it just got cloudier, colder and windier over the next hour.

Burr arch truss design

It was 45F with a light wind when I got there, but by the time I went back to get Cory up it had dropped to 37F and the wind had picked up quite a bit.  I had the bridges all to myself though, even if I wasn't up as early as the birds.  I heard a few, mostly geese.

As I was entering the bridge in the car I noticed a sign that said "Cross this bridge at a walk" and it felt like my heart stopped.  The car did at any rate.  All I could think of was that scene in "Funny Farm" where the moving truck driver says "This ain't a bridge, it's termites holding hands!"  Like stopping the car would fix things if the bridge was going to fall apart, right?

Of course I'm sure the sign is there because otherwise people might trip on the uneven boards.  I made it across without incident and then walked back onto the bridge to check out the view of Sugar Creek from one of the openings.

Sugar Creek

Cox Ford covered bridge is actually unique because it was built to replace a steel bridge that washed out in the flood of 1913, and the arches used in this bridge were from another one that was 60 years old and washed out in the same flood.

The other bridge I visited was the Narrows Bridge at the eastern edge of the park.  It was built by the same guy and of the same style, but is 31 years older and only open to foot traffic.  Historians believe that it may be that this bridge was the first he built in his career.

Narrows Bridge, 121 feet + 2 overhangs that measure 8 feet each

There wasn't a parking lot for this bridge so I parked at a pullout on a side road on the other side of the bridge pictured below as seen from the opening in the covered bridge.

Doesn't this look like a great place to go kayaking?  There was a canoe outfitter across from the park campground and I bet it's fun to go down the creek and see all the bridges in the summer.

I climbed down the hill and made my way down to the underpass of the bridge so I could get a closer look at the graffiti down there, as well as the ice formations on the sandstone ledges.

Narrows Bridge and its lovely coat of red paint 

I liked the little people holding hands, and even though graffiti is wrong, I also grudgingly admired all the names and initials carved in the sandstone below the bridge.  Tradition is tradition, and it looks like hanging out under the bridge has been a local tradition for the young people for a long time.  Besides, sandstone is soft and all those initials will easily wear away with a little time.

that's a lot of initials carved in the rock!

I would have explored the area longer but the wind was getting brutal and my exposed hands were bright red and getting unresponsive.  Rue didn't mind the wind, she had her scarf and could have hung out all day.

I know you were wondering if she fell off a cliff (or a bridge) somewhere, but she's still hanging around with me.  Yesterday she spent the day in the dark camera bag after we left Turkey Run.  We had a long drive to Cedars of Lebanon State Park in Tennessee which we didn't get to until right after dark.   Along the way we stopped in the towns of Terre Haute and Vincennes, Indiana and found some unexpected surprises.  More on that tomorrow!


  1. I love covered bridges! We have a ton of them here in Oregon too. A few years ago I took a photography class where we traveled around, taking pics of the bridges.

  2. Wish we had a few more of these in Ontario.

  3. We saw some convered bridges in the fall when we were up in Pennsylvania in Amish country. We are fascinated by them too. And then a couple of months later we ended up in Cedars of Lebanon State Park too. We thought the park was fine, although a pretty tight squeeze to get into our site. But the bath houses were warm. They kept those things cranked up on high which was nice. We were there during our first freezing temps of the season.

  4. That first bridge is really long! That would be fun to kayak under all those bridges.

  5. The cement bridge isn't too shabby either. I like the graceful arch to it.

  6. Loved the bridge photos and stories. After our covered bridge explorations in Oregon, it is fun to go to other states and study the truss designs and read the history of the bridges. Lovely post.