“When you need a friend, I’m sailing right behind. Like a bridge over troubled water.” Paul Simon.
The Queen likes to ride. She likes it so much that now she goes to the garage door rather than the front door when we prepare to go for a walk. She is a bossy dog. The problem is that there are only so many destinations appropriate for a 50 pound border collie. So, in order to get The Queen the riding fix that she insists upon, we hit the road on Saturdays or after work on the weekdays for some sightseeing. And sometimes we just go for the ride itself. Yes, really, I do this for my dog.
One such adventure took us to see my first covered bridge. We left home on a Saturday afternoon and cruised up (windows halfway down and sunroof open, that is how she rolls) to Spencerville, Indiana, frighteningly close to the Ohio line. Spencerville is a brief stop on Route 1. Just off of Route 1 – follow the sign – is the Spencerville Covered Bridge.
It was constructed and has been in use is 1873 and it spans the St. Joseph River. It underwent a major renovation in 1981 and it is still used but only for tourist traffic. The new road that bypasses it is within sight.
I have become quite the popular story teller at work. At the office most of the employees gather at noon to dine and I regale folks with my weekend adventures. Remember, I like to talk and I am the baby of my family – I am used to people listening to me and acting like what I say is worth hearing. Apparently, in four months, when you know no one and care for only a dog, you can see things that some people haven’t managed to see in a decade or more. I was telling of my visit to the Spencerville Covered Bridge when I was informed that there was another covered bridge nearby. So, I set out to make a covered bridge comparison.
The North Manchester Covered Bridge, built for the third time (it burned twice) in 1872, spans the Eel River and is located in North Manchester, Indiana (also home of Manchester College). N. Manchester is about 40 minutes west of FW.
The Spencerville bridge is a bit more scenic but that is because it is not used regularly and is remotely located. The N. Manchester Bridge is on Mill Road, which sees daily traffic and that alone is pretty neat. But for the pedestrian, the N. Manchester bridge has a walkway on one side for folks crossing the bridge, also neat.
The bridges are both pretty. They are well preserved and their age certainly increases the interest and attractiveness value. They are like old red barns (which are plentiful in Northeast Indiana) – there is just something romantic (enter Clint Eastwood from Bridges of Madison County) and charming about them that makes them hard not to like or appreciate.
It is odd. I have been all over the south and never seen a covered bridge, although they are there. These bridges are not just a Midwest thing. Although, if the purpose of the roof is to protect the bridge workings from weather they certainly served an important purpose in the Midwest.
The Queen was not nearly as impressed with the covered bridges. But she did enjoy the ride.