My First Motorcycle Run: Touring the Covered Bridges of Northeast OhioPosted: August 29, 2011
On Sunday, I finally got over my I’m-not-a-real-biker-itis, my general avoidance of large groups whenever possible, and my reputation as a non-conformist to go on my first group motorcycle ride.
The 8th Annual I Spy Motorcycle Run, sponsored by the Animal Welfare League of Trumbull County, took place August 28, 2011. Luckily, the weather cooperated—temps were in the 70s.
When Farmer D and I got to the starting point, the parking lot was already filled with bikes. We filled out our registration forms, and grabbed some fruit and juice (for snacks later) from the breakfast buffet.
The AWLTC had a 50/50 drawing, door prizes, and an amazing selection of items in the Chinese Auction, but the main reason we were there was to take a tour of some of the covered bridges in Northeast Ohio.
When it was time to roll out, 200+ bikes started their engines and began the journey. We were toward the back of the pack…the lines of motorcycles in front of us seemed to stretch on forever. It was impressive to see how many cars stopped at the intersections to let us drive though.
The first stop on the run was the Mechanicsville Road Bridge. The Mechanicsville Road Bridge is the second longest single span covered bridge in Ashtabula County. The bridge was built over the Grand River in 1867. It is believed to be the oldest covered bridge in Ashtabula County.
From there, it was only a few miles to the Harpersfield Covered Bridge. The Harpersfield Covered Bridge is 228 ft. long and spans the Grand River. The Harpersfield Covered Bridge, located in the County Metropark, was built in 1868. The bridge is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1913, a flood washed soil away from the north end of the bridge and changed the river channel; the steel bridge was then attached to the covered bridge. In 1991-1992, the bridge was renovated and a walkway was added.
Next up was the Doyle Road Covered Bridge. The bridge is 94 ft. long and spans Mill Creek, a tributary of the Grand River. The Doyle Road Covered Bridge was built in 1868, and renovated in 1987.
After a snack break and a stretch (and a wrong turn), we then headed to the next stop, the Netcher Road Covered Bridge.
Built in 1999, the 110-ft.-long Netcher Road Covered Bridge spans Mill Creek in Jefferson Township. Though not the most impressive of the covered bridges we had seen thus far, I found it cute because it reminded me of a gingerbread house. (Apparently, its style is described as “Neo-Victorian.”)
From the Netcher Road Bridge, we traveled less than three miles to get to the South Denmark Road Covered Bridge. Thank goodness there was a newer bridge next to it, because it looked like a rough ride (though the sign states you can drive through it if your vehicle weighs less than four tons).
The South Denmark Road Covered Bridge was built in 1890 and spans Mill Creek. The 81-ft. South Denmark Road Covered Bridge was bypassed in 1975, but is still accessible.
Finally, we headed to, and past, the last bridge on the tour, the Graham Road Bridge. The 97-ft. Graham Road Bridge was built from remnants of a previous bridge that was washed downstream in a flood in 1913. The Graham Road Bridge is not open for vehicle traffic—the bridge was moved in 1972 and now sits in an Ashtabula County Metropark along the south side of Graham Road.
By the time we finished the covered bridge tour, we were tired and ready to head for home, but were still a good half-hour away.
When we got back to Garden Brook, a wonderful lunch awaited us. There we chatted with our old friends, and shared stories with some new ones we met on the road.
Though both our bikes really need gas and a bath, Farmer D and I had a great day.