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The Covered Bridges of Oregon not Winterail 2020

by Chris Guenzler

The trip was to Winterail but when they postponed it due to the threat of Coronavirus, I had roundtrip tickets in a sleeper to Portland. I decided to still use my tickets and Elizabeth decided with me to make this a covered bridges of Oregon trip. Santa Ana Unified School District shut down for three weeks so after Tuesday March 17th, I was working from home. I was up early and finished packing then drove to the Santa Ana station, parked in the northeast lot, bought my April trip to Eugene, Oregon in a sleeper and left the car information with the Security Guard as I was long-term parking. I then walked over to Track One to wait.

Santa Ana station. I watched a fleet of Metrolink arrive and depart then my train arrived on time for Los Angeles to take me to the Coast Starlight.

Pacific Surfliner 763 3/18/2020

Pacific Surfliner 763 came in and I boarded the upper level of the cab car with just five other passengers aboard this morning which was way down from the normally packed cars before Coronavirus. It is strange now that if you hear a person cough, you turn around to see who it is. The train made its stops at Anaheim and Fullerton before arriving at LAUPT on time, and I went from Track 9 down and under then up to Track 10 which read Coast Starlight 14. I decided to wait on the platform instead of the lounge due to Coronavirus fears.

Cosst Starlight 14 3/18/2020

I boarded the Sleeper with Reneee as my Sleeping Car Attendant, settled into my room and relaxed until the train departed Los Angeles. The conductor scanned the tickets then the lounge car made his announcement. Next the Dining Car Steward made his, telling us that every party in the dining car gets their own table so I would be eating my meals alone. The train made the Burbank Airport stop followed by Van Nuys.

Curving into the lower Santa Susana tunnel.

The San Fernando Valley to the east. After the two other Santa Susana tunnels, we descended into the Simi Valley.

Santa Susana Southen Pacific station before we waited for Pacific Surfliner 774 for fifteen minutes. Our next station stop was Simi Valley then we rolled west to Oxnard and reached Ventura when they called me for lunch. I waited at the door and the steward told me to pick my table so I chose an ocean side table since I wanted to take some pictures during lunch. Being seated alone was odd but I came to enjoy it.

View at lunch.

Everyone at the noon seating took the ocean side.

Pictures during lunch. I had the Angus Beef Burger along with a Coca-Cola and then a sugar-free vanilla pudding for dessert. The meal finished at the end of the Santa Barbara stop. After lunch we were stopped at West Santa Barbara for Pacific Surfliner 782. Back on the move, the next stop was San Luis Obispo and I put on my DVD and CD set of Jethro Tull's "Aqualung".

Scene looking towards Point Conception.

More Channel Islands.

Coves and bays along the way to Point Conception.

Point Conception.

Looking northwest.

Jalama Beach.

View aboard the Coast Starlight.

Point Sol.

Views from the Coast Starlight.

Looking towards Surf.

Last views of the Pacific Ocean as we go inland to Casmalia.

The mustard plants on the hill were very much in bloom as a result of the recent rainfall they have had here.

The Coast Starlight took the big turn at Casmalia. The train ran down to Gaudalupe then onto Grover Beach and Pismo Beach, through the canyon and almost to San Luis Obispo where our bad luck with trains continued and for the third time, we were delayed by our sister train, southbound Coast Starlight 11, for ten minutes.

Equipment of the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum. The southbound Coast Starlight finally went by us and we arrived at San Luis Obispo for a fresh air stop and train crew change and a picture stop for me.

Coast Starlight at San Luis Obispo.

The San Luis Obispo Southern Pacific station. We left slow and headed next for Cuesta Grade.

Both ends of the train on the Goldtree Horseshoe Curve. I would now just enjoy the views from window while watching Keith Emerson Band's "Moscow" until it was time for dinner and was seated by myself again. I ordered the Signature Steak, baked potato and bottled water with a chocolate torte for dessert. At Salinas, I detrained for a cool fresh air break before we departed for our next stop in San Jose, then made it through Castroville headed to the lagoon at Moss Landing.

Two views of Moss Landing lagoon. The train ran through Watsonville Junction, through the Pajora Gap and on to Gilroy where it was a fast trip to San Jose where I made up my room for the night and slept soundly.

3/19/2020 I woke up at Bray and went to the dining car for breakfast of thin-sliced French Toast and pork sausage. The train entered Oregon and I shaved then changed into some fresh clothes as the train made its way to Klamath Falls.

BNSF switching crew was up early switching this plant.

The BNSF Drawbridge across Lower Klamath Lake. The train arrived in Klamath Falls thirty-five minutes early.

The Klamath Falls Southern Pacific station built in 1916. I bought a Portland to Kelso-Longview coach ticket to make it easier for Elizabeth to pick me up there and caught up the story while we waited for departure time.

Upper Klamath Lake. I listening to a Rachel Flowers CD "Going Somewhere" to start off my musical day and spotted Mount Shasta in California. Next it was back to the DVD of "Queen Live at Wembley Stadium". The train departed Chemult on time and headed next to Cascade Summit. Later, we had to stop for climbing Union Pacific 8816 West at Cruzatte. Back on the move again, it was time for two pictures.

Noisy Creek Trestle with the Coast Starlight. After Field it was time for Disc 2 of the Queen set. The train descended to Oakridge and I was called for lunch at noon beforehand.

The Office (Westfir) Covered Bridge. The Angus Beef Burger and the vanilla pudding took me to Lookout siding and from here we ran to Eugene where I took a fresh air break. We continued to Albany and Salem arriving in Portland where I made my transfer from sleeper to coach. Now all I had to do was sit here for the two-stop trip to Kelso-Longview. The train departed Portland and headed first across the Willamette River then the Columbia River into the state of Washington and Vancouver. From there the route took us along the Columbia River up to Kalama then to Kelso-Longview, where I detrained. It had been another great trip on Amtrak and now I waited for Elizabeth.

The Northern Pacific Kelso-Longview station built in 1911.

Union Pacific 2749 East.

Union Pacific 1642 West.

The Drive back to Albany.

Elizabeth arrived and I loaded my stuff into the back seat and we were off toward Albany. We drove down Interstate 5 stopping to get Elizabeth some dinner in Tulatin. Once in Albany, we checked into the Super 8 then called it a night.

3/20/2020 We woke up and Elizabeth went to MacDonald's to get breakfast while I found stations and steam engines to photograph while here in southern Oregon. We left the hotel and headed to our first covered bridge of the morning.

The Larwood Covered Bridge built in 1939. From here, we drove to the next bridge.

The Gilkey Covered Bridge built in 1939.

The Albany and Eastern Mill Creek bridge. Next it was on to our third bridge of the morning.

The Short Covered Bridge built in 1945.

The Crawfordsville Covered Bridge built in 1932. It was a short drive to our next stop.

The Earnest Covered Bridge built in 1938. We continued on toward Wendling.

The Wendling Covered Bridge built in 1938. A long drive ensued to the next bridge but it was well worth it.

The Goodpasture Covered Bridge built in 1938.

Looking up the McKenzie River. We went east to the Belknap bridge.

The Belknap Covered Bridge re-built in 1966. We continued on our quest.

The Pengra Covered Bridge built in 1938. We were surprised by the look of the next bridge.

The Lowell Covered Bridge built in 1945. It has its own interpretive center with informational displays inside. Our next stop was Unity.

The Unity Covered Bridge built in 1936.

A surprise awaited us in Lowell.

The Weyerhaeuser Forest Products caboose 159 which was donated to the Town of Lowell.

The Parvin Covered Bridge, also known as Dexter, built in 1921. A stop in Springfield was in order to visit the Verizon store to re-activate my phone then it was on to Cottage Grove for the cluster of bridges there.

Chambers Covered Railroad Bridge which is the last covered railroad bridge west of the Mississippi. It was built in 1925 to carry rail traffic hauling logs from the Lorane Valley to the J.H. Chambers Mill.

Just down the road from the Chambers bridge is the Centennial Covered Bridge which was built in 1997 for the 100th anniversary of Cottage Grove.

Our next short drive took us to the Currin Covered Bridge built in 1925. This was unique in the fact it was painted white on one side but red on the other.

A drive of less than a mile brought us to the Mosby Covered Bridge built in 1920.

The next covered bridge was Stewart which is in need of restoration. It was built in 1930.

The Dorena Covered Bridge was the last one in the Cottage Grove cluster. It was built in 1949. From here we drove down Interstate 5 to Sutherlin after stopping at a rest area.

The Rochester Covered Bridge built in 1933. We then drove in Roseburg and checked into the Holiday Inn Express but had other things to see first.

The Southern Pacific station in Roseburg, built 1912, is now a McMenamin's Pub. We tried to go to the Cavitt Creek bridge but a large accident closed down the Diamond Lake Highway just before we arrived so we turned around and headed to Stewart Park.

Southern Pacific 0-6-0 1229 on display in Stewart Park in Roseburg. It was built by Lima Locomotive Works in 1914 and donated to the city in 1958. This locomotive is famous for starring in the 1921 short film "The Goat" with Buster Keaton. We noticed that one side of the engine gives the correct number but the other side has 229 on it. Elizabeth and went to KFC for dinner which we took back to the hotel then worked on the story and caught up on our e-mail and other items before calling it a night.

Click here for Part 2 of this story!