Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Eagles Bluff/Abandoned Illinois River Bridge Ride

This is a ride that I did back in March of this year, I haven't kept up here very well over the past year.  I shot 3 open bridges and 2 abandoned bridges.  My favorite was the old Illinois River bridge, it was completely shut off to the public. We had just rode 93 miles to shoot the bridge today so we rode on in past the no trespassing signs. After 25 minutes of taking pictures, walking on and around it we rode back out to be greeted by a trooper blocking the road with his lights flashing. I thought we were busted but it turned out the trooper had the road blocked with his lights on for someone else ... whew!   He gave us the big eye though as we rode slowly past him.
Eagles Bluff bridge with Mike and Greg along with me.
Eagles Bluff bridge at Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
Abandoned Illinois River bridge
Decay on bridge
Concrete cracking 
This sign can't mean us!
Grown over deck of the llinois River bridge

Mountain Fork Creek Bridge/Two Mile Creek Bridge Ride


We set out in search of iron truss bridges, a tunnel under RR tracks, an old fire tower and the ultimate cheeseburger. A quick stop for gas and a PayDay (Darel calls them the original PowerBar) and we were gone. It was a brisk 58 degrees with fall in the air, it even smelled different being out in it. 
We ride 12 miles when Greg pulls up next to me at a stop sign and says "I'm hungry". Holy cow, are you kidding me? We've just got started!  We stop at a well known hole in the wall, down the road, for a burger and get back out on the road. I have to admit, I was more hungry than I realized by the time we ate. Good, now that lunch is out of the way, that will free up the rest of the day to ride. 
We head south and finally climb up on top of Talimena Drive. Talimena Drive is 55 miles of sheer excitement on a bike with overlooks to stop and enjoy the view along the way. We don't have time for that today, besides, we've both been on it numerous times. We turn off of Talimena Drive onto PCR 100 and start our descent down the mountain. With all of the floods this year, the road was in treacherous condition. Wash outs left harsh square edged deep cuts across the road and the dirt had been washed away leaving sharp jagged rocks exposed just waiting to puncture a tire if you hit them wrong. I have rode miles of trail that was not as rough as this dirt road. We finally make it through the 11 miles down to Highway 8. Run up the highway for 1.5 miles then turn onto more county dirt roads. The condition was much better than the last dirt road we were on.  We rode miles and miles of dirt road, taking in the beauty of the country, right up against the mountains before finding the Mountain Fork Bridge. Man, she was a beauty too ...110 years old! Greg pulls his helmet off and says, "you drag me out in the middle of (censored) nowhere ... for this?? I replied, no, I am looking for a tunnel under the RR tracks ... this is just on the way. He looks at me and says "oh ... cool". 





We spent quite a while there admiring and photographing the bridge and enjoying the peacefulness and beauty of the river and its surroundings. Next we ride across the bridge and I stop to get a couple of photos. It was cool looking through the decking to see the river below. Next up we stop at the Two Mile Creek bridge built in 1920. From there we ride back out to asphalt and ride Highway 71 for four miles before catching another county road. I knew we must be getting close to the tunnel, I have been following the train tracks next to the highway and they bent off just before we turned onto the dirt road. After losing the tracks altogether, we were twisting and turning going through the country side and I was about ready to say, lets turn around ... we make one more hard bend and there is the tunnel.  We rode through it, took some pictures, played with a friendly dog that found us then started back towards the house. 





We stopped by the Rich Mountain Fire Tower ... a lot of history with that little place on top of the mountain. On the way back, Greg pulls up and says (no ... he doesn't say I'm hungry again. You're getting ahead of me here!), "I'm low on gas, I have 31 miles to empty". I look at my mileage and I'm about 29 miles from hitting reserve myself. We drop back down to Highway 59 and run into a little town for gas, I had just hit reserve and Greg had 6 miles to empty. Nice ride today, 255 miles, saw some cool stuff, made a new friend and in general had the time of our life today. I love fall days.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Muskogee Bridge

Shot the old abandoned bridge at Muskogee last weekend.  It crosses the Arkansas River on OK16.  It consists of 4 through truss spans and 1 pony truss span and is 940 feet long.  In addition, the concrete replacement is right next to it while two rail road bridges are just on the other side of it.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Beaver Railroad Bridge

I first shot the Beaver Railroad bridge in 1978.  The bridge sat idle but still had the ties and rails on it.  On the far side, the was an abandoned rail car as well.  The bridge photos were shot with a Yashica Mat-124 medium format camera while the photo with both bridges with shot with a 35mm Nikon FE.  Time has not been good to the prints and my scanner is a cheap one.  Still I hope you enjoy them.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Slaytonville Road Bridge

I took the KLR out for a short (100 mile) adventure ride last Saturday. I wound up down past Hartford on Poteau Mountain and on the way back, I turned to run by Sugar Loaf Lake.  On the way back out from the lake I turned onto Slaytonville Road which brings you back out just south of Hackett.  I was enjoying the ride when I come around a corner and there is a brand new concrete bridge starring me in the face.  I slowed down and took some pictures of what is left of the old bridge.  I was shocked, it has been a year since I have been out this way.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Achmun Creek Bridge

I took my KLR 650 out for a 190 mile ride last week that included 4 bridges to stop and photograph.  The first bridge we attempted to ride to was a wash ... literally.  The road was under water and having never been on the road I decided to leave it alone and come back later for that bridge.
So I turned my bike around and rode off to my next quest ... Achmun Creek bridge.  It is located between Danville and Ola on Mickles Switch Road.  The road was slightly drier and the one lane bridge, built in 1920, is open to traffic.  

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Frog Bayou Old AR 282 Bridge

This bridge in an abandoned through truss bridge over Frog Bayou on Old AR 282 behind locked gates on private property.  It just sits there deteriorating.  I have wanted to shoot this bridge for some time and last year found out that a guy I work with, his father in law actually owns the land that it sits on.  We get along good so I asked him about possibly getting in to shoot the bridge and he said he would talk to him ... that he was really funny about people coming around his place.  His father in law would not let me come out to shoot it, even though Wayne would accompany me.  
My daughter, who has a photography business Kala Rath Photography, was itching to shoot something with a long lens and knew that I had wanted pictures of the bridge.  She stopped there and shot these photos from the new bridge looking back into the mountain that hides the old bridge now.  This is as close as you can get for now.