Biggest Ball of String

Our road trip adventures, quirky roadside attractions, generally in the United States or Canada (and with occasional travel off the mainland into Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean and Europe – so far)

Bridges of Madison County, Fireflies and John Wayne

on March 17, 2013

Two weeks after it started, all but one of the mushers from the Iditarod have arrived in Nome. (Well, actually, 12 of the original had toDogs having fun “scratch” (which means, basically, they had to quit before they finished, for whatever reason – generally, it’s either because of the health of their team or their own personal health.) BUT, of the remaining 64, all but one have finished.

As I previously mentioned, Mitch Seavey was first to arrive (9 days, 7 hours, 39 minutes, 56 seconds), followed quickly by Aliy Zirkle (9 days, 8 hours, 3 minutes, 35 seconds.

The last person to arrive gets “The Red Lantern” award, and this is a very prestigious award! Apparently, it “started as a joke and has become a symbol of stick-to-itiveness in the mushing world.” Perserverance. Determination.

I think that has to be true – how hard would it be to know you were last and maybe still days from finishing – everyone else is done, has had a nice bath and a nice meal. Very admirable to not give up!!

This year’s Red Lantern, is a first time Iditarod musher, Christine Roalofs, from Anchorage. She JUST finished! 13 days, 22 hours, 36 minutes, 8 seconds. WHAT a relief!! Good for her! Woot Woot!!

So, back to our Disposable Car Roadtrip:

PostcardRobert James Waller wrote (in The Bridges of Madison County), “There are songs that come free from the blue-eyed grass, from the dust of a thousand country roads. This is one of them.”

Once we left the Omaha airport and Franklin, we made a mad dash for Winterset, Iowa, 132 miles East. We didn’t take the above mentioned dusty country road – we took the I-80, paved – top (legal) speed, to make up for lost time!! (From what I can tell, though, the 1-80 wasn’t there (or not as it is now) in 1965, when Robert Kincaid drove from Seattle to Winterset. (Besides, he took Iowa Hwy 92 when he left, so that was even more likely to be dusty…)

I didn’t actually see that movie, but did decide to go Winterset because of the movie – you know, Big Ball of String, roadside attraction theme. Celebrity Bridges.

We had to get there before twilight, so we could see them, take pictures and still get back to Winterset, where, not only did Francesca watch RobertRoseman Bridge 3 drive away, but also is where John Wayne was born.

We made it to Winterset in record time (especially when you consider how slowly we were moving before, in the disposable car.) and found our way to The Bridges.

Originally, there were 19 Covered Bridges in the Winterset area, but nowadays there are only 6 left standing. I think we managed to see 3 or 4 before it got too dark, but I only really remember the Roseman Bridge (because I have the best pictures of that one, and because, in the story, that’s the bridge Robert Kincaid was coming to take pictures of, and also that is where he requested his ashes be scattered…)

Roseman BridgeThe Roseman Bridge was original built in 1883, and then renovated in 1992. It’s 107 feet and still sits on its original site. It’s the second longest bridge – the longest is the Hallowell, at 122 feet. (This bridge was built in 1880 and renovated in 1995, and also sits on its original site. It is the bridge that was actually featured in the movie, apparently).

The Cedar Bridge is the only one on which you can actually still drive. The 76 foot bridge was built in 1883, over Cedar Creek. In 1921, it was moved (still over Cedar Creek, though). In 2002, some stupid ….. idiot burned the bridge down, and so it had to be rebuilt in 2004 (which, I guess,Postcard 2 explains why you are still allowed to drive on it.)

After we (reluctantly) left the Bridge area, we headed back to town to visit John Wayne’s birthplace.

On the way down the road, though, all of the sudden, we saw the most amazing thing! Tiny little flickering lights!! My first thought was “FAIRIES” – maybe “TINKERBELL!” But, Peter came up with FIREFLIES!!

THIS was the first time in my entire life I had EVER seen FIREFLIES!! I was SO enthralled!!! We had to pull over! firefies

FIREFLIES!!

By the time we got back to Winterset, John Wayne’s house was closed…

I kind of wished we had’ve made it, BUT! if I was going to do it over, I’d still pull over and enjoy the fireflies, instead.

I was so awestruck by fireflies, I forgot about The Bridges until I got my film developed.

But THEN!!! I saw the pictures and was forever hooked on seeing and visiting Covered Bridges! And so, Peter made me a little Covered Bridge for our mailbox, and I painted the lane.Covered Bridges of Calgary

As mentioned, I didn’t see the movie BUT I did read the book, once I got home. And, as far as tragic love stories…sigh…I’m glad we went.

Wednesday, maybe we’ll be in Chicago..?

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One response to “Bridges of Madison County, Fireflies and John Wayne

  1. Shannan says:

    Love this!!!! And love the mailbox.

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