I know there are a lot of people who are really interested in covered bridges. I have to admit that I am not one of them, but I sure do love riding motorcycles. Last weekend I was trying to dream up some kind of an excuse to ride my motorcycle when I decided I would ride to each of the covered bridges in Ashtabula.
GPS makes attempting such a thing pretty simple. I simply downloaded a file of waypoints for each of the bridges and told the GPS to route me to each one of them. I know a lot of people say that a GPS takes away the freedom of riding a motorcycle, but I think it does just the opposite. I think it gives complete freedom when you are riding. It would be so much more work to do a ride like this without a GPS. With the GPS all you do is enjoy the ride and you don’t have to worry one bit where the next turn might be.
Windsor Mills Bridge
My first stop on the trip was the Windsor Mills Bridge. I think it is one of the nicest bridges in the county. It has a very nice wood inlay on the front and back and appears as if great pains were taken to make this an attractive bridge. The bridge was built in 1867, and then it was rebuilt on opened for traffic again in early 2004. The supports are made from sandstone that was taken from a nearby quarry, and from stone right out of the river it goes over. Here is the location of the Windsor Mills Bridge: View MapRiverdale Road Bridge
My next stop was the Riverdale Road Bridge. This bridge is really starting to show signs of its age. This one was built in 1847 and was rebuilt in 1981. Here is the location of the Riverdale Road Bridge: View MapThis is the type of road you will find if you take the tour
If you are not comfortable riding on dirt or gravel roads, you probably should not attempt to see all these bridges. You will ride many miles on roads like these if you do take the bridge tour. As far as dirt roads go, they were all in very excellent condition and I had no problem at all riding comfortably at 50mph on these roads. If you are the type of person who does not like to see his motorcycle get dirty you should probably avoid it as well. By the end my bike was totally covered in dirt.
My next stop was the crown jewel of all the bridges in Ashtabula, the Harpersfield Bridge. The bridge itself is quite nice, but it is also surrounded by a spectacular park. A great place for picnicking, swimming, or fishing. This bridge was built in 1868 and the steel section was added in 1913 after a flood washed out the north end of the bridge and altered the river channel.
If you are only going to see one bridge, this is the one I would recommend. If you are making a day of it this would also be a great place for your midpoint. Pack a lunch and hang out for an hour or two here.
Here is a map to the Harpersfield Bridge:Mechanicsville Road Bridge
My next stop was the Mechanicsville Road Bridge. Personally, I found this one quite unattractive. This one was built in 1867 and is believed to be the oldest one in Ashtabula. Across the street from this one is a great bar that serves some very excellent food, so this would also be a good place to take a break during your tour.
Here is a map to the Mechanicsville Road Bridge:
This bridge was built in 1868. In 1987 it was renovated and a laminated arch was added.
Several of these bridges feature a laminated arch and I think they are very interesting. It seems like a more honest way to provide support for the bridge than to run a bunch of steel underneath it.
Here is a map to the Doyle Road Bridge:
Netcher Road Bridge
Next up was the Netcher Road Bridge. This is one of the newest bridges in the county as it was built in 1998. It also features a laminated arch and the walls are inverted Haupt style.
Here is a map to the Netcher Road Bridge:
The Giddings Road Bridge, built in 1995 was my next stop.
Here is a map to the Giddings Road Bridge:
The Olin bridge was named after a family that has owned the land next to the bridge since it was built in 1873. This was also one of my favorites because it was in a very scenic and peaceful area.
The Olins Museum of Covered bridges is just past the Olin bridge, but they had a sign in the window that said closed the day I was there. I don’t know what the hours are that they are open, but it might be an interesting place to visit if you are interested in learning more about the bridges.
Here is a map to the Olin Bridge:
Another laminated arch bridge, this one was built in 1900 and renovated in 1985.
Here is a map to the Benetka Bridge:
This one was built of southern pine and oak in 1983.
Here is a map to the State Road Bridge:
I had got a fairly late start for the ride, so I was beginning to run out of daylight. To make matters worse, somebody was borrowing my camera and the camera I was using did not work nearly as well in low light, so I needed to pick up the pace if I was going to hit all the bridges before it got dark.
Nobody knows when the Creek Road bridge was built, but it was renovated in 1994.
Here is a map to the Creek Road Bridge:
Middle Road Bridge, built in 1868 and renovated in 1984.
Here is a map to the Middle Road Bridge:
The Root Road Bridge was built in 1868 and rebuilt in 1983.
Here is a map to the Root Road Bridge.
With time running out on me, the Graham Road Bridge was a bummer. You can’t even drive through this one! It was washed downstream during the 1913 flood and it was rebuilt from the remains in this field alongside the road.
Here is a map to the Graham Road Bridge:
This is the first Pratt truss bridge built in Ohio. The Caine Road Bridge was built in 1986 to celebrate Ashtabula Countys 175th anniversary.
Here is a map to the Caine Road Bridge:
Unfortunately for me, this would be the last bridge I could see because it was getting too dark for the camera to get a good picture. I still did pretty well considering I had not even left home until after 1:00. The only bridge I missed was the South Denmark Road Bridge and I plan on doing this again in the fall when the leaves change!
I highly recommend this ride for anybody. Even if you don’t care about the bridges there is some very nice motorcycle riding involved in getting to each of them. I guarantee you will not be disapointed if you spend the day searching these bridges down!