Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cold Ride to Cool Bridges

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It was cold this morning.  22 degrees.  Should I ride?  Take the cage to work?

Well, it hasn't rained in a couple of days, so the roads should be dry, and likely no ice.  So.... 

RIDE!

I bundle up as usual, turn up the wick on the heated grips, and go on my way.  My neck is a little chilly, but that's all.  The rest of me is just fine.  I spend some time at work, then head out.

You may have noted that I like to visit bridges of various types.  I have visited Campbell's Covered Bridge several times, and the oldest bridge in the state, Poinsett Bridge, too.

Today, I have my GPS set to take me to Klickety Klack Covered Bridge, near Gowensville, SC, and the covered bridge at the site of Old Ballenger Mill.  Both of these bridges are relatively new, built in the last fifteen years or so. 

The Klickety Klack bridge resides in a rather unusual setting.  It doesn't cross anything of note.  An 18" culvert would have sufficed.  I think the guys (and their old tractor) who built it did it for the fun of it. 


It is a substantial structure... 
...in front of this house...
...on SC-11, the Cherokee Foothills National Scenic Byway.   

 The floor is wooden and includes some longitudinal boards for vehicles, and a 6" x 8" rail on one side of the deck.

The rail is supposed to separate the vehicle traffic from pedestrian traffic. The deck of the bridge is not in the best of condition.  I wouldn't risk crossing it in a car. Anyway, there is a driveway that goes to the house a few hundred yards away that crosses the ditch the bridge spans. 

The bridge construction was a labor of love as a gift to local “Dark Corner” residents and visitors to the area.  Supposedly, "...the floor timbers of the bridge are attached to support spans in a scattered pattern to provide a nostalgic “klickety-klack” of older bridges as vehicles pass over them."  I am sure it sounds like that, but it is probably not something you can avoid on a wooden-decked bridge like this one. 

It is located on the north side of SC-11, at the Look Away Farm entrance, a little more than two miles from SC-14 at Gowensville. 


There is another modern covered bridge only about five miles from this one.  It is on property that also includes a corn mill, the Old Ballenger Mill.  The Ballenger Covered Bridge crosses the south prong of the Middle Tyger River.  The bridge replaces a smooth, rock ford visible in the photo below. 
© B&S Photography


Here is a picture of the mill. 
The stream flows down a smooth rock bed.  Might be a good place to slide down. 

The bridge and the mill are both on this property, behind the house.
Idyllic.  [If you are interested, the 6000 square foot house and its grounds, including the bridge and mill are for sale.  $5,900,000 (Estimated monthly payments: $30,000).  Hmmmm.  I may make an offer.  What do you think?] 

By the time I get home, it has cooled off again... 

...and heavy snow flurries are seen. 

It turned out to be a nice day out, seeing some interesting sights, despite the cold start and finish. 



Reference

Locations of the four bridges mentioned.  

Dark Corner -- Its boundaries are approximately as shown on this map, within the blue roads, the upper boundary being the North Carolina state line.

Ballenger’s Mill -- Originally built by Lewis H Dickey circa 1820.  Later called L. Green’s Mil.  Renamed in the 1860s after it was purchased by J.L. Ballenger. The grounds are privately owned.

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