Saturday, November 08, 2008

Bridges and Alabama

This past week Twister, the founder of the Tar Heel MINI Motoring Club, posted a request for some help with organizing a covered bridge run.  I figured I would step up and help out.  Partly because I just seem to roll that way.  But also to get some experience in organizing rides and such since it looks like I'm going to be helping out with the Blue Ridge Parkway Tour 2009 and I'm trying to semi-organize a Mini Multi-Tour that strings together several rides next summer.  I'm also looking at trying to put together some trivia/challenge/scavenger hunt rallies.  The research has been interesting in how to be the rally master.  Unfortunately, there is a dearth of samples on the web.

Coincidentally, while surfing the web looking at stuff related to the Mini Multi-Tour, I was at the PhillyMini web site.  On their forums, I ran across an event they do on a regular basis called The Cooper Cup.  It is a challenge rally with the winner receiving a big trophy cup which they get to hold until the next winner (kind of like the Stanley Cup is passed along winner to winner).  But, the winner also has to serve as the rally master for the next event.  Looks like they hold about two a year.  I've tried contacting them to see if I can get some samples.  Hope they come through.

In the meantime, I've been working on the covered bridges.  The first thing was to take some of the info on covered bridges and map them out on Google Maps.  I decided to go ahead and map several Virginia covered bridges as well since the THMMC has a strong Virginia component.  One interesting thing that came out was that only two of the covered bridges in North Carolina are on public roads.  There were a few that look like they are recent construction on roads into subdivisions.  They are listed as private, but probably not really a problem to access.  Most though look to be on farms and such that would require the property owner's permission if we wanted to get our Mini's on them.  Next up looks to be some site visits and establishing a date.  I'm thinking mid-April.

While I've been working on the covered bridges, I thought back to my father who passed a few years ago.  He grew up on a farm in Alabama.  Way out in the sticks.  As a kid, we almost always went down there at least once a year - sometimes in the summer, sometimes for Christmas.  Great memories.  I think my wife and I may have been the last Causeys to stay in the old farmhouse when we went down for the funeral of my grandfather's second wife.  I have always wished I would have been in a position to buy the farm when they were settling the estate.

One of the spots around there was the "watering hole".  My father told us stories about going down there when he was a kid and swimming there.  We got to visit it a couple times.  By the time we visited, it was down in the woods at the end of what used to be a road.  At one time there was a covered bridge that went over the river at that point.  So looking at the photos of the old covered bridges reminded me of the old watering hole.  And even though I never swam in it, I still have fond memories via my father's stories.

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