Were you their? NO! Then you missed a good day in the mountains. The best place to start is always the beginning. As some of you know, I have been talking about this Tour for around 25 years but I didn’t have time to set it up until I retired. First, I copped 58 pages from Map Quest and from them put together a map of the Ultimate Covered Bridge Tour. The first time out it took me 5 ½ house to finish and that was on top of a 90 minute ride to the start. Five runs later and many changes I had the finished route in hand. All I needed now was some victims or were they brave souls? On the appointed day 16 cars showed up including a TR-3 and a strange looking Porsche. Big fenders and a wale tail! That’s another long story but for now, Peter is a lifelong friend and may someday be one of us.
As starting time was approaching I was getting nervous and no one was in sight. How could they all be lost? Maybe Tom Rippert was leading them and he always knows where he’s going. My phone started to ring and people started to show up and all was well in the world. Instructions were given and at 10:15 AM the first car was off. I had one last minute change in the route that was necessary as the Bloomsburg Fair had changed one road to ONE WAY and it was the wrong way for the route. But, this gave everyone a photo opt on the Rippert Bridge or was it the Ruppert Bridge? From here it was all up hill to my place. The tour takes me 3 hours to run but after 3 ½ hours and no cars had arrived and I was getting a little concern. Do you think Dick Suffredini came up with an idea to photograph all of our cars on one bridge and they were now floating down the river with the remains of a covered bridge! Well, after 4 hours the first car showed up and I started to feel a lot better. It wasn’t all that long before everyone was in and they were heading for the garage.
In the spring I asked Jamiee & Sandy to pick from the cater’s menu things that everyone would enjoy. It didn’t take long before the complements to start coming in. Chicken Marsala, Vegetable Lasagna, Ziti with Italian Sausage, Fresh Fruit and Tossed Salad. Don’t forget the hot rolls and we almost did! What did you expect! Road Kill Venison and Possum in a Pot? Bear stew! The Bear didn’t like that idea. If anyone left hungry it was their fault!
When the meal was finished I gathered everyone to the garage as there was still some unfinished business. I didn’t have time at the start as we were a little later getting the cars off so I held back some business till the end. As some of you know I used to hunt and I have several firearms. I told Tom that I would have them all locked up and no one could get to them. Tom said that I should keep the “Little One” in my pocket just in case the Bear does show up. Here is how my plan unfolded. As everyone paid close attention I told them that Tom was typical of the city kids who just want to come up here and shoot everything in the woods. Us mountain folks have a better plan and with that I held up a Bear shaped jar of honey. “This is the Emergency Bear Honey” I said and if the Bear should come out whoever was closest to the Honey Bear should grab it and run up to Tom and give him a big squirt! While Tom was off entertaining the Bear the rest of us could keep the party going. Jamiee said not to worry about Tom as when he gets into trouble around the house he can run like hell and she could never catch him.
The next order of business was 3 questions that were in the Tour directions. Wait a minute, where are the questions? I left them out and there was only a line for the answer. The answers were all numbers involving the Tour. I told everyone that this part on the event was like Speed Dating! You only had 5 seconds to answer each of the first two questions and 10 seconds for the third. On the Tour how many bridges were you directed to cross? And the winners were Pat & Patty Cawthorne and Jan & Mark Scherbekow. Each had the correct answer of 11. The winners received magnets with a picture of the Forksville Covered Bridge. Now thing got a little harder. At instruction #21 you were told to turn Left onto Drag Strip Road and to Burn Rubber. Instruction #22 told you to turn Left onto Quaker Meeting House Road. Did you get some religion? Think you can still make it to the finish? Let’s see who got some religion. How many Churches did you pass on the tour? Bill & Evelyn Webb were the winners and the correct answer was 18. The prize for second was a jigsaw puzzle picturing a vintage, late 1920’s, MG Coupe crossing a covered Bridge here in Pennsylvania. Here is where we separate the Tourist from True Covered Bridge Aficionado. If you add up all of the letters in the names of the bridges, excluding the word Bridge, how many letters are there in the names of all of the bridges? You should have heard the moans & grown coming from our group. After the 10 second countdown I asked who had the right answer and numbers were flying all over the place. After a few moments I gave out the answer, it was 181 and Jeff & Robin Roes were awarded a quilt which shows the 6 Covered Bridges which were once in Sullivan county. There are 3 left today.
On the Tour I had in place 3 Chicken Runs if the weather was bad. This would keep you off the dirt and on the black top until you got to my place. I was hoping that at least one car would take a Chicken Run as I had found a Dracula Halloween Chicken for whoever took a Chicken Run. If no one had I would ask if anyone wished that they had and if I still didn’t have a winner it would go to the last car in as they should have taken all 3 Chicken Runs. Well, Bill & Evelyn Webb didn’t let me down and they took the Chicken Run Award home.
After that many of the folks started to headed back home and by dark there were only 6 of us left and no one was up to the Howling at the Moon contest. So the Howling Wolf T-Shirts will show up at the Holiday Banquet and if you win you have to Howl for the shirt!
One last note. There were some who could not make the Tour and there may be others who would like to do it again. Crazy, I know, but I will make to Tour Route available to you and I hope that you can find your way back up here. You may be the luck one who gets to pet the Bear.
Your favorite Mountain Man & Bear Tamer