30 Miles out, Bridges, and Ghost Towns

Another Blitz has been planned!  Looking to span a bit farther than our 20 mile (minimum) radius…Same schedule: Leaving after work Friday, and biking west, camping, and then more biking in the AM, then Donuts.

The Deets:

  • A total of 16 hours away from home base (BLITZ)
  • A total of 67 miles (potentially up to 75)
  • 2 old abandoned bridges (potentially a 3rd)
  • Gravel (guaranteed)
  • Campsite is a potential Ghost Town/RUINS (100% happening)
  • See previous point – maybe the beginning of a horror story or reveal of a local cult

Here is a snapshot of the potential route:

Screen Shot 2016-05-18 at 9.52.44 PM

I was looking for destinations with this one.  I have been thinking of paddling the Mackinaw River next year from source to finish with VSLF and our pup, Brooks.  While doing research on Google Maps of the river/route, I came across some old bridges off dirt roads that seemed to lead to nowhere.    I found the first one not far from the BCF teams locally famous gravel grinder course, and then another 2 within 10 miles!  SCORE!   While scoping out how to access them, and determining property (Private/Public) lines, I noticed abandoned buildings clustered together near the second bridge right along the river. DOUBLE SCORE.  I hope to camp amongst the riverside ruins.

In my research about the abandoned buildings I see on Google maps, I found out that there are people who travel, and catalogue old bridges (Rail, and Automobile) and blog about them in detail  both large and small.  As a matter of fact, there is more than one person who maintains a digital bridge catalogue, for the state of Illinois.  Right now, I am totally psyched that the folks are into this seemingly banal hobby are out there! Their archives have provided great bridge beta for this weekend’s excursion.  I might snap some photos and send them on to the site owners in appreciation.

Pretty sweet what people are doing out their with their free time, really.  Deep down I feel like the bridge fascination is somehow related to an older generations fascination with Trains (models, engine types, old rail lines, routes)  and their past dominance of the American landscape (the original American transportation obsession).  Given that I can find a catalogue of old bridges in Illinois, sorted by region, I bet their is come research online that points to a connection between the two.

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