Today we drove to Cottage Grove, OR to do the Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway. We had ridden this trail several years ago and really enjoyed it. Cottage Grove claims to be the Covered Bridge Capital of America. Our memories of the little town of Cottage Grove were of a clean, quaint little town. What we found was not the town we visited previously. Many businesses in the “Historic Main Street” were closed, and several more were closed for the day during mid afternoon on a Wednesday.
The town appeared to be suffering from hard economic times. We wondered if this was all the result of Covid-19 in small town America. It seemed like a longer time span of neglect than the pandemic. Equally interesting was the complete lack of masks by what appeared to be the locals.
The ride was great. The route goes out the Row River Trail to the Dorena Covered Bridge. The Row River Trail is a nicely paved rail trail that goes along the Row River, Dorena Dam, Dorena Lake and through a heavily wooded area as well as rural farm land.
The bridges are all in very good condition, nicely restored, and for the most part well maintained. The Chambers Bridge in within Cottage Grove however was not as clean as we remembered from our previous ride here.
Cottage Grove is about a two hour drive from Heceta Beach, so with the drive both ways, the ride, and stopping to check out all the bridges, seven it total, the day was spent by the time we returned to our trailer.