Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Adventures in Northern Illinois

Does anyone else remember the TV show, "Adventures in Paradise" with Gardner McKay? I'm dating myself because this show aired for four years between 1959 and 1962. I don't think I missed an episode. What's not to love? McKay was Hollywood gorgeous and he portrayed Adam Troy, a Korean War vet who bought the sloop Tiki and sailed the South Pacific.

Thinking back, I was always fascinated by adventure and the world beyond my small neighborhood.

The Farmer and I are big fans of adventure travel, both here and abroad. We stay on islands with no roads (or phones or TVs), travel in boats that are as flimsy as Dixie cups and have flown all over Central America in small planes whose have instruments attached to the dashboard with duct tape.

I've never been afraid.

Life is a pretty fearless adventure as far as I'm concerned. I listen to my instincts but beyond that I'm good.

However, I do not like bridges. It could possibly be categorized as an extreme subconscious dislike. Thinking back, I've pinned down my uneasiness to an incident that occurred many years ago when I was visting my dad in Florida. A ship hit one of the huge supports on a bridge that led south from St. Pete across the bay. It was at night and the impact damaged the support and caused the entire center section of the bridge to fall into the bay, sending cars and people to their death. Unknowingly, drivers continued up the bridge and off into the void.

That did it for me as far as bridges were concerned.

This weekend at the Bloggy get-together I met Michelle and quickly determined that she lives in Iowa just west of Savanna, Illinois.

"That means you must have crossed THE BRIDGE to get here," I said.

"And you must cross THE BRIDGE to get home," I continued.

"Yes," she said. And everyone at the table who lives in the area gave a light, nervous chuckle.

They know the bridge. It's the one without a solid road bed. The bridge is very narrow, scary narrow and when you look down you realize you're driving across an open metal grate. Yeah, like the subway grates in the city. This ain't natural!!!

I'm just glad that I not the one that has to drive home over that bridge.

So what do Gardner McKay and south sea adventures have to do with my trip to White Pines State Park? Well, I've visited the lodge several times but I've never taken the time to explore the park further. So, after I left the ladies in the parking lot I headed out and made a right to see what was beyond the bend.

There were very beautiful rock walls to the right. Signs told me that the camping areas were ahead. I followed behind another vehicle similar to mine. I couldn't see around it and little did I know what laid ahead, UNTIL................ I notice the car in front of me is driving through water. Lots of water.


Wait, this is alot of water. This is a river. Well, maybe a medium sized stream, but still. He's driving through water, and leaving a wake.


I don't know, but I'm pretty sure that cars are not supposed to create wakes. And look, that's a waterfall to the right. If he slides to the right, he's over the edge.

I know, it's not Niagara Falls but it's definitely a drop off.

It's too late. I can't turn around. I have no choice but to go through.


He made it safely to the other side, maybe I can too. And then the thought hits me that I'll need to go through again to get out of here. YIKES.

The sign says it's a "ford", and I know that certain people ford a stream every day to get home. But not me. Cars and water don't mix in my book.

I might consider returning to White Pines but I'm not going down this stinking road again! I've sailed my ship for the last time.


Michelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michelle said...

Oh, you must not have been there yet when Lori and I were talking about the ford. It was deep compared to another one Louie and I have driven through in a park in Iowa. The bad thing was the speed bumps they put on each side! It was a little bit more unsettling than the Iowa ford!

Well, we didn't go back across the bridge. We ventured on to Sterling, then crossed the bridge from Fulton into Clinton. Crossing the Savanna bridge on a motorcycle is an experience all it's own. When I had my Honda Silverwing, I did ride it across that bridge though. The bridge just kind of grabs your front tire and wiggles it back and forth all the way across...just like in a car.

Have you ever crossed the I-74 bridge from Bettendorf to Rock Island? Now, I dont care much for THAT bridge!

I could NEVER do all the things you have done, or any of the adventures you have experienced. You are one brave girl!
be blessed,

Lori said...

Oddly enough, as much as I don't like bridges, I love those little fords at the Pines. We dont' cross them with the motorcycle though. If it makes you feel any better, when the water gets too high, they close them off and you can't drive through them. :)

Becky K. said...

My fearless on a dirtbike son is very afraid of bridges. We were so surprised the day we found that out. are in great company.
Cause he is a pretty cool dude!

Becky K.

Suzann said...

I know someone who doesn't like bridges either. I've never been bothered by them. That road with water is rather odd though and I'm not certain my "barbie car" would do too well there.

Judy said...

I'm not sure how I found your blog but I enjoyed visiting here. I have been to that park and that ford gave me the willies going over it.

Ang. said...

You had never driven through the ford at White Pines? Really? That was always the highlight of our visit as kids! Where I live now fords are common. There are so many little streams and creeks that there is no way that they can all have bridges. I guess this is probably a place you shouldn't move to. :)

And speaking of bridges...I have never been across the Savanna bridge. However, I have been across the Louisiana, MO bridge. Its so narrow that semi's will either clip each other's mirrors or the side of the bridge if their trucks aren't positioned in the lane right. When you are in the passenger seat of a car you feel like you are sitting on the side of the bridge. And in a semi, well, you feel like there is no side at all. It just looks like a really long way down to the river. Visiting Louisiana, MO is well worth the bridge though.

chocolatechic said...

Since I was born in 1969, I have no clue what you are talking about, but I love bridges.

Especially old covered ones.q

shelly said...

I hate bridges, but that ford looks fun! I was thinking about taking the boys out to drive through it (probably over and over!). I'm not sure I'd be super happy in a car, but we practically drive monster trucks ;)

Lisa D. said...

The town I live close to is built around a river, so there is no choice but to cross the bridge on every trip to town, sometimes several times.

When I was a kid, we crossed a one lane bridge on the way to school. With a steep hill on either side of the bridge. Very rarely was there another vehicle coming the other way, but if there was, then one had to pull over and wait.

Where we live now, the bridge isn't the problem, but the river hills. Whatever the hills are formed from does not make for good road construction, so there are often mudslides, and constant repair on the roads along the river. And yet, there are still people upset that the town requires a geological study to be completed before buildings can be put up close to the river banks.

myletterstoemily said...

you are such an entertaining writer!

my family was washed down a river
by crossing an arroyo just that size.
the current was much stronger than
we anticipated.

it was terrifying and a miracle we
didn't all die.

thank your lucky stars!

Kat said...

I'm the kind of girl that trips on invisible sidewalk cracks and falls UP the stairs on a regular basis, but at work, I spend a good deal of time on walk-planks where one misstep could literally kill me and nobody would know for hours. Strangely, I can take measurements, talk on the cell phone, and tie a shoe at the same time on a plank with no problems. If I was standing on firm ground trying to do the same thing I'd probably fall over.
Bridges are scary, though!

Linda said...

Love White Pines & the water doesn't bother me there. BUT, I don't like crossing the Mississippi bridges either. Funny but of the 3 bridges in QC area the one I felt safest on was the one that they closed outer 1/2 of as unsafe! Still don't like Moline/Bett. one-too narrow, too high, too long.

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

I HATE bridges where you can see down through them. I remember walking downtown when I was a child and crossing those drainage grates where you could see down into the drain pipes. On both of these structures I feel like I might fall through the cracks into the depts below, impossible though that is. I am impressed with your adventurous spirit, though...I am rather cautious, myself. C

Window On The Prairie said...

I like small bridges, but hate large tall bridges, like over the Missouri or Mississippi rivers. SCARY!

Heidi said...

HEY!! We dong have water here today - we have SNOW! :) miss you girl, glad you made it ok! LOL

Alison Gibbs said...

OMG did you have to put the date Adventures in paradise was on. God I hope it took a few years to get to Australia becasue I think we only got TV in my house in 1960, think I was 6. Oh how I loved to watch that show.
I sure wouldn't have gone over that ford, be my luck to fall off or into the water